Open Source Details
De-coned Loudspeakers (drivers)
Contact Microphones (Piezo buzzers)
Shielded wire for contact microphones
A Mixer, Computer, or some other method of controlling or automating
Amplification (commercial or consumer)
Proboscises (styrofoam spheres, cones, etc.)
Solder and Iron
Screwdrivers and screws
Choose objects that will resonate well in contrast to the other objects
chosen, and that have interesting or complex mechanical
Gongs, slinkies, thunder sheets, cymbals, pans, pots, sheets of metal,
snare drums, toms, bass drums, logs, plastic jugs, panes of glass,
springs, wind chimes, wires, balloons, water.
Each resonant object will need to be fitted with an appropriately sized
contact microphone and de-coned loudspeaker. The loudspeaker should
first be removed from its casing. Cut the cone out, carefully avoiding
the two lead wires. This effectively renders the loudspeaker impotent,
unable to produce a high volume of sound on its own without attachment
to another object. Strengthen the dust cap by applying many thin layers
of epoxy in a ventilated room. Attach a proboscis with epoxy to extend
the dust cap, if this enables better connection to a resonate object.
Commercial contact microphones can be expensive in large quantities.
Piezo buzzers may provide a satisfactory result. A local electronics
store should carry many sizes of home door buzzers. These can easily be
snapped open and the metal disk inside removed. Solder the contact
points on the disk to the two wires in speaker wire.
Place or join objects and loudspeaker drivers in such a position that
the objects can fully resonate and are not dampened by contact with the
loudspeaker drivers. It is important that the speaker driver not carry
the weight of heavier objects, and that the speaker driver be of a size
and amplification level that it can vibrate the object to produce sound
without overheating or sparking (this endangers both the speaker driver
and the relevant amplifier).
Beyond that concern, there are a wide range of considerations for
speaker/driver integration that will be revealed by empirical
investigation with a working system. Loudspeaker drivers can hang or be
braced above an object like a drum head, or both can be suspended in
the case of an object like a gong. More creative methods for exciting
the resonators may also be used, such as attaching a metal wire on one
end to a proboscis and on the other end to a snare drum.
Using double-sided tape, attach contact microphones to the objects,
experimenting to find expedient positioning.
All microphones can lead into a system where their signals can be
selectively routed back out to any of the speakeroids. A random or
other logic-oriented computer system can be designed to provide a
variety of sudden and gradual shifts in the independent gain levels for
maximum investigation of the system's potentials. The most interesting
effects result when two speakeroids feedback upon one another or when a
more complex feedback chain is setup, where longer periodicities form
as different resonances and mechanical variables battle for supremacy.