Music From Outer Space Brings You... Your First Wacky, Zany, Weird
(and possibly Odd) Sound Maker Project - A.K.A. Weird Sound Generator or WSG

Component Kit
Weird Sound Gen.
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All the parts you need to build a WSG EXCEPT FOR A CASE. Making your own outlandish case is half the fun. You have to build the case yourself including the front panel.
Warning <Your name here>, Warning... THIS IS THE OLD NOSTALGIC PAGE. You should go to the new and improved page...
The fine print... This website assumes that you've had some electronics kit building, breadboarding, and/or strip-boarding experience in addition to a modicum of basic knowledge about electronics. You will not be able to build a Weird Sound Generator without those prerequisites. There are no step by step instructions, no assembly manual, its zip baby, nil, nada, nothin', zilcho, zero, zippity-doo-dah... there is a schematic and some examples of what other people have built. Please look over the entire page before getting started to ensure that it contains the information necessary for you to succeed. If you are interested in electronics or are just getting started in electronics check out this page for some ideas to help you get going:  How Do I Get Started In Electronics?

!!! Clarification Of WSG Capabilities !!! I get emails related to this project that indicate people think it can do more than it does. I get questions related to the quality of the components, taper of the pots, etcetera, etcetera. This is not even a shadow of a real music synthesizer but merely a fun little noise maker. It is designed to be built on a solderless breadboard and experimented with or put on a proto-board or PCB and placed into an outlandish case for fun by electronics hobbyists. That, as they say, is the entire enchilada.

I have provided the following charts to help clarify HOW and HOW NOT to view the WSG and its capabilities.

HOW To View The WSG

*** Not the extra minty kind, however.


More HOW NOT To View The WSG

Building a WSG, while fun, is not a deeply scientific or religious experience. The WSG does not look or work at all like a synthesizer used by anyone whose name rhymes with either Cakeman or Bemerson. The WSG does not have a keyboard, it has a few knobs and switches. Do not expect to use the WSG in concert. The WSG makes mildly entertaining, droning beeps and boops.

The prerequisites mentioned above as well as a thorough understanding of how and how not to view the WSG and an afternoon's worth of project will get you going with weird sounds. A handful of components, some switches and potentiometers, a 9V battery, one CD40106 chip (actually half a chip) to get Zany, Wacky, and Weird Sounds. Add another chip (general purpose Op-Amp like a LM741) and you step up to Odd sounds. Who could ask for anything more. If you have kids make one for them and they'll keep their sticky little hands off of your Moog or Buchla or (and far more importantly) your lovingly crafted synth-diy treasures.

Oh... and this is NOT a cruel practical joke this circuit really works.

Not content with wackiness, zaniness, weirdness and possible oddness,
synth-diyer Scott Stites takes the WSG another step beyond into the realm of the Looney... ahnd tings of daht naychah (to be spoken phonetically like Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger).

The details are still emerging but reports have it that synth-diyer Scott Stites has added some vactrols to the WSG resulting in further ability to create weird sounds. Who can resist... NO ONE! Details will be on his website: Scott's WSG Mods

Whether you need weird sounds for a movie, performance art, neighbor annoyance, or you just like making weird sounds in the woods this circuit is for you. You could put this on a radio shack breadboard and be up and making weird sounds in an hour or so. This is not for making musical sounds this is just for goofing around. Its actually pretty cool and does make some interesting sounds. I have been asked on several occasions to publish something like this so here you go... simple, small, cheap, battery powered, yet amazingly diverse as far as the sounds it makes.

Yes, you can even impress your friends who insist on wearing robot suits 24/7
by building one into your clothing if you are inventive enough.

People are turning this into a very viable project. It's getting a life of its own. Open source comes to synth-diy!

Have fun...

Sound Generator Schematic

Unusual Sound Generator Parts List

Parts List NOTES
The capacitors can be ceramic or film type. When buying caps as long as the voltage rating is above 20V you will be fine. You can use a 2N2222 instead of the 2N3904 (any general purpose NPN will do).

Qty. Description Value Designators
1   2" x 3" (or so) proto board   .   The proto board  
1   Unusual case   .   Unusual case  
2   1/4" Phone Jack(s)   .   J1, J2  
1   Diode: 1N914 or 1N4148   1N914   D1  
1   Transistor: 2N3904   2N3904   Q1  
1   Battery   9V Battery   B1  
1   CD40106 (CMOS only, not 74HC)   CD40106   U1  
2   Ceramic Capacitors   .022uF   C4, C5  
1   Ceramic Capacitor   .1uF   C1  
1   Ceramic Capacitor   1uF   C6  
2   Ceramic Capacitors   470pF   C3, C2  
2   Electrolytic Capacitors   100uF   C7, C8  
1   LM741 OpAmp (or equiv)   LM741   U2  
2   Ceramic Capacitors   1uF   C9, C10  
1   Potentiometer (linear taper)   100K   R19  
4   Potentiometers (linear taper)   1M   R5, R17, R11, R8  
1   Resistor 1/4 Watt 5%   100K   R18  
3   Resistors 1/4 Watt 5%   10K   R2, R1, R12  
1   Resistor 1/4 Watt 5%   10M   R4  
2   Resistors 1/4 Watt 5%   1K   R10, R16  
5   Resistors 1/4 Watt 5%   1M   R20, R21, R13, R7, R3  
4   Resistors 1/4 Watt 5%   4.7K   R9, R6, R14, R15  
2   SPST Switches   SPST   S1, S2  

What would this page be without... pictures.

Pictures of Dave Wright's Schmitisizer

Dave Wright is at this very moment making "Zany" sounds with what he has dubbed the "Schmitisizer". This is exactly the type of thing I envisioned for a case and I love the variety of knobs.

Dave's Dog contemplates the meaning of life and the odd sounds emanating from the "Schmitisizer". He only wishes he had fingers so he could twiddle the knobs.

Pictures of Lorenzo's Weird Sound Generator

Lorenzo laid out a PC board for the WSG and tested it too. It works great!

An astute observer (Dave Magnuson) suggested that the unused inputs of the CD40106 (or 74C14) should be stabilized. In CMOS chips this is done by connecting an input to either ground (low logic) or V+ (high logic). I have shown the additional traces to connect the unused inputs to V+. I changed the large layout too. Without this change the chip's unused inputs will float causing the unused gate outputs to oscillate and draw more current than you would like. In rare instances side effects may include: heartburn, next day dizziness or drowsiness, and abdominal discomfort.

Lorenzo's parts layout diagram.

Lorenzo's finished PC board!

Lorenzo's set up. Check out the super bright LED.

WSG Strip Board Layout by Andrew Sharp of Australia

Andrew Sharp of Australia made a Strip-Board layout. This is the component side.

Andrew Sharp of Australia made a Strip-Board layout. This is the copper side.

Some notes related to Andrew Sharp's Strip-Board layout
Whacky veroboard

Components list

R3	resistor, 1M
R4	resistor, 10M
R6	resistor, 4K7
R7	resistor, 1M
R9	resistor, 4K7
R10	resistor, 1K
R12	resistor, 10K
R13	resistor, 1M
R14	resistor, 4K7
R15	resistor, 4K7
R16	resistor, 1K
R18	resistor, 100K
R20	resistor, 1M
R21	resistor, 1M
R26	resistor, 4K7
R29	resistor, 4K7
R34	resistor, 4K7
R35	resistor, 4K7
R38	resistor, 100K
C1	MKS 2 / B=2,5, 100nF
C2	ceramic capacitor, 470pF
C3	ceramic capacitor, 470pF
C4	MKS 2 / B=2,5, 20nF
C5	MKS 2 / B=2,5, 20nF
C6	electrolytic capacitor, 1uF
C7	electrolytic capacitor, 100uF
C8	electrolytic capacitor, 100uF
C10	2u2 NP
C24	MKS 2 / B=2,5, 20nF
C25	MKS 2 / B=2,5, 20nF
C26	electrolytic capacitor, 1uF
D1	diode (Si), 1N4148
D21	diode (Si), 1N4148
T1	TO-92, 2N3904
T21	TO-92, 2N3904
IC1	DIL14, CD40106 
IC2	DIL8, LM741

Jumper wires: There are 18 wire links to be inserted.

The second channel components have the same designator 
as their first channel counterparts +20 except for R7/R3 
which already had unique identifiers on the schematic.
I went for the no unfiltered output option; therefore R1, 
R2, and C9 are omitted from both the layout and the list.

Fiercefish's Composite Made From Andrew Sharp's SB Layout.

Thanks to Fiercefish for making a composite layout from Andrew Sharp's layout. Now you can have XRay vision.

Hanne And Sakari from Locomofon Share Photos And Sound Clips

Hanne And Sakari from Locomofon have made some very cool versions of the WSG. Listen to their WSG.

Ron Garavaglia's WSG could be in a sci-fi movie.

Ron put his wsg in an old utensil box. He also added
some extras - touch contact points, LED's and a meter to gauge the "weirdness emanating".

Seb Francis' WSG Flies Higher and Faster!

Seb put his wsg in an IKEA key box after some negotiations
with his wife. He added extras too - Seb decided to make
a MIDI triggered version and added a MIDI-to-gate converter,
ADSR envelope and VCA. Check out Seb's Synth-DIY Pages

Alex Merck's WSG Permits Synthing WHILE YOU DINE!

Alex Merck (music major at the University of Georgia) put his WSG in a Dick and Jane lunch box during a light hearted (perhaps wacky) moment. There is probably still room for a sandwich because the WSG uses so few components. Alex assured me that he purchased his own lunch box and did not wrest it from the hands of a younger sibling.

Well of course the eyes glow when the power is on... Yours don't! The illustration on the lunch box symbolizes that constructing a WSG is one of the building blocks of synth-diy success. See Spot synthesize. Synthesize Spot synthesize!

Synth Meets Hippopotamus? Meet John D'Agostini's Synthopotamus

Could this be the next step in the evolutionary chain, or just a genetic experiment gone horribly awry? In any case it's one cool looking little sound making unit!

Further proof of the Synthopotamus' existence. They synth among us.

Matthew Helm Adds Video To His WSG!

No... wait that headline should read Matthew Helm Adds WSG To His Video (Case). This is what I'm talking about. You see something in the room and triumphantly yell THAT is gonna' be my WSG case!

Matt's cat inspects his soldering and wonders where Matt put the previous occupant, a "Josie and the Pussycats" music video.

Here's How To Cuddle Up With Your WSG

For the person with everything, here is a toy polar bear complete with a built-in WSG. Atilla and friend Furkan from Turkey built this unique creation. Proof once again that all you need are the "Bear Necessities" to have fun.
Proof that there is a WSG in there. And even further proof for you skeptics.

Jorg Recycles A Cardboard Box Into A WSG

Jorg shows that even a responsible environmentalist can enjoy a WSG if they make it out of recycled cardboard. I haven't seen a Coke can used yet but you know that's coming.
Save a tree... build a WSG. Hey that's catchy. Notice the high reliability rubber band holding the entire assembly together. I prefer baling wire and/or duct tape myself for high reliability work. Give a hoot... don't pollute... make a WSG. Not as catchy. Jorg's pet alien enjoys spinning around on the pots and playing with the WSG too.

Lorenzo's work always looks professional.

Everything this guy makes looks like something you could sell at Guitar Center!

Charles Osthelder whipped this up for his grandson, Malachi.

Chub is an amazing electronics enthusiast. He made this for his grandson Malachi who of course brought it to school and well... OK its not allowed back... nuff said.

Philip Miller Tate's Cool Paint Job!

Thought you might like to see my WSG, built to Andrew Sharp's veroboard layout and with a couple of variations of my own - see the LDR in the top right corner. Hours of semi-musical fun! Thanks for sharing your design and congratulations on your most entertaining website.

Kevin Smith does a DUAL-VCR case design!

I went with the ever popular VHS case but since I used the stripboard layout I've got 9 knobs and 2 switches.

Leor Amikam's Awesome WSG

All I can say is... "Ground control to Major Tom..." Oh yeah this is definitely standard equipment on any space music trip. Well done Leor.

Gael Synthesizes While Milking Cows

Lord knows that milking cows all day can be boring. But not when you have a WSG built right into the milking can! The cows may wonder what's going on and the milk may have a bit of an aftertaste of ozone but hey... a true synthesist synthesizes under any circumstances.

The Finns are at it again with the crazy music... Ay yay yay!

Finland is a totally cool place with totally cool people making totally wierd music... well some of them. And Tomas is one. Here is his site related to the WSG. Yo Check Him Out: he is a certified, bonified, circuit bendin', weird music playin', 'totally out there Jerry' space music man. Tomas' WSG site

The Yuri Gagarin Memorial Sound Generator

Neil Donoghue built a WSG using Andrew Sharp's layout. He called it The Yuri Gagarin Memorial Sound Generator and it's being used in his band Intermission To Saturn. It's built around a 1970s Logix Kosmos 'Super Electronics 1' project set.