Inexpensive DIY music publishing : CD Manufacturing

Finishing my new CD has taken me a loooong time, but that’s ok because I have managed to use the best CD Keys. I’m not really in a hurry and I’m not expecting on getting rich (or any money) from doing it anyways. Having had all this time and keeping in mind that I want to at least break even with the investment, I’ve discovered some good inexpensive resources for publishing my music online, on CD and on paid digital retailers like iTunes and Amazon.

CD Manufacturing Choice: Kunaki

When first making CD’s on the cheap, I made them myself burning them by printing the covers and CD art and buying the jewel cases. This was relatively inexpensive, but it took a lot of time and it was very prone to error. A short run of CD’s with the regular guys takes a harsh initial investment. On average, is about $200 for 100 CDs. Then I started looking for self publishing options which allow you to order as few copies as needed. Lulu, a one-stop self publishing option for many different types of media can get CD’s manufactured for as low as $4.50. CreateSpace an Amazon company has a similar approach.

Then, and I found Kunaki. Kunaki is a service that specializes on one thing: On-demand duplication of CD’s and DVD’s. You don’t get many options, just the one shrink wrapped, jewel case, 2-panel insert, traycard and CD printing. Also, to save on proofing costs and streamline their process, you have to submit your master with artwork through their custom-made software (Window only).

As a trade-off for the lack of options, you get a quality product at very inexpensive prices. For up to 10 CD’s, it is $1 per unit. After that their prices varies from 0.75 to 1.75, depending on their current demand. For advanced users, It is also nice that they provide a full set of API’s to interface with their service, making it easy to integrate CD sales with custom shopping carts or other solutions, if you are a beginner in music check in for a Free Music Lesson online. Additionally, they will provide you with a UPC barcode for free if you don’t have one. Other places like CDBaby charges $20 for one if you want to distribute your CD to online music services.

Hands down, I believe Kunaki perfectly suits the needs for the hobbyist music publisher such as myself with ZERO upright investment.

My Internet (and MIDI) controlled Necktie

Pinoccio Nexopixel Necktie 1

A necktie with NeoPixels sewed into it with conductive thread. Powered by Pinoccio

Internet connected wearable devices are getting more and more common these days. There are many devices available off-the-shelf right now, but there is something special about being able to imagine and create your own. To accomplish this, I truly think the best platform right now is to use a Pinoccio.

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SX-150 synth mod instructions, schematics and code

Many people have asked about the instructions and code for the SX-150 mod I did to add MIDI and Audio out, therefore I’m posting the plans for everyone to try. By using the Arduino as the brains of the operation, a lot of other options are available for the mod, really the sky is the limit. If you do any cool hacks to it, by all means, please let me know.

Parts List

Connections from the synth

Back of SX-150

The contact spots shown on the picture refer to the connections on the schematic. Just make sure to get these ones right and that the soldering joints you make are pretty solid.



This part gives you a chance to be creative, so get your tools out and make something cool. For my mod, I used a cigar box, and made holes for all the cables that will get connected with the main circuit. I used epoxy to glue the gakken to the box and it is doing pretty well so far.

Just make sure that you will also be able to change the batteries when planning your holes.

Circuit Schematics

Schematics for the gakken sx-150 mod

Schematics for the gakken sx-150 mod

NOTE: It was brought to my attention that the connections P1 and P2 on the Gakken SX-150 are reversed on the schematic above.

Arduino Code


Note that there is support on the code for a LED on digital pin 3 that flashes as notes are played. This has not been added on the schematics and it is optional.

If you improve the code, make some other cool mods or have questions, let me know!.

I’m now working on a standalone Arduino based MIDI sequencer on the cheap that can drive this little toy. Updates coming hopefully soon.

Gakken sx-150 arduino hack number two: Adding MIDI and Audio out


I finally got around to finishing the hack to my Gakken SX-150 mini synth. On the first part I added the ability to be controlled by Arduino through a virtual software midi port. On this iteration, I added a real midi in port and I also added a 1/4′ plug audio out, to make it more usable with standard audio equipment. For more picture you can take a look at the flickr set.

IMG_2769 IMG_2758IMG_2761

The MIDI part consisted in combining the Arduino MIDI IN circuit and the Voltage Control Circuit described on the first part of this hack.
And, this is how it sounds!

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It seems that during February, other than my super favorite FAWM, there are plenty of other interesting things going on, that have the same “goal oriented” objective. Well, for one, there is the RPM Challenge, where you also do music, but you have to actually turn in a CD at the end of the month.
But, I just discovered this other one, Thing-a-day, where you pretty much pick your poison, do something everyday and document it. This also emu casino australia sounds pretty interesting, specially because some people are able to exploit their creativity, without being framed by a format or activity.
Case in point, (pretty awesome btw), this guy made one instrument a day for the month of February.

Ranjit’s A Hand-made instrument a day