Discover the hidden sonic qualities of objects from our everyday world in this hands-on workshop, combining the arts of electronics, noise, sculpture and collage. The basic elements we will employ are a wooden box, a speaker, a small audio amplifier and a contact microphone. To this, brave box-builders will add their own found objects, graphics, images, memories and ideas to create a unique electroacoustic cabinet of curiosities.
WHAT TO BRING
I will provide most of the tools and materials necessary for constructing the box, however there are a few things you should bring yourself:
1) A BOX: This should be made of thin wood or very strong cardboard. Plastic can be also used, but it doesn’t sound very good. No metal, please! This box should be a minimum of 10x15x4cm. Larger boxes have better resonance and room for speakers, objects and decorations. Cigar boxes, small suitcases, instrument cases or jewelry/silverware boxes are all good things to look for. IMPORTANT: the lid of the box should be no more than 5mm thick!
2) A SPEAKER (OPTIONAL): I often have 77mm or 92mm speakers on hand, but if you want a larger or different one you can bring it yourself. Besides buying one, you can salvage one from old hi-fi systems, clock radios or portable stereos. Please make sure it fits in the box you have chosen!
3) FOUND/SOUND OBJECTS: Please bring as many found objects as you can to decorate your soundbox or use as a sound source via the contact microphone.
4) EFFECTS PEDALS (OPTIONAL): Any kind of battery-powered effects pedals, such as distortions, filters or delays, can be very useful in creating more nonlinearities in the feedback loop.
Ghost Lockets I-III, Aarhus DK Oct 2011
Simple, right? This SoundBox circuit has a high-gain microphone input leading to a 1/2 Watt audio amplifier which drives a 1-20 Watt speaker, as well as an audio-responsive LED. Additional hacks include a line out for recording purposes and “circuit-bending” style body contacts to transform this SoundBox into a Michel Waisvisz-inspired CrackleBox, all of which will be covered in the workshop.
I have used a more complicated circuit with a built-in germanium distortion unit (such as that used in the Ghost Lockets series shown above). You can read more about that one here, but be aware that there is at least one mistake in the artwork which I have noted… Please note that you can build this yourself on stripboard using this layout as well.
Some graphical inspiration from participants of Tore “Origami” Boe‘s 2009 Acoustic Laptop workshop:
More advanced inspiration can be found by browsing the incredible selection of instruments on the Folktek website:
Please also have a look at my Neanderthal Electronics Workshop page for a slightly more technical workshop on noise electronics:
PREVIOUS + UPCOMING WORKSHOPS
May – Stapelbädden, Malmö SE
May – NK Projekt, Berlin DE
May – Sonic College, Haderslev DK
Nov – Ljud/Huset, Aarhus DK
Nov – Det Jyske Musikkonservatorium, Aalborg DK
Jun – Proximos 2011, Tenerife ES
Apr – Share Conference, Belgrade SRB
Nov – NK Projekt, Berlin DE
Sep – UH Fest Go Social! Tour, various locations HU