ADDAC System brings Cracklebox to Eurorack Module

ADDAC System has introduced a limited edition release (75 units) of an iconic electronic instrument in modular format: the Cracklebox.

Cracklebox (ADDAC708) is a tribute to the pioneering work of Dutch musician and instrument maker Michel Waiswisz (1949 – 2008), who invented Cracklebox with Geert Hamelberg in the late 1960s.

The Cracklebox was a small, handheld device that was designed to explore new sonic territories. As one of the first electronic musical instruments to use circuit bending techniques in the creation of electronic music, it allowed musicians to manipulate and control electronic circuits in real-time — thus creating an enormous range of unique and experimental sounds.

Michel Waiswisz used a circuit from a toy piano as the basis for the instrument, and then added a series of touch-sensitive pads that were connected to the circuit. When a player touched one of the pads, the circuit would be complete, producing a crackling sound.

“The Cracklebox was probably the first commercially available portable, self-powered, alternative ‘keyboard’ analog electronic instrument that also featured a built in loudspeaker,” commented André Gonçalves, CEO and Founder of ADDAC System. “In the decades since its invention, the Cracklebox has continued to be an important and influential instrument in the world of electronic music. It is still in use today, and is considered a classic example of the potential electronic music has to create unique and innovative sounds.”

An example of an original Cracklebox in action:

Re-booting A Classic

In the 1970s about 4000 Crackleboxes were built and sold by STEIM in Amsterdam. Today, many people consider the Cracklebox as the archetype of ‘glitch’ or ‘circuit bending’.

The ADDAC System Eurorack recreation includes a 9v battery, swappable through the front panel. This allows isolation of the current flowing through the user’s fingers from the Eurorack frame PSU. ADDAC also removed the internal speaker and integrated a transformer, instead, to isolate the output signal.

The module features an On/Off switch to turn off the 9v battery, a Power Starve knob, which reduces the 9v voltage feeding the circuitry and changing its overall timbre/pitch, and an Output Gain knob to control the output volume. A Boost switch is also included to add more presence to the signal, as needed.

Its Output section can be used as audio, as a gate or a CV signal. When using it as a CV source, users may wish to experiment by sending it through other modules with slew, sample and hold, quantization and other functionality to help tame and control its peculiar CV output.

The ADDAC System Cracklebox is available now for €150.


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