ray

DIY synth legend Ray Wilson needs help in cancer fight

He’s one of the most prolific people in DIY synths – but now he faces crippling healthcare bills. Help Ray Wilson’s family help their Dad fight back.

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Star-Studded Music DIY Projects, with Make Magazine’s Maker Camp

Musical instruments remain some of the best ways to learn about the wonders of electronics, physics, and more. Our friends at Make are showing that off with a week of DIY projects at what they’re calling Maker Camp 2013. Staged in Google+ Hangouts, so anyone can participate. Friday’s guests include some of our favorite electronic musicians: Zöe Keating and (CDM 2013 MusicMakers participant) Imogen Heap. Here’s how it works: morning North American time, you see projects and materials, then watch a video hangout to get extra tips and communication. There’s another project for the weekend. Next up: later today is …

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The 555 chip, imagined as delicious chocolate-covered graham crackers. And it was indeed a tasty chip, a major landmark in electronics. Photo (CC-BY) Windell H. Oskay.

Inventor of 555 Dies; Remember Him with an Atari Punk Console, Circuit You Can Make

Hans R. Camenzind, the Swiss-born engineer who worked in the United States, is responsible for major advancements in electronics and circuit design, but perhaps none so great as the 555 chip. This single integrated circuit is one of the most ubiquitous ever created, but even more importantly, has been for many a curious youngster, electronics hobbyist, or musician a window into the world of electronics. It can be a key to a world where you make your own electronic creations, rather than just relying on some distant manufacturer to produce them for you in a sealed case. And, oh yes, …

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armhammer

Kitchen Contact Mic Chemistry: Make a Mic from Baking Soda, Cream of Tartar

Now, aside from making fake volcano simulations, you can actually get some recording done with this stuff. Science! Photo (CC-BY-ND) Rodrigo Huerta. Need a new mic to play with? Maybe you should raid your kitchen pantry. London-based musician Leafcutter John writes us to share a detailed tutorial on cooking up new mics from common household ingredients: Real Sound Cookery – Make a contact mic with baking soda and cream of tartar. [leafcutterjohn.com] That in turn is inspired by a terrific, detailed video by our friend Collin Cunningham for MAKE:Magazine (Collin’s also been a regular at our Handmade Music series in …

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LEGO Christmas Tree Plays Carols, Courtesy Max/MSP, Custom Electronics

Desmond Dodecahedron has the craziest way of celebrating the season I’ve seen this year: just build a giant Christmas tree from LEGOs, then use visual programming environment Max/MSP and some custom electronics to trigger tunes. Desmond writes: Once I discovered that the word “advent” was actually an abbreviation of “audio event” and the fact that we have had lots of snow in London – I decided to create this Christmas Carol note filtering tree. (in this case it is actually a midi event tree – but you get the general idea). Each pitch class of a Carol i.e. all the …

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Beatseqr: 808-Inspired DIY Step Sequencing Controller, and Making Just What You Need

God bless you, 4/4. Yes, there’s still something about that four-beat, sixteen step bar that gets toes tapping and booties shaking and floors fouring on the… floor. So, when musician and maker Steve Cooley decided he wanted more physical control, he didn’t want some perfectly generic controls, and he didn’t want rows and columns. He wanted sixteen steps and faders alongside. The result is Beatseqr, an Arduino-powered hardware controller recently spotted at the Maker Faire outside San Francisco. Because it’s just a controller, they’ve built Roxor, a Mac software step app that sends OSC, and Steppa, a Max/MSP patch, though …

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DIY Community: Handmade Music Toronto, 2/19, and Why Now is a Great Time for Making

From a previous hackday at InterAccess; photo (CC-BY) Rob Cruickshank. Handmade Music is spreading. Toronto’s InterAccess has been a hub of terrific DIY activity in sound and other fields, otherwise known as a General Gravity Well of Awesomeness, and they’re now doing their own Handmade Music, kicking off this month. Full call below, but as with other events, there is an open call for work (and some nice thoughts on why now is a wonderful time for DIY). Even if you’re not in Toronto, it’s nice to read their take on why this stuff matters. I’m gratified they’ve found this …

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Call for Works: One-Button Game Objects

Push the button: Kokoromi’s Gamma game challenge, which we saw earlier this week, challenges game designers to build an entire gameplay mechanic around a single button. What can be done with a single hardware object – a self-contained, one-button invention? We’re looking for creations that answer that question, inspired by games (and encompassing hardware games and hacks), but also extending into interactive art and musical and visual instruments. I’m putting this on the CDMs partly because I’d love to see these sorts of objects from visualists. We have upcoming hackday events in New York, Amsterdam, and San Francisco which could …

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Last-Minute Holiday Shopping: Geeky Gift Ideas, even for the Non-Musician

Andromeda MK-1 and MK-2 from Eric Archer on Vimeo. Thanks to the miracles of express shipping, there’s still time to give the gift of music technology for various holidays. (And I do mean the holiday season, not just Christmas – for me, it extends neatly to my birthday on January 13, which in turn falls before the music tech holiday NAMM.) Geeky goodness There are really wonderful sound makers out there to give to beginners and enthusiasts alike. MAKE:Magazine has done a fantastic job of covering terrific, affordable kits that anyone can use. I haven’t seen anyone – muscially inclined …

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DIY MIDI In, MIDI Out For Your Gear: New Kits from HighlyLiquid

MIDI control of analog devices from Michael Una on Vimeo. John at HighlyLiquid has been busy this year- he’s got a new kit out and one in the works that really step up the game. You may be familiar with his previous kits, which add MIDI control to Speak & Spell, Atari 2600, or pretty much every Casio. HighlyLiquid also stocks more open-ended kits which can add MIDI control to pretty much anything- I used one in my MAKE Magazine article last year to build a drum-playing robot.

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