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This new synth lets you turn everyday objects into music

Watch a demo video of the Drone Box No.1 featuring the sound of an egg 

Drone Box No.1

A new synth created by Oslo-based composer and artist Koka Nikoladze lets you turn everyday objects into music.

The electro-mechanical Drone Box No.1, a four-voice polyphonic synth, generates sound via rotating stepper motors that sit on top of a wooden box and is controlled by MIDI, either from a keyboard or from a computer. You can switch up the sound by selecting and attaching different objects, a process Nikoladze likens to "physical mixing".

The Drone Box No.1 has integrated pitch bending, vibrato, tremolo and "some other expressions" and features a "clever automatic voice management mode" that allows users to "improvise without thinking which motor to turn".

Nikoladze says the next iteration of the synth will feature “a single button on the side, so you can create a playlist of MIDI files on an SD card” in order to “play music during your morning coffee, just like with any music player.”

Watch the demo video below to see how the synth produces sound using a paper cup, an egg, and a metal spring. Check out Nikoladze's site to check out his other creations, which include his BlinkWheel step sequencer from 2017.

In other synth news, last year we saw the arrival of the Abacusynth, a new synthesiser inspired by the mathematical abacus and created by university student Elias Jarzombek for his thesis. There's also an Abacusynth Ableton Live plugin available.

Meanwhile, Playtime Engineering has been working on creating music makers for kids, with the easy-to-use SK2 synthesiser and the myTRACKS production groovestation both added to the US-based company's Blipbox line of production tools.