Recently I helped my son with his electronics project for GCSE which was an electronics metronome.
He had a 555 producing a square wave to be used as a "clock" signal that drove the rest of the circuit. He then had 4029 counters and other CMOS 4000 chips to display the beat on a 7 seg display, flash LEDs etc
I was wondering is this still the world of digital circuits? Or do people nowadays use different chips?
This looks more like it belongs in Instruments and Amps rather than "digital source" (as in playback of digitized audio).
Those chips are still available (though perhaps as 74HC4xxx part numbers instead of 4xxx numbers) and you can still make such circuits, but there's much more available, such as microcontrollers and DSP's which can do sample playback and create sounds "on the fly" with appropriate programming, which is not trivial.
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