I Made a Noise Machine for Experimental Music

Mini Drone Noise Machine – Photo by Dan Steven Erickson

I’ve spent the last few months working on creating two effects pedalboards. I’m done for now. I posted earlier that I was working on a guitar pedal board. I’ll add the final image of that project later in this post. But I also created a noise machine as seen above.

Let’s talk about noise.

The little black box with five white knobs is a mini drone. It’s essentially an oscillator with three types of radio waves, tone, and volume. By itself it creates some cool tones. I can blend two to three different tones to get some great drone effects.

But things get more interesting when you add a few other pedals. The pedal to the left of the mini drone is an inexpensive fuzz pedal. I originally bought it for guitar but decided fuzz isn’t my thing with guitar. There’s a gated option on this pedal which helps to create rhythms by squeezing and cutting the signal.

Next in line is the historic DS-1 distortion pedal. This adds some grit to the pure tones coming from the drone. The Freeze is a sound retainer. Basically, I can take one tone and make it play forever. Then I can work over the top of that tone.

Finally, you’ll see a silencer, a noise gate. This helps to cut unwanted signals and can create some glitchy effects. However, I recently traded this out for my old drive pedal for extra volume and tone control.

Here’s what I get: pure drones, machine-like sounds, harmonics, discordance, rhythms, glitches, white noise, static, squeal, and all sorts of combinations. Essentially, it works great for making drones and textures that can be mixed into other works. Expect some new experimental work from Anderhill soon.

My current guitar pedalboard.

And here’s the guitar setup. I removed the volume pedal because it was shorting out. So it starts with the tuner followed by an MXR compressor, then the MK4.23 clean boost, the Holy Fire 9 overdrive/distortion combo, an MXR Phase 90, MXR Carbon Copy analog delay, and the T-Rex Tremster tremolo. I love this set up but the phase is my least favorite.

I can always interchange pedals between boards or add new ones, but for now, I’m happy with both setups.  – dse

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Author: Dan Steven Erickson

Dan Steven Erickson is a great undiscovered American songwriter.