Magnetic Strip Sounder

Matt CookElectronics0 Comments

Another new project – the Magnetic Strip Sounder. The idea is to extract sound from some of the objects found in the world that have magnetic strips; from store cards to train tickets, credit and debit cards, air plane boarding passes, id cards for offices and students.

These cards store data in a similar method to how a cassette tape stores sound, therefore it should be possible to transform that data into sound by touching the magnetic strip with the playhead of a cassette player – audio created from hidden or secret data.

First, take apart a cassette walkman, the circuit board can be rehoused in a nice alloy box to make it more durable and nice looking as well as increasing the grounding. The motor can be disconnected and removed, but short circuiting its wires removes a lot of noise from the output signal.

Add a battery pack, reroute the headphone jack and the playhead wire to stereo minijack sockets and add a toggle switch to the wires that were connected by the play button. Attach the playhead to twin screened audio cable and a minijack plug.

First, take apart a cassette walkman, the circuit board can be rehoused in a nice alloy box to make it more durable and nice looking as well as increasing the grounding. The motor can be disconnected and removed, but short circuiting its wires removes a lot of noise from the output signal.

Add a battery pack, reroute the headphone jack and the playhead wire to stereo minijack sockets and add a toggle switch to the wires that were connected by the play button. Attach the playhead to twin screened audio cable and a minijack plug.

The playhead has been attached to a pen using heat shrink tubing so that it can be held easily, but there could be other methods. This is why it plugs into the box with a minijack, this way it can be replaced or changed to make a different instrument.

Having made this a Google search revealed this guy who has used a similar method to make a cassette scratching device. Also Laurie Anderson made a violin with 1/4 inch tape attached to the bow and of course the Mellotron. It would be cool to have a slot that pulled the cards through at different speeds and output the sound.

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