Friday, April 10, 2009

DUMB MACHINE


i finished this one a couple weeks ago. i spent three weeks building it but i was too lazy to even go up stairs to get my camera, so this entry is pretty brief. i found a toy drum at the bins a while back(pre-toy crisis).

i've had a couple of these in the past, but this one was slightly different than the other two. actually the other two are a funny story. back in the earlier days of my bending career, i found one of these for a couple bucks at a thrift store and had big plans for incorporating it with a "yak-back" and some other stuff. i had it all planned out and ready to go, but then i fried it, or so i thought. in order to salvage the project, i shelled out $35 for a new one off ebay. unfortunately the new one wasnt the same. the record function only played back your rhythms as they were recorded. the old one snapped each hit to the step. also, by the time it had shipped to me, i had already lost interest in the project...ok, that wasnt a funny story at all... anyway, i found this one and quickly noticed that the 8 demo rhythms were not as realistic as the first two i had owned. they were pretty much just random sounds and orch. hits. the drum sounds themselves were pretty good though and the retriggerability is great too. i stripped the circuit down to the chip and decided to rehouse it into an old modem box i found.
THE MODS:

each drum sound is triggerable via one of six LFOs. because the drum sounds were triggered with pressure sensitive peizos, the LFO frequency can go pretty high without causing any stuttering in the drum sounds with the exception of the kick drum which was triggered with a regular foot switch. for each of the 6 LFO's, there is a 3 position switch. each switch selects either manual(normal)trigger/LFO continuous trigger/LFO manual trigger. below each 3 position switch is a momentary push switch. with the LFO in manual(normal), the sounds will only trigger once per tap. in LFO manual, the momentary switch will enable the LFO only when the button is pushed. in LFO continuous, the button does nothing. to the right of the 6 drum sound buttons are 4 function switches. the two on the left control the tempo and the other two are for record and stop. to the left of the 6 slide pots that control the LFO's frequencies, there is a longer slide pot that is the pitch bend. at the top of the machine is the pitch mod and echo section. from right to left there are a joystick that controls the speed of the pitch bend LFO and the speed of the echo, a three position switch that changes the pitch bend LFO shape from tri to saw to rev. saw, a switch that turns the pitch bend LFO on and off, a switch that turns the echo on and off, and a pot for the number of echos. when the echo times pot is all the way up it feeds back just a little bit and can get out of control if you want it to. in the back there is a power on/off switch, a 1/4" line out, and an RCA mic in jack for the echo. i also left some room back there in case i want to add ports for external devices such as drum pads or a keypad to activate those cheesy demos, and possibly a volume pot for the mic input. the 4 leds in the front indicate from left to right, power on, echo on, pitch lfo on, and the last one blinks with the sounds and also lights up solid when recording. ok, i think thats about it. i kind of wished i had taken pictures of the inside but oh well.

1 comment:

  1. I really like this one. Your right, the actual drum sounds are pretty good on their own. I think the fact that they have a really short decay and release makes for a better experience in the end.

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