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Tag Archives: Music

Timbre: They’re More Than Just Glass Bowls–They’re Actually Speakers

Glass Bowl Speakers

“What’s a bunch of glass bowls doing in the game room?”, someone might ask.
“Those aren’t just bowls,” you might answer. “That’s actually a speaker.”

That’s a hypothetical conversation that you might have with someone if: (a) you actually had the Timbre Speakers and (b) if you actually had a game room. These unusual speakers were created by designer Casey Lin and they’re obviously unlike your typical speakers.

All the electronic components are hidden from view inside the box, including the surface transducers that vibrate the box, in effect turning it into the actual speaker. The glass bowls, which are set on top of the box, are instrumental in the design as well, since they amplify the sound from the box and function as physical equalizers, too.

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Giant Music Box Made From Steamroller

davidcole01

Oh art… It’s easy to poke fun at things we don’t understand and it’s fair to say that the art world is about three dimensions away from anything we’d normally be able to relate to. That said, everyone likes a steamroller, especially one that plays the Star Spangled Banner. So we’re giving Dave Cole’s year-old creation a nod. It’s called ‘The Music Box’, and as you can see, is made from a modified steamroller.

Commissioned by the Cleveland Institute of Art and developed in partnership with Ohio CAT, [‘The Music Box’] sees the american artist dismantling a 22, 000 lb steamroller in which he refabricates more than 80% of the machine–though still maintaining its identifiable physical qualities–transforming it into a fully functioning musical box, and at a fraction of its original weight. Built onto the front of the compactor is an acoustical cabinet made from cherry wood.

Like most art, it’s trying to say something. In this case it’s this: “his mammoth-sized music box is a metaphor for what dreams can become, and how quickly they can be crushed.” Cheerful. And how does it sound? You’ll have to hit the jump to hear for yourselves, but we feel it’s something like what a sad, giant clown might hammer out on a broken xylophone.

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‘Drop The Beat’ is a Vest With a Built-In Electronic Drum Kit

Drum Kit Vest

This isn’t the first time someone decided to create a wearable drum set, but this is the first time they actually did it right. Those so-called ‘drum’ shirts are usually novelty items that crank out drum-like sound effects that you usually hear from kids’ toys. Industrial design student Wesley Chau noticed this and set out to create a true musical piece of clothing in the form of ‘Drop the Beat.’

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This Acoustic Guitar Attachment Could Revolutionize The Way The Instrument Is Played

vo-96-acoustic-guitar

The VO-96 Acoustic Synthesizer is an invention of Paul Vo, better known for the infinite sustain technology inside the Moog Guitar. This particular attachment however is meant to be used in acoustic guitars, and although it’s being called a “synthesizer”, it’s really nothing like one.

You’ve probably heard an electric guitar make all sorts of crazy sounds thanks to either digital or analog processing. The Vo-96 works entirely differently[.] Rather than modify the waveform after the fact—as in the case of an electric guitar and an effects pedal—the Vo-96 alters the waveform in real-time. In other words, the Vo-96 changes the very physics of how a guitar makes sound to begin with. How do you do that? The device has what Vo calls a “two-way conversation” with the guitar strings. It listens to the strings and then applies a precisely calculated magnetic energy back to the strings to change how they sound.

That’s right, the synthesizer itself doesn’t synthesize anything; it makes the guitar strings themselves behave differently. Which means that the kinds of sounds it’s able to produce are unlike anything a guitar is capable of in the first place, and the possibilities for creative musicians out there are proverbially endless.

The product isn’t completely ready for primetime, however Vo is putting it up on Kickstarter with the hopes of getting it in the hands of early adopters, who could help refine what is possible with the product. Depending on when you sign up, it’ll cost you a hefty $1,250 or $1,450.

[ Project Page ] VIA [ Gizmodo ]

Coin Guitar Picks Give You Tone Without Tear

The material that makes up your guitar pick affects the tone and sound the axe makes. Any player worth his salt will tell you as much. And some people will swear by the sound that using coins, or quarters as picks will give them. But they’ll also warn you that your strings will quickly suffer the wear and tear of the un-smooth edge of the coin. The above Coin Guitar Picks aim to fix that by providing the same sought-after tone of an unadulterated coin, with the silky smooth edge of a traditional pick. Ranging in price from $10 to $30, they make the perfect gift for the musician in your circles.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Uncrate ]

Compressorhead Does Motörhead: Now This is a Real Heavy Metal Band

Robot Band

Robots, robots everywhere. I bet only a handful of scientists and researchers foresaw what would happen down the line in the field of robotics. I think it’s safe to say that it has come a long way from its earlier days, since we’ve already got dancing robots that can do the Gangnam Style and even a couple that could replace bartenders in the future.

This time around, we stumbled upon a robotic duo that redefines what people can come to expect from ‘heavy metal bands’ in the future, because as you’ll soon see in the clip above the break, they don’t necessarily have to be human.

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Old Computer Equipment Belts Out Fun’s ‘We Are Young’

Now and then we come across orchestras made up of old computer equipment, hacked together and programmed to perform some song or other. Last time we covered one, it was just over a year ago and featured aging electronics playing The Animal’s ‘House Of The Rising Sun’. Well, the same guys who made that one are back at it, this time with Fun’s ‘We Are Young’. It’s good, or at least as good as a song performed by hard drives, oscilloscopes, and printers can be. Full breakdown of the players is as follows:

HP Scanjet 3C – Vocals
Yamaha CX-5 – Piano
BWD-504 Oscilloscope to display CX-5 audio output
Harddrives – Drums
The Harddirives are controlled with a PIC16F84A microcontroller

VIA [ Geekosystem ]

MechBass Is A Robot That Plays The Bass

Back in 2011, the British rock band Muse was honoured to have one of its tracks, Hysteria, named as MusicRadar’s Best Bassline Of All Time. It’s a fantastic bassline, to be sure, and Christopher Wolstenholme is a wonderful bass player. But it’s even more impressive when it’s being played by MechBass, a robotic contraption by New Zealand-based engineering student James McVay. The elaborate device is MIDI-controlled, and “consists of four string units on an aluminum frame with sliding pitch shifters that alter the pitch of the strings, which are then struck by rotating pick wheels.” It’s a little convoluted to explain, so feel free to just watch the video below, or hit the jump for a much more detailed account of what went into MechBass’ construction.

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Paperclip Headphones: Getting Clippy With It

Paperclip Headphone

Headphones and portable music players let you take your music with you anywhere you want to, and that’s all good. But one problem I frequently encounter is earphones getting tangled in my hair (I honestly don’t understand how that happens sometimes) or on my shirt buttons or on the strap of my sling bag.

Headphones with clips were eventually released to solve that problem, but none of them are as ingenious as these Paperclip Headphones. The paperclip portion is hollow, so you can slide it up and down into position. The best part is that you can use the paperclip to ‘clip’ the cords in place so they don’t get in your way. Whether you’re working, surfing the web, or out jogging, the Paperclip Headphones will keep the cords in order so you won’t have to deal with a tangled mess.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Technabob ]