I really wasn’t sure what I was going to do tonight.  An hour before work ended I walked around the place and gathered up random junk to perhaps try my hand at junkbot building but I had a feeling that I probably wasn’t quite ready for that yet.  Then suddenly I remembered a concept that my friend Jon Sonnenberg had told me about once.  By the way, Jon is probably one of the smartest and  most creative people that I know.  Ever since he was a kid he was building synthesizers, messing around with circuits and making his own instruments.



Anyways, he told me that you could use a garden hose to create a natural delay in an audio signal.  For example, get a friend to grab one end of a garden hose and have them flick it with their finger while you have your ear up to the other end.  What you’ll hear is the sound of the flicking only softer and a tiny bit later.  The longer the hose, the longer the delay.



For my experiment, I used one garden hose about 15 ft in length and another one at about 50 ft in length.  I found an old beaten up set of computer speakers and I cracked them open to get the speakers out.  Then I duct taped one end of each hose to the left and right speakers respectively.  Then I used two SM57 instrument mics (mainly because they are the perfect size for the end of a hose) and taped each one to the other end of each of the garden hoses.



Finally, once I had that set up, I opened Ableton Live and sent some audio signals out of the computer speakers.  The sound would then travel through the garden hose and then back into the computer via the SM57’s.  At first it didn’t seem to be working but I realized that I had too much sound bleeding into the mics and the delay wasn’t very  apparent.  I fixed that with a bunch of blankets in order to muffle the sound.  Finally I had it more or less working.



In the audio player below you can listen to some of the results.  There is an instrument track featuring a banjo and electric guitar.  Then there is a speaking voice sample from the MCRPV5 reading an excerpt from Peter and the Wolf.  Have a listen.  It’s kind of interesting the way the sound is degraded through the longer hose.  It kind of sounds like an old radio signal.  The left ear is the short hose and the right ear is the longer hose. I did add a little bandpass filtering to the longer hose to make it more resonant.  I also have some other recordings that I did with this set-up and I’ll be adding those throughout the day. Enjoy!

Just added a choir sample. Not percussive at all so the delay is not as apparent but still very pretty through the garden hoses.
Added a little recording of the same banjo samples in the instrument track except this one has been treated with a monome app called Boiing.

Banjo Boing

3 Replies to “Day 052 / Garden Hose Stereo Delay

  1. Jeff

    I love the panning effect with the two different hose lengths. When can we jam along with the choir sample? It sounds amazing.

  2. The B-Roll

    This was a favorite of mine when it came to idea to creation but I was surprised how such a difference in hose length only provided for such a short delay.

Comments are closed.