Just been down to the WINZ and the electro expert was kinda telling me why what I wanna do with the TV screen won't work. The thing is that people who are told how to do things know already what they can't do. An Education often isn't so much about what you can do as what you can't do. I do have no idea what I can't do... and I want to keep it that way.
Its been inorganic time again, and blow me over, I got some absolutely fine stuff this time around. I was so lucky and am so lucky these days. Complete junk to most I suppose but I got a whole bunch of pearler stuff. The PC startup this time around has voided USB connections not already made so the photos will have to come later. Anyways, here goes my boring article about "the insiders guide to happiness"
Howdy Folks out there in C bender land.This here new online mag asked for contribs and the editor kinda steered me towards doing this even though I had other ideas. Editors and Curators huh? what are we going to do with them?
So I got back into music a few weeks ago and what that means I dug out all my old unfinished projects from a few years ago, when I last got completely fed up with electronics, and started browsing the old forums for new stuff to do. As well as that, and maybe the pre - cursor, was meeting a coupla modern dance chickies a few months back who occasionally do their thing at an experimental improvisational thing called Vitamin S, which is a weekly gig where the boys and girls turn up with assorted noise and music makers at an inner city bar and have jams. So going to a few of these and enjoying the atmosphere I thought it might be high time I dug out all the old boxes and ideas half finished for instruments and get it all going again.
Another reason for this is that Mum is out of the country and I can move into the house, from my self sufficient sheds full of stuff out in the backyard, and spread out a bit. You know, chemicals around the sink and soldering irons on the coffee table. Not to mention drilling enclosures in front of the fireplace.
So I'm a few weeks in and just getting into my stride, made and finished a heap of boxes (thats what I call my electronic FX stuff) and a few ground up instruments that work and have gigged them all successfully. Choice Bro, as the natives here in the ghetto used to say, what shall I do next when outta the blue the Tone God, an admin at DIY stompboxes, announces that this months competition is all out noise makers.
This fits with me real good 'cause one of my boxes was Tim Escobedo's synth stick, with mods, and I'd got interested in making drum machines, well I made one and was doing the sequencer for it when the comp was announced.
Why are those two relevant? Number one is they are both oscillation devices. Tim's synth stick is a ribbon controller device for a simple oscillator made from C-mos chips while the drum machines rely on something called a ringing oscillator which relies on a pulse voltage to get it going then dies down quite smartly. And oscillators are the requirement numero uno for making noises.
Now don't get me wrong. I don't know crap about all this stuff and all the insider appelations I've used above are what I picked up while I made the devices above. I'm good at building stuff, I mean straight forward nuts and bolts kinda stuff, and though most of it is for my own evil purposes( I'm an artist by day and nefarious noise making genius by night) I can follow a plan and a schematic is basically a plan. So what I do, with my limited but growing knowledge of the arcane and esoteric discipline that is electronics, is I hang out at various forums and look for schematics I can just about understand. This is how I learn. I love being able to make things I have hardly any idea about before I start but at the end I kinda understand whats been happening.
To me this is what circuit bending is all about, not following a diagram and following the rules so you can do a bunch of weird shit at parties and impress your friends (dinner party art?), nope, it's about leaping off ledges without prior knowledge and learning about hitting the ground on the way down! It's like Alannis says "you learn"
So the step by step guide to "the insiders guide to happiness" is all that is above and what comes below, which is how the thing was actually made, nuts and bolts as it were, will, if followed to the letter, give you your own version of " the insiders guide to how to copy something"
Nah, don't listen to me, I'm just tryin' to get a point accross and now that I have I'll drop the emotional baggage and get on with the real show.
This is the schematic to the thing I built. I got the two main noise maker circuits from the archive pages at Experimentalists Anonymous. They were in the noise maker section and I chose them because they are a little bit beyond what I understand or they continue a line of enquiry that I'm following.
This little scemo is suspiciously similar to the old fuzzbox as well as the drum machine from an ol' Indian book that I recently did.Oh, and it's really easy to put together and modify. Some of the transistors are old school and hard to find but a look in the books and I found modern substitutes easy. So the schemo is basically stock except I've added the inductors accross the two last collector resistors 'cause in my ringing oscillators for the drum machines these were there to build up a white noise injection and then have it fade. I don't know the theory in proper terminology but they kinda store the Ac signal then let is go so whatever is signal starts out soft, builds then fades. It was used with a click and some white noise from an avalanched transistor, white noise maker, to give a cymbal type sound and so I stuck them in here to see what would happen. The other thing I did was see the feedback path, from the collector of Q4 back to the collector of Q2, with the 100k resitor, and apply a bunch of stuff, the diode chains, which is often done in the venerable fuzzbox circuits. I have no idea what thats going to do either but I have an inkling it won't blow up. Actually I have no idea whats going to happen and thats a good thing... isn't it?
I also found this at EA and it looks like any garden variety opamp oscillator, well the opamps at the bottom do ( the top ones are buffers), except theres that fet sitting between the buffers and those diodes sitting between the oscillator opamps and I have no idea what they are going to do and I've always wondered what sample and hold means so now I get a chance.
Now below that is Tim's oscillators using the schmidt triggers and you know, without thinking about it, that anything with such evocative words like schmidts trigger has gotten do neat stuff but I've been writing for an hour already and I gotta go do other stuff so this ends part one and part two will be soon. In that one I'll go into Tim's place of treasure on the net and explain the summing of all the various things and, therein, how signal goes in, through and out. I might add, quickly, that though it's all built it didn't actually work when finally finished. Thats not unusual though but it looks good enough to eat so I'll get around to it soon.
Next part will also feature a picture of the finished article. The reason you've been reading through all this guff. Be Good! Sean K.
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2 years ago