Around here, we love the crazy ones who don’t accept what is put in front of them. For them, off the shelf just isn’t enough to satisfy their musical desires. For them, the very idea of pulling apart expensive DJ gear isn’t an issue — in fact it’s a challenge they relish to make something much more befitting of their vision. And that’s exactly what Genesis Alejandro did with his FonoFaders prototype.

A few official words about FonoFaders:

Turntable Instrument Prototype Preview on YouTube

San Francisco, California, March, 5th 2015 – A video preview has been posted on YouTube today of the of the prototype of the PhonoFaders. Designed to showcase the idea how DJ tools like the turntable and mixer can be constructed to be used as a musical instrument, the video shows the instrument being played as piano, guitar, bass, strings, drums and scratching sounds.

The inventor, Genesis Alejandro, says “This is a the first step and proof of concept of my idea how the turntable and other DJ tools can be used as an instrument. There is definitely more to come.”

The FonoFaders prototype features multiple faders with a slide and another fader to control the pitch of the sounds.

Genesis is currently considering doing a kickstarter in the near future.

For more information please visit the FonoFaders Facebook page:

FonoFaders — what’s going on here?

Looking at the constituent parts we can see eight faders arranged in an octave, a fretless fader style chassis housing the faders and a Vestax turntable playing Serato vinyl. As to exactly what’s happening… I gave it my best guess this morning before writing to Genesis. And while I wasn’t too far away, we (that’s Genesis and myself) thought it would be fun to see how close you can get before posting the full explanation.

As ever, I’ll keep an eye on the comments and if you can’t get close, or indeed almost nail it, I’ll post the explanation I have in my inbox. For now, speculate away to see if you can work it out.

UPDATE — an explanation from Genesis

I think I teased you for long enough. Here’s the response I got back explaining the concept a little more.

Thanks for watching. You are partially correct. The Serato vinyl is kind of the red herring. The faders are really acting as faders. My initial idea had to do with having a multi-needle turntable with each sound controlled by a fader. I tried making one myself but it proved too expensive and required more skills than I am capable of. So I figured out the next best thing, the Serato S4. Basically, the signal that comes out of the record is split into 4 channels. So when you are controlling the record you controlling all 4 decks. In Serato, each deck is assigned with a track with notes of a particular sound. Each track has two different sounds or notes. One on the left and one on the right. That is how I am able to get 8 different samples working with each fader.

The samples I used are of instrument sounds and are playing through Serato. Some are looped. So in the video there is no use of triggers or hot cues although in the future I plan to show them in use to further the functionality of the instrument. The slider is configured to MIDI to control the speed of the turntable platter to  which in turn changes the pitch or note of the sound being played.

A small footnote to this — Genesis has since got it working with Traktor too. Looks like this project is progressing nicely.


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