Building An Electronic Sound Sculpture

The making of ESP32-powered 'ioalieia'      22/01/22

This electronic sound sculpture by Erik Brandal is a unique device which generates square waves within a sleek enclosure - with an intricate Deadbug-style freeform circuit and glowing LED lights. The video shows the process of design and construction, with a short demo of the sculpture doing it's thing. Erik explains:

The heart of this sculpture is an ESP32. It's used to generate square waves, as well as to control the filter, amplitude, echo effect and LEDs. For once I made a video of the entire building process so that I don't have to write too much. The video itself covers everything from design, preparing the materials and soldering.

Each component is closely linked to its modular synthesizer namesake, except that I use a digital potentiometer (MCP4251) to control the amplitude. The low pass filter is an AS3320, which is receiving control voltage from the inbuilt DACs of the ESP32. The vacuum tube is a Soviet 6n2p (12ax7 "equivalent") that I snagged from an old radio, and miraculously it still worked. I'm using a PT2399 to create an echo, and the delay time is modulated with the same digital potentiometer that I'm using to control the amplitude of the audio signal. The signal is fed back into the ADC of the ESP32, translating the audio to light through four PWM controlled LEDs. Finally I bridged two LM380s to create a 5W amplifier, which makes this thing quite loud.  

It not only looks the part, but sounds suitably ominous with glacial sound movements and the lights adding to the atmosphere. See the full Hackaday Project here:

He's made a couple of demonstration videos too:


More on Eriks Youtube channel:


About the author [midierror]: midierror makes nifty Max For Live devices, innovative music hardware, award winning sample packs and hosts a podcast speaking to people in the music world.

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