At one end of the synthesizer world, there stands commercial instruments designed for the ultimate in sound quality and performance, tailored to the needs of professional musicians. On the other, there are weird, wacky prototypes and artistic builds that aim to challenge our conception of what a synth should be. The VOC-25 by [Love Hultén] falls firmly in the latter category.
The synth is built around the Axoloti Core, a microcontroller board set up for audio experimentation. Packing stereo DACs and ADCs, and MIDI input and output, it’s the perfect base for such a project. Loaded up with vocal samples, it’s played by a keyboard in a fairly typical sense. Where things get interesting is the panel containing 25 sets of plastic teeth. The teeth open and close when the user plays the corresponding note, thanks to a solenoid. Along with the clacking sound of the machinery and pearly whites themselves, it adds quite a creepy vibe to the piece.
With its clean pastel enclosure, we can imagine this piece as the star of an avant-garde filmclip, or merely something to terrify children at a Maker Faire. It’s a fun build, to be sure. We’ve seen some other great experimental synths over the years, too – this 48 Game Boy build comes to mind. Video after the break.