Draw your own vinyl beats


The Dyskograf lets you make music with a magic marker. The musical installation looks much like a turntable for playing vinyl records. But instead of a spiraling groove containing the sounds, this uses marks on a paper disk to play sound samples.

You can see the light outline of several tracks on the paper disc shown above. By adding black marks the optical input of the Dyskograf knows when to start and end each sound. This is best illustrated in the video demonstration after the break.

The marker-based setup makes a lot of sense, and we think it would be perfect if the disc was a dry-erase board. It certainly makes it a lot easier to lay down new beats than this other optical turntable which required holes to be drilled in a vinyl record to play the sounds. While we’re on the topic you may also find this coin-based turntable sequencer of interest.

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Cutting a record… on a CD

Vinyl records are an amazingly simple technology, but surprisingly we haven’t seen many builds to capitalize on the ease of recording music onto a vinyl disk. [Seringson] made his own vinyl polycarbonate cutter to record his own records at home. The impressive thing is he did this with parts just lying around.

Just like the professional and obsolete record cutters of yore, [Seringson]’s build uses two speaker drivers mounted at a 45° angle to reproduce a stereo audio track. Each of these drivers reproduce the left and right audio track by carving them into the polycarbonate of a CD with an extremely sharp needle. From the video, the audio quality of [Seringson]’s record cutter is pretty good – more than enough to recreate the sound of a 1940’s 78 RPM record, but not quite up to the task of reproducing something produced and mastered recently.

We’re extremely impressed that [Seringson] was able to a record cutter out of scraps he had lying around. Now we’ll wait patiently until a combination record/CD is released.

Tip ‘o the billycock to [Gervais] for sending this one in.

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Fisher-Price Record Player plays Stairway to Heaven

[Fred Murphy] has an old Fisher-Price music box/record player that has lost many of its disks over the last 40 years. It’s a very simple device – concentric grooves in a plastic disk have plastic bumps that are picked up by the tines of the record player ‘cartridge.’ Seeing as how this toy is basically a music box, [Fred] figured making his own records would be well within his grasp; he did the reasonable thing and made a Stairway to Heaven disk for a toy music box.

To figure out where to place the ‘bumps’ for the musical tines, [Fred] built a small tool in Visual C# 2010 that allowed him to place notes on a scale and generate the requisite GCode for the disk. After sending this file to his CNC mill, [Fred] had an acrylic disk that played Led Zeppelin on a child’s music box.

Of course, this Instructable wouldn’t be complete without a video demo of Stairway blasting out of this record player. You can check that out after the break.

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Hey man, you seen my turntable around here?

It’s all fine and dandy to have a turntable that sounds great, but [Mike] wanted one that looks great too. He build the transparent record player above and loved it for a little while. When his interest in it waned he built another, then several more. They all have some element of transparency to them, and each is a work of art. Makes us wonder how often he needs to dust his house to keep them looking so good.

Is turntable technology too advanced for your tastes? You can stick with your Edison cylinder, we won’t make fun.

[Thanks John]

Edison cylinder recordings need more cowbell


[Norman] spent three years developing and building his own Edison cylinder phonograph with electric pickup. We’re glad he did, and that he shared it with the world because the product is a thing of beauty. Every part is clean and precise with plenty of room for adjustments to accommodate differences in media. He’s reused the head from a VCR and attached it to a CNC machined polypropylene mandrel. The needle is interfaced with the cylinder via a delicate passively driven carriage. This consists of an aluminum rod with the cartridge at one end, and two wheels at the other. The wheels travel along a precision rod, propelled by the needle tracking the groove in the wax. Wonderful!

We’ve embedded a video of the device playing a recording of Sousa’s El Capitan from the late 19th century. Although familiar with these cylinder recordings, we were surprised by how little recording space there is available on one. Continue reading “Edison cylinder recordings need more cowbell”