FIELD KIT Gives an Electroacoustic Workstation for Makers and Music Enthusiasts
Tom Spendlove posted on December 22, 2016 |
KOMA Elektronik is crowdfunding the FIELD KIT, their system for creating experimental electroacousti...

The team of engineers, makers and artists at KOMA Elektronik in Neukolln Germany believe in the ideas of musical experimentation, making, and developing new electronics application. The group was heavily inspired by electroacoustic researchers like John Cage, Karl-Heinz Stockhausen, and Hauschka – artists able to take everyday objects like conch shells, wastebaskets, and modified pianos and create new musical sounds through electronic signals.

KOMA is currently running a highly successful Kickstarter campaign for FIELD KIT – an electroacoustic workstation for hackers and musical experiementers to create music from everyday objects. Seven different function blocks make up the full soundboard.

The four channel mixer has controls for gain, mix level and tone over four channels individually and a master sub-mixer. The CV radio can receive AM, FM and SW band signals and can also receive waves that the field kit can use to process into additional sounds. The envelope follower uses full-wave rectification and low-pass filtering to average or mirror wave sounds, and can double the frequency of a signal. The low frequency oscillator (LFO) creates varying voltages and waveforms to generate sounds, and at higher frequencies can make simple droning sounds. The DC interface lets the user plug in motors, solenoids, buzzers and fans and pull sounds from their operation. The signal interface takes signals from switches or sensors and makes different sounds. Light, heat, humidity, distance, speed, acceleration, force and pressure sensors can all be used to make different sounds. Finally the outputs block sends the signal to speakers or other sound processing devices.

The Field Kit is powered with DC 9 Volt 500 milliAmpere power supply. The team has also received CE markings approval and FCC equipment authorization for the soundboards. The Kickstarter campaign video is incredible, Otto from KOMA Elektronik gives a rundown of the board and all of its functions, and is able to demonstrate the complex functions of the board by pulling several different sounds from a box of marbles, a solenoid and a switch.

Field kits can be shipped fully assembled, and a DIY option is available that gives the frame and completed circuitboard, allowing users to solder in the hardware components and perform final assembly. There are also expansion kits available featuring different motors, solenoids and contact microphones.

This is a great example of makers building complex tools to meet an unfulfilled need. With twenty days to go before the campaign ends the project has already earned more than $200,000, proving that music enthusiasts and makers are eager to experiment more with sound and waves. Extensive documentation has already been built for new users, and a “50 Ways to Use the Field Kit” manual and reference guide with ship with every unit. First units are expected to ship in March 2017.

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