Cappuccino Synth from Gijs on Vimeo.

An oscillator is, after all, just something that oscillates. So it is that a handful of hand mixers can become sound sources, in Gijs Gieskes’ new “Cappuccino Synths.” The sound isn’t much raw, though with some processing it could go in any direction you might imagine, and there’s something sculptural and inspiring about watching metal spin. The basic technique is really as much about the pickup, the amplification of the source, as anything. And that means any number of household items could take on new meaning.

As it happens, Gijs has shared a tutorial on how he makes his pickups, among other electronics how-to notes. Or make that a “puckup” (I’ve made a few of those, on CDM and elsewhere):

Correction: “Puckup” was just a typo. I stand by my assertion: “puckup” makes a great product name, if an unintentionally-conceived one.

It’s simple enough that I can reproduce the entire how-to here.

Get a small rare earth magnet, glue it to the top of a 33mH inductor, and your done.
(there is no need to remove the plastic around the inductor, it also works without it removed).

Here, here for the simple hack. I’ll have to make some of these myself.

More on the Cappuccino Synth (not to be confused with what happens to some of us when we’re hopped up on caffeine using Circle):

  • the puckup was actually a miss type.. changed it to pickup now.

  • dope noises!
    great idea!

  • great!

    …Is it me or your website is down?

  • sorry back again 😀

  • mr ecklie

    I wouldn't call this a synth, but an "electro-mechanical sound generator" or something like that. Nice sounds, I used a similar mixer and a regular condenser mic to make electronic bee sounds for a project a few years ago.

  • <code>Get a small rare earth magnet, glue it to the top of a 33mH inductor, and YOU'RE done.</code>

    Also it's not a synth as that by definition is something which artificially creates sounds, whereas this creates sounds due to the mechanical and physical properties of the objects.

  • @Velkro: right, but the very definition you describe is the reason Bob Moog didn't like the term synths for anything he ever made. (And he's got a point. At what point does something become artificial? Electricity flowing through a circuit isn't really any less "real" a means of sound generation. Ask an electron. I mean, unless we get into the level of neutrinos, and then things start to become pretty odd.)

    I probably wouldn't call it a synth, either, but… well, pickups are cool. 😉

  • to be really precise, it would be called "milk foamer electro-mechanical sound generator".. is to long a name..

    "cappuccino electron shaker" might be nice?