Newcomer here looking to get into tinkering/sound bending


Hey, everyone!

A couple of weeks ago my girlfriend and I stopped by the open house to check out VHS. It was a rainy day so unfortunately we didn’t get to meet a lot of you but we were given an awesome tour and it was enough for me to want to get more involved!

As the title suggests, I am a newbie when it comes to all of this. I have little-to-no experience in soldering, electronic engineering, programming, you name it, but I’ve recently taken an interest in these areas. So yeah, I’m a noob.

That being said, I am a sound designer, and my interest for sounds and how they are produced has led me into the world of tinkering/sound bending. I wanted to make a post here to see if any of you have gotten into this field at all, and if any of you would be interested in helping me learn more about this process?

I just beginning to work through a book called Handmade Electronic Music ( which has gotten me quite excited to get rolling.

So, in essence, this is more of an introductory post with my intentions of joining VHS. I’d love to be able to learn from you guys.

Oh also! I heard when I was given the tour that there would be an Arduino class sometime this month? I’m very interested in that.



On a semi-related note, if you didn’t run into this already, check out:

Back on topic; there’s a few (awesome) Arduino based music projects out there that might be awesome to learn from:


Hi @Derek,
Welcome to VHS!
“The Art of Electronics” by Horowitz & Hill, Bob Pease’s blogs on Electronic Design, etc. are great starting points: Not too mathematical but they don’t avoid it when required to design.


Wonderful, hadn’t heard of that book. I think I’ll pick it up. I appreciate it!


Welcome Derek!

I’d be happy to follow along your projects and try to give advice, or just be part of the VHS peanut gallery. I have a background in electroacoustic music but haven’t done anything sound-related at VHS. Personally I’ve gone from novice to fairly competent in electrical engineering in the course of few years thanks to VHS. I’ve focussed on digital electronics, mostly for light industrial process automation. So if you’re keen I think you’ll have no trouble learning the skills to accomplish the sorts of projects you’re interested in.

Here’s my suggested curriculum:

  1. Join VHS so you can “start the clock” and become a keyholder. This lets you come and use the workspace and tools on your schedule.

  2. Join slack (via the membership portal, once you join). This is the best place to ask quick questions and get immediate feedback, because everyone loiters here while sitting at their day jobs. There are several channels for circuit board design, electronics, embedded electronics, etc.

  3. For a first project, maybe order a kit for an FX pedal, or a little synth or something. You’ll get a PCB and all the parts, and you can solder and assemble it at VHS. Lots of people can help you with this.

  4. The next level is ordering a PCB from Oshpark and sourcing your own parts from Digikey. Find some “open source” hardware project like this Arduino multichannel audio interface or this midi synth. It can be challenging to figure out what parts you need to order and it might take a few tries, but you’ll learn tons in the process.

  5. Take an existing circuit and modify it slightly when you build it.

  6. Mashup a couple exiting circuits into one, and design your own PCB.

  7. Design your own circuit and design a PCB.

Good luck & see you around!



Welcome to VHS!

I attended a workshop at ISEA2015 which was pretty interesting. Workshop description below. The workshop was hands on with lots of folks new to electronics. It was cool to see everyone make something over two days and experiment. There may be some interesting contacts for you in the ISEA program directory of presenters and other workshops.

I haven’t done anything with sound since then.

Title: transmission+interference

Duration: Two Days

Time and Location: August 14-15th 2015, 9:30am-5.30pm, Room 4310


  • David Strang, Plymouth University, UK


Description: This ‘transmission+interference’ workshop is a 2-day event where participants will explore the transmission, interference and playful aspects of sound through various uses of light. Participants will build a device that transmits sound within light and explore the various ways to interfere with signal the generate new sound / rhythm. You will also get to explore previously built / hacked / appropriated devices with which to develop new sound and light instruments with the aim of a group performance involving all of the participants of the workshop. This can / may include the use of motors, mirrors, laser pointers, elastic bands etc…

The workshop will include soldering and the use of various bits of electronics (integrated circuits and Arduino) and is open to beginners and skilled users. In addition to these skills we will encourage discourse around the ideas of live performance, improvisation and experimental music.



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