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Making Sound Machines are a duo of makers from Düsseldorf, Germany. We build kits, modules and DIY projects, and use the projects we’ve built to make music.
Making Sound Machines
Processing real-world acoustic sounds through modules and guitar pedals – lush verbs, booming delays, cruchy distortion, modal and granular synthesis. Using loads of DIY stuff plus modules from Mutable Instruments, 4ms, Befaco, Dreadbox, Music Thing Modular, VPME.de, Doboz, Future Sound Systems and more, while creating our own circuits and designs to enhance the palette. Music and Modules made with love.
A heartfelt thankyou to Befaco, Mutable Instruments, Dreadbox, Thonk Synth, Music Thing Modular, TINRS This Is Not Rocket Science, Ginkosynthese, Frequency Central, Doboz, VPME and Gieskes, for all the inspiring builds and great instruments. Thank you Oscillosaurus for making all the beautiful faceplates. Without your dedication to the community this would be nothing. Thank you Simone for the awesome Bass Clarinet on Track 1. Have an awesome start into the new year!
This weekend we went to see Look Mum No Computer play live, and he had built a custom circuitbending instrument specially for the gig – an old cash register, hacked and modified with a Teensy Arduino to play MIDI! We had brought him one of our Tausend dB piezo preamp modules, and to our amazement he have us the cash register!
Here’s a little beat we made with it – the cash register mangling an arpeggio on the Arturia Beatstep Pro, sequencing Mutable Instruments Plaits and a Befaco evenVCO with Crush Delay and 4ms Dual Looping Delay on top. On drums are Peaks and Patching Panda Hatz, triggered by a little secret eurorack project of our own. Thank you so much Sam – we love this thing!
Made a neat clavinet like patch on teensy 3.6 arduino, running an additive synth patch made with Faust Functional Audio Stream DSP and the teensy audio library, controlled via midi with the Arturia Keystep and the Akai MPK Mini. The sound is then processed through the modular, using the fantastic Random Source Serge Eurorack Wave Multiplier.
The drums are sequenced using our secret pattern generator, controlling Mutable Instruments Edges quad chiptune oscillator, the Leaf Audio VCO-I from Exploding Shed and Zlob Modular Entropy as a noise source, processed through Patching Panda’s drum modules Punch, Hatz and N.V.H.S. with a nice shiny delay from the Endorphin.es Milkyway. The tiny gameboy on top of the keystep is a super fun DIY gadget from This is not Rocket Science running on a single 3.3V button cell battery – the jump and run game on it is punishingly hard and we have yet to progress past level 7.
Using our #stayathome time to get stuck into digital signal processing! The teensy 3.6 arduino runs a polyphonic triangle patch made with FAUST Functional Audio Stream and the teensy audio library, controlled via MIDI with the arturia keystep. The sound is then run through the eurorack modular synth, processed through the awesome Random Source Serge wave multiplier. On drums are Mutable Instruments Edges quad chiptune audio generator, the DIY Leaf Audio VCO-I from Exploding Shed and Zlob entropy, processed through Patching Panda’s drum modules punch, hatz and n.v.h.s. The drums are sequenced by the vpme.de euclidean circles and Befaco burst from Thonk, with a sprinkle of delay from the fantastic Endorphin.es milky way. ❤️ This Is Not Rocket Science from amsterdam for great insights and remote conversations and generally geeking out about this stuff with us.
Check out this neat feedback patch, running a selfmade string contraption through the eurorack modular synthesizer! The instrument is made from a solid piece of spruce, roundwound bass strings, some ukulele tuning mechanics leftovers from the last experiment and a couple of LEGO Technic bushings to help and keep the strings in place. The strings are excited with a felt plectrum, picked up with piezo contact mics, routed through our TausenddB piezo preamp and into Mutable Instruments rings resonator module.
Rings‘ output is pitch modulated using Tom Whitwell’s Music Thing Modular Turing Machine (from Thonk) and fed to our Dynaudio nearfield speakers, which return the signal through the wooden baseplate into the piezos, creating the beautiful blooming feedback. The shimmer on top is a TC Electronic Hall of Fame pedal, with the EHX Stereo Memory Man adding extra layer of delay. If you enjoy this kind of thing, check out Leaf Audio ’s fantastic Microphonic Soundbox from Exploding Shed, and also Musicdiscoverylab who creates awesome sound objects as well!
Making a percussion patch with a prepared ukulele and eurorack modular synthesizer! The ukulele body is from a DIY kit and picked up from within with a piezo contact mic. It is routed through our TausenddB piezo preamp and into Mutable Instruments brilliant Plaits macro oscillator for the sub bass treatment, with the Electro-Harmonix stereo memory man adding extra layer of delay.
The shimmer on top is a TC Electronic Hall of Fame pedal. The lovely mini shaker and large wooden egg maraca are percussion instruments from Rohema and NINO Percussion. If you are interested in experimenting with piezos yourself, check out Tom Whitwell’s Music Thing Modular DIY module mikrophonie, with kits available at Thonk, and LeafAudio’s fantastic microphonicsoundbox from Exploding Shed.
Check out this shiny steampunk contraption patched together from copper tubes, eurorack modular synth and guitar pedals! The metal tubes are picked up with piezo contact mics, routed through our TausenddB piezo preamp and into Mutable Instruments brilliant Clouds granular texture synthesizer, with the EHX Stereo Memory Man adding extra layer of sonic bloom.
The lovely shimmer on top is a TC Electronic Hall of Fame pedal. If you are up for experimenting with piezos yourself, check out Tom Whitwell’s Music Thing Modular DIY module Mikrophonie from Thonk and Leaf Audio’s fantastic Microphonic Soundbox from Exploding Shed.
Reactive Drum Effects with Eurorack Modular Synth – massive thanks Andreas Huck for laying down this neat drum solo! The jazz brushes are picked up through the wooden baseplate with piezo contact mics, routed through our TausenddB piezo preamp and into both Mutable Instruments brilliant module Rings and the awesome Plaits macro oscillator in resonator mode. Plaits‘ pitch is slightly altered each hit using Tom Whitwell’s Music Thing Modular Turing Machine, a DIY module with kits available at Thonk. The resulting sounds are processed through a TC Electronic Hall of Fame pedal.
This cute kalimba melody stems from our sound experiments with piezo contact mics and eurorack modular – and just sort of happened! The kalimba is picked up through the wooden baseplate, routed through our TausenddB piezo preamp and into Mutable Instruments brilliant clouds granular texture synthesizer, doing both pitch and delay, before being processed through a TC Electronic Hall of Fame guitar pedal.
If you are interested in experimenting with piezos yourself, check out Tom Whitwell’s Music Thing Modular DIY module Mikrophonie, with kits available at Thonk. This setup is part of space explorers, a public audio installation at Reading Fringe Festival and in collaboration with visualists WARPED TYPE coming up in July 2020.
The bass is strong with this one! The sound of the wooden baseplate is picked up with a piezo contact mic and amplified in the modular synthesizer via our TausenddB piezo preamp, then run through Mutable Instruments brilliant module rings – thank you Chris / Learning Modular for the inspiration! The Arturia Beatstep Pro sequencer is advanced a step each time you knock on wood, giving rings a different pitch. The spring board mounted at the top adds a subtle sonic texture, that is enhanced with a TC Electronic Hall of Fame guitar pedal.
If you want to try this yourself, check out Mutable Instruments and Tom Whitwell ’s lovely Eurorack module Ears, or the Music Thing Modular Mikrophonie DIY kit available at Thonk. This setup is part of Space Explorers, an audio installation for the public to play at Reading FringeFestival and in collaboration with visualists WARPED TYPE, returning to the festival in July 2020.
Check out this lovely tubular bells patch made with piezo contact mics and modular synth! The sound of the brass and aluminum tubes is picked up underneath with our TausenddB eurorack piezo preamp, run through Mutable Instruments awesome Clouds as well as 4MS amazing Dual Looping Delay. The result is this mesmerizing soundscape, a little reminiscent of Pierre Schaeffer’s Music Concrète piece Psyche Rock as sampled in Futurama.
This setup is part of our hands-on audio installation called Space Explorers in collaboration with friends and visual artists WARPED TYPE. It had its debut at Reading Fringe Festival and we’re happy to announce we’ll return in 2020! If you want to dive in yourself, check out Music Thing Modular’s DIY module Mikrophonie, with Kits available at Thonk, and LeafAudio ’s fantastic Microphonic Soundbox from Exploding Shed whose ideas this expands upon.
Getting ready for New Years Eve! This year we’ll meet up with Stijn and Priscilla a.k.a. the brilliant TINRS in Amsterdam and together we’ll patch some dance tracks on their eurorack modular! While TINRS already earned their synth chops as the masterminds behind the Tuesday sequencer, the Edgecutter envelope and the new FenixIV, we’re still teaching our secret pattern generator some new rave moves. Will it groove at 145bpm? Here it’s patched into Tesseract Nutella running Vermonagear DRM1 sounds and compressed by our TausenddB piezo preamp. We hope you’ll have a great start into 2020 and see you next year for more modular madness!
As the year 2019 nears its end, and the days get shorter, it’s time for some much-needed warmth and reflection. It’s also the perfect time to teach our secret pattern generator for eurorack modular synth some much-needed dance moves! After all, the nights get longer! We programmed in a map of techno and house patterns and hooked up Mutable Instruments Peaks for the kick, the incredible Future Sound Systems Portland on snare, and ran the hihat section into Edges through Patching Panda Punch for the lovely 8Bit bleeps. The free-running arpeggio is made with an Arturia Keystep, Frames with that sweet Oscillosaurs panel is on macro duty and the verb on top is the Endorphin.es Milkyway. Can’t wait to meet up with TINRS for NYE and give this a whirl!
Something new we’ve been tinkering with – Enrica turned the Servo Motor Recorder for Eurorack into a working prototype! The module allows you to route control voltage from your modular synth to four servos, recording four streams of CV into loops and replaying them to the motors. Incoming signal is offset by the four knobs on top. It’s super exciting to see a DIY idea evolve from an Arduino, a breadboard and crazy spaghetti wiring into a neat working instrument! The LFO used in this video is a DIY Mutable Instruments Tides.
We don’t know exactly how it happenend, but happily quacking along are two Mutable Instruments Plaits and a Peaks, filtered through System 80 Jove and a Look Mum No Computer Safety Valve, sequenced by a Befaco Muxlicer and VPME Euclidean Cirlces. The fat bassdrum is the Befaco Kickall we built at Superbooth, and the verb is Music Thing Spring Reverb. Bleeps are Dreadbox Erebus!
Last night’s modular experiment – this one turned into a super cute piano tune! We ran the VPME Euclidean Circles into Mutable Instruments Peaks and the fantastic Tesseract Nutella, with a little crush from Look Mum No Computer Safety Valve and a little Music Thing Modular Spring Reverb. And you can catch a glimpse of the lovely Polaroids This Is Not Rocket Science took for their Fenix IV release at Superbooth!
Selfpatched pedals with our piezo preamp – we were blown away by the broken bladerunner style mangled reverb from this patch! The awesome UFO shaped instrument is a chinese tonguedrum, picked up underneath with two piezos through our Tausend dB DIY 8 Channel preamp for eurorack modular synth. The sound is run through two EHX stereo Memory Man delays, with a hefty smack of modulation applied and a Crayon overdrive patched between left and right channels. The result ist going through a TC electronic Hall of Fame.
Crazy bassline experiment with Mutable Instruments Rings and a Motor! In this patch, Enrica records control voltage from the Befaco Muxlicer into our prototype Servo Motor Recorder for Eurorack. The CV running the motor is fed into Mutable Instruments Rings‘ V/Oct, while the gear attached to the servo is picked up with a piezo, amplified with our Tausend dB preamp and patched into Rings‘ audio in.
Here’s my childhood Glockenspiel all blown out by the blooming Eventide-style mangled verb from this patch! The Glockenspiel is picked up underneath with two piezos through our Tausend dB DIY 8 Channel preamp for eurorack modular. The sound is run through two Electro Harmonix Memory Man Deluxe with Hazarai, and two Crayon overdrive guitar pedals. The verb is a TC electronic Hall of Fame.
Our phone’s been hacked! Today, we built this neat little contraption from our old 80’s phone. We converted the rotary dial to trigger our Eurorack Synth, with a little help from Mutable Instruments‘ breadboard friends. Here, we’re triggering Gijs Gieskes awesome VUPerc via the MXMXMX Temps Utile.
Here’s part two of our little 80’s telephone hack! This time, we turned the handset of our old rotary dial phone into a deliciously lo-fi speaker for our eurorack synth. We used Mutable Instruments‘ breadboard friends to hook it all up to our modular. The sequence is made with Music Thing Modular’s Turing Machine, patched into a Befaco evenVCO.
This was inspired by the Teenage Engineering modular, seeing that all their pot caps are LEGO Technic axles. Enrica went on and prototyped this awesome litte LEGO Technic to Eurorack adpater. It takes CV in, and records or plays it back directly to a servo motor. In this clip Enrica is stepping through the LFO shapes of the Mutable Instruments module tester.
Here’s using a motor as a sound source, driving a motor with Gijs Gieskes’ VC122, then picking it up with an Inductorjack and running it through Mutable Instruments’ Rings. The motor again is controlled with a LFO from the Mutable Module Tester.