Interactive Table-top Modular Synthesizer

At its heart, this synthesizer uses eight modified hand-held radios as a sound source. Each radio has eight points of contact for the performer to adjust electrical behavior in order to manipulate the tonal and timbral qualities of the sound produced by the radio circuitry. Every transistor radio essentially contains all the basic components found within a professional modular synthesizer and by re-mapping the circuitry of standard AM radios these synthesizer components can be revealed and relished.

Each modified radio circuit is fed into both a high and low pass filter to control and tune pitch before being fed into a 8 x 4 matrix mixer that outputs the audio signals to four modulator circuits. These modulator circuits consist of a basic, off the shelf circuit from a child’s voice manipulator, rewired so that six timbral parameters are adjusted on the fly via an intervening gating circuit that moves through ten signal processing settings allow for a constantly changing set of effects being applied to the audio signal. These four signals are then fed out to a final stage of circuitry.

This final stage of circuitry consists of four rhythm generators that gate on and off audio in eight stages, a rudimentary sequencer/arpeggiator. Each rhythm machine is built using eight switches that can be turned on or off to create complex rhythmic structures that pulse the audio from the prior three stages of circuitry. This final step in the audio processing circuit is run by connecting all four rhythm machines to an Arduino that is interacting with a Max/Msp patch that is connected to an Ableton live session. The Ableton live session generates rhythmic structures that are being played live by the performer and, because the synthesizer is synced to Arduino, Ableton and MaxMsp, the entire performance is able to smoothly run together in beat. Allowing for an experimental and improvisatory dance music setup.

Loading more stuff…

Hmm…it looks like things are taking a while to load. Try again?

Loading videos…