Friday Hack Chat: Logic Noise

If you like your synthesizers glitchy, squawky, or simply quick-and-dirty, you won’t want to miss this week’s Hack Chat with Hackaday’s own [Elliot Williams], because he’ll be brain-dumping everything he knows about making music with 4000-series CMOS logic chips. Break out your breadboards!

Coaxing sound out of chips intended for digital mathematical operations might sound odd, but there’s a tradition of doing so that dates back to the late 1970s. While the scene is dominated by hackers and artists, would you believe that there was even a commercial synthesizer (the EDP Wasp) based on these techniques?

Even more surprisingly, people are still coming up with novel circuits even in the last few years! Making synths out of logic chips is cheaper, more accessible, and more surprising than building yourself a modular synth, but we’ll be the first to admit that maybe it’s a gateway drug.

If you want to get a jump on the discussion, [Elliot]’s Logic Noise series ran twelve installments and covers a lot of the basics. (Start here, with square-wave oscillators and then skip around if you want.) He also just gave a talk at Hackaday Belgrade, and although it was mostly about the live demos, you can check out the slides here — scroll to the very end for a good bibliography.

Ever wondered:

  • How to get triangle and sawtooth waveforms out of digital logic?
  • Whether a shift register can handle all of your compositional desires?
  • Just exactly what an XOR sounds like?

Don’t miss this week’s hack chat!

You are, of course, encouraged to add your own questions to the discussion. You can do that by leaving a comment on the Hack Chat Event Page and we’ll put that in the queue for the Hack Chat discussion.join-hack-chat

Our Hack Chats are live community events on the Hack Chat group messaging. This week is just like any other, and we’ll be gathering ’round our video terminals at noon, Pacific, on Friday, June 1st.  Here’s a clock counting down the time until the Hack Chat starts.

Click that speech bubble to the right, and you’ll be taken directly to the Hack Chat group on

You don’t have to wait until Friday; join whenever you want and you can see what the community is talking about.

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