Sunday, July 25, 2021
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“MintySynth” a Sweet Little Synthesizer in a Mint Tin

MintySynth, a pocket-sized Arduino-compatible synth and sequencer that uses a repurposed Altoids tin as an enclosure. (Photo credit: DFRobot)

MintySynth is DFRobot’s Arduino-compatible synthesizer/sequencer/audio experiment kit that fits neatly in to an Altoids tin. It is intended as an educational tool as well as a fun toy, and is a great way to learn about electronics, programming, and music. Best of all, it’s open source and hackable!

Don’t have a mint tin? Don’t worry! Minty Synth is self-contained and works fine by itself if you don’t have a tin or simply don’t want an enclosure. All components are supplied except the Altoids tin. Some soldering is required, but assembly is straightforward and generally takes one to two hours.
You can either assemble the kit and use it with the pre-loaded synth software, or you can program it yourself as you would an Arduino or similar microcontroller. The kit includes an FTDI interface inside.

MintySynth is designed around the Atmega328P microcontroller, the same one that’s used in the Arduino Uno. To reduce cost and power consumption there is no onboard USB, so if you want to program it yourself you’ll need an FTDI cable, available at Sparkfun or Adafruit. The device has auto-reset so you easily upload sketches just like you would to an Arduino Uno/Genuino. It has five thumbwheels, five buttons, two LEDs, an 1/8″ audio line out, and runs on two AAA batteries.

MintySynth was designed to be compatible with a variety of Arduino sketches and libraries and Arduino audio software projects that others have created, including Mozzi, Illutron Synth, and Audiuno. You can see an excellent demonstration of the synth on YouTube.

The MintySynth kit is available from DFRobot for $34.95 at