Interesting sounds can be created using a variety of sources if you have a looping pedal and pitch shifting ability. Richie Brown made a maraca out of a mannequin leg, currently for sale on eBay, and his video demonstrates just that. The leg is basically a shaker filled with various small objects and a piezo disk mic to turn the acoustic sounds into an electrical signal.
Richie’s past and future projects include more mannequin recasings with conveniently placed touch contacts.
Touch Me – a public installation encourages spectators to interact with letters on a board by rubbing, poking, scratching, caressing, and knocking. These noises are picked up by the contact mics and fed into a looper as the day progressed.
The Monster Box demonstrated below was made out of a Roll-Up Piano Keyboard.
And the Walking Song was recorded with contact mics taped to inner thighs and inner elbows in hopes of being able to record a walking pattern. The song can is called HG Welles Walks and can be heard on his myspace page. Nice work, cool ideas!
Ofir sent in some very nice pictures and links to his Ohm LoFi Samplers built completely out of laser cut cardboard with stenciled on conductive paint. The instruments were constructed as a design studies project directed by designer Barak Asher during 2008 at the Shenkar College of Design, Israel. Pretty Fucking Rad! Enjoy.
More information as the story develops…
Website has lots of building photos – Link.
In continuation of my previous post on the Yada Yada Yada samplers here is an instrument that I threw together in one evening. The “abelincoln live sampler” utilizes 3 Yada Yada Yada voice recorder circuits and simple passive 3 channel mixer for the Output signals. I only went as far as summing the resistors and didn’t do anything with the powered section in the schematic. Maybe in the future builds.
The Inputs of all 3 boards are wired in parallel so each sampler receives the same signal, either the Mic or Input via 1/4 inch jack with a switch to select between the two. The signal from the instrument jack is not attenuated, however a single potentiometer should be able to do the trick or if you really want professional quality a simple 20db pad can be constructed. I thought about wiring each sampler individually, but unless you want to sample 2 different things at the same time there is really no need. One improvement maybe to add a 3rd option of sampling whatever is being played back by the other two samplers to “bounce” tracks. The playback buttons were all wired to switches for continuous loop playback. If you want one shot playback, toggle the switch back and forth. The record buttons were replaced with heavy duty panel mount push buttons. Something to note about the controls is that they are activated by connecting the Ground signal to designated spots on the board. This makes wiring a bit easier because the Ground can be made into a common bus. Things that share the Ground are: Buttons, Mic element, the – Power connection (obviously), and the Line In jack, but not the Speaker, at least I haven’t tried wiring it to the Ground. The output is carried via two separate traces and there must be a good reason that. I just picked the same trace on all the boards as the common for the mixer inputs.
All 3 circuits are powered by a single +5 Volt LM7805 Regulator with a 9 Volt Battery going into pin 1, Ground on pin 2 and Pin 3 is connected via a bus to all of the Positives on the boards. YYY boards appear to only power ON when the Play or Record buttons are pressed, but the same does not apply if you are using a Vreg connected to a battery. In that case its always ON and will drain eventually, so a power switch with an indicator LED would probably be a smart idea.
The pitch control knobs work fairly well. One only controls the Playback and the other controls the Recording and the Playback. It is possible to slow down the recording speed and get a lot of grainy loop-able time. The playback of that recording can be either speed up or slowed down even further, making things very low bit rate sounding. During the lower recording rates the entire CPU will slow down and the recording will not start until the LED is illuminated. The pitch of the recording tone is usually a good reference for what the speed is. It is also possible to record the pitch changes during while the LED is on, which puts another interesting spin on things.
This is the first stab at a looper device, the construction was done quickly and with as few components as possible. Lots of things could be done differently in version 2. More images are located here.
Possible improvements would be:
- Attenuator pot on the input.
- Separate Voltage Regulator for each sampler ( pitch drops slightly when you engage more loops. ) May help with distortions and crosstalk.
- Cue output for listening to what is being sampled.
- Switch to pipe the output into the input for bounding sounds between the samplers.
- Try connecting the pots in the same way that Warp Wheel was soldered, with center and left pins wired together to +5 volts.
- Battery Power switch with indicator LED.
- PCB board design with pots, switches, and buttons. Eliminating the point to point wire.
Here are a couple of videos demonstrating the device. Enjoy!
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?