Lite2Sound PX

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NEW for 2013!   An educational electronic hobby kit that lets you explore the sounds of ambient light.  Designed to be portable and easy to use, this kit gives access to the same world of audio as original LITE2SOUND and Sound Cameras.

 

     

Lite2Sound PX made its debut as a Piksel [X] workshop, and is now in stock at ericarcher.net for $49 (kit), $74 (assembled and tested).

Plug in your headphones and 9V battery and go exploring.  Measuring 8 x 4.5 x 4 cm and weighing 80g with battery, it fits your pocket.  The sliding volume control lever is the only adjustment necessary.  Lite2Sound PX’s auto-gain circuit accommodates changes in brightness so you don’t have to tweak or fiddle with anything.

The kit contains the PCB, all of the parts needed, and printed assembly instructions.  Previous experience with soldering and kit-building is recommended, but not necessary.

Tools required

  • Soldering iron with good quality tip
  • Rosin-core solder … 0.032″ diameter suggested
  • Wire cutters, flush cutting type
  • Small Philips screwdriver
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Work light
  • Magnifier (optional)

Lite2Sound PX Builder’s Guide v1.1

close-up view 1

 close-up view 2

 close-up view 3

 close-up view 4

 

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LITE2SOUND is a portable sensing device that extracts audio from ambient light.  Not a synthesizer, more like a microphone that detects a hidden layer of your environment.

LITE2SOUND reveals unusual sounds by responding to rapid but invisible changes in brightness.  A sensitive amplifier boosts this information to audio level and delivers it to your headphones or line input, and can drive a speaker directly with its built-in 1-watt amp.

Beyond the ubiquitous mains hum transmitted by lighting, and the static hiss of sunlight, you can find many sounds of different character being produced by high technology.

In technology-saturated spaces, musical chords emerge and fade as luminous sources harmonize together into unintended soundscapes.

Suggested listening:  metro commute… arcade… carnival midway… highway at night… high street… anywhere you find bold, bright electronic lighting!   Results are usually best at night.

Even nature creates content for LITE2SOUND’s reception, if one looks in the right places.  Its purpose is to reward your curiosity.  Some highlights from my collection of photodiode recordings are presented below.

 

The ambient household
incandescent
optical mouse
LED message sign
7-segment LED number display
computer hard drive activity light
infrared remote control
CRT monitor
CRT monitor + mouse
cellphone screen 1
cellphone screen 2
sony receiver
flashing digit on cd player
CRT monitor and ceiling fan
LCD monitor and studio equipment

Reflecting a laser pointer picks up sounds from the surface
vinyl record sample 1
vinyl record sample 2
surface texture of fabric
vibrations from music instruments

Adding a lens makes it a sound camera with telephoto power
burnet at northloop
outdoor LED message sign
urban field recording collage
downtown field recording collage
fireworks collage

Sunlight reflecting on drums, picked up with sound camera
Istanbul Radiant Series 16″ crash
Paiste 2002 16″ crash
Zildjian Avedis 22″ ride
Zildjian K 13″ top hi hat
top snare head
top snare head (2)
snare wires

Stereo Lite2Sound field recording of water’s edge in sunlight
hydro oscillations (1)
hydro oscillations (2)