Certain to win the prize for ‘most unusual product’ (if they awarded one) at this year’s Superbooth electronic music show in Berlin is Gamechanger Audio’s Motor Synth, an analogue, electro-mechanical synthesiser that uses a system of electromotors as its main sound source.
The manufacturer explains that Motor Synth produces sounds by accelerating and decelerating eight electromotors to precise RPMs that correspond with specific musical notes. The instrument’s eight-electromotor configuration makes it a four-note true polyphonic synth with two voices per key played.
The Motor Synth has two ways of producing its core sound. Firstly, magnetic pickups are placed on each of its eight electromotors; ‘the spinning coils result in a very industrial-sounding, over-the-top analogue tone. Think eight harmonious revving engines pumping out an intimidating noise!’ Gamechanger says.
Secondly, specially designed reflective optical discs have been attached to the shafts of each electromotor. Each disc contains a graphical representation of three standard audio wave-shapes. As the electromotors spin, the discs are set into circular motion, and each wave-shape is read by a dedicated set of infrared sensors, then converted into an audio signal. Thus, the wave-shapes on the reflective optical discs become precise musical notes, corresponding to the speed of the electromotors.
The Motor Synth features familiar analogue envelopes and filters alongside arpeggiation, cross and LFO modulation, sequencing, and multiple polyphonic mode facilities, as well as an innovative looping system that allows adventurous users to layer rhythm and melodies, just like when using a loop station. It can be played out of the box via eight built-in control keys and four floating tuning/frequency knobs. Performers and composers can connect any MIDI controller, like a keyboard or DAW.
Assuming the manufacturer can raise the crowdfunding required (it begins on 28th May) shipping to backers (and eventually to stores) should take place towards the end of the year.