FPGA based Electronic Drums (Fall 2012)

Cost-effective FPGA based MIDI Electronic Drum-kit with extremely low latency and a natural playing response.

Course Project for Digital System Design (Fall 2012)

Collaborated with: Bilal Mahmood, Fahad Farooq

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Cost-effective FPGA based MIDI Electronic Drum-kit with extremely low latency and a natural playing response.

Project Report

‘Electronic drum-kits’ work via MIDI and allow bands to play and record drums in real-time for live performance and studio recordings. In this project, we have implemented an electronic drum kit consisting of four drum pieces: kick drum, snare drum, high-hats and crash cymbal. We used four piezo sensors with ADCs (Analog to Digital Converter), one Digilent Nexys-2 Xilinx Spartan-3E (FPGA), a Serial to MIDI software and laptop having EZDrummer VST-Plugin in Ableton Live (DAW). This drum kit along with two drum sticks imitates the sound of a real drum kit.

This prototype kit can be used professionally for recording MIDI Drums. Also, due to its low latency (less than ~15ms), it can be used for live jamming as well. We particularly focused our design towards creating a low latency system.

Commercially available Electronic-Drum Kits start at ~US $250 for a decent eight-piece drum-kit, but our kit costs significantly less while also delivering similar performance. We can always increase the number of drum-pads to eight or more.

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