With X-Mas looming here are a couple of identical, yet differently labeled, gifts that will surely trip the trigger of an aspiring experimental sound artist. Not much for the actual description of circuits aside from 30 different variations possible. These Labs are incredibly reminiscent of the Radio Shack’s X-in-1 spring loaded experimental kits.
The board appears to have resistors, capacitors, a potentiometer, record/playback buttons, microphone, speaker, a set of transistors, and the main recording chip with connections broken out. My guess is that the bread and butter of this circuit is changing the pitch of the recording and various triggering options. Surely this will be fun for a few hours.
Discovery Digital Sound Lab $39.95
GeoSafari Digital Recording Lab $37.49
Here is something thats been floating around recently. Its called a Yada Yada Yada and is available through most of the retailers that carry toys. I found them in Walgreen’s and Target locally, however not online. Target has them for a sweet sweet low price of $6.99! There are several neat things about this recorder, one is that if you hold the Play button down it will continuously loop the sound, so wiring that to a toggle would be elementary. Second cool feature is the Warp Wheel, even though it does not affect the recording, the playback of the sounds can be pitched up or down to a degree. Now lets see what we can extrude from these boxes when we open them and look inside.
Unfortunately for me, the recorders I picked up turned out to be different revisions. Their function is identical but the board layout is much better in Rev. A UPC 69477, so look for that one in particular not 69460. Both versions of the board and their mods are posted below. Mainly I was interested in finding a pitch down for recording, because that would allow you to record longer loops, while loosing quality and gaining tasty aliasing distortion. The components are all SMD so its virtually impossible to unsolder anything, instead traces can be cut in points indicated on the diagram to allow for Potentiometer substitution of the resistor values affecting Playback and the Recording speed. I used 1 Meg Linear pots and in the higher ranges its a little difficult to control the pitch without it increasing very rapidly compared to the rotation of the knob, still works very well though. Do not try to remove the Warp wheel potentiometer, its in there for good and will be more hassle then its worth, all while risking to snap the board in half. Instead just cut the trace leading out of the single pin on the right. I would even go as far as leaving all the original wires attached because they are covered with some sort of rubbery glue. The original case is very durable and handy, but there is absolutely no room for all the components, so re-case is a must. When hooking up the microphone observe the polarity, logic says it shouldn’t matter, however if it is backwards you will only get noise in. The coin type batteries are also not practical so consider using a LM7805 Voltage Regulator to provide the +5 Volts for power. Should be enough to juice several units at once.
Currently I am in a process of building a looper device with 3 of these units, so far so good and lots of things I had to learn the hard way, like the part about removing the Warp Wheel and having to deal with a snapped board. As always I cannot be responsible for you ruining your stuff, so don’t blame me if you mess up, the mods worked for me, but they are in early stages and may be updated at any time. Enjoy and provide feedback. Thanks.
Here is another place to get similar samplers wholesale for about $2.50 each. Roughly the same function with a different design, plus a bright LED! The internal circuit may be totally different however, anyone has pictures of the insides?