Finished Pieces

Micro Music Center

    casperelectronics Micro Music Center
    Click the above picture to enlarge.

    This deceptively small unit looks wimpy, but is actually a screeching, wailing, powerhouse.
    Even without any modifications, it’s a pretty cool device. It has a record and play feature, a variety of drum patterns, and a duo-phonic keyboard with surprisingly high quality sounds. It also plays a number of preprogrammed melodies, which are pretty much useless without glitching, but are still more interesting than the average songs found in many kids toys.

    casperelectronics Micro Music Center

    The best part is that all of the amazing glitches and effects that are possible with this thing are achieved solely by adjusting the pitch. Most sound circuits create a nearly inaudible grumble when the pitch is drastically lowered, but this circuit behaves very differently. It’s not worth trying to explain it when there’s a sample below that can say it much better. When the pitch is raised, the sounds and musical sequences start to glitch and distort. It starts as tonal distortion and becomes sequence distortion as the pitch is raised (again, the audio samples say it best). An especially interesting effect is the triggering of sounds and songs NOT accessible through the keyboard’s interface. Sometimes it will start making barking or mooing sounds despite the fact that there’s no buttons for those sounds on the keyboard. I figure the company that made this sound board found it cheaper to make a HUGE run of one board that could be used in several different toys rather than doing lots of smaller runs. Theoretically it would be possible to access those sounds with the right component additions.

    casperelectronics Micro Music Center

    Controls

    • Pitch/coarse tune
    • Pitch/ fine tune – The sequence glitches are extremely sensitive to the slightest change in pitch. Therefore I installed a fine tune knob for making subtle changes.
    • Volume
    • 1/8″ switching audio output – Shuts off the speaker when an 1/8″ audio cable is plugged in. Took way too long to install but it looks nice.

    Sounds

    2 Responses to “Micro Music Center”

    • 1

      Michael said:
      February 6th, 2012 at 12:01pm #

      Hey Pete,

      Who is the manufacturer for the Micro Music Center? Sounds cool…

      Thanks,

      Michael

    • 2

      casper said:
      February 16th, 2012 at 8:14pm #

      @michael.
      I wish I knew. My guess is a generic toy company from china that has lots of different names that are unique to the toy itself.

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