The SparkFun SparkPunk Kit is a sound generator made in the spirit of the Atari Punk Console. Rather than simply recreating the Atari Punk, the SparkPunk is a new design that springs from a similar foundation. It starts with a dual 555 timer IC, then adds a second tone source, sub-octaves and a bandpass filter. With all of the knobs and switches, a lot of tonal variations are possible. As a through-hole kit, the SparkPunk can also be easily extended and modified, expanding the palette of tones even further.
The SparkPunk is a very simple synthesizer, using the somewhat conventional arrangement of oscillators that feed a filter. All you need to know to play this sound generator is to press the button, operate the control knobs, listen to the results, and adjust your music to how you want it. The SparkPunk is intended for you to explore and have fun! Some people are drawn to mellow, soothing sounds, while others prefer clangourous tones, and that's fine, to each their own. With all of the controls, you should be able to explore both ends of the spectrum.
In addition, the SparkPunk is quite customizable as well. Any knob with a 0.25" inner diameter can be attached to the tops of each potentiometer, external speaker lines can be soldered into the board for a more permanent sound distrobution option, and photocells can be added to control the kit without actually touching it. There are plenty more optional modifications that can be added and played with.
This skill defines how difficult the soldering is on a particular product. It might be a couple simple solder joints, or require special reflow tools.
Skill Level: Rookie - The number of pins increases, and you will have to determine polarity of components and some of the components might be a bit trickier or close together. You might need solder wick or flux.
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Whether it's for assembling a kit, hacking an enclosure, or creating your own parts; the DIY skill is all about knowing how to use tools and the techniques associated with them.
Skill Level: Noob - Basic assembly is required. You may need to provide your own basic tools like a screwdriver, hammer or scissors. Power tools or custom parts are not required. Instructions will be included and easy to follow. Sewing may be required, but only with included patterns.
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If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.
Skill Level: Rookie - You may be required to know a bit more about the component, such as orientation, or how to hook it up, in addition to power requirements. You will need to understand polarized components.
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Based on 6 ratings:
This is a fun little guy who has quite the sound. Spent hours with friend trying our best to recreate popular hits.
Sparkfun mails your order post haste! I was so happy b/c my electronics class were making these together and I really messed my first one up, and when I ordered one on my own, these folks made sure it was sent right away, and this is just regular mail, not express, or fast.
Thanks peeps at Sparkfun, I look foreword to checking out other products from you!
Funky Chicken (^_^)
I just finished putting this together after receiving it a few weeks ago. I knew some soldering basics but hadn't done it in years, never did it well to begin with. I had this kit together in about 2.5 hours and it worked without any trouble shooting. That's either a testament to me or the kit but I'd bet on the latter. I got this as an intro to building my own modular synthesizers. This was a great place to start and I learned quite a bit along the way. I'll be messing with wiring up some of the extra connections and building an enclosure for it in the near future.
This was a fun unit to assemble. The price was good, and the result is a very expansive musical instrument with a lot of tonal possibility. I'm glad all the components came in the kit, including a 9V battery, so I didn't have to buy anything else. it was ready to go. My friends loved it. The LED under the trigger button makes it extra cool. Good work! I'm going to get the Step Sequencer next and chain them together.
When friends are over I plug this in to the stereo and they spend hours playing with it. I posted a vid on instagram and now my brother-in-law wants me to build one for him. The breakout modification options are the most fun for me, though. I've been working on some circuits that will allow me to control it with some of my other DIY synth projects. Endless entertainment!
Construction was pretty straight forward except they sent a single 555 timer chip instead of the ICM7556. So check your parts when it arrives. The sound is very good for the price. The filter has a bit of resonance and the sweeps sound very cool. The oscillators are juicy analog and make a nice drone when slightly detuned. I recommend adding some knobs.