Didgeridoo Modded To Include Electronic Manipulation


It’s not a bazooka, but this altered instrument makes it look like the player is toking off of some type of weapon. [Kyle] wanted to take the already mysterious sounds produced by a didgeridoo then capture and alter them electronically.

The physical build of this project is nothing short of beautiful. He’s mounted several curved control boards to the outside of the instrument. The controls feature six push buttons, five toggle switches, and six potentiometers that interface with an Arduino. The sound is picked up by the device then sent along with the switch settings to a computer via Bluetooth. The computer then works its magic to create the wicked audio effects heard in the video after the break.

His article, linked above, includes several diagrams detailing the synthesis process. They’re a little beyond our understanding but if you know what’s going on, please share your insight in the comments.


68 thoughts on “Didgeridoo Modded To Include Electronic Manipulation

  1. Reminds me of the time I set off some homemade fire works too close to my head. Everything sounded kind of like this for a few minutes… Course this is a much more pleasant way to enjoy these sounds. I wouldn’t recommend attempting to make your own flash bangs.

  2. WoW. This is the best instrument hack I seen in years.

    The sound processing effects are very adequate for that instrument’s dynamic range, where the processed sound result is really powerful. The designed human interface used on the instrument also looks very useful and well thought.

    I’m definitively going to build a didgeridoo and learn to play it. Effects will come later :)

    Does someone know the signal processing software he is using? TFA says it is custom built.

  3. i can’t wait until this gains notoriety and a major band will feature it. it almost sounds like there are voices. jesus christ, this could be used to create the sounds for a movie where there’s a scene in hell or something.
    congrats on making the didgeridoo an even spookier instrument, kyle!

    p.s. if i ever see something like this being sold i will try my hardest to buy it

  4. I wasn’t terribly impressed by the sound. I kind of expected to hear that kind of output with effects added to a didgeridoo. Not that I’ve ever seen it done. Thanks for the video.

    I’m also not impressed with the layout of the controls.

    But man you scored big bonus points for going wireless with the whole contraption! Good job.

  5. now do that to a flute or some other wind instrument that can actually make good music by itself and you’ve got a real winner (though i doubt it will ever be as popular as an electric guitar or violin)

  6. Very very cool – but I have a practical question: monitoring.

    How loud is the didgeridoo by itself? Loud enough to be heard in it’s natural form over the top of the processed result? Or on this model is it (like an electric guitar) mostly silent without the computer amplifier / processing?

    I assume the audio processing is done in realtime, but are you using speakers or headphones to hear the processed result as you play?

    If speakers – how did you avoid feedback / echo from the speakers to the pickups on the didgeridoo? Or like on electric guitars is it really not an issue under normal conditions?

  7. Hi guys,

    From the first image ( 3.png), the processing patch is definitely built in (Cycling 74’s) Max 5. There’s quite a few things going on – lowpass filter (using the bigquad object), delay, reverb, compression and peak limiter.

    I’ll check out the other patches when I get home later

  8. Hey man, I make didgs, but they don’t sound like this. Or look like a bazooka from Starship Troopers 8; it’s a Yidaki from hell!
    Seriously, they should hire him to make ambient music for the next Predator film.

  9. Yes i do monitor with loudspeakers. The lavalier mic i use is very good at protecting from feeding back. I have to worry more about RF interference. Performing this instrument live is different because you can hear the natural sounds of the didge blended with the processed sounds. I use this to my advantage by utilizing the dynamics of the didge and experimenting with mixing wet and dry signal by changing how loud i play and controlling my output and input levels in Max/MSP. Audio processes include:
    Resonant Lowpas Filter – cutoff freq. control
    Short Delay – feedback control
    Reverberation – control over wet/dry mix
    Ring Modulation – control over carrier freq.

  10. this is all fairly simple audio post processing. you could use a pizio electric element as a microphone and run it into Abelton live. Control would be using a midi mapped controller device.

    if im not mistaken he’s using

    #1 a compressor to fatten up his sound
    #2 a flange or filter sweep type phaser with an LFO
    #3 he adds a short delay to emphasize the other sounds he makes the yipps and other sounds

    controls could be as simple as one “mute” one “vol” and one “control” per effect. he looks like he made alot of control knobs. just hope he can reach them all :P

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