Using quirky devices that bend the laws of physics to produce sounds that are seemingly unfathomable in nature is sound design of the highest order. Everyone can buy plug-ins, not everyone can afford the cash and connections to spend their days experimenting with weird, handcrafted instruments that look like museum pieces. Still, there are ways around that. Strange acoustic instruments don’t always have to be boutique and out of reach. The Microphonic Soundbox, about to go on sale by Leaf Audio at the Exploding Shed shop, is an example of a “mad genius” contraption everyone can afford.
The Microphonic Soundbox is a bespoke signal amplifier that features 2 internal contact microphones and 2 low-noise mic preamps. Signals from both are mixed together and delivered as line level. Feeding an external signal into the input switches off the first internal microphone.
So, what the heck is this? A mixer with springs and plates? Well, no, the MS is much more interesting than that. It has rods, springs, twangs and textures for bowing, scraping, striking and fiddling with. Check out the video demo below for some serious ambient action achieved by bowing springs and tapping plates. It’s gloriously weird and you don’t have to be Trent Reznor to buy one.
Price and availability
The DIY kit is now available at Exploding Shed for €149 or €199 if you want it ready-built. They also have a violin bow and rosin available for €30 which would probably be a useful accessory.