Awesome Stuff: Generating Sound

from the bleep-bloop dept

This week, we’ve got some new instruments that marry high-tech design and construction with simplicity of use and classic musical devices.

Data DUO

The DataDUO is an interesting take on a synthesizer: it’s designed to be accessible and fun for kids, and to be played by two people at once, especially as a collaborative creation tool for a parent and child. One side of the device is a basic dual-oscillator synthesizer with some simple cutoff and envelope controls, and the other is a circular sequencer with a pentatonic keyboard. The result is that it’s very easy to create pleasing, harmonious melodies since almost any combination of notes you can generate will sound good — and it creates a back-and-forth between two users, with one controlling the melody that gets played and the other controlling the character of the synthetic sounds themselves. It probably won’t be finding its way into many professional audio workflows, but it looks like a lot of fun to play with, and definitely serves as a great way to introduce kids to the basics of synthesizers.


For the more serious synth aficionado, the Crowminius offers an experience akin to one of the all-time classics: the Minimoog. It’s a tightly designed fully analog synthesizer that packs into a compact case, and offers a great array of tools: three oscillators with six waveforms to choose from, robust modulation and control options, a white/pink/red noise generator (that can itself also serve as a modulator), and a distinct filter and amplifier. The whole thing is MIDI compatible and can also be controlled with old-school voltage signals, and it’s perfect for synth modders and circuit benders as it’s constructed entirely out of standard electronic components so it can be easily tweaked and expanded by those with the knowhow (not to mention repaired).


Not every modern, high-tech instrument has to be a synthesizer: the 3Dvarius is a stylish electric violin with a fully 3D-printed body. The design is modelled after the iconic and unmatched Stradivarius, but at a glance it looks like something out of a sci-fi movie prop box. The body is printed as a single, solid piece that has been carefully tweaked for maximum usability and sound transmission, and it also employs an extremely high-quality sound sensor so that it doesn’t need a preamp like most electric violins — meaning its sound fidelity is as faithful as possible, with no additional noise and no distortion of the sounds truly coming out of the strings.

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