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Xharp MIDI-MULTI-BREATH CONTROLLER Electronic Harmonica project video thumbnail
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$2,763 pledged of $35,000 goal
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By Wayne Read
$2,763 pledged of $35,000 goal
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About this project

The X-Harp Prototype V-1

The X-Harp in the video is the V-1 (Prototype) which has done everything we hoped for and then some. We discovered cool new tunings that you could never do on a harmonica. For example, the audio you hear on the opening clip is in a minor tuning played against a backing track. This opens up a whole new dimension of possibilities. We controlled and played sounds from GarageBand, a Kurzswiel PC2, a Korg M3 and an IPad app. And now it's time to move on to the next phase which is really exciting..................

X-Harp V-22 Production Model.
The funding we receive from Kickstarter will literally “jumpstart” the production model and ultimately bring a brand new instrument to the market place. The new model Xharp V-22 will be smaller, lighter and faster with over 100 sounds onboard. Sounds, tunings, transpositions, and effects will all be controlled by a three and a half inch color touch screen. It will be housed in rugged ergonomic case. The new model will have eleven holes allowing for twenty-two different notes to be played. We are currently working on multiple aspects of this project from CAD design to computer programming, ciruit board layout and design. As soon as any new features are ready to demonstate we will post them here and on our website xharp.com. Thank you for taking time to look at our project and help out if you can this should be an amazing experience and we'd love to have you along for the ride.

Wayne Read

What have we achieved so far  With the Xharp V-1 (Prototype) ?1.) First and foremost we’ve proved “Proof of concept” by designing and creating the world’s first “ MIDI-Multi-Breath Controller.
2.) Explored new tunings and controlled external software sounds in (*Garage   Band) and an IPAD app.
3.) Developed our own computer programs to control X-Harp .
4.) Obtained provisional patent and are now in “Patent Pending” status.
5.) Applied for A Registered Trademark of name “XHarp”
6.) Secured the domain name Xharp.com for Five Years.
7.) Designed and populated the website with information describing the features and benefits, and recorded and linked three short You-Tube videos, released as a “teaser”.
And we’re just getting STARTED........

A note from our engineer:
Hi, I'm Dee.
I've been working in the electronics industry since about 1979, and I've worked on just about everything from 2-way radio equipment to projection televisions, watthour meters and automated test equipment. About a year ago, Wayne asked me if I knew anyone who might be able to help him build an all-electronic harmonica. I jumped at the opportunity.

At that point, he had been working with a MIDI computer chip, and that enabled us to build an instrument that responded fairly well, however, changing keys required sending System Exclusive messages, and breath dynamics required a voltage controlled amplifier applied to the entire audio signal. This also meant that note volume could not be controlled individually.

In the end, our prototype was still a very playable instrument, but we felt we could do a great deal better. We made a list of things that we wanted to improve. These included:

Increasing the number of notes to 22.
Individual dynamic control of each note.
A touch-screen display.
The ability to change keys on the fly.
The ability to modify tuning and create tunings on-board.
On-board generation of sounds with headphone and line-out.
MIDI-Out for use with Garage Band and off-board synths.
Rechargeable built-in battery, providing enough power to last at least a few hours.
Easy to re-charge or provide external power via USB.
Firmware that can be upgraded in the field.

The design challenges are substantial. We needed a low-power but fast processor, with the ability to read multiple analog inputs. To build the software in a reasonable amount of time, we needed a high level language, but we also needed fast and efficient code, so we chose the Cypress PSoC 5, which we program in C.

The next challenge was finding a way to generate sounds on board. There are a number of ways to do this, but we found a MIDI Codec built by VLSI. It provides easy access to 128 different sounds.

We wanted to provide an intuitive user I/O and found a back-lit 3.5"high resolution color touch-screen display with an integrated touch screen sensor. We'll be integrating this into the system design.

We needed a way to charge the internal battery, so we're providing a USB port that will charge that battery. But the USB port will also allow for in-the-field firmware upgrades, as well as the ability to save and upload settings.

What does this all mean? It means that we are creating a versatile instrument that is flexible and upgradeable - an instrument that is easy to play, but responsive enough to satisfy the virtuoso. From an engineering viewpoint, this thing just rocks.

Just imagine if you were the first to know about the synthetic piano (keyboards) or synthetic drums, well you might have missed those but how about the World’s First MIDI-Multi-Breath Controller, the Xharp. If all goes well, you could be helping us make history. Just imagine a couple of years from now, a little girl sitting quietly in the back seat of the mini-van wearing headphones and playing her Xharp along with pre-recorded jam tracks in a world of her own, quiet as a mouse, happy as a clam. That’s the goal. To make an instrument so easy and fun that a child will love to play it and so cool and sophisticated that a professional musician will love it as well.
Just as the synthesizer keyboard never really could replace a real piano they have carved out their own niche. The Xharp was not designed to replace the harmonica, just give a new twist on an old instrument and hopefully attract a whole new crop of musicians and non-musicians alike. These days everything is going the way of I-Phone, I-Pad, the X-Harp will plug right in and yes, there will be “an App for That”.

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

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    Above plus, Live concert with Wayne playing Xharp at your house (100 Mile Radius of Portsmouth, NH

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    All parts and plans to build your own Xharp.
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    Pledge $699 or more About $699

    Fresh off the assembly line, World's First Xharp.
    Save $200 off Retail. Serial numbers start at # 201.
    See Website for details and updates. Includes shipping to continental USA

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    Fresh off the assembly line World's First Xharp.
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    His and Her's Xharps. Save $600 off Retail price.
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    Silver Plated Xharp, Engraved with your initials. (International Shipping and insurance Included)

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    Gold Plated Xharp (Serial Number 002-100) First batch off the line. With your initials engraved on bottom of unit along with a certificate of authenticity.
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    Gold Plated Xharp (Serial Number 001) The Very first one ready to ship off the line. Your initials engraved on bottom, Gold frame certificate of authenticity. International Shipping and Insurance Included)

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Funding period

- (43 days)