EXCTR-network close up.

EXCTR-network close up.

The Spatial Aural Exciter is a project initiated by Samy Kramer. It is essentially a cheap multichannel system consisting of small synthesizer boards that can be connected together in different configurations. Systems can comprise of hundreds of boards. Especially in large systems allow generating big masses of sound that can be moved in space. Individual boards are based on ATMega328 microcontroller and are compatible with Arduino libraries.

Example of exctr-network configuration.

Example of exctr-network configuration.

Exctr-system consists of several different parts. One part is a software running on computer that is sending parameters for individual synthesizer nodes. The communication between computer and individual nodes is done by using MIDI like protocol. The synthesizer nodes are connected in series. Commands are sent from the computer to the string of nodes. Nodes will forward the data to the next node until correct receiver has been reached. Largest practical length for one string is around 40 nodes. In larger networks, multiplexer nodes can be used to combine parallel strings to one network.

Individual synthesizer nodes are small electronic boards consisting mainly on ATmega328 microcontroller and a piezo speaker. The software turns microcontroller to a simple monophonic synthesizer. As one would expect, one can alter the waveform, frequency and amplitude in real time. Band limited sound synthesis algorithms are currently under development.

Exctr-system has been exhibited in several exhibitions over the Europe. Currently this project is actively developed and so far biggest configuration will be exhibited in Turku July 2014.

The software for the single board can be found at http://launchpad.net/thespatialauralexciter. The official website of the project can be found at http://exctr.net/.

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