Magnetotron is an armonica mellotron mashup

[Michael] is a huge fan of old media formats. There’s something special about quarter-inch thick 78s, fragile blue cylinders holding music, and thin strips of mylar that preserve the human voice. He’s had an idea for a tape-based instrument for a while, and now that the Magnetotron is complete, we’re in awe of this glass harmonica and Mellotron mashup.

The Magnetotron is a large rotating cylinder that has dozens of strips of audio tape attached to it. The cylinder rotates with the help of a small motor. As the strips of tape rotate in front of him, [Michael] presses two tape heads up to the instrument, making some sort of sound.

Each strip of tape contains a recording of one note, like the venerable Mellotron. Instead of physical keys, the Magnetotron is played in a much more tactile fashion like the glass harmonica. The output of the Magnetotron is interesting with a whole bunch of wow and flutter. Check out the demo of [Michael] playing his instrument at NIME in Brooklyn after the break.

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Hydrocrystallophone probably won’t make you insane

[Fish] is really proud of his newest creation, the Hydrocrystallophone. This new instrument reminds us of an even more steampunk version of [Benny Franklin]‘s glass armonica – an instrument that reportedly plunged the player into a, “dark and melancholy mood.”

The build is based around a 1920s hand-cranked phonograph motor. The phonograph motor spins a wine glass filled with water. The water level (and thus tone produced by the wine glass) is varied by a brass tube inside the glass connected to a hydraulic cylinder. Pushing and pushing on the handle of the hydraulic cylinder causes the water level in the glass to change.

We’ve all seen wine glass music before, but this is the first time we’ve seen it with just one glass. [Fish] is working on modifying the phonograph’s governor to get rid of the effects of 78 RPM on the water. He hasn’t quite mastered his new musical invention yet, but we can’t wait to see what [Fish] is able to play with some practice.

In case you’re keeping track of the musical instruments featured on Hack A Day that fall into the “why didn’t I think of that” bin, The Hydrocrystallophone would be the second such instrument in as many months. It’s a very simple but really ingenious device. Check out the video of the Hydrocrystallophone after the break.

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