SolidGold MeatBox

This beast began its life as a "Solid Gold Rock Star Mini Beat Box."
I kid you not.
It was a very cheezy two piezo pad drum trigger thing made by a company called Playtime in 1988, with two banks of selectable sounds like "VIBRO," "ROCK IT," "THUNDER KICK," LAZER DRUM," and "LECTRA." The yellow and blue pad on the left allowed you select which sound you wanted to play on which pad, yellow for left pad, blue for right, and the blue shift key allowed you to access the blue sounds. The pads were where the hexagon of meat is now. (See the construction shots for more detail)

It didn't have much going for it un-modified, but it did have some real nice electro-analog sounds.
After poking around its guts for a bit, it didn't seem to have much potential as far as bending either.

After some prodding, I was able to find a couple of points for pitch bending. I added an audio out, a pot for slo-down and two optical resistors for blinky-blinky sequence control. But I wasn't satisfied—that wasn't enough.
I decided to see just how much ridiculousness I could add to this gadget, even tho the board was very simple and didn't seem to want to yield very many interesting sounds.
I found two human contact resistance points. Then found places on the board that, with momentary switches, would trigger the sounds just as if I were striking the piezo pad. And, to finish it off, I poked and found two places that would trigger the drum sounds with an audio input trigger signal, with one sensitive to high frequency input, and the other to low frequency input, so one audio signal split into two and put into both minijack inputs would trigger different sounds at different times, depending on what the original signal was composed of.
But, unfortunately, it is a bit of a cantankerous gadget. It sometimes refuses to trigger, or triggers unexpectedly. I like the randomness of it, but would like it to be a bit more performance-friendly. It's great with blinky-blinky LEDs as optical sequencers, and can do some really amazing stuff.
As it is, it generates some really great sounds, that are mostly controllable. And, I love the way the paintjob and meat turned out...dig that groovy gold knob!
Completed: February 22, 2004
Dimensions: 1.5" x 5" x 8"
Current Status:

Stinking up my shelves

Audio Bits:


SGMBManualTrig.mp3 and 02 are examples of the red button manual triggering.
SGMBManualPot.mp3 and 02 are examples of manual triggering with Potentiometer and human contact resistance pitch variation. Mmmm. Sounds you can eat.
SGMBOptSong01.mp3, 02, 03, and 04 are all long-ish examples of using various blinking LED things as optical sequencers on the optical resistors. They include using the pot and human contact resistance points for pitch control. This is really where this gadget shines...