Clocked 8-Bit Random Pattern Generator For a CMOS Synth

A random noise generator is pretty handy when working with music, and building one using a micro-controller can be pretty trivial. So it’s nice when someone comes along and builds it from a few analog and digital parts. [acidbourbon] built his Clocked 8-BIT Random Pattern Generator for  CMOS Synth  inspired and motivated by the recent article Logic Noise: Sweet, Sweet Oscillator Sounds by [Elliot Williams]. It’s 8-bit output can be used as a random sequencer for DIY CMOS synths.
This pattern generator is suited to to be used in combination with a 4051 8-channel analog multiplexer. But it sounds quite interesting on it’s own (best enjoyed in stereo, check out the video after the break). After building some CMOS synth circuits, [acidbourbon] moved on to make some sequencers and multiplexers which then let him to devise this random pattern generator which could be gated using a clock signal.

The basic principle is straight forward – generate noise, amplify it, apply a clock to get the gated noise output. His design choices for the various sections are well explained, based on constraints that he had to work with. Everything needs to work at 5V, but his noise generator circuit requires 12V to work. He choose to use a charge pump to generate -5V, resulting in a 10V supply, which was barely enough, but worked. A boost regulator might probably have served better to generate 12V, but maybe he already had the ICL7660 charge pump IC lying around in his parts bin. The rest of the circuit uses standard CMOS/TTL devices, and [acidbourbon] provides all of the design files for what looks like a neat, single sided PCB that can easily be made using the toner-transfer method.

Video below.

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Bizarre Mini Amplifier + White Noise Generator?


[Jordi] made this awesome looking mini amplifier which has a rather unusual feature. He’s calling it the Bizarre Mini Amplifier because it also has a white noise generator built right into it! Bizarre right?

Now, most people would just find a suitable amplifier and put it into a nice box, but not [Jordi]! He’s designed the amplifier circuit from the ground up! It features four distinct stages like most typical amplifiers:

  1. Impedance Adapt Stage: Two OPAMPS for both the left and right channels — The high input impedance allows for different audio sources to be connected without affecting the output.
  2. Mixer stage: Combines the left, right and noise signals into one, using a third OPAMP. A potentiometer is the output resistor which allows for the volume control.
  3. Filter Stage: A simple filter stage that uses a R-C low-pass filter, another potentiometer controls the tone.
  4. Power Stage: A final power amplifier to boost the output.

After building the circuit, there was a bit of troubleshooting to get it to work properly, so if you’re interested [Jordi] has done a great write-up of this on his blog.

Finally, he decided to add a white noise generator after he discovered it helps him sleep. This is the one part of the project that he didn’t actually go into detail for! But, considering it’s just white noise, we could probably figure out what he did. Stick around after the break to see the device in action!

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