When combining different robo-mechanic instruments and let them jam together, the most crucial point (beside from making awesome music) is to set the latencies right. The setup is mostly the same: we have a robotic music instrument (e.g. a snare with an solenoid actor), a somewhat electric power unit (Relay, Motordriver / FET-drive and an Arduino) and a unit to generate the information, e.g. keyboard or a midi-program like Ableton.
Each instrument has its own unique latency, given by the time between the “note on” signal (e.g. Ableton triggering a note in the sequencer), and the time when the tone finally leaves the physical instrument. These latencies can be up to several 100 microseconds, a delay that a human ear will definitely recognize. The latency consists of (more…)