[atari] punked?

littlesynthOver a year ago I bought this little monophonic synthesizer about the size of a guitar effects pedal, based on a rave review in the gear section of Tape Op magazine.  The review said it was this really unique little box that generated rich, unexpected tones as you twiddled the two knobs (that’s all it has) .  I’m always looking for new and weird sounds, especially cool looking and lo-fi little boxes.  When I received the box, I discovered that they were right–it did generate some really interesting sounds and I ended up using it on at least one of the songs on Boundary Waters.

Then this morning, while reading the GetLoFi circuit bending blog, I came across this thing called the Atari Punk Console.  It’s a “simple DIY noisemaker circuit” that is based on a schematic that was originally published in a Radio Shack booklet back in 1980.  It has two knobs which interact with each other to produce varying square wave tones.  Hmmm sounds familiar.  So I clicked on a sound sample that demonstrated it in action.  And by golly, if it didn’t sound exactly like my little box.  For which I paid about $100.  GetLoFi sells a kit for about twenty bucks.

But you know, I don’t feel too bad that I put down a Benjamin for a box I thought was a uniquely designed boutique synthesizer but may in fact be a cheap DIY circuit that has been in a Radio Shack booklet for about 30 years.  Because I paid for the handcrafting of a quality metal case, silk screened lettering, and cool vintage knobs.  And plus, I have better things to do with my time than learn how to solder electronics for DIY noise-making circuits. Like, writing stupid blog posts about them.

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Published in: on March 2, 2009 at 2:49 pm  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Hello,

    Actually I think you got a pretty good deal for all the reasons mentioned in your last paragraph.

    The kits sold at the GetLoFi store are quick and dirty 🙂

    Making something quality takes time and if its hand built by a small business then its probably worth the money. If it stays working for a 100 years it may be worth Billions!


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