Audio Extravaganza - Randy's June Projects

Surely anyone can make a fuzz pedal - or 15 even - and completely get lost in guitar pedal land, but how many people are making guitar pedals that are personally meaningful? This month I gave some thought to a conversation I had with Rachel a long while ago about what we do with our finished projects. We both admitted sheepishly that we tend to stick them in a box in the closet and don't really ever think about them again (or otherwise know what to do with them).

This made me ask myself why I was making what I was making and why a lot of it seemed to have no personal value. The simple answer tended to be that I was primarily making things for an audience (real or otherwise) and not always making things for myself. As swell as it is to make things to amuse "teh internets," I have come to decide that I should be making things first and foremost to amuse myself because at the end of the day I am the one who has to live with them. After all, why would I want to bring anything into this world if I can not perceive any direct value in its creation?

What I have come to realize this month, by making things that I am truly passionate about is that 1) I enjoy it and 2) I tend to do a better job making it. The other thing I have learned is that although, I may be making things primarily for my own benefit and expect no real interest from the general public, people are nonetheless interested. I think this is because people perceive value in things that are unique and novel. They can appreciate the thought and effort that goes into such a thing, even if they personally do not share the same level of interest (perhaps this attribute is our social conditioning as consumers... but that is a story for another time).

All of that said, this month I made instruments and recording equipment because for a long time I've had a laundry list of such things I've wanted to own. Now that I have the time, skills, resources and general know-how, I can bring these things to life in a manner that is both useful and meaningful to me. Some of these things will probably spend a lot of time sitting on a shelf in my studio until I am ready to use them, but nothing will be shoved into a box in the closet.

Stereo Microphone style
It has come time for me to update my home recording studio to continue recording my own brand of intergalactic low-fi, disco, funk, folk rock. Rather than spend big bucks on a stereo mic setup that wo...
Birth of Man Mixing Board style
Since the beginning of time, humankind has been seeking two things, the first being its place in the universe and the other being a simple audio mixing board that easily stirs up fat beats. The Birth ...
Robot Voice Modulator style
This is a simple to build device that converts your own human voice into a superior robot voice. It also includes a number of sweet features like an audio-in jack so that you can plug in all of your f...
DIY Audio Switch style
A while back I got an old data switch off Freecycle and I've been eyeing it ever since and thinking "I should really convert that to a stereo audio switch." And so, after about a year of looking at it...
Simple Sequencer style
One of the keys to making good music is mindless repetition. That is what the simple sequencer is great at. It does the same thing over and over again in an eight note sequence. You can adjust the fre...
Gakken Theremin Kit Hack style
Here are instructions to do some basic hacks to the theremin kit that you can buy from Make. True, there are already directions to do both of these things in the accompanying magazine, but what sets t...
The Electric Kickamastick style
The kickamastick is an instrument made from a 45.5" section of aluminum shower rod with a jagged end (having been cut with a hacksaw from a 6' section). Keeping the jagged end away from the floor, a p...
Plush Fuzz Pedal style
Standard fuzz pedals were just not fuzzy enough for me. Only the fuzziest fuzz pedal was going to be suitable for my musical endeavors. I searched high and low for the fuzziest fuzz pedal in the land,...
The Ultimate Audio Converter style
I always find myself wanting to convert between mono and stereo and 1/8" and 1/4" jacks and never seem to have the right adapter on hand. The other day I was making two separate adapters for two separ...
Audio Cassette Loop style
Theoretically it sounds really easy; you can make a tape loop by taping the ends of a short piece of magnetic ribbon together and sticking it back inside the cassette tape. However, if you ever actual...
Droning Machine style
This device is a tribute to one of the coolest movies of recent memory, Eli Eli Lema Sabachthani. In the movie, the protagonists improvised a lot of cool instruments with the goal of making a pure and...