Thretris wrote: Theme DMG with pro-sound … -149888593

i REALLY like the parallel grey lines behind the splashes.
i would love a gameboy just like that.

this tutorial is mirrored on my blog
you can click on photos for higher resolution versions.

so, making music for LSDJ is fun. but after a while you start to wish you could "play" the gameboy software as a musical instrument as opposed to composing music in its tracker style interface. that's where the LSDJ keyboard comes in. the idea is, the keyboard sends messages though the gameboy linkport to LSDJ. the commands that can be sent vary from playing/stopping notes or chains or tables, un/muting channels, in/decreasing octives, switching instruments, navigating the LSDJ screens, and more.
here's what the LSDJ wiki says about the keyboard.

things we'll need for the mod:
mini-din / ps2 keyboard
gameboy link cable
soldering iron
wire stripper
screw drivers
heat-srink tubling / electrical tape

finding the right gameboy link cable:
there are a few diffrent types of gameboy link cables, in the most general of sences there are "classic" gameboy cables and gameboy "advance" cables. obviously we will need a classic cable. for this mod to work we will need to power the keyboard, so you'll need a powered gameboy link cable. you can cut off the cable end from a gameboy 4-player link adapter (model# DMG-07), like i did, or you can use the correct powered cable. otherwise you will need to add a +5v external power source. nonfinite sells both powered link cables and 4 player adapters at his shop

the first thing you need is an old keyboard. for this mod you need a mini-din, aka a ps2 (not playstation 2), keyboard. i used an old hp ibm keyboard i pulled out of a dumbster at work. step one is testing it. plug it into you computer, open a text editor, and press all the keys. try tapping them very fast and see how often they actually fire. the responsiveness of the keys in this setting will be realitive to their sensitivity in LSDJ.

step two is popping off all the keys. use a flat head screw driver and stick it in the ridge beside the key then push the screw driver up like a lever. the key should just pop right off. repeat this process for all the normal keys. when you get to the spacebar and some of the other odd shaped keys, like enter, you might find springs or metal wires pressing two points to the keyboard. try and take note of their posisoning, because you will need to put them back that way.

now you should have a piles of keys and a bare keyboard. throw all the keys in a bag, so you don't loose any, and flip the keyboard over. step three is unscrewing the keyboard, prying open and removing it's plasic covering.

carefully keep taking the keyboard apart. every model is slightly different, so pay attention so you can reassemble it. eventually you will see a small silicon daughter board with the cable attached. step four is removing the daughter board. unscrew the board from the inards of the keyboard and set it somewhere safe, like in an anti-static bag.

now that you have all the plastic removed, seperate all the diffrent parts and note how they were oriented in the casing.

step five is cleaning everything up. i just used air duster and some glass cleaner on a paper towel. clean out all the little dirty recesses between and in the keys. if your keyboard is old like mine was, this step can take a while ;D

some of the plasic circuits can get a little dirty or folded, clean them as well and make sure they will align correctly when you put everything back. if you have never taken apart a keyboard before, it's very interesting...

now take a look at the daughter board from the keyboard. if your lucky, like i was, each of the wires leading to the cables from the board will be labled. if they are not labled, your going to have to cut the end of the mini-din connector off and look at what color wire attaches to which pin number.

step six is painting they keyboard. this step is optional. i used regular spray paint on the exterior plastic casings. i painted it all one coat of green, then splattered it slightly with a darker green. for the keys i wanted to make sure they had a less tacky feel, so i painted them with paint-markers. you can get them at an art/craft store or at some office supply stores, i like the "painters" brand. i painted the piano keys white and black and the LSDJ interface keys i painted green.

step seven is preping your tools for soldering. clean your soldering iron with some steel wool, set it to medium/low heat. you'll need flux, wire strippes, and somthing to wrap your wiring with. you can use heat-scrink tubing, electrical, or duct-tape. step eight is cutting the wires from both your gameboy link cable and the keyboard. then peel apart each of the wires and strip about 1/8" off each wire. use an xacto knife to peel back the cable shielding.

step nine is reviewing the wiring diagram. click here to download it. you will be connecting data, clock, power, and ground wires from both the keyboard and the gameboy link cable.

step ten is soldering the wires. wrap the wires from each cable together and dip them in flux. then add a tiny dab of solder from your iron to connect them. after all your wires are attached, wrap each of them individually, then wrap the entire bundle of wires.

using the keyboard
step one is actually syncing the keyboard to LSDJ. insert the link cable you hacked onto the keyboard into the gameboy and load LSDJ. press SELECT+UP and go to the PROJECT screen. move the cursor down to the SYNC dialog, and press A+RIGHT until you selection is KEYBD. notice just to the right of PURGE SEQUENCER an integer prefixed by an "I" appears. if nothing is synced to LSDJ/the gameboy this will display I00. once a device is successfully synced, this will be a larger integer (e.g. I01, I02). my keyboard oddly enought syncs as I06.

making some noise
to get some sounds to play when pressing keys on the keyboard, the sequencer must already be running. (press START) the notes you play will be played back on the next step in the phrase sequencer. if you need to get faster responce timings, use a faster groove for the phrase you are playing.

an important feature of LSDJ, that is easly overlooked, is when the sequencer is running the notes and instruments playing for each channel are displayed on the top right of the SONG screen. this can help a lot when your playing around and press the octave or instrument buttons up and down a bunch of times looking for something, and you get lost in the menus. this brings me to the one negative about the LSDJ keyboard interface. every once in a while the instrument your playing will jump up or down like ten positions. i think the problem is related to pressing multiple keys too rapidly. i am not the only person to report this problem. technically the gameboy's z80i sound chip is playing each channel one note at a time in such a rapid succession it "tricks" the ear into thinking it's hearing them simultaniously. that's just how gameboy music works. and i think smashing keys on the keyboard can sometimes send multiple input messages per cycle in LSDJ and glitches it, but that diagnosis is purely conjecture. and that random issue happens so rarely it's not a big deal. the interface is not perfect, but it's an easy mod, hacky, fun, and adds a new twist to LSDJ.

key mapping
SPACE play using custom table
F1/F2 octave down/up
F3/F4 instrument down/up
F5/F6 select custom table to assign to SPACE
F8 change pulse instrument playback channels (PU1, PU2, PU1+2)
F9-F12 toggle channel mute (switches on key press)
CTRL + (F9-F12) tap channel mute (switches on key press and release)

demo video

this tutorial is mirrored on my blog
yew can click on photos for higher resolution versions.

today’s mod is for the original gameboy. if you want to get serious about chip tunes, whether your using lsdj or nanoloop, the sound quality of your instrument is a priority. the stock nintendo gameboy is equipped with a single headphone jack. and if you have ever tried recording anything from that, it sounds pretty bad. thus the prosound modification was invented. trash80 was first credited with this technique, but i will be using a mix of tutorial's published by both low-gain and animalstyle. this mod adds a new 1/8" line-level-out jack to the device, while keeping the headphone functionality intact.

things we'll need for the mod:
DMG-01 gameboy
1/8" (3.5mm) stereo phone jack
soldering iron
thin gauge wire
wire stripper
jewelers screw driver
triwing screw driver
dremel or drill

the triwing screw-driver is an integral part of this mod. nintendo uses a nonstandard screw on
the 6 found on the outside of the case. but all the screws on the inside of the gameboy are a
normal mini-philips head. i got my triwing on ebay for like $2.00, but you can get them other places too if you just look.

step one is to remove the screws. like i said before, there are six triwings on the back of the
DMG. four are visible, and two are hidden under the batter compartment. make sure you dont
loose the screws, or you can just replace them with regular minis.

now you need to disconnect the display cable. BE VERY CAREFUL! the ribbon cable that connects the dot matrix display to the gamboys motherboard is very thin. the cable has minimal metal on the leads at the end. so if you scrape any of it off by pulling it out too hard you can expect some dead pixels. just pull it straight down.

now take a moment to check out the guts of the gameboy. pretty cool. in the image above you can
see the 3 points on the board we're going to be soldering two. check out the wiring diagram.

the next step is optional. but its normally necessary. clean it up. all you need is the highest  percent alcohol you can get (i use 98%) and some cue-tips. just get into those little recessed  areas and get any dust or grime out of there. make sure you do the batter terminals also if they have any corrosion on them.

to fix the jack into the case you'll need to made a little more room. use a mini-philips head screw-driver to remove the audio daughter board with the headphone jack on it.

now take your screw driver an place it between the board and the capacitors. very carefully bend the leads so the capacitors lay flat against the board.

now screw the board back into place. make sure it still lays flush inside the case. dont force it to fit, just carefully rebend them until you get it correctly. if you accidently break one of the leads from bending them too much you'll have to resolder them.

now that we got the space in the case decide where your going to mount the 1/8" jack. you dont have a lot of room to work with, so get the jack as far on the edge of the case as you can.

now use your awl to mark where you are going to drill your hole. press the awl in the center of the jack, about where the cord will be inserted, until you have a deep dent in the plastic.

you dont have to actually break the plastic, but make a groove in it. this will help you a lot when drilling. the grove gives the drill or dremel a place to start at so all you need to do is press.

safty to humans! when drilling the hole in the gameboy lots of plastic chips will go flying. so make sure you wear goggles. unless you like hard, hot plastic in your eyes.  i also like to wear a mask or a bandanna over my face when soldering. the hot flux and solder emit a nasty smell, and kill brain cells.

to keep the gameboy steady when dremeling i put it into a table mounted vice. it was a hard decision weather long or short way was the best position. but i decided long way was more stable, and gave me a bit more visibility to see what i was doing.

i used the dremel XLR with the sand grit cone bit. you can use a standard hand drill with a stepping bit, but i feel more comfortable with my dremel. use a medium speed and a little bit of force and you will go right through.

after your first pass you should have a small hole in the case of the DMG. the edges will be rough and uneven. but that's ok for now.

now stop the dremel. and unscrew the end of the 1/8" jack. try and fit it into the hole you just made. if its a little small, turn the dremel on a low setting and go over the edges again, and keep checking until the jack fits tightly in the hole. by going over the edges again you will also get a nice smooth finish.

now is a good time to plug in your soldering iron. it will start getting hot while your doing the prep work for the next stage.

get your three wires ready, and strip both ends of each wire. i left one end of the wire a little longer for the jack, and the other end very short for attaching to the board.

after that i suggest you tin the wires. dip you iron in a little flux to clean it off, then get a tiny drop of solder on the ends of each wire. this will make attaching them a lot easier.

now take the longer stripped ends of the wire and wrap them around the end of a flat head mini screw-driver. this will make a little "hook" at the end of the wire (thats why we made them a bit longer). then take the wires and hook one on the end of each of the prongs of the 1/8" jack.

now that the wires are hooked on the jack, take your screw-driver and flatten the hooks so they dont move as much. now just take a tiny dab of solder and attach the wires to the jack.

i also like to wrap the solder points when im done. either use some heat shrink tubing or some electrical tape around the edges. this will help you avoid accidentally shorting your output jack when closing the case, and just making things look better.

now mount the jack in the gameboy case. put the end of jack into the hole we drilled. then screw the end piece back on.

now take a pair of pliers and tighten the end of the jack as much as possible. just be careful not to scratch the exterior of the case's plastic when doing so.

the next step is very important. getting the wires ready to solder onto the board. lameboy suggested pushing the wires down into the crevasse under the main board, then pull it over to the three point we're soldering to.

but on my second try i actually made the wires a lot shorter. this made the process of closing the case at the end a lot easier. once you get the wires in the right place tape them down. just remember the old saying, measure twice solder once. i like to double that, just in case.

the wireing is pretty simple. there's 5 solder points that connect the potentiometer to the gameboys board. the top 2 we're gonna ignore. they are volume into the pot. the next 2 are the left and right  audio out of the pot then finally the ground.

when it comes to solder, less is more. this is true for both heat and actual metal. the amount of solder to use varies from gameboy unit to unit. some have a moderate amount, so you can just heat up whats already there and use your pre-tinned wires. but some have a huge blob there already. in those cases i suggest you remove the existing solder with some desoldering braid then use a tiny amount to connect your wires.

when doing this take your time. make sure your connecting the correct prongs to the right pins on the board. the pinout diagram should be on the packaging for the actual jack.

now carefully reconnect the display cable. put your fingers under the edge on the ribbon cable and push it up into place. dont try and rock the cable back and forth to get it into place. this could rub off some of the metal on the leads. the photo is the cable fully inserted. notice how much metal is still showing.

the final step is closing the case. this can be tricky. make sure none of the prosound jack's wires are sticking out or stuck between the edges of the case when closing it.

now your gameboy is prosound modified! the added 1/8" jack should reduce background noise when recording and actually increase volume and give you added bass. now pop in your favorite 8bit music application and make some chip tunes!

my wife simply refers to it as "madness"