A Virtual Cacophonic Phototron

The Ramsgate Hovercraft is in awe of the Cacophonic Phototron. Having failed to build an electronic device that makes noises anywhere near that horrific we resorted to modelling it in software. The result is version 1 of the Virtual Cacophonic Phototron which works rather satisfactorily and is designed to be operated with the touchpad of the Korg nanoPad2.


The program runs on Linux and needs Jack2. We’ve GPL’d the source code and you’re welcome to download it and tinker with it. To use it just compile and run then use Jack to connect the nanoPad2 MIDI output to the VCP MIDI input and the VCP audio output to a suitable place such as the system audio inputs (L&R). Then just touch the pad to be rewarded (or punished as you might think) with a really unpleasant noise. You can’t really play it, just sort of influence it. Relating to the original, there are three VCOs linked in a ring so the output of one is the control for the next. In the original the amount of control signal is determined by one of three photoresistors; in the software model there are three points on the touchpad (bottom left, top middle and bottom right) that correspond to the photoresistors. When you touch one of these points the associated control signal is blocked; as you move away from it more of it gets through. None of this will help you control the noise it makes.

Here’s what it sounds like (warning: we had to upload it as a WAV file because the audio is so wild that MP3 compression just made a mess of it):

Here’s the source: