The PIPE is a voice and mouth controlled dynamic effects processor and synthesizer. You pucker up at one end and a soundscape of transforming and surprising sounds emerge from the other.
It’s a box of effects and synthesizer trickery connected to a contact mic designed for close and intimate oral manipulation. The sonic possibilities are completely stunning. Once you get over the sense that you are snogging a synth there are all sorts of performance possibilities in this machine.
Ultimately it’s the sound of your voice and the shape of your mouth that’s the source of the sound. Then you can add effects, reverb and distortion, and start processing it with synthesis algorithms, all in real-time, all controllable from The PIPE. There are 8 algorithms – Orpheus, Filterra, Reverb, Pulse, Bassdrum, Octava, Generator and Harcho. More will be added soon.
The video below gives you over half an hour of detailed demonstration. The bloke doing the performance is definitely into it and I wish more demo videos were this expressive and committed. He shows how this could be an awesome device for all sorts of applications.
It does all seem a little bit unsanitary (like any vocal microphone in performance, I guess) and I wonder whether it makes you dribble. It looks weird and yet futuristically enticing all at the same time. The PIPE is the sort of thing anyone could use and you could pass it around at a party – assuming you don’t mind sharing bodily fluids.
SOMA Engineering has a tagline of “Romantic engineering” and I love that idea. With The PIPE they’ve created something really special that’s going to appeal to a large number of expressive and extroverted performers, and will probably be seen as silly and awkward to everyone else. Estimated price is €400-500 and should be ready in the spring.
- The PIPE webpage.