This is my first attempt at making a CMOS based synth drum. I made two DIY vactrol’s to convert the signal coming from the contact mic drum pad into sound. The enclosure was a wall clock with vaguely eastern artwork and gold trim. The drum pad, which is just a rubber mouse pad and contact mic, fit nicely into the space where the clock face was. Inside are two IC's, a CD4049 and 74C14. The backing track is by Cosmonox. Video: Mike Chastain.
This is my second attempt at building a Dub Siren. It uses one 556 Timer and a 741 Op Amp. The controls are: Pitch, Duty, LFO Rate, Shape, Sustain, Manual Trigger, Hold and Mute. I enclosed the circuit in a round case and used an album for the face plate. This improv jam features the Dub Siren played through delay and reverb over a Cosmonox backing track. Video: Mike Chastain.
This is my first attempt at building a Dub Siren. It uses one 556 timer. The controls are: Pitch, Duty, LFO Rate, Shape, Sustain, Manual Trigger and Mute. I enclosed the circuit in a black cigar box and used a red and blue plastic light bar from a toy police car for the LED housing. This improv jam features the Dub Siren Classic played through delay and reverb over a Cosmonox backing track. Video: Mike Chastain.
The heart of this synth is a 4584 IC which I used to create four oscillators, two audio rate and two clock rate. A 4069 IC provides a nice low pass filter on the output mix. One of the audio rate oscillators has a photo-cell in series with the pitch pot for use as an optical theremin. Both audio rate oscillators can be mixed through resistors or diodes en route to the output. The video features an improv synth solo with delay over a drum machine beat. Video and drum machine by Mike Chastain.
This is a cool synth I found while researching Dub Sirens. It was designed by Matt the Modulator. He sold a PCB kit along with great instructions and schematics. Before his website went offline, I downloaded the schematic and panel artwork from his website and bread boarded the circuit. It's a combination of the Atari Punk Console and Dub Siren. Its a super cool synth and building it taught me a lot about synth circuits. It uses a 556 timer and some LM2902 Op Amps. In this video I play the Dub Step Arcade through delay and reverb over a Cosmonox backing track. Video: Mike Chastain.
Dual Atari Punk Console
This is my take on the Forrest Mims classic stepped tone generator, or Atari Punk Console as it later came to be known. After reviewing a schematic, I thought it would be cool to build two of them in the same box, hence, the Dual Atari Punk Console as I call it. In addition to doubling the circuit, I also added momentary buttons to trigger each console separately, pitch range toggles and a master volume control. When both consoles are playing together, strange bagpipe like harmonies emerge. Video: Mike Chastain.
This is my third attempt at building a synth-kalimba, or Skalimba, as I like to call it. The Skalimba uses a humbucker pickup and three IC chips (4069, 4046 and 4093). The signal from the pickup is distorted via the 4069, which drives the oscillator in the 4046 phase locked loop to track the pitch of the incoming signal. The 4093 adds an additional oscillator pitch to play with. The signal is then fed through a low pass filter via the 4069. A busbar from a residential breaker box holds the spring steel tines in place and allows each tine to be individually tuned. I have the Skalimba tuned to C major for this improv jam over a bass and drum backing track.
Dub Siren Classic
Four Oscillator Synth with Low Pass Filter
Cynth is the name I've given to my CMOS based synthesizers (CMOS + Synth = Cynth). CMOS are low voltage digital logic chips. These chips are not necessarily intended for making music, but with a handful of components, cool electronic sounds can be produced. To imply these are actual synthesizers is a bit of a stretch, therefore, I consider them simple electronic noisemakers. Most Cynths are powered by a single 9 volt supply. All of these Cynths are handmade in my home workshop. Check out more videos on the Just Say Noise! Youtube channel.