New Silhouette Eins Synthesizer Blurs The Line Between Sound & Image (Sneak Preview)

Developer Johannes Pit Przygodda shared this sneak preview of the Silhouette eins optical soundtrack synthesizer.

The Silhouette eins follows in the tradition of instruments like Evgeny Murzin’s ANS synthesizer and Daphne Oram’s Oramics Machine – devices that directly synthesized music from graphical scores.

“I dreamt I was surfing inside a wave of sound,” says Przygodda. “Since 1992, I’ve been looking for the way to get there. Since 2014, I’ve been building the instrument. Now it is here.”

The Silhouette Eins synthesizer is designed to bridge the worlds of visuals and sound. It features a camera and light table, which can be used to capture images that are translated into sound. It can also use photographs and videos as sources.

The source visuals are shown on a display, where you can select the area that is used to generate audio waves. You can manipulate and modulate the visual in order to change the resulting sound. You can also use tools like LFO’s and effects to create more complex sounds.

The Silhouette Eins also lets you output the display, so you can project the visuals that are generating the sound.

Features:

  • Live camera and light table
  • 1 optical soundtrack oscillator
  • 4 voices
  • 5 modulation waves
  • 7 modulation driver sources (LFOs, EGs, etc.)
  • 18 modulation addresses
  • Screen record
  • Reverb
  • Users can add their own content pictures and movies
  • Trackpad to move area and for edit functions
  • 37 full-size keyboard
  • Stereo output linkable to area position
  • Video output for audiovisual performance
  • External connections via MIDI

Audio Demos:

The Silhouette Eins is in development & the demo video was created with prototype #1.  Przygodda plans on debuting the synthesizer at Superbooth 2021, scheduled for Sept 15-18 in Berlin. See the Silhouette site for more information.

22 thoughts on “New Silhouette Eins Synthesizer Blurs The Line Between Sound & Image (Sneak Preview)

  1. Finally some substantial innovation in the world of synthesizers. Been dreaming for something like this to become reality for a good while now. Really hope Johannes will succeed in bringing this idea beyond simple technological curiosity. Best of luck to him.

  2. This looks like it would be amazing for experimental music, ambient soundscapes and soundtracks.

    But since it has a keyboard on it, I’d like to hear some more tonal examples. It could be interesting to use your left hand to control the timbre, with gestures, while you play with the right hand.

    This highlights that – like a lot of synths – this instrument seems very tailored to right-handed people. It would be good to get some lefties into the loop for feedback.

    1. I’m a lefty, but of course have had to play melodies with my right hand since I was a kid – so really not much of a bother at all.

  3. Check these out if you like to play with Image to Sound:

    Pixel Synth is a browser-based synthesizer that can read images and convert the information into sound.
    https://ojack.xyz/PIXELSYNTH/

    Image to Sound Mapping
    https://www.seeingwithsound.com/im2sound.htm

    Photo Sounder is the first audio editor/synthesizer
    https://photosounder.com/

    Sonic Photo is an audio program to convert from pictures to sound
    https://www.skytopia.com/software/sonicphoto/

    Create music and visuals not possible with other tools
    https://uisoftware.com/

    Audio Paint generates sounds from pictures
    http://www.nicolasfournel.com/?page_id=125

    Beep Map generates sound based on an image
    https://www.image-line.com/fl-studio-learning/fl-studio-online-manual/html/plugins/BeepMap.htm

  4. I love this – it’s opens lots of avenues for happenstance & serendipity, and I really enjoy that.

    An issue however might be predictability & reproducibility. Can the user anticipate the type of sound they’ll get from a given image or hand motion? Or does it remain a bit like some synths with macros where you twist a knob and you’re never too sure what’s going to happen?

    Anyway, would love to play it and experiment!!

  5. That plexiglass controller is an entire invention of its own – you can now overlay physical controls over any screen!!! This is pure magic!!

      1. Nowhere as good, passive & require a touch-sensitive screen, I’ve used things like this before and they don’t work well. I think the idea of overlying physical encoder knobs is in a different league.

  6. Been there, done that. Image-Line Harmor can make sound from images. So can Coagula Lite, which is free. So can a couple of others I can’t quite recall at the moment. A hardware synth with a built in scanner is hardly necessary.

  7. What the fuuuuuck dude. Mindblowing! Really incredible stuff. Imagine being too cynical to think this is incredible… ahem… kurtfaasse… ahem.

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