Dino Box

My thoughts about the Dino Park synth board:

  • Sounds great. The Minimoog (etc.) emulations just cut through the mix.
  • BUT VA emulations of classics are aplenty.
  • BUT it’s hardware!
  • BUT the technology is old.
  • BUT it is really faithful to the old classics!
  • BUT you haven’t got any controls – and it is above and all about workflow and usability, not about the sound. Otherwise use samples.
  • BUT I can build my own controllers!
  • BUT would you ever?
  • BUT I already DID create a controller you can actually touch.
  • BUT how could you package all that tech in a way that makes sense, is easy to do, and is actually (GASP) fun to play???

The last question kept on nagging me so I kind of dodged it and came up with the easyiest possible solution.

Behold: The Dino Box.

I am very proud of the artwork – my kids did most of it. I have taken the box for a first test drive with my band, and it worked fine.

What you need:

  • a MakeAudioPro Dino Park VA Synth board (€279)
  • a 12V/500mA power supply (€5)
  • TB Midi Stuff app (€5)
  • Modstep sequencer app (€11)
  • Lightning-to-USB-adapter, aka „Camera Connection Kit (€49)
  • an iPad Air, 1st generation (€120)
  • the iPad‘s cardboard box (free)
Back of the box, with power supply, 1/4

Couple of notes:

  • I will possibly add a small back plate glued to the cardboard to give the Dino’s output sockets more stability.
  • If you use the USB bus master to connect to a powered hub, you could use a Lightning cable to charge the iPad while playing. (Well, technically you could also solder aforementioned cable to the +5V supply on the board, but is it really worth doing that?)
  • I DO like the TB Midi Stuff app, but as of this time of writing, it is almost abandonware. The author promised to do an iOS12/13 update, but I would not blame him if he didn’t.
  • Modstep is a great sequencer and beatbox with a more than passing resemblance to Live, but like Live, it is no simple tool. And there have been no updates for a while – once again, I do not blame the programmer. Do people realise that it is impossible to survive on writing special-interest apps?

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