Build Tristan Shone’s Headgear MIDI Controller

Build Tristan Shone’s Headgear MIDI Controller

Tristan Shone's Headgear MIDI Controller

Back in MAKE Volume 22, I had the chance to interview musician, engineer, and fabricator Tristan Shone, the one-man industrial doom and drone metal band Author & Punisher. Tristan custom fabricates his Drone/Dub Machines from raw materials and uses open source circuitry. His machines are essentially beautiful MIDI controllers, drawing from the clean, polished lines and movements of industrial tools. In Volume 22, Tristan also shared a step-by-step tutorial for making his Headgear controller, an octo-microphone USB/MIDI controller. From the intro:

I have created an 8-microphone input device that allows me to trigger or control 8 simultaneous sounds from music sequencing software (Ableton Live) as well as output 8 different mic/audio channels of my voice for input into the computer or mixer. The 2 rows of 4 electret condenser microphones are unidirectional and compartmentalized, so there’s little cross-contamination of the audio inputs or vocals. Each microphone’s distance from your mouth is adjustable through a custom spring-loaded mechanism, and they’re close enough together that simply by turning your head or twitching a bit (much like a cat following a fly) you can easily place your mouth over any of them. The brain of the Headgear is the Arduino Duemilanove microcontroller. The entire device (microcontroller and mics) is USB powered and has 8 mono microphone outputs.

Wanna build your own? We’ve shared the full build on Make: Projects. Wanna see it in action? Check out this video clip of Tristan practicing in the studio:

Tristan is about to embark on a mini tour in the Netherlands after a few upcoming shows in the States. Check out his site for audio and video clips, and head to our Digital Edition to read the MAKE interview.

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I'm a word nerd who loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon. I was an editor on the first 40 volumes of MAKE, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. In particular, covering art is my passion — after all, art is the first thing most of us ever made. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for untouched powder fields and ideal alpine lakes.

Contact me at or via @snowgoli.

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