In the September issue of Popular Science, Mike Kobrin reviewed the Moog guitar—an incredible instrument whose electromagnet pickups actually change the string's motion. Stick it in "mute" mode and you're playing a banjo; turn on "sustain" and it holds notes indefinitely. It turns out, however that writing and reading about the guitar can never be quite adequate. So Kobrin sat down and filmed it in action. Rock on, after the jump.
The two black pickup units control how the strings vibrate.
Every shredder, from Les Paul to Jack White, has tweaked the sound of his guitar—adding echo, distortion or "wah-wah"—by manipulating the electric signal it produces. The Moog Guitar, on the other hand, manipulates the strings themselves, changing how it sounds and how it feels to play.
A mini amplifier powers huge speakers using technology from satellites
By Mike KobrinPosted 08.05.2008 at 3:01 am 1 Comment
Building a traditional amplifier isn’t rocket science, but making a digital one that’s a fraction of the size and just as powerful is. Part of a wireless music-streaming system, the tiny Sonos Zone Player ZP120 is able to drive giant speakers like the B&W 803s [pictured] using the same kind of power supply found in satellites.
A floor-to-ceiling virtual instrument that can rock for real
By Mike KobrinPosted 07.16.2008 at 12:19 pm 9 Comments
Playing the harp isn't the most high-tech pastime—unless, like Stephen Hobley, you use lasers in place of the strings. Though not the first home-built laser harp, Hobley's creation is unquestionably the coolest. Played by disrupting the laser beams with his hands, it can produce just about any sound. Better yet, it's also a fully functioning controller for a version of Guitar Hero.
The real reason Sony’s new mini speakers are so powerful
By Mike KobrinPosted 06.05.2008 at 2:50 pm 2 Comments
Sony's petite SRS-ZX1 computer speakers produce outsize bass for their dimensions (7.5 by 3.1 by 7 inches). But the company's press release had us stumped. It said that the speakers amplify low tones by directing sound along a Möbius strip, a flat strip twisted 180 degrees and joined at the ends. One problem: A Möbius strip is a two-dimensional closed loop. How would sound get in or out?