Number 7

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Number 7 was a bit of an accident in the fact that it was pretty much cobbled together from stuff I had lying around the house – which ought to bring credit to the domiciles of San Francisco in the fact that while they may be poorly-insulated, mold-infested and generally in need of extreme care and maintenance that neither owner nor tenant is willing to financially justify, you can manage to build some sort of do-it-yourself synthesizer out of stuff lying around in basements and storage closets. I’m still using a three oscillator, two filter design for this one, but with certain liberties taken owing to the availability of parts. Case in point – the filters act more as waveshapers, changing the timbre of the waveforms instead of acting like a traditional low-pass filter as they were intended – not to say that they’re not effective. I lucked out with the oscillators, though – in an effort to work around the lack of certain components, I managed to create something which could be arguably more complex than the intended design – perhaps a little heavy on square waves, but so it goes. Another talking point about this particular build is it’s sensitivity to voltage – its response to a 9v battery compared to a 12 volt 100 mA power supply is remarkably different, which, while probably not the best selling point for a conventional electronic instrument, is definitely a plus in this case. Currently, this box is squire to jazz organist Marco Benevento, renown for his collection of experimental synths and circuit bent gear populating the top of his keyboards.

Here’s two sound recordings of Number 7 – one from a 9v battery, one from a 12v power supply, to illustrate the difference in timbres. They’re played by me, shortly after buttoning up the box, circa February 2009, or thereabout.