Friday, February 01, 2013

Magnetic Table CV-Controller by Jon Sonnenberg

One of the most impressive alternative DIY-controllers i've seen this year is probably this next one.
This Magnetic Table CV-controller is made by Jon Sonnenberg, who has been creating music and been obsessed with electronic music for most of his life.

The design is based on a magnetic pendulum toy;
" The toy consisted of a dangling string with a magnet on the end of it; then it hovered over magnets on a table that either repelled or attracted the string magnet; the stringed magnet then maneuvers around in crazy patterns due to the position of the table magnets.

There are 2 control voltage outputs for this device; one for the X axis, and one for the Y. 
 They vary from 0 to 5 volts. These can be used to change any parameter in a synthesizer or effects system to make interesting sounds. 
 For instance, the X axis could control the pitch of an oscillator, while the Y axis could control the volume. Another example could be the X axis controls a delay time, while the Y axis controls the feedback of the delay unit
Closeup of the upside-down potentiometer-joystick   
 A third example (and a little more abstract) is to have the X axis control the length of a sequence pattern, and the Y axis control the tempo of the sequence.

One interesting thing about using the magnetic table to control sound is that when the pendulum passes over a magnet with a pole that attracts the pendulum, it overshoots a bit, then swing back toward the magnet and overshoots again, continuing to oscillate in a damped, simple harmonic motion. 
 If the magnet is stronger (you can use larger magnets or stack them to make them have a stronger attraction or repulsion), then this oscillation is faster."

Video: The Magnetic Table: A CV controller for Modular Synthesizers

" Here is a demonstration of a CV controller that I built. It is a simple pendulum with a magnet at the end.
The magnets on the table can be moved and can either repel or attract the pendulum.
More information can be found at or more specifically here: "