Between the time that the Casio DH-100 Digital Horn was introduced and todays prices on eBay, the price dropped to the point where it seemed to be a bargain. I was fortunate enough to have pulled the batteries (15 years ago), so there was a good chance that it would still work.
Now I want to build an Atari8 sound module to accept MIDI information from the DH-100's MIDI port(or any MIDI controller). The MIDI Implementation chart for the DH-100 is not extensive but the streaming of the channel pressure data could easily overwhelm the system. I'm going to attempt to do this in Atari BASIC to facilitate experimentation.
The plan is to increase the data transfer rate from the MIDI-Arduino interface to the computer by using the cassette motor pin on the SIO port to set up feed back to the Arduino. The Trigger can indicate DataSetReady and cassette motor control for DataTerminalReady thus eliminate the use of delay loops for transfer timing.
My previous Atari BASIC MIDI programs have been kept very simple; mostly NOTE ON and NOTE OFF. The MIDI Implementation Chart shows 4 midi commands that can be sent from the DH-100 to control the sound. A closer look at the horn and chart should help define the program requirements for the A8.
Call it a digital horn, wind controller, or breath controller, the DH-100 works like a wind instrument. Press some keys to change the pitch and blow into the mouth piece. The harder you blow the louder the sound.
On its own as a performance instrument, the internal speaker and sound synthesizer made it sound like an expensive toy. The sounds could get annoying after about 10 min. of play. (A personal observation.) The MIDI OUT port was its redeeming feature. Use it as a MIDI controller on a $500 MIDI synth and it sounded like a $500 instrument. But that's not what I want to do. I want the output for the DH-100 to control a Atari8 programed to be the sound synthesizer. Then it will sound a little POKEY.
(The DH-100 has a tendency to develop a squeal(audio feedback loop). This is generally caused by 2 capacitors that can be replaced. It happened to my horn. Even though the internal sounds were useless, the MIDI output still worked. I turned down the volume and played the synth. Eventually I found the information on which capacitors to change and how. The original sound is restored. Sorry, that was a couple of years ago and the link to the information has been lost.)
The horn was hooked up to the MIDI monitor to view the data stream. This information will be of value when the Arduino and Atari are programmed. These are my observations while testing the switches and buttons.
Casio DH-100 MIDI Implimentation Chart.pdf (791.16KB)
Breath - off: This allows the playing of the horn without having to blow into it. Press the note keys and the sound will be produced. Press sends a NOTE ON at velocity 64, Release sends a NOTE ON at zero velocity.
Breath - on: Press the note keys and then blow into the mouthpiece. A NOTE ON will be sent with a velocity proportional to the force of your exhale. Stop blowing and a NOTE ON at 0 velocity will be sent. While the note is on, the pressure sensor in the horn monitors the air pressure and sends out velocity(or after touch) whenever there is a change. Command 192+channel#, pressure from 1-127. Its difficult to maintain a constant air pressure.
Transpose Button - Press the button and the note number being sent by the horn is increased by one note number. This continues up until an octave is reached, then drops 2 octaves. Keep pressing and you end up where you started. The note number is changes by the DH-100, no MIDI data is sent.
Tone Selector - cycles the tone from 0 to 5. When this is pressed a PROGRAM CHANGE command is sent. Command 192+channel#,nnnn(0-5).
Portamento - When pressed, notes will slide from one to the next. It uses a CONTROL CHANGE command and is controller number 65. Release the key to turn it off. The command is 176+channel#, controller #, value. Value is 0 for off and 127 for on. The command is sent only when the status has changed.
That completes the tour of the MIDI Implementation Chart. I noted that there may be a typo at the Note Number - Transmitted numbers cell. The range has to be greater then 36-39. The note numbers may have to be manipulated to stay within the range that the Atari can produce. I'll deal with that at a later date.