handmade
electronic
instruments

by Michael Rucci

DEVICE 0023
Completed:
February, 2011
Location:
Pacifica, CA

 

This handmade synthesizer consists of 5 independent square-wave oscillators, and a stepped tone generator that can be played several ways including with the built in 5 step sequencer.

This is housed in a reused wooden case (about 34 by 17 cm) with a handle, latches and hand drilled speaker grills and built from some salvaged components. There is a frequency control and a button for each of the five oscillators across the bottom. And above that to the left you have a stepped tone generator (APC) with controls for frequency and pulse length.

When the five step sequencer is turned on it will count through the oscillators with a control for speed and a selector to choose between 1 and 5 steps. The stepped tone generator can be either off, constantly on, or flash in sync with the sequencer sounding for the first half of each step.

You have two independent volume controls so you can blend the output of the 5 oscillators with the output of the stepped tone generator. Both of which are summed to a single 1/4" output jack, or internal speakers that have been salvaged from a small portable speaker system. These speakers are not the best, but they are nice to have when you don't have other equipment handy. It is powered by a US type wall adapter.

This device has some really interesting and difficult to describe crosstalk. Adjustments to one control will have small effects on others. For instance, the speed will change when the APC is engaged, or the timing at slow rates will be slightly off when you push the volume very high. These little nuances are easy to learn and give this device real personality.

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