Of all my ideas this is the one I am most proud of. This is because it sounds so good and because it works in a completely different way to other sound generators. I discovered it when I was playing around with a light sensor and seeing what waveforms I could pick up by pointing it at different light sources, I was viewing the waveforms on an oscilloscope. I had the eureka moment when I pointed it at the oscilloscope screen that it was connected to, creating a feedback loop. The line on the oscilloscope would now trace the silhouette of any shape placed on it's screen.
The sound is really special, it has an organic turbulent quality because of the feedback loop constantly trying to follow the edge of the shape on the screen, but not quite doing it perfectly. I find it only sounds really beautiful when played at full volume through a vintage Marshall stack, this is how the 2 following sounds on this page were recorded.
Song1.mp3 All the synths in this song demo are the oscilloscope.
Song2.mp3 The lead sound here is the oscilloscope
(Both pieces of music written by Steve Santa Cruz)
The oscilloscope is an add-on to an existing synthesiser, the synthesizer merely provides a frequency to scan the oscilloscope screen. A sawtooth wave is usually best for this as it scans at a constant speed, letting the pattern on the screen become the output signal, any other non linear wave like a sine would distort the pattern on the screen and the sound would be more harsh.
It has many modes of operation. I have used it to do ring modulation, phase modulation, analog sampling, sequencing, and lots of other strange things that don't have any conventional definition.
The videos below are a few examples of it's different modes.
Basic setting, sawtooth wave to vertical, light sensor feedback to horizontal.
Same as basic setting but sawtooth is sent through envelope before it is sent to the oscilloscope screen.
Same as before but audio is from sequencer/arpeggiator.
No feedback from the light sensor, the audio signal is just scanning a line, the square grid seems to make quite vocal sounds.
The vertical input on the oscilloscope is being fed by an above audio frequency signal, the horizontal is connected to the audio synth signal.
Same as before but using my fingers
This is very complicated and interesting. 2 different audio signals are being sent to the horizontal and vertical inputs.
Me setting up so you can see what equipment I am using.
Please Leave a comment about this machine I will try to answer any questions.
Date Posted: 20:03, 27 04 2013
Message: Not specifically related but:
How can I display audio feedback visually on an o-scope? I would like to visually detect the onset of ringing and the feedback that happens in the Church I go to. Some of the older people in the A/V booth don't hear the upper frequencies like they used to, yet they're the ones who volunteer for this job.
Date Posted: 15:52, 31 03 2013
Message: Amazing again!!!
You could make a bit of your money back doing runs of PCBs or something for this.
Really like the way you get a timbral change by feeding enveloped signals into it, sounds amazing.
Do you have a collection of stencils/Acetates to use with it.
Wish I had the time to do this kind of thing and had started electronics a little earlier in my life.
Name: Darren Lambourne
Date Posted: 13:41, 21 02 2013
Message: Great stuff!
Name: Carnage Network
Date Posted: 12:11, 17 01 2013
Message: Hi There
Just played all the videos at the same time...and space....These machines are amazing....would love to own one of everything!
Date Posted: 18:47, 23 07 2012
Message: I AM THROWING MONEY AT MY SCREEN BUT NOTHING HAPPENS!
Date Posted: 01:34, 18 07 2012
Message: This, Sir, is pure awesomeness...
Name: marmalade jamer
Date Posted: 09:37, 17 05 2012
Message: The shape you made with four fingers, is it repeatable and what sound does it make!
Like the insight. Keep on creating
Name: SPIKE the Percussionist
Date Posted: 20:45, 16 04 2012
Message: THIS IS INCREDIBLE!!!
I really like the visual aspect of the noiz!
It would be neat to be able to project it simultaneously while playing it.
Name: Chris King
Date Posted: 18:52, 07 02 2012
Message: Hi LOVE this have you looked in to the ANS http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ANS_synthesizer, the ORAMICS machine http://daphneoram.org/oramarchive/oramics/ the EMS speech synthesiser http://www.ems-synthi.demon.co.uk/emsprods.html and 1930s soviet stuff http://www.umatic.nl/tonewheels_historical.html all very related tech especially the Oramics machine and the ANS the Oramics machine waveform generator works in almost exactly the same way
keep up the good work
Date Posted: 11:49, 01 01 2012
Message: U rock!
Date Posted: 01:24, 17 12 2011
Message: This is really cool :D I would have never have thought to use a scope as a sound source. I would like to try this sometime with my scope!
Date Posted: 16:50, 12 12 2011
Message: Just testing