The Microphonic Soundbox mk2 is an acoustic wooden experimental instrument, which perfectly integrates in any audio setup to create interesting and otherworldly soundscapes. It comes prepared with metal springs, metal rods, sand paper and a Kalimba made from carbon strips, but it can easily be extended with any other found materials. It can be played in many ways by scratching, bowing, etc., to create totally unique sounds. It's the perfect sound design tool - be creative!
The Jazz musician and master of experimentation Bugge Wesseltoft told us „Microphonic Soundbox was my favorite at Superbooth synth exhibition"!
Technical info: It features 2 internal contact microphones and 2 battery powered low noise pre-amps (~100x Gain), both signals can be mixed together and sent to the outputs as a line level. Inserting an external signal to the input will switch off the first internal mic and use the external signal instead, what also makes it a platform for amplifying and mixing external Hi-Z signals. It's standing on soft rubber feet, which guarantee a good grip on most surfaces, and also do some acoustic decoupling.
How to use: Standalone it's already fun, but its whole potential is unveiled when it's being processed in realtime by livesampling, loopers and effects like in our video. Please note that in the end of the video there are lots of effects on it, the pure sound can be heard in the beginning. For getting you started, we provide a Live-Set for Ableton as a free download, but of course you can use it with any other DAW or mixing desk. You can also interact with modular gear and use it as a trigger or create sound spectrums to use with modules like Clouds or extract gates from its sounds. Possibilities are endless and already many sound designers and musicians use it in their work.
Soundbox History: Manuel from LeafAudio created this instrument in the late nineties and used it on lots of his Xabec albums, in live shows and sound design work. Before we made it public 2017, it had a 20 year long and very personal history.
Soundbox Community: We created a facebook usergroup for you to share your experiences, pictures, music & videos. Feel free to join our community if you use a Soundbox.
Building Instructions mk1 was available as a DIY kit and here was the official support page. mk2 is sonly available as an assembled unit or in the workshops we offer a well prepared DIY version where you only have to add some bigger components and do a bit of assembly.
Availability: Besides our workshops, Microphonic Soundbox is available via our online shop Exploding Shed.
- The amplifier circuitry in mk2 has even better audio quality and extended frequency range now.
- Soundbox mk2 is a super low noise and top quality amp for any kind of contact mics!
- The power supply unit has a new battery management circuit and switches the LED from blue to red when battery goes under 7 volt (still hours left then).
- The Kalimba features now 5 strips and is mounted on a universal threaded M3 strip, so it can be exchanged against whatever you want, using standard M3 screws.
- On the left side we have integrated a threaded M3 strip over the whole length and we include an additional wood piece, which allows to mount a big range of sound-generating objects plus 2 additional thumb screws M3x12mm.
- Mk2 has two outputs now: one mixes both amp-channels together, if the other one is used additionally, channels are sent to the outs separately.
- The Soundbox is now a hub for external contact mics: By the two outs you are able to use the external input on a separate out and can still play the Soundbox via the other channel.
- The output stage features an attenuator now, which makes it possible to use the Soundbox with more sensitive audio interfaces and consumer equipment. We also sell that cables here separately.
- An add-on package with more springs etc. is now available additionally. It features 2 compression springs, 1 clockwork spring, 5 wobbly tension springs (pulling them is great), 1 carbon strip, 2 thumb-screws and washers, 2 small magnets, ~0,6m spring steel wire (cut yourself).
We recommend to additionally get a violin bow and rosin for being able to play it properly. You can download a Live-Set for Ableton 9 here to get started with performing with the box. It's exactly the Live-Set we used in the 2017 video. A new video featuring the mk2 will follow later.