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Sunday, October 17, 2010

digital audio hacks - Hack a Day

Homemade music player

posted Oct 17th 2010 6:45am by Jakob Griffith
filed under: digital audio hacks

Sadly, this pocket mp3 wav player doesn’t come close to the capabilities of even an iPod generation 1 yet, but you have to give [Owen] props for making it in less than 24 hours. The system consists of a Propeller MCU (cleverly wired to be swappable with “shields” similar to Arduino systems), SD card for song storage, and an LM386 for audio. While the setup is a little dull, and only plays through songs non stop with no controls whatsoever, it certainly is a good start in the right direction for a cheap and simple portable music player. Of course some planned changes are in the works, include an accelerometer (gesture based controls?), etched PCB, docking station, and a case. We’re surprised there is no form of screen planned, considering Owen appears to have a rather good handle on touch interfaces; perhaps he’s waiting for revision 3.

The polyplasmic archophone

posted Oct 16th 2010 7:03am by Caleb Kraft
filed under: digital audio hacks

The polyplasmic archophone is a fresh approach to high voltage “arc music“. They are using  an Arduino clone to convert signals for the ignition coils. It is still unfinished, but the effect is decent. In the end it will have 2 tiers of voice coils for a total of 13. They are using different materials for the antenna so they can get different colors of sparks. You can see a video of it after the break and we must say the effect is quite nice. Change the lighting on that video and we could imagine this being the set to a [Joules Verne] movie.

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Human Theremin, one step closer to cyborgs (not really)

posted Oct 10th 2010 6:53am by Jakob Griffith
filed under: digital audio hacks, wearable hacks

Oh [Humberto], what will you think up next? A human Theremin you say, and it’s for Halloween? Certanly this will blow last years creepy capacitance sensing jack-o-lantern out of the water right? Eh, not really, but still cool none-the-less. By using pairs of IR LEDs and IR photo-transistors, [Humberto] makes a simplistic distance sensor. Then its just a matter of converting that light value into sound, which is accomplished by using some very clever PWM square wave hacking to make a triangle wave. Also, [Humberto] goes over the process of using fast integers to represent slow floating point numbers. While none of the project is really a new concept, it certainly is put into an easy perspective so anyone can try their hand at it. All well worth the read, or you can catch a video after the jump.

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Single string servo electric guitar

posted Sep 28th 2010 8:00am by Caleb Kraft
filed under: arduino hacks, digital audio hacks, musical hacks

its a               catchy tune!

Ah, we love musical hacks that actually play music.  [Mike Baxter] is back again with a new servo electric guitar. This one, called the physical string synthesizer, and has only one string.  He’s using two Arduinos to control the unit. One to change the midi file to a note within the string’s limits and the second to actually control the servo. It seems like that could be simplified a little bit, but we’re pretty sure his end goal was to build an instrument quickly, not learn to be a circuit ninja. Last time we saw Mike Baxter, he had built a servo electric guitar that used a keypad for control. You can see a video of the single string one after the break.

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Build a tetrahedral ambisonic microphone

posted Sep 22nd 2010 1:00pm by Mike Szczys
filed under: digital audio hacks

[Dan Hemingson's] been refining a design for building a tetrahedral ambisonic recording system. This is a set of four microphones used to record audio that can later be mixed down for a three-dimensional listening experience. His goal is an easy and inexpensive build while maintaining the highest fidelity standards possible. Lucky for us he’s made a set of extremely detailed build instructions you can use to make your own. In addition to the mounting bracket seen above he has also developed a pre-amp module that connects to the four mics; it’s part of the build instructions with schematic and board layout files available as well.

[Thanks Isaac]

Audio ads in newspapers?

posted Sep 22nd 2010 6:52am by Caleb Kraft
filed under: digital audio hacks

Oh no, lets hope this little gimmick doesn’t catch on. Volkswagen has put out an advertisement in an Indian newspaper that plays an audio file when you unfold the paper. This appears to work much like those greeting cards that play a song when you open them. There’s a sensor that detects the newspaper opening, probably just a piece of plastic or paper that slides out from between two contacts. This allows power to the circuit and the audio file is played.  Can you imagine how obnoxious this could be? Especially if your newspaper was riddled with these and those E-paper screens.  Then again, that speaker looks like massive overkill for this kind of thing and might be a decent piece electronics to keep in the reuse bin. You can see a video of the newspaper after the break.

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Audio cabinet refit with modern equipment

posted Sep 20th 2010 12:00pm by Mike Szczys
filed under: digital audio hacks

Hard at work on making this 1960′s Fleetwood audio console usable again, [Travis] packed a lot of power into the retro case. Both the radio and turn table had stopped working but the cabinet looks great and the speakers still work. In the lower center cavity you’ll now find a full computer motherboard and replacement amplifier. A new turntable has been added with an interesting vibration-dampening shelf to support it. [Travis] built the shelf with a void in between two layers of wood which he filled with sand to help with isolation. The remote control for the amp also needed some work as the receiver is pointed to the back of the unit. To fix that a second IR receiver found a home behind the fabric for one of the speaker grates. That receiver is monitored by an ATmega168 microcontroller and signals are repeated back to an IR LED mounted near the amplifier.

Self playing Bayan built nearly 22 years ago

posted Sep 5th 2010 9:19am by Jakob Griffith
filed under: digital audio hacks, musical hacks

The year is 1988, where a Russian engineer [Vladimir Demin] has combined a Bayan, or button accordion, with several (we lost count at about 96) solenoids. If that alone doesn’t blow your mind the computer, also hand built by [Vladimir], controls the whole process leaving the operator to only work the bellows. Putting truth to the fact in Soviet Russia, accordion plays you. We wish we could find some more information about the instrument, but curse our inability to read Russian. Alas check after the break for a shorter version of the video in the link above.

Related: Electronic accordion doesn’t compare.

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posted Sep 4th 2010 8:30am by Jakob Griffith
filed under: digital audio hacks

We didn’t believe this hack at all when we saw it, or rather heard it. Surly a guitar made out of a shovel couldn’t sound decent. But the video (after the jump, skip to 2:40 for the jam) to our untrained ears sounded pretty rad. Could be the supremely well done wood work, proper use of tools, high tech pickups, or maybe Russian magic, we don’t know.

In fact, if you continue the video it doesn’t stop there. The creators also made a 2 string bass and a few other instruments from shovels. Do I smell a new shovel hero?

Related: Guitars made out of things that should not be guitars.

[Thanks Paul]

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Airport Express speaker mashup

posted Aug 27th 2010 11:00am by Mike Szczys
filed under: digital audio hacks

[Wei] salvaged the internals from an Airport Express that had a blown power supply. From there he built this streaming music box. The case is from an IKEA clock with the face removed. He added some decorative fabric around a grill to make an acoustically transparent front panel. Inside you’ll find the Airport guts connected to a USB charger (replaces the dead PSU) and a set of powered stereo speakers. This simple mashup looks good and frees up space in your junk-parts box.

Go there...


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