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Simple Audio to Button interface? Answered

Dear Highly esteemed members of Instructables,

I've had this Idea in my head, and I REALLY want to make it possible. I have a feeling that doing so would be a cinch if I had any sort of understanding of wiring at all.

Basically, this is my idea. I want to use old buttons (and possibly an analog stick) from a gamecube or n64 controller and wire them so that they play a note when pressed. I don't necessarily need to include the analog stick in my design, if doing so would make the project a good deal harder. I'm looking to include about five buttons. And if the analog stick was included , at best I would want it to move the note in half steps, up or down, but I could also settle for setting it to it's own four notes, or not using it at all.

As aforementioned, I have no Idea how any of this stuff works, or if it is even possible. So do let me know if this is even something that someone like me can do. And if it is, try to err on the side of over explaining if you can help it.


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8 years ago

There are many many ways to accomplish something like this. Like many, I like to use Arduino for my projects.

If you didn't want to use Arduino, you could take the controller you would use in this project and take it apart. Like caitlinsdad said, the buttons are likely just switches. The buttons will probably act as switches by touching contacts together. You would locate each of the contacts for all the buttons and I would simply solder wires from them, being careful not to ruin the button mechanism. Then you can use these wires to connect to a buzzer in series. I wouldn't know how to create different notes unless you had several buzzers.

The best way I can think which is most practical is to take an Arduino board; this intelligent individual: quasse posted an instructable on interfacing an N64 controller to the Arduino:

He mentions that you can easily have the controller control the Arduino, so connecting a speaker let's say to one of the PWM pins could theoretically yield different notes depending on what you press. 

In fact, this person created a tone library, you could play any note to your hearts content!
Reference Page:

So the wiring would actually be incredibly trivial for this project. The coding would be rather involved.
You would essentially have to integrate the Tone code with the code for the N64 controller.


8 years ago

Do you want this to be a musical instrument of some sort to play certain notes?
Switches are switches, they close a circuit when pressed. I don't know if your joystick is a bunch of separate switches for each direction the stick is moved or if they are potentiometer based, they output different values of resistance depending on the position of the joystick.

There are various designs for making a musical "organ". The switches can be hardwired up with different resistors to give you the musical scale. Or they can be used as inputs read by a microprocessor such as an arduino. A microprocessor can also translate the potentiometer values to your corresponding musical scale. Depending on the sound generation for the tones from a simple 555 timer chip oscillator circuit, using the sound available on an arduino to converting it to MIDI messages for advanced synthesizers, the proper note can be triggered to play.