A lot of you might have noticed Marco Donnarummas Project XthSense where he is transforming muscle performance into musical expression with a simple but neat circuit [link]. While he has not only got a lot of attention of Bloggers, Musicians but also from professionals like the Guthman Jury. If you are not familiar with the project so far I encourage you to check this video on it.
As Marco is an enthusiastic DIY person, he made his circuit available using creative commons. And as I started to play around, I was not only fascinated by the new instrument, but a little bit annoyed to carry around the circuit in a box (and fiddle around with all those wires) as Marco suggests in his instructions. While I kept in mind how simple the design is I started to optimize a bit on size and therefore usability. My goal on it was to get all needed circuitry as small as possible in order to carry on your arm along with the microphone needed to pick up your muscles sound.
What do we need for that? Just all the basic components Marco suggested:
– Condenser microphone capsule
– Piece of cable with a headphone jack (you probably use old headphones)
– a coin battery and appropriate battery clip
– no case but Marcos circuit diagram [link]
- some connecting wires
- heat shrink tubes from different sizes
– silicone for the mold and an empty film container (35mm film)
Apparently we start off by soldering the capacitor and the resistor to the microphone as suggested in the circuit but with no connection wires. Just place the components that they will fit within the diameter of the microphone capsule and try to minimize the height of the structure as much as possible. For convenience it should be around 25 mm at max.
Afterwards you might apply some heat shrink tubes to the components to seal them off. Using some short wires, all connections between the microphone pins, the battery clip and the headphone cable a.k.a. the output are done. Please keep them as short as possible, maybe around 50 mm in max length will do. In between it is recommended to seal of all connections using heat shrink tubes.
To finish the thing you‘ll have to create a holder in which the microphone-capacitor-resistor-circuit will fit. For that purpose used an empty film can of old 35mm photographic film as mold for some silicon. Actually you end up having two holders in the end as the height is around 50 mm and you will need to cut it down to 25 mm to take the circuit. You should not forget to put a cylinder with the appropriate dimensions for your microphone capsule into the mold.
After the application of the the microphone into the finished silicone-holder you just need to attach the headphone jack to your computer running Marcos software and insert a coin battery to power the sensor.
From my point of view this small modification makes the instrument even more a performing/stage instrument as you have more space for acting with your body. One of the next steps could be to use a wireless transmitter in order to make more stage ready.