The Hard Soft Synth 3i is an indescribable audio/video generator by noisemaker extraordinaire, Gieskes.

Check out the NEW version, the HSS3jb

Product page | Build instructions | User guide | Code | Board layout

– 15 Audio+Video modes and 8 video only modes.
– RCA, S-video, and VGA video out.
– Audio, IR, and trigger input as well as trigger out. IR with Handmade Music Austin or Gieskes devices,
hook it up to a modular via trigger or use the audio input to control the sounds and video of the HSS3i.
– Analog low-pass filter controlled via photocell.
– MIDI input controls device parameters.
– Optional circuit bent video for even more visual insanity.

More info including different code versions and PCB layouts on Gieskes’ HSS page.


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Note that this a PAL capture.

////// How is it powered?
The HSS3i takes 7.5V and has a standard 2.1 mm DC jack. You can use a standard variable wall wart like this.

////// What does the midi input control?
You can control some variables of the HSS3i over midi. See the user guide for the implementation chart.

////// What does the audio input do? Is this thing an effect? Can I run my guitar through it?

It’s not an effect but it does allow you to hook up an audio source to trigger off of. The audio input works best with rhythmic sources but all kinds of sources can create interesting effects. The list of what the inputs do in different modes is in the user guide.

Here’s Gieskes’ explanation of the input.

////// So there’s another device required to output video?
No, the HSS3i + video and +MIDI are complete systems that output both audio and video.
The HSS3i is outputs a VGA signal to the inculded converter box. (The signal coming straight from the HSS3i might not work with all devices that take VGA.) The converter allows most any device that has an RCA plug properly display the visual glitchatude and also give us something to bend!

////// Who made this thing?
Gieskes designed it. The HSS3i includes code from TinyVGA. (See his full list of credits here.)