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New and improved version of the classic Mikrophonie contact microphone module. This version incorporates the features of the (now discontinued) Mutable Ears module but allows you to push the preamp into dirtier territory. The kit also includes a choice of 2 x frontpanels allowing the builder to choose whether to have the scratchplate at the top or bottom of the panel.
Tom Whitwell the designer of Mikrophonie describes the original thus:
“Mikrophonie is a microphone preamp with a piezo contact mic built into the panel.
It is an easy way to bring environmental noise and feedback into a modular system, inspired by the early days of electroacoustic music in Paris and Cologne, and by the contact microphone and phonograph cartridge experiments of John Cage, Gordon Mumma, Robert Ashley and Nicholas Collins. Here is a wonderful film from 1966 of Stockhausen & Co performing Mikrophonie 1.
The panel scratchpad has quite a nice rough texture – rubbing it with a finger or a plectrum creates quite a wide range of sounds. The back of the panel is plated and grounded for shielding; the peizo microphone can either be soldered directly to the copper or stuck on with epoxy glue.”
This new version of Mikrophonie improves the amplifier circuit and adds the following features from the Ears version by Emilie Gillet
- An envelope follower, translating the decaying amplitude profile of a tap into an envelope CV.
- A gate detector, translating taps into gate signals.
- The envelope follower and gate detector can process external signals as well as the built in contact mic.
- High quality Audio Amp with extended gain range over Ears.
- External input bypassing the built-in contact microphone.
- Envelope follower with 3 preset attack and release times (adjustable by jumper).
- Gate detector with 3 preset sensitivity levels (adjustable by jumper) and +8V gate output.
- Three indicator LEDs for amplifier clipping, envelope follower level and gate detector activity.
This kit contains all parts to build the module, right down to the power cable and the screws. Internal contact mic is included. This kit sometimes includes an option of a 150 cm high quality external contact mic made by LeafAudio (when stocks are available)
The module will work with a range of external contact mics including DIYed creations made from inexpensive piezo transducers, and off the shelf contact mics (often called Piezo Pickups) made for guitars and violins which you can pick up for ten bucks from Amazon or eBay. It’s also possible to use bespoke mics like the popular Jez Riley French models (including hydrophones!) which are firmly aimed at Sound Designers.
Mikrophonie v3 BUILD DOCUMENT – Download the Build Document here or watch the video below!