Make your own Analog Synthesizer
Paper Bits is a small voltage controlled modular synthesizer system, created by Berlin based artist Wolfgang Spahn. Its simple design, accessible interface as well as low price offer a powerful sound tool dedicated to learning, experimenting and playing.
Analog synthesizers are known for their warm, rich, organic, and completely continuous sound, that arises from its analog waveform. Today, musicians, sound artists and DJ's are attracted by the opportunities that come with the sound-shaping functions of the analog synthesizer, such as sound producing circuitry and voltage control. While digital synthesizers are based on binary representations of various sound and instrument waveform that are stored in read only memory (ROM), the analog waveform allows for performatively generated sounds that exist only in the moment. Thus, it is possible to create finely nuanced tones, noises, and interference, or to generate imprecise and delayed sounds. In contrast to the analog synths of the 60's, the modular analog synthesizers of today are less complex for standardized components, separable access and plug-and-socket connections (instead of patch cables) make for an easy set-up. Thus, using the instrument is just cool.
Wolfgang Spahn's modular synthesizer system is based on Paper PCB and also comes with plug-and-socket connections. Therefore there is no need to fabricate circuit boards, because a simple color printer will do. It's rapid prototyping: each component can be created in an instant, and it's also possible to design them specifically. Obviously, Paper-bits are very resourceful as they can be created and further developed without needing too many resources such as time, budget, space or weight.
Newcomers may want to experiment with analog sounds, whereas professionals will appreciate how easily one can create new modules or develop special effects. However, Paper-bits are an amazing experimental platform for creating analog sounds that are digitally controlled by an Arduino.
In the two day workshop we will build two modules as the core of our Paper Bits. We learn the basics about analog oscillators and how to control them digitally, and also patching and playing Paper Bits. All participants can choose two out of these modules: PB101 Sync VCO (two synced VCO), PB109 VCO II (the latest sine VCO), PB201 Step Sequencer or PB401 Echo. For participants how want to expand there existing Paper Bits, they can build these new modules, too: PB702 Midi Synth (a MIDI controlled Synthesizer) or PB701 Electric Intonarumori (a noise and FX module).
about the workshop holder
Wolfgang Spahn is an Austrian-German visual artist based in Berlin. His work includes interactive installations, miniature-slide-paintings and performances of light & sound. His art explores the field of analogue and digital media and focusses on both their contradiction and their correlation. That's why he is also specialized in re-appropriated and re-purposed electronic technologies.
Spahn teaches at the Professional Association of Visual Artists in Berlin (BBK-Berlin) and is associated lecturer at the University of Paderborn, department of media studies as well as at the University of Oldenburg, department of art and visual culture.