Floppy Drive As An Audio Sampler

Here’s a floppy drive which is being used as an audio sampler. At first glance we thought this was another offering which drives the stepper motor at a specific frequency to generate that characteristic sound at a target pitch. But that’s not what’s happening at all. The floppy is actually being used as a storage device (go figure).

From what we can tell, it’s being used almost like an 8-track tape. A PWM signal is stored on one circular slice of the disk, then the head can be moved back to that same “track” to play back the wave form. The head doesn’t move during playback, but just keeps reading the same track of bits. To the right you can see an Arduino board. This allows for MIDI control of the track selection. [Alexis] shows off some keyboard control in the video after the break. There’s a buffer chip on the breadboard which allows the audio output to be quickly switched off as the floppy drive head is moved. This keeps garbage out of the sound until the new track can be read.

7 thoughts on “Floppy Drive As An Audio Sampler

  1. For your next trick, record analog audio to a floppy disk.

    Since there’s more surface area on a 1.2 meg 5.25″ disk, that’d be the best one to use. Even better would be hacking the drive’s head stepper for closer track spacing than is used for data storage.

  2. i tried this once, but with analog, it didnt work because the voltage/current was insufficent.

    maybe i can revisit this, i really think its neat and i ALWAYS wanted to do this since i was a kid and hooking up floppy drives and free 25mb hdd’s

    1. YES YES YES!!! i tried it and it works!!!

      PS: your schematic is off by a bit but
      will help with pinout of fdd, very close,
      i think it was a typo.

      i wanted to do this exact thing since years!
      and im building a project that requires tiny snippets of waveforms,,, memory chips take too much effort and i wanted to keep it simple without lagging MCU/uC with sound code and interupts, but this is EXACTLY what i need! :D XD

      80 tracks of 1/4 second looped GLORY! :D
      thanks again, who do i give credit to???

      PS: my project; hint: this disk thingy makes a very nice dialtone and busy tones…

      PPS: first time i recreate HAD article as soon as i read it. worked like a charm, i should do this more often :)

      PPPS: like a true hacker im using a garden solar light for the carrier signal (20 – 100 khz ???) cuz i dont have 555 and was too lazy to build anyother osc ;)

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