Watch me dissect and old phone and repurpose its carbon microphone.
Constructing a lo-fi microphone from an old telephone’s carbon microphone, and seeing what other parts we can make some sounds with.
I got this old phone at Goodwill for a couple bucks, interested in seeing if it had a carbon microphone that I could salvage. It turns out getting that microphone out was a breeze. Then I started seeing what other parts might be interesting–the keypad, the chip that makes DTMF tones. Finally, I put together the circuit for the carbon microphone, and got it back in the handset, adding a new specialty carbon microphone to my mic locker (such as it is).
I circuit bent a Sega Genesis for MIDI-controlled glitch visuals. I can hook it up to a DAW or MIDI sequencer and then glitch out a game in sync with music.
I put this together a few years ago, but had some questions about it, so I cracked open the game system to show how it works. All I’ve done is set up some places to short out the VRAM, where the Genesis stores the sprites for the graphics. Then I added an Arduino to control when it short them out (triggered by MIDI).
Keep in mind that not all Genesis systems are the same, they have different board revisions, so your Genesis might have things in different places.
I’ve put together a three-part series on getting started with circuit-bending, from the initial testing and opening up toys to completed alien instrument.
(Part 3 coming next week)
Circuit-bending is the creative customization of consumer electronics with the goal of inventing new unique devices for sound-making, visuals, or other expressive goals. I’m a composer and sound-designer, not an electrical engineer, so my goal is to find fun sounds that I can use in creative ways (rather than any kind of serious circuit design).
For more of my creative electronics projects, check out here:
What is “Lo-Fi Music”? What are the expressive goals of making stuff sound bad? Why are there so many “Lo-Fi beats to study to” videos on this site? Why do they all have 1990’s anime images and video?
In this video I talk about some of the possibilities of how “LoFi” music responds to the hyperreality and commercialism of “HiFi” (literally “high-fidelity”), and what our contemporary interest in LoFi might mean to some artists.
What does it mean to “disobey” technology? Expanding on Ernesto Oroza‘s term “technological disobedience”, let’s think about how we can “think beyond the normal capacities of an object, and try to surpass the limitations that it imposes on itself”, working toward a more personal expression through technology using circuit-bending, hacking, creative coding, 3D printing, and glitch art.