Test Equipment Music FAQ and Guide

hi I’m HAINBACH good to have you back.since I started building the six baby have all of test equipment behind me I’ve gotten a bunch of questions from you so in this video I’m going to address them this expiration owes a lot to Dennis Verschoor of the waveform Research Center in Rotterdam Dennis put up a very concise guide on what kind of gear to get so I link that in the description below the first question I always get is why why would I make music with instruments that are not designed for that and the easiest answer for me is to say the sound these things were built to the highest measuring standard so they sound amazing when used musically all the materials that are in there such as coils vacuum tubes are carefully selected and fine-tuned and the range that these instruments offer both in the frequency that they put out and the volume is unheard of in musical equipment the second answer for me is that I was always fascinated by early electronic music such as Stockhausen and Pierre Schaeffer did especially Stockhausen we his test equipment broadcast filters and so on to create his famous work contact so this for me is like musical archaeology stepping on the path that the Giants that can be Forrest walked on and third answers I love the interfaces these knobs they are huge and you can find control everything so beautifully so you can do much much more with less because tiny adjustments mean a lot the bigger interfaces allow for a level of precision that enables you to think more minimally and making more with less has always been a goal of me compositionally is it dangerous to his test equipment for music absolutely especially if you’ve got old test equipment that you don’t know if it’s been maintained if it’s still working I’ve had a few things go up in smoke so I’m always very careful when I make music with this and I don’t leave this stuff on when I leave the room vacuum tube equipment puts out very high voltages so you should not try to fix anything if you don’t exactly know what you’re doing this can be life in the injury and of course this stuff is also dangerous to your gear because some of these can put up up to 110 volts out of the outputs which will fry acne professional audio equipment you put behind it I managed to break this moga fog abasement for example when I ran hot voltages into it the high volume just broke apart the filter Bank and it started to sing completely in a felt like I had unlocked a secret and I could unlock that secret maybe 10 times and then it said goodbye the microcontroller on here decided to stop working so watching your levels is extremely important unless you’re technically versed and can mod these but I am NOT a technical person I just love making music with technical equipment to take care of the levels before I go into my mixer over here I use two tools the first one is these chief Omni tronic passive mixers there are just simple passive mixers cost about 30 bucks on eBay and because they are passive they take away a bit of the signal which works well some of the hottest of like the waveform generators here they don’t care they will punch through even if this level is very low but at least this will protect your other gear to go completely quiet I employ oscilloscope switches that can handle a lot of voltage for that purpose I used the Heathkit 101 and I’ve got two of those and the hammock 64 chopper which enables you to have four channels here that you can invert and offset and do all kinds of beautiful things with if you have a mixer with pads so minus 20 or minus thirty decibel engage those and what’s your gain structure it’s different to what you used to what are these strange connectors on test equipment there’s usually two kinds the first one is banana such as here

especially on the older ones lots of it is banana and the second one is BNC both are still pretty common and you can get cables very cheap so say for example like a long banana cobble like this cost like three euro or something and a VNC I don’t know 150 or something I prefer to use banana over B and C because banana cables are stackable meaning you can take one signal and distribute it to many different places for that I use B and C two banana adapters which are really handy you just press and turn and then they’re in and then you press I’m turning the other way and they’re out again a very sturdy way to make a connection and to go from banana to your mixer or your rack you can use one of these low gain boxes these are made by Logan electronics and it’s just a banana to mini jack or banana to guitar jack adapter these are a bit pricey but if you don’t want to solder them yourself well this is the easiest way to get an adapter going if you want to stay with B and C you can just use these B and C to RCA adapters which also plug right in and then take an RCA cable and then put an adapter here to a regular jack or whatever maybe your mixer also has RCA so this works also fine and there’s a cheap option with banana you often need two cables one for the signal the red one and one for the ground the black one but if everything is connected to the same mixer thus has a common ground you’ll be fine just using mostly the red outputs it does tend to get a little messy because the spaghetti are enormous then and it’s much worse than for example on a Urich system I think but also again hey it’s big so you’ve got more way to move around this and as a side note that is something that I really love working this thing feels like a workout because I’ve got stuff up here I’ve got stuff down there so I do get my own aerobics workout when I play this is it possible to sequence test equipment yes because many of these have VCG are VCF or whatever that’s named at that company in which allows you to sweep the signal basically set a range where you can adjust the pitch and you can use a sequencer to do that so you can play pitched melodies I love using the search touch keyboard for that because it’s all banana and it’s an amazing instrument I feel I’m still under utilizing its potential but this works great you can of course use any other CV sequencer cock sq1 but also work really fine sweepings are pretty common but something to change the amplitude of a signal like VCA is pretty rare and only the better equipped test equipment has that usually that is called amplitude modulation and these oscillators often feature a secondary oscillator that can modulate that if you’re looking for function generators this is something to look out for many function generators also have manual triggers so you can play them manually or use the coma filled kid and the motor like solenoid and flick that switch manually if you don’t want to mock the whole thing where do i acquire a test equipment the answer is pretty boring much of this is actually eBay and eBay Classifieds I buy a lot of stuff as untested / not working but seven out of ten times it’s usually fine because much of this was built to last unless you’re counting the nimbin stuff these things have been used to hell and back in the hair pretty beat-up and many of the modules that I got don’t work probably anymore which is a shame but the name bin format well that’s a bit of a headache but it’s also lovely buying used untested is the way to go if your

frustration level is not too high you could also ping all the laboratories and universities in the area if you’re a student your university probably has a lot of stuff stashed away that they don’t use anymore but haven’t thrown out yet so try to find the department that could have something and ask around maybe you could pick something up cheaply or for free in fact I know a guy from my subreddit that picked up ten function generators ten and there are nice ones so he can make a mega drone what kind of test equipment will music well of course the function generators they are basically generating science square waves and saws like your regular oscillator they usually have a much extended range which makes them nice for FM especially if you get a few of them and because the signs are so pure you can get some very beautiful tones out of that but function generators I think the more you have is better because then you can create more complex chords sounds and escapes and modulations across all over them I can recommend wave tech which are very playable sound very good and are also lightweight then there’s your packet who have been building function generators since the ages and you can find a lot of variety in what they have from big cube units to small and dense tiny fashion Cronan height also does beautiful function generators but the knobs on these might be a point that will need repair if you get one of these on Dennis recommendation about the model 2400 which is like a Buchla – 5/8 complex oscillator and what it can do but not working so I’ll have to get that fixed then there are more obscure companies like feedback who made this giant variable phase function generator which is awesome and what it can do because it’s quadrature and I don’t know much about their other function generators but they might be worth looking out for in Germany you have Walden Schwarz which made a beautiful sign generator that I use a lot and of course the almighty brilliant care but it’s hard and expensive to get brilliant care now all of these companies all submit pulse generators pulse generators are often integrated into function generators or their separate units you can use pulse generators as oscillators and since most of them have control over poles with Nick Pat would also be happy because you can modulate the poles with past generators are perfect for clocking everything and creating rhythms because there’s a thing called pulse mast mixing especially if you use the scope Nick’s as such as this this means you take three oscillators put them in three ends here and then apply a rhythm buyer of pulse because if the pulse is negative it will pull down all the signals and you can create rhythmic variations so you can actually play rhythmic chords which is a very nice thing because as I said doing rhythmic stuff and test equipment is not that easy unless you have word generators I mean a big video on the Booga from HP 8006 a word generator which you can basically use as a trigger sequencer what generators are newer technology and you could say that something like the Pagani above and boots can about over here is also a word generator because you can program a series of pulses that don’t all have to be regular so what generators or programmable pulse generators are perfect for creating rhythms so look out for those and you might find something rare that nobody’s ever heard of like I did with this one of course no suit resizer will be complete with all the noise source so finding a nice white noise source is something you should also do the next group of test equipment to look out for are filters filters and test equipment are usually very different from synthesizer filters because they’re meant to be clean and precise so they don’t have high resonance unless we’re talking about the ubm which has a feedback knob so you can resonate that thing far away most of these are bandpass filters so you can really tune in to the signal that you are looking for even though they are technical I like Cronan height filters because they ping also very nicely so you can use them for high hats or bass drums all very dry but

sometimes I like this micro sounds style of percussion Rockland / wavetech also made filters in that style one of the beauties of my collection is the variable filter model 315 a this one was expensive it cost me 350 euros but it was worth it because this is an vacuum tube filter that adds something nice to every signal these are well-known in the dub music community so they come on the price similar to the brilliant care filter up here which is a bandpass filter where you can select either octave or Katz bunt and this is just the most beautiful thing to paint and if you can’t afford one of these you might be able to grab this one the type 1630 filter which is passive and you only need to adapt rewire a DC power cable to whatever then you can use these and they sound great you can listen to them in my video on the brilliant care tu-204 microphone now that we’ve left filters behind we come to one of the most exciting parts of test equipment instrumentation lock-in amplifier lock-in amplifier is a bandpass filter with an amplifier and a modulation frequency for tracking signals they were designed to pick up the most minut of signals from the deepest noise and when you ping them for music they sound gorgeous I have one here in my nuclear instrumentation rack on which I made a video and I’ve got a broken one that needs fixing because sadly some of these units were not built so well they’ve got more fragile outsides because they were not meant to be moved around a lot they were laboratory equipment after all companies that made lock-in amplifiers are Princeton Applied Research EG&G which comes from Princeton Applied Research and then there is somebody taco which I am more at the ham radio crowd so this is just a general overview there’s much more obscure stuff that can be very interesting and probably be found cheaply I’ve got something like a medical stimulator up there that puts out up to 150 volts but is also a lovely dual pass generator for example are there a telegraph message generators which are like synthesizers with the sequencer inside or of course something like the saddest drone machine which puts out beautiful chord and I suggest you explore what you can find around and just see if it will music if you find a piece of gear and you’re in question if it would music go to the Hein Bach subreddit and post a picture and everybody can take a look and make a guess and sometimes you get something that sounds great cheaply from a garbage pile I hope this helped some of you to get into the beautiful mad world of test equipment and explore the sounds that lie there if you like what I do you can support me on patreon or just buy my music and if you have any questions leave new comments below or visit the subreddit so that’s it for this video thank you all for watching and see you the next one bye