Replied to Hello from Chris Beckstrom (No. 1) (I’m Chris Beckstrom)

In February I built a new synthesizer I’m calling the “Interstellar Boolean Logic Exploration Device,” or “IBLED” for short. Here’s a video.

Enjoyed the first edition Chris. I was left wondering about your ‘cool links’ and was thought maybe over time the links in my newsletter have become slightly ‘uncool’. Food for thought. Thank you.

Personally, I got a Behringer MS-1 and a Roland MS-101. My wife had promised our children that I was getting a guitar for my birthday, I convinced her to buy my a keytar instead, while I thought the MS would make a good stanley knife. In addition to this, I bought a cheap 10 track mixer. I am currently playing through the stereo, but have found the MS-1 a little volatile in regards to the volume. I was initially playing my synths straight through my guitar amp which was limiting.

Wondering if there any tricks and suggestions in regards to managing the volume/signal short of riding the faders? Also, what speakers do you use with your mixer? I fear the deeper I dive into this world, the less I know.

Replied to I’m Starting a Newsletter! (I’m Chris Beckstrom)

Expect maybe a few emails per month. In the emails I’ll tell you about blog posts, some of my recent projects, music I’ve released, videos I’ve done, some cool things I’ve found (links etc.), and other things that I used to post on social media.

I’m all signed up Chris. I am intrigued what you make of it. I too miss the interactions offered by social media.
Replied to Getting Started in Synth DIY: First Steps (

I built a modular synthesizer without any electronics experience, and I want to empower others to do the same, to build their own weird sound machines. I want people to know that this is not beyond the realm of possibility- you can do it, and for cheap!
A few years ago I started trying to build an a…

Thank you Chris for this write-up. It would seem that Forrest Mims’ book Getting Started in Electronics might be the right place to start. For now I have been looking at Korg’s Volca Micro-Module as a starting point to making sense of modular synthesisers.
Replied to Leave Facebook and Twitter, join the Fediverse (

The Fediverse is a social network by the people, for the people. It’s free in all senses of the word. It’s a loose connection of various servers. It’s like Twitter but not built for advertising.

I love the idea of the Fediverse, but am yet to build the same sense of community I used to have on Twitter. Doug Belshaw talks about following a wide range of people. For now I am happy with RSS.
Replied to (

Coming soon: a guide to getting started building your own synthesizers! I have some info on my website, but it mostly relates to my particular modular synthesizer and doesn’t really address how to actually get started, what tools you need, where to find circuits, etc. I’d like to change that and…

This sounds fantastic Chris. Definitely interested. Just need to get me a workshop too
Replied to (

I’m building a small robotic orchestra. Why play drums yourself when you can get bits of code, wire, and solenoids to do it for you?

I built a little control unit that takes voltages and makes them into something that can power motors and stuff without anything catching on fire.

If you set this up with a Python script then you can just sit back and enjoy?
Replied to Windchimes by Chris Beckstrom (

This is a generative piece I built just before my daughter was born. I envisioned something that would soothe a baby, like a mobile but with sound. Like wind chimes but smoother. As it turns out, once she was born I forgot about most everything, including this project. Much later I rediscovered it and found it soothing myself!

Chris, this reminds me of Brian Eno’s iOS app Bloom.
Replied to My favorite museum ever! (

Took a trip to The Musical Instrument Museum in Scottsdale, Arizona today. What a great place! A huge variety of instruments from many places and cultures. I especially liked how inclusive they were; lots of displays highlighting female makers and musicians, displays with amateur homemade instrument…

That looks pretty awesome Chris. I love the idea of a space where you can tinker and play. I recently stumbled upon a local establishment – Melbourne Electronic Sound Studio – designed to explore the past associated with electronic music. Now to find the time to visit.
Replied to Badges! DIY Gamification by Chris Beckstrom (

I’ve been working on my website and added a new feature: Badges!

It’s basically like little digital awards you get on Foursquare, Untappd, etc. except I made them myself and award them to myself. It’s a way to get motivated and also share my achievements and skills on my website. Like the “Skills” section of LinkedIn, but self-hosted and DIY. 95% inspired by the kids show “Hey Duggee,” and 5% inspired by the * Scouts.

To see all my badges, check out

I really like this use of badges Chris. I was meaning to share with you my notes on Open Badges, but never got around to it. Your iteration reminds me of Don Presant’s discussion of ‘self assessment‘.
Replied to by Chris Beckstrom (

:synth: !!! working on adding custom emoji to my wordpress site… if I type `:synth:` it should be converted into a little image of a synthesizer, like this: :synth: (hopefully it works). What happens if this also gets posted to my Pleroma instance?

This is something that I would love to add to my site. Instead of pasting in the emoji I could write :thump_up: and it would translate. In part I have never really had the time to dig in. Did you add something to your child theme?
Bookmarked CB’s Synesthesia by Chris Beckstrom (

My brain is wired a bit differently than most other brains. I have synesthesia, a neurological condition where one sensory input can cause me to have more than one sensory experience.

Chris Beckstrom provides a primer to synesthesia and reflects on his own experiences. I remember reading once about Rollo Armstrong from Faithless creating music by colour, but Beckstrom unpacks this in more detail.

I am intrigued as to how this appreciation of sound differs from the ‘phonographic memory’ experienced by artists like Paul Dempsey:

He’s amused by “people close to the band” chiding him for being “wilfully obscure” as a writer. Can he help it if he finds Galileo, Max Planck, electricity, echolalia and “brains in jars” more interesting than girls in cars? Or if his uncanny ability to play anything on a range of instruments after a single hearing – his bandmates call it his “phonographic memory” – naturally attracts him to more challenging musical ideas?

I also came upon this extensive list of artists on Wikipedia.

Listened Beckstrom Holiday Extravaganza Volume X, by Chris Beckstrom from Chris Beckstrom

6 track album

It is always an interesting time of year when it comes to music. Michael Buble has his niche. Last year Sia created an interesting album of original music. With all this said there is something truly joyful about these Holiday Extravaganzas. The pictures are also a useful reflection of the effort required.
Liked Building a portable modular synthesizer in a roller skate case by Chris Beckstrom (

The cold weather has arrived which means it’s time to transition from mostly outdoor activity to mostly indoor activity. I’ve been working on some electronics projects, perhaps gearing up to sell some of my creations (stay tuned!).
In the meantime, I’ve started working on a new modular synthes…