loading
Picture of DIY Audio Mixer
You don’t need to buy an expensive mixer to mix your sounds. This graphite mixer requires only a pencil, a sheet of paper, and a few wires!

(and two iPads if you're so inclined...)
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Parts List

Parts You’ll Need:
-Audio sources (whatever it is you want to mix)
-Alligator clips
-1/8” Audio cables
-Wire
-Speaker or headphones
-Regular graphite pencil
-Paper
-Electrical tape (optional, but recommended)
-1 or 2 y-split cables (optional, for stereo)

Step 2: MAKING THE MIXER

Picture of MAKING THE MIXER
On your sheet of paper, outline the shape that you want your mixer to take. When designing your shape, keep in mind the path the signal will have to take from source to speaker. The shape shown is great for four-channel mixing.

Fill in the shape with a graphite pencil. Make sure to press hard and apply several layers. The graphite must be thick enough and continuous in order to carry an electrical current.

Step 3: WIRING THE MIXER

Picture of WIRING THE MIXER
Cable Connection w graphite.jpg
Y-Splitter, Ground Wire, cropped.jpg
The end of the cable that you plug into your device will be used to mix. If you want to mix stereo, use y-splitters to get two outputs from each device and make sure your loop file contains two loops, one hard-panned right and the other left. This is good if you have a limited amount of sound sources. You can use two iPods to control four sounds.

Connect an alligator clip to the end of your mixer. Connect the other end of the clip to the tip of the audio cable connected to the speaker (or the tip of your headphone’s audio jack).

Connect the sleeve of the speaker cable to the ground of your mixing cables. In our example, these are the y-split cables.

You must also make sure all mixing cables share common ground. Do this by connecting the sleeves of each cable with a wire. It is recommended that you secure bulky cables in place with tape, otherwise they could fall and rip apart your connections. Secure the connection with electrical tape. Plug the 1/8” end of your y-splitters (or whichever cable you are using) into your device.

Step 4: USING THE MIXER

Picture of USING THE MIXER
Mixing Hands Ni.jpg
Start the audio on your devices. Anything with an audio output can be used, such as iPods, laptops, or in our case iPads. The level of each output should correspond to its location on the mixer, specifically the distance from the speaker connection (at the alligator clip). The graphite acts as a variable resistor. The further your probe cable is from the reference point (the speaker connection), the higher the resistance is because the amount of graphite between them is larger, and the lower the output level is.

Move the cables closer to the speaker connection to get their audio louder and vice versa.

In the first picture, all levels are about equal. In the second, the two outputs to the left (top and bottom channels) will have a lower volume than the two to the right.

Step 5: VARIATION

Picture of VARIATION
Gator Clipped.jpg
Using the cables directly might be a bit bulky. For more flexibility, you can attach alligator clips to the ends of the cables and use them to mix instead.

Two stereo outputs means four level controls, which can get difficult for just one person to control. Try it out with a friend or two and see how many outputs you can control at once!

Step 6: Watch Our Video for This Project

Picture of Watch Our Video for This Project

Want to see a video showing exactly how it's done rather than read through these instructions? Check out our Youtube video here where we give you a quick overview of how we put the Mixer together.

tayatxx3 years ago
Hey, Im a girl in Dubai and I find this really awesome as I LOVE MUSIC and I would like to use it in my technology fair this year, are there any tips or tricks you can tell me that you didnt say on the page?
Thanks x
NYU_MusicTechnology (author)  tayatxx2 years ago
sorry for the delay, were you able to use this in your technology fair?
jabujavi3 years ago
Video?
NYU_MusicTechnology (author)  jabujavi3 years ago
We're working on a video now. Should be up shortly!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_Y3v2eJ8Ls&feature=youtu.be
Awesome!!
nanosec123 years ago
I love it !!!

What a simple and easily done way to mix your audio

5 of 5
rimar20003 years ago
Very interesting!
Cool proof of concept! I can't see how this would be useful in any practical circumstances, but it's definitely an interesting idea. I didn't know that graphite was conductive!