Composer, electronic musician, improviser

Fun with the Wien Bridge Oscillator


Look ma, a (almost) sine tone!

To the fledgling electronics enthusiast who has just enough knowledge of electronic music theory to be dangerous, it makes sense that the simplest tone, the sine tone, should be the simplest/easiest to construct in the analog electronics domain.  Of course, this is not the case.  While geometrically simple to describe, the sine tone is not easily achieved using electronic components.  Most designs found online indicate that the most common method is to “filter” a square wave created by an op-amp through a given set of components placed between the output, the non-inverting input, and the ground.  This is the method employed by the Wien Bridge Oscillator. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: DIY, Tutorial / How-to, , , , , , , , , , ,

Make Testing Speakers for Free**

Required Parts:

  • 1-2 8 ohm speakers
  • an enclosure (cardboard box, tea tin, coffee can, etc.)
  • insulation (cotton, an old shirt, the hair you get from your pet when using the Furminator.)
  • wire
  • glue ( any will do, but… I cannot recommend a hot glue gun enough. see below)
  • alligator clips (deluxe version) or just some metal bit that will conduct the signal.

Required Tools:

  • soldering iron (and solder)
  • X-acto knife or other cutting tool (depends on the material of your enclosure.)

Recommended Tools:

  • wire cutters/stripper
  • helping hands
  • hot glue gun (and glue)

As the asterisks in the title imply, and as you know from life, nothing is free. If you don’t have the parts, you will have to acquire them. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Phase 1, , , , , ,

Holiday Jankotunes (Kidtunes) Sample Pack!!!

In the spirit of the holiday season, and to show all of you our fans how much you mean to us, El MuCo is giving away this free sample pack of Jankotunes magic!  Many hours of toilsome labour went into editing this massive sample pack (over 32 samples!!!) for your artistic edification and pure enjoyment.  We hope it will help you and the entire world find peace and joy this holiday season.

From El MuCo to you, HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Just some of the sample pack’s MANY attributes:

  • 922,916 bytes of sound!
  • Deluxe, virus free!
  • Easy-to-read file names!
  • No bothersome equal temperament!
  • With metadata!
  • 100% pure sound!
  • Official El MuCo Brand Merchandise!
  • Audio bit rate: 160000!  160000!
  • Totally underground!
  • Normalized!
  • Of the highest quality (not a cheap imitation!)
  • DC Removed!
  • Not really proprietary!
  • Hardware hardware hardware!
  • Real® mp3™ format℗!
  • Not guaranteed!
  • Totally audible!
  • Small!
  • Much, much more!

Download it now! (954kb)

If you have any questions or comments, please submit them to us in comment form. Thank you.

Filed under: El MuCo, Music, , , , , , , , , ,

El MuCo: PC PicturePhone Janked (plus a little Kidtunes)

On the 27th of June, in the year of our Lord (his Noodliness the Flying Spaghetti Monster) 2009, a PC Picture Phone was janked into greatness. Additional functionality was also added to the KidTunes Keyboard with some soldering and the assistance of “The MegaPot.”

The creation of the PC Picture Phone JankoCircuit ™ on the otherwise uninteresting device yielded splendid sonic results. On this page are pictures of both the Kidtunes setup, and two setups of the PC Picture Phone. Additionally, audio will be added as it becomes available (it’s being pressed onto vinyl as we speak.)

The below picture shows the new “hands-on” wiring of the Kidtunes with the megapot and the necessary switch settings.


Here is a close-up of the switch settings: from top to bottom, the settings are On/Off; Demo; Organ/Piano; High/Low volume.


A close-up of correct hand technique.  Note the left hand holding down a key…


By using the technique pictured above, the kidtunes produces a strange pitch-sweeping effect. Is some capacitor being charged and drained in this short circuit? Who the *?&# knows!

Sweeping Up and Down

And finally, the good stuff!  The PC Picture Phone was harder to get any really interesting sounds out of.  Many connections had to be made before the standard “Call the Doctor” siren call was rendered listenable.

Below is the circuit board for the PC Picture Phone as mod as we could make it after a meal of red meat, two games of Bocce, and 4 boxes of sparklers (and 11 beers).


1: the timing resistor (connected to node 4).

2: many points on the board cause the timing circuit to slow down, here there is a single node 2 shown next to 1, and the blue polygon also marked two shows an area of the board in which all nodes produce this same effect.

3: the JankoNode.  Integral to the JankoCircuit, it is this connection (or another connection on the same path not visible in this picture) that causes the Jank Effect.

4: this is the other end of the timing resistor (node 1), which causes the circuit to either speed up or slow down. The MegaPot is connected between nodes 1 and 4. 

5: i’m going to call this the LFO node as its effect is similar to modulating the circuit with a frequency of 15 Hz or so.  (with the correct resistance)

6: I can’t remember what these do… more Janking I suspect… (Kane: I remember! If you run some alligator clips between nodes 3 and 6, you get the Jank-O-Rama Effect! That’s what is pictured below–check out the audio!)


Jank-O-Rama Warning: Repeated listening may cause psychosis.

Below shows the circuit board of the PCPP with resistors removed and wires soldered into the board for ease of clipping.  Notice the black wire at the lower left hand side of the board.  This is the other JankoNode mentioned in the description of the circuit board above.


Here is a view of the whole mess.


Top view of whole mess.


The pot on the right is connected via the bread board to the timing node on the circuit board.  The pot on the left is controlling the amount of “Jank” from the JankoCircuit. We even captured low, clicky sounds by working these two pots in conjunction–very Kontakte!


Assorted clicks and clacks

The below resistor is the correct resistance for the PWM node (red6) as shown below.


The circuit with Jank pot control.


A close-up of the breadboard connections.  The PWM node is not plugged into this circuit.


Below are some voice notes taken after the session.  Please note they are tedious and mumbly (too… tired.. uh… to … uh… think…) and contain no cool noise.  They’re here more for us than for you ;)

Clip 1

Clip 2

Clip 3

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Capturing the gentle sounds of short circuits

Scientific Toys Kidtunes Electronic Keyboard

The Scientific Toys Kidtunes Electronic Keyboard

After a long night soldering in the “man room,” Kane recorded some of the gentle sounds of the the Scientific Toys Kidtunes Electronic Keyboard. By running a cable straight from the speaker (and bypassing any external amplifier circuit) the sound is surprising clean…and, dare I say it, refreshing!

The KidTunes Keyboard, resistors removed & wired into amplifier circuit

The KidTunes Keyboard, resistors removed & wired into amplifier circuit

Kidtune Magicke
Addendum: A few more samplings from the cornucopia…


Check out the range on this bad boy


A jaunty jig by working the demo switch


I poop on all frequencies below 5,000 Hz!

Kane Holding a Potentiometer

Kane Holding a Potentiometer

Adjusting Tension

Adjusting Tension

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Handmade instruments by Scott Petersen and Brian Kane at Artspace New Haven