Circuit Girl Turns Floppy Drive Into Reverb

Winsome uber-geek Jeri Ellsworth, aka Circuit Girl, describes how she attached a floppy drive to a tape deck to record and play back audio, creating the floppy drive reverb effect.

Note: We’ve got to interrupt this post to note that Ellsworth reverse-engineered the C-64 onto a chip, and  owns 43 pinball machines and 3 electron microscopes. She never graduated high school, but now gives guest lectures at Stanford.

She also rolls cars for fun, when she’s not turning old floppy drives into audio effects.

Back to the floppy drive reverb effect:

A simple circuit stepped the head automatically using the spindle index pulse. A push button was used to control the direction. The drive head wrote to more than one track at a time, causing an interesting reverb effect. ***Erasing the disk with rare earth magnets while spinning in the not mentioned in the video.

Leave a comment with your thoughts on Circuit Girl and the floppy drive reverb!

7 thoughts on “Circuit Girl Turns Floppy Drive Into Reverb

  1. This is quite a hack but the effect actually sounds kind of cool.

    I wish they would have included some directly recorded audio, so we could have a better idea of what it sounds like.

    Circuit Girl sounds pretty cool, too!

  2. That’s pretty cool. Gotta love hackers repurposing older technology – to great effect!

    I’m also impressed by the FUNCTIONING Tempest machine in the background. I owned one in my college years – it’s not a very easy task to keep one working nowadays. Color vector monitors have a serious power defect, causing them to repeatedly blow expensive power transistors. Kudos to them for keeping such a beautiful machine alive and well.

  3. That is not reverb; it is called a delay line.
    A reverb is a much smoother effect that sounds like a complex acoustical space, rather than discrete echoes.

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