Elmyra is a platform for sonic exploration through the weirdness of drones and implausibility of textures. It’s inspired by that Godfather of weirdness the SOMA Labs Lyra-8 and you can build it yourself.
The Lyra-8 is one of the weirdest synthesizers I’ve ever played on while being one of the most fascinating. It’s like being in a wrestling match where you are trying to pin sonic explosions to the floor by grappling with controls and touch plates. It’s elusive, dangerous and a whole load of fun. Elmyra is inspired by that kind of interaction and has been approved by Lyra-8 designer Vlad Kreimer.
Elmyra features 3 sound generators which react to your skin’s electrical resistance via the touch plates. They are individually tunable and shapable with envelopes before tumbling down a delay/feedback path. You can dial in oscillator drift through the MOD knob.
The sound engine is digital and runs on an Adafruit ItsyBitsy M0 Express microcontroller and outputs an audio resolution of 10bits. The Elmyra also has an analogue distortion built into the signal chain so it has lots of scope for getting really nasty. A Scratch control lets you gently send the sound into oblivion and a filter gives some respite from the high-end frequencies.
It’s a crazy box and looks like a lot of fun even if it is only a fraction of the Lyra-8.
Now, the thing is that this is not actually a product you can purchase. It’s open-source software and hardware which you will have to acquire and build yourself. But it’s also not a DIY kit or a PCB/Front Panel kit. You have to do the lot including drilling your own front panel and etching your own PCB. All the instructions, PCB files and designs are on the website and so this would be a next-level project for many people. But most of the heavy lifting is done by the microprocessor so the circuit itself is relatively straight forward. So if you fancy getting your hands dirty with a bit of PCB etching then this may be the project for you. Neutral Labs did say that people have asked about being able to buy PCBs and front panels and that they’ll see if there are enough people to warrant doing a run. So if that interests you then get in touch.
- Neutral Labs website.