Lite2Sound PX

LITE2SOUND PX banner 0

An educational electronic hobby kit that lets you explore the sounds of ambient light. Designed to be portable and easy to use, this kit gives access to the same world of audio as original LITE2SOUND and Sound Cameras.

Lite2Sound PX made its debut as a Piksel [X] workshop, and is now in stock at $49 (kit), $74 (assembled and tested).

Plug in your headphones and 9V battery and go exploring. Measuring 8 x 4.5 x 4 cm and weighing 80g with battery, it fits your pocket. The sliding volume control lever is the only adjustment necessary. Lite2Sound PX’s auto-gain circuit accommodates changes in brightness so you don’t have to tweak or fiddle with anything.

The kit contains the PCB, all of the parts needed, and printed assembly instructions. Previous experience with soldering and kit-building is recommended, but not necessary.

Tools required

  • Soldering iron with good quality tip
  • Rosin-core solder … 0.032″ diameter suggested
  • Wire cutters, flush cutting type
  • Small Philips screwdriver
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Work light
  • Magnifier (optional)

Lite2Sound PX Builders’ Guide 1.4

LITE2SOUND is a portable sensing device that extracts audio from ambient light. Not a synthesizer, more like a microphone that detects a hidden layer of your environment.

LITE2SOUND reveals unusual sounds by responding to rapid but invisible changes in brightness. A sensitive amplifier boosts this information to audio level and delivers it to your headphones or line input, and can drive a speaker directly with its built-in 1-watt amp.

Beyond the ubiquitous mains hum transmitted by lighting, and the static hiss of sunlight, you can find many sounds of different character being produced by high technology.

In technology-saturated spaces, musical chords emerge and fade as luminous sources harmonize together into unintended soundscapes.

Suggested listening: metro commute… arcade… carnival midway… highway at night… high street… anywhere you find bold, bright electronic lighting! Results are usually best at night.

Even nature creates content for LITE2SOUND’s reception, if one looks in the right places. Its purpose is to reward your curiosity. Some highlights from a collection of photodiode recordings are presented below.

The ambient household: personal electronics

CD player fluorescent display
CRT monitor
CRT and optical mouse
IR remote control (TV-b-Gone)
Disk activity light
Optical mouse
Phone screen 1
Phone screen 2

Natural sounds: sunlight reflections

Tiny insects swarming and air turbulence
Lake oscillations 1
Lake oscillations 2

Found sound collage: the nocturnal urban environment

Downtown lights collage
Air turbulence as car passes stationary light

Laser pointer reflections from textured or vibrating solid objects

Guitar strings
Laser reflecting from 33rpm record – music
Laser reflecting from 33rpm record – speech
Fabric texture

Adding a convex lens for ‘telephoto’ photodiode recording

Fireworks collage

Sunlight reflections from percussion instruments

Sunlight reflecting from 16″ crash cymbal
Sunlight reflecting from 22″ ride cymbal
Sunlight reflecting from snare drum head

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