Yada Yada Yada Voice Recorder Circuit Bending

Yada Yada Yada Recorder in package

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.

Yada Yada Yada Recorder Modifications yada yada yada recorder 69460 Board
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?

52 thoughts on “Yada Yada Yada Voice Recorder Circuit Bending”

  1. Thanks for saving me some time!!! I bought out all the yadas from a Target last week and was about to start work on them. The first thing I was going to do was remove that wheel, glad I didn’t.

    –sorry I can’t put your work down and plug a video for myself here;)

  2. Deal Extreme has a 15 sec voice recorder / warper for $4.97, free shipping
    Beats buying a case of 60 of the buggers. They’ll even give you a discount if you get 3 or more.

    http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.2878

    They used to sell the exact same blue model as the wholesaler you linked to, now they have some weird looking orange thing with a crab. It has the built in LED torch too!

  3. hello,
    afraid of coming off as a “mr. know-it-all” here, but the reason the microphone’s polarity is important is probably because it’s an electret mic – the mic capsule contains the mic element and a little jfet preamp that gets power from the board somwhere – this may be a good thing to keep in mind when hacking other toys w/ mics … hmm.

    i love getlofi! keep up the great work.

  4. Wow thats some great info there Anon! Pictures, diagrams, and the whole shebang.

    I disagree, the Yada Yada Yada mod is the bestest. Why take the Mic element out? Just wire it up to a switch with a 1/4 inch jack and you have yourself a switchable Mic or a Line-in. Most of these voice recorders have digital gain controls to prevent clipping, so the range of the signal input can be pretty great.

    DealExtreme is alright, their Free shipping leaves much to be desired. Stuff literally takes weeks to get here to US from Hong Kong. Might as well pay a little more and get it NOW. Plus the sales taxes help support your local economy.

    Hey Bill, thanks for the Mic info. That makes sense, Although there are only 2 leads coming to this particular Mic and one is ground. Having the signal on the hot lead and some sort of power to drive the jfet seems iffy. I think that the simple solution is that the Ground connector is connected to the ground on the capsule, the case. And connecting the capsule ground to the MIC-in positive on the board simply will not do anything because its not the capsule case that resonates, instead its the element inside.

    Here is a little something that I just got done building with 3 of these, more info on the Abe Lincoln Live sampler will be posted soon.
    http://www.piezomodule.com/gallery/view_album.php?set_albumName=AbeLincoln-Live

  5. The Abe Lincoln Live Sampler looks SICK!!! I’m very interested in how you have your 9v power setup for this.
    I bought 2 of these gems (UPC 69477) yesterday at my local target (6.99 as you said) and am having a blast using it as is for a lofi looper. Good looking out on a great deal!

  6. I disagree, the Yada Yada Yada mod is the bestest. Why take the Mic element out? Just wire it up to a switch with a 1/4 inch jack and you have yourself a switchable Mic or a Line-in. Most of these voice recorders have digital gain controls to prevent clipping, so the range of the signal input can be pretty great.

    the mic is very noisey and you can’t just switch to line input on a condencer element you need a 20db pad on the mic input wires going in to match impediance and with the mic gone you can used powered high quality mics with this mod for better sound quality

  7. I didn’t think that it was all that noisy and jacking stuff in worked fine. No huge problems with distortion. Guitar sampling also works great thanks to the mic preamp.

  8. If I do not want to wire a pot for the record time and only want to wire a pot for the playback, which track do I cut on the board? Looks to me like I would cut the one that is not right next to the +5v. Is this correct? I am looking at the pic of Rev. A UPC 69477.

  9. Hey there, you are correct. The one that leads off the +5 volts is for the fixed recording resistor.

    Give it a try and let us know, I’m not quite sure if you will get much of an expanded range with replacing just the playback pot.

  10. I’m not as concerned with the range as I am the ability to mount a knob to the outside of my case. I like the range that this unit offers since I am really wanting to use this mainly as a lofi/cheap/portable drum looper.

    Where you said changing the speed of the recording actually slows down the CPU, could you use this in the opposite direction to speed up the CPU? It would be perfect if the unit started recording the instant that I touched record and stopped the instant I let go for better ability to record seamless loops.

    Also, lets think about fault tolerance. I would imagine if you recorded some amazing loops and the unit’s 9v battery were to die you would be screwed… what about a backup battery so you can keep your samples at all time?

  11. It looks like Walmart and Toys-r-us carry these samplers as well.

    Walmart has a novelty section with gag gifts and other party junk, so look for it there. $6.98 was not a stupendous deal and all of their UPCs were the wrong kind, plus a new one that I have not seen before: 69433 I’m guessing its just like the 69460.

    Toys-r-us has the correct UPC 69477 but they were $7.99 and had a rather limited supply.

  12. Hello all, this will be my first proper circuit bending project as it were and wondered if you could give me some advice. The pictures of the mod have been super helpful but Im confused as to how Ill power this. Can I literally take the battery cable connect it to a voltage regulator and then connect direct to a 9v and or adapter input. Excuse me if any of this has been put crudely. Any help would be most appreciated.

    Daniel

  13. Hey Daniel,

    Yes 9 volt to Voltage regulator, Middle pin of the voltage regulator to ground (-) of the toy, and the 3rd pin of the Vreg to the positive + of the toy. Just don’t connect the 9 volt directly to the Yada board, it will fry. If you have a multi meter check the voltage coming from the Vreg, it should be 5 volts. You’re on the right path though.

  14. Thanks so much CJ your help is really appreciated. I was thinking I would make a standard looper with an input and output (rehoused) with the warp function and then fit another looper circuit with warp to loop the first, how does this sound? Would it effect the power? Thanks again.

    Daniel

  15. Running two loopers from the same Vreg is not a problem, however you will get a little voltage drop when the second loopers gets set to the playback mode. So the pitch of the first device will drop just a little. I got 3 circuits running from the same supply and its not a huge deal. I guess try it and if you don’t like how it drops, add another dedicated Vreg to the second circuit. Cheers.

  16. This is great! I picked up a couple of these but not of the desirable UPC. Has anyone else run into a click sound whenever the sample repeats? any idea how to get rid of it?

  17. The click sound maybe the actual mechanical button being pushed getting recorded on the mic or the nature of your sample.

  18. So I’ve been trying to make this mod for the past few nights and I’ve done nothing but brick my Yadas. I’m working with the easier version of the board and have made the cuts where indicated but when I wire 1M pots where indicated the circuit won’t come back to life. I’ve tried adjusting the pots to middle and both extremes but nothing happens. Is anyone else having this problem? Any advice?

  19. How are you connecting the wires to the potentiometers? Are you connecting to one center terminal and one off to the either side? Because if you are only connecting to both outside terminals the potentiometer will not work. Also try only splicing one potentiometer in at a time.

    If you want to post a picture of your connection work maybe other users can offer advice.

  20. Hello. Does anybody know if this voice recorder is available in the UK? Also, is there another way to identify the UPC 69477 model besides opening it up or using the barcode on the packaging? Cheers.

  21. CM:

    Thanks for the quick response. It turns out my frustration was brought on by impatience and operator error. I simply had the pots that I was using turned up so it took a long time to get going when the button was held down.

    My looper is coming along now. I’m using the LM7805. And plan on wiring one battery for each board, parallel that is. I’m thinking that this should eliminate the drop in pitch you described.

    Thanks so much for the site and the awesome schematic! I’ll post some video when I get it up and running.

  22. Fantastic! Yeah the pots being all the way up would do it. Its really really slow! For sure send some video.

  23. There is another way to ID the samplers. If there are NO numbers imprinted on the bottom, then it is most likely the correct kind. Also look for a screw hole roughly in the middle of the case below the battery door. Hope that helps. Cheers.

  24. Additionally I’ve notied that the new version of the board–I think it’s 69843, I’m at work and don’t have the boards. Have slightly curved sides on the rubber handhold. But it’s got the same innards as 69477.

  25. Much respect to the yada yada yada and the Abe Lincoln Live sampler. Super awesomeness. Thanks!

    I seem to be restricted to about 76.6k ohms for the record time. When I go past that resistance it takes a while for it to start recording. Has anybody else had that problem? I ‘m using the rev.A board.

    Also, is there a way to keep it from beeping?

  26. Hey Catalyst,

    Yeah the problem with slowing down the main pitch clock is that all the functions take longer to execute, so yes after you push the button it will take like a second before it starts recording and the beep is also pitched down. However the LED is helpful because it starts recording once that is on.

    I don’t think that there is a simple way of getting rid of the beep. One solution that I saw was to use a transistor that would switch a relay on the speaker, effectively disconnecting it, once it detects the audio of the beep, but that method may not work with this recorder.

    When playing live you can just turn the volume down and eliminate the beep. Cheers.

  27. Thanks CM.
    I was thinking I might try a DPDT (double pole double throw) switch. One side to turn on record the other side to turn off the speaker. I haven’t tried it yet but it seems like it might work. I’ll let you know.

  28. Yeah, the DPDT switch works. But, if you throw the switch before the sample is over then you can still hear the double beep. All you have to do is wire one side of the switch to the record button. The other side of the switch has to be opposite of the record side because when the yada yada yada is recording you want the speaker to be off. One wire goes out of the circuit board into the switch, another wire out of the switch and to the positive side of the speaker. The negative side of the speaker just leave alone.

    Or you could just add a SPST switch that breaks the connection of the speaker and turn it off when you record and turn it back on when you hit play. That way you wont be able to hear any sound when the yada yada yada is recording.

  29. I’ve built two of these and have bricked both of them, I’ve wired them exactly and even deceided to use their batteries, I started with a 5v regulator, I cant figure out what I’m doing wrong, I followed the picture to a t.

  30. Could you post a picture of your circuit board? You could also be cutting the wrong trace. Are you using 1M pots? It could be that the resistance value make the operation very slow so it takes a while to start the recording and turn on the LED.

  31. i’m not sure what i previously was doing wrong but I jump started the boards when i re wired their original batteries, I think I might had the voltage regulator wrong, so far I have built two and a third one on the way in between building a lfo for a speak and spell and fixing a korg ms-20 thanks anyways

  32. For all in the UK I got the last 2 yada’s in our Woolworths (Grimsby) close down. They’re the revised board though. Absolute pain to solder some parts as they’re covered in goo glue!
    So far got a pot on for rec and playback, SPST switch for play, and a push to make button for record. Next up is the line in and out. Not bothered about having a mic so I’ll discard it.
    I plan to make a version of the Abe Lincoln with just 2 Yada’s.
    Just out of interest, anyone out there in the Lincolnshire area?

  33. Ahhhhhhhh, the ones I bought have the recommended UPC code, but the pcb is totally different to both pictured examples!, so not sure if that UPC code is still valid…. (it was the same problem with all three I purchased just this month…) I’ll have to probe around a bit.

  34. Okay, I’ve fried a couple of these guys after getting some amazing sounds from them by incorrectly attaching the voltage regulator.
    Is there any way you could publish a board scan, or just a diagram that illustrates how to correctly hook up the VR?

    I guess where I’m confused is that there are three “legs” on the vr
    are only two of them connected to the YADAYADAYADA and the 9V?

  35. Hey Doug,

    No need to repost your comments twice.

    Quick answer is that you need to connect the middle leg of the VR to Ground. Black wire from your 9 volt connector. The – on the yada sampler needs to go to that as well.

    Pin 1 – Input on the VR, Left most looking from the front needs to go to the Red wire of the 9 Volt connector, positive.

    Pin 3 – Output of the VR needs to be connected to the Positive of the Yada Sampler.

    Make sure the VR is 7805, rated at +5 volts.

    Good luck, that should get you started.

  36. Hey, this is really cool. But I was wondering, could you trade out the mic and speaker for input/output jacks?

  37. sorry for my ignorance, what type of switches can be used to replace the rec/playback switches on the original sampler? Can you also point me towards hooking up the power source, where to get it?

  38. Argh!, my original comment vanished!. Here it is again-> I’ve run into a problem with the Rev A board mod. WHen I’m playing back my loop, BOTH the record and play pitch pots alter the pitch during playback?, is this normal?, There are only two trace cuts on the board, or am I supposed to kill the mini resistor that the record pot is hacked into?
    Thanks again!

  39. HEy Steve, that is very very excellent and the track you made on the Samples sound fantastic! Excellent work, thanks for using the tutorial and sharing this!

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