Drum Pads



Four drum pads ready to go.

All made of old mate­rial found in the Alt/Lab ins­tal­la­ti­ons, and a very spe­cial big thankxxx for Mónica who brought the casings (we are going back to that in a moment) for the drum pads.

So the idea was to make drum pads that we could hook up to a sound card(or wha­te­ver) and them make sweet music, this is a very nice com­bi­na­tion between pie­zo­e­lec­tric com­po­nents and a few layers of some absor­bent sound  mate­rial like rub­ber or cork foil (that’s what we use because there was nothing more) and a piece of alu­mi­num foil for a gre­a­ter drum area .

We use an old can (20l) of paint, four pie­zo­e­lec­tric found in elec­tro­nic junk like old modems and old telepho­nes, wire for con­nec­ting the pie­zos, cork foil for insu­la­tion the drum pad area and Mónica sup­ply the casings (square rub­ber cd´s stands), and glue for put­ting everything nice and tight .

First we cut a piece of the can (cir­cu­lar about 10cm radius)and we glued the piezo into it, then we dril­led one hole into the rub­ber casing for the wires to came out, them we cut two square cork foil parts (the first in the bot­tom of the casing and the other for the top) a bit of glue and that’s it drum pads ready to rock.

Now we got some audio coming out of the pads but thats just boring because its always the same and we want to go further like trans­for­ming audio into midi mes­sa­ges, and we found the right tool for it, its cal­led  “KTDrum­Trig­ger” and he trans­forms the audio sig­nal into midi notes, we can use this midi notes inside a sequen­cer pro­gram to con­trol any kind of ins­tru­ment (either VSTI or some other stuff), in our case we use the drum pads to con­trol “Bat­tery” and thats it ins­tant fun.

There are some other links and some other ideas for drum pads. This “one“uses ardu­nio as a source for the imput sig­nal.


Circuit Bending

Hello “intre­nets” people(s)

This post today reflects a lit­tle about  what cir­cuit ben­ding and diy are.

I have many fri­ends and col­le­a­gues  asking me “-So what is cir­cuit ben­ding?”, well here goes the awser and a bit of the his­tory behind cir­cuit ben­ding.

Seems that a guy cal­led Reed Gha­zala, was making expe­ri­ments with some synthe­si­zers, trying to get some more sounds out of the elec­tro­nic ins­tru­ments, so he deci­ded to open one and poke the guts of the beast .

He soon  finds out that the core of an elec­tro­nic ins­tru­ment its a lot of fun and this could be exci­ting dis­co­ver.

Now…have you ever heard of the Savant syn­drome ?  a per­son who as Savant Syn­drome have the abi­lity of mixing emo­ti­ons, like seeing num­bers in a wide vari­ety of colors or the alpha­bet in sha­pes and forms, the cause of this, its sim­ply the brain and some short fuses in some areas, and this its exac­tly what Cir­cuit ben­ding is.

So, when Reed deci­ded to explore the pos­si­bi­lity of the short cir­cuit he open a big door for expe­ri­men­tal music and a new form of seeing elec­tro­nic devi­ces, the idea its sim­ply bril­li­ant, lets open some toys, synths, pedals (wha­te­ver) and lets start to take some really cool sounds out of it, and the bril­li­ant part is : you don’t need to know about elec­tro­nics or be a geek who spent all day in the garage (myself inclu­ded), because cir­cuit ben­ding its like a a brain in short fuse.

What you need to cir­cuit ben­ding some stuff ?  This is another ques­tion and an impor­tant one. Hummm lets see:

First, you will need some kind of device that pro­du­ces sound, like a toy, a dis­tor­tion pedal, an old synth just to name a few.

Second, this is the impor­tant part DON’T USE ANYTHING THAT CONNECTS DIRECTLY TO THE AC/DC POWER, this means DEATH, ins­tead use bat­te­ries, all kinds of bat­te­ries and even trans­for­mers as long you don’t touch that evil 220 V you are in busi­ness .

Third, open your device and cho­ose your method of ope­ra­tion, this could be done in a vari­ety of ways, you could use your fin­gers with a lit­tle of saliva (ughhh), or two screw dri­vers con­nec­ted by an alli­ga­tor clip.

Four, explore and see if the device reacts to your touch poking some cir­cuits, i often get some great results poking the chips legs and con­nec­ting them together, fin­ding the cool points its fun so don’t give up if you don’t find something in the first 5 minu­tes.

Five, ohh the “intre­nets” yes there’s a lot in here just search a bit and you will find your­self in a brand new world, of course the cir­cuit ben­ding com­mu­nity its open min­ded and fri­en­dly, so don’t be shy and ask ques­ti­ons (most of us don’t know what are doing so join the club).

Now you know were Beck, Madonna, Mike Pat­ton and many others are get­ting they ins­pi­ra­tion (yeah that’s right Madonna), the musi­cal pos­si­bi­lity are immense, just think  is you, who  are dis­co­ve­ring your own sounds and making it at the same time (not like a patch in a synthe­si­zer ) something really new and fresh made enti­rely  by you.

So,  what is Cir­cuit Ben­ding  ?

Paper and cardboard circuits

A cou­ple of years ago i found out on the “inter­nets” that you don’t really need a pro­to­bo­ard or a cir­cuit board to make your cir­cuits come to life, the idea was to fold a piece of paper with the cir­cuit design in it (com­po­nent side and cir­cuit dia­gram side) and then inser­ting a piece of card­bo­ard in the mid­dle.

The main idea was the eco, recy­cled “thingy” since cir­cuit boards are not so eco fri­en­dly and take a bunch of time to get recy­cled by our mother earth, also the eco­no­mic side (paper and card­bo­ard are almost free), ins­tead cir­cuit boar­ding takes a long time and it’s hazar­dous for the envi­ron­ment.

So here’s what i do :

1- print the sche­ma­tic you want (be sure to include on the sheet of paper both sides of the sche­ma­tic (com­po­nent side and sche­ma­tic)

2-fold it (the idea is to fold where the com­po­nent side meets the sche­ma­tic)

3-cut a piece of card­bo­ard and insert it in the mid­dle of the sheet of paper

4-glue both sides on to the card­bo­ard (now you must have a beau­ti­full cir­cuit board made of card­bo­ard)

5-with a nee­dle pierce (com­po­nent side) all dril­ling holes into sche­ma­tic side

6-insert the com­po­nents (resis­tors, ic, capa­ci­ta­tor etc..)

7-turn it back (sche­ma­tic side) and start to sol­der (be sure to folow the tra­ces on the paper), the best way to do this is to sim­ply bend the leads of the com­po­nents and sol­der them together, if you have a large area were the lead is not long enough just use a wire or something simi­lar.

8-have fun