Knobs, Tubes, and Soundmakers from Collin

Tubes rock, and not just the vacuum tube kind: from Collin Mel’s photostream. Collin Mel brought some wonderful soundmaking projects to Handmade Music last week. Face-to-face community is a beautiful thing (if loud, crowded, and prone to elevator failure — I like to think the Etsy elevator was slashdotted). But it’s also nice to keep up with Web documentation of projects. Collin’s got a great blog with updates on his latest, and some lovely Flickr photos. Included: boxes with lots of knobs that make sounds, and giant, clear, tube-shaped enclosures. And extra points for hacking together an amp and calling …

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Flickr Screen Grabs: Infinite Video Theremin, Odd, Free Musical Interfaces

Tommy responds to our call for screen grabs of software with this fascinating Jitter patch: He writes: used lloopp and jitter runtime to make this instrument that uses a firewire camera as a source for effecting sound generators. i like this shot because of the video feedback. What’s lloopp? Glad you asked. It’s a live improvisation / looping / performance tool built in Max/MSP and totally open source. That makes it ideally-suited to use if you’ve found other live performance tools to be overly restrictive on their own. lloopp Speaking of free, unusual interfaces, Tommy also sends along this elegant …

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Soft Flickr Finds: Obscenely Complex Bass Effects on a Single Channel

As the last couple of decades have led to making music in software, some of the materiality of physical instruments is lost. No matter how much you love your hardware synths, odds are you spent at least a little time looking into the void of a computer screen. And to the public, much of that is obscured by the back of a display. Instruments face outward; computers face inward. Enter online photo sharing. Screen grabs can make software rigs visible. For example, someone’s been busy putting together a monster bass channel strip in Ableton Live: Contained: the synth source is …

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Handmade Gems from the CDM Flickr Group: Sound Destruction and C64

While on the subject of wonderful handmade musical instruments, Max (and Audrey) aka farnea have been posting some fantastic creations to Flickr over the past few months. They recently cropped up on the Create Digital Music Flickr Pool. The Sound Destruction Unit: DIY modular synth made putting together a lot of things I’ve built in the last times. There is a Weird Sound Generator, a Crackle Box, a random pattern generator, some filters (cutoff, square to sine), a gate controller, a Vactrol based controller, optical sensors and body contacts, mixing and power stuff. Orange Commodore 64 Synth: A lovely, custom-painted …

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Reed Ghazala’s Bent, Magnetic-Patching Yamaha Keyboard; More Bad News for DIY

Reed Ghazala, popularly accepted as the Father of Circuit Bending, writes us with his latest creation: Long coming, here’s a finalized version of my Magnetic Patch Bay on the Fractal Oscillator prototype that I published last spring/winter (2007). [It’s] a Yamaha PSS-6, circuit-bent, and with my magnetic patch bay added on the rear panel. The idea goes back to when I used magnets to hold a wire in place, bridging the 2 body contacts on my first bent synth (the Odor Box, c. 1967) so I could adjust the other controls (freeing my hands from the contacts). This patch system …

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Maker Faire 2007 in Photos

Maker Faire this weekend had plenty to offer fans of DIY musical gear, from Theremin karaoke performances to wild, home-built instruments from independent DIYers and academics. I spent most of the weekend tied to my booth, making music by scanning barcodes, manipulating a simple infrared sensor and touch sensor, and running live interactive visuals in Jitter. (The last turned out to be a huge hit with babies and their parents. Seriously.) But I did get out a bit; my impressions are documented on Flickr: Maker Faire 2007 Flickr Photoset If you were there and have some images of your own, …

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Happy Easter (Belated), Soft Synth Style

In cased you missed it on the CDMu Flickr pool, our friend Marco Raaphorst spent his Easter decorating eggs in soft synth land. Gather the kids around — it’s egg painting in the UI editor, followed by an egg hunt in Reaktor!

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New Nord and New Gear: Photos from Musikmesse Trade Show

A new Nord: the Wave, keeping true to the red livery of its predecessors. New stuff with knobs, keys, and touchscreens: yep, it’s Giant German Music Tech Trade Show time. Our friend Rainer Knobloch got to spend a few hours on the Messe show floor, so we politely pointed him to some of the gear that inspired the most drool. Topping the list, of course, is Clavia’s new Nord Wave, just because Clavia hasn’t yet published anything on their site. (More Nord details coming later today; sorry for the delay.) But we also learn via these photos just how cool …

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Thanks for Musicmakers @ Etsy; Send Your Photos

Thanks to everyone who came last night to Etsy Labs for the Musicmakers shindig. We had a fantastic convergence of people, from various spheres: CDM and musical people, craft-y people, MAKE mag people, blogosphere people, and locals and even foreigners (visitors from Montreal to Mexico!) If you snapped some shots, do post to CDM’s flickr pool to make sure we don’t miss them! And if you showed off a project, do send me a note if we didn’t happen to connect.

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