Reprinted from the liner notes found in Q Electronics "Drum Buddy Demonstration Record Vol. 1" LP / CD
Electrical energy, when closely examined, is in fact more similar in its complexity to a plant or an animal form than it is to the mechanical devices or computer machines with which it is usually associated. It is not necessarily more complex, but equally microcosmically complex. There exists a set of operating rules so small and elusive that we cannot observe their exact patterns, but only the results of their behavior. This organic behavior of electricity is made most apparent by the newly patented Qelectronics DRUM BUDDY instrument simply because the basis for its entire sound and playability is a delicate interaction between photo sensitive resistors and 5 specially designed oscillators. There are elements at work within these interactions that go far beyond the reproduction of a schematic to produce a synthesized sound. There is nothing particularly mysterious about the actual photo resistors. They are merely utilizing the curious property of Cadmium Sulfide which, in total darkness, creates strong resistance to the flow of electrons. As more light is shed on a Cadmium Sulfide cell, its resistance to the flow of electrons rapidly decreases - eventually to the point of being a very low resistance conductor. Imagine a plastic rope (which does not conduct electricity) morphing into a braided metal wire (which will be an excellent conductor of electricity) right before your very eyes. Imagine further that you can control this transformation by dimming the lights - in the dark you have a plastic rope; turn the lights halfway up and the rope is transforming into metal wire; lights all the way up bright and you have 100% braided German silver. The Cadmium Sulfide photo resistors are located inside of the bent colored tubes around the can of the DRUM BUDDY and are like little bits of this special rope within each oscillator circuit, morphing from conductor to non-conductor and back again as the light from the holes passes them by. Strange and amazing but actually not very complicated. In fact, photo-electric resistors have been around for decades and have often been used in musical and sound producing circuits. The real complexity of the DRUM BUDDY instrument is in the actual oscillator design and the tailoring of their interactions with the light sensors. For instance, a schematic for the "Scratch" sound can be produced several times using all good working components, even making sure that semiconductors are all from the same manufacturer and have matching part #s, and yet some circuits will produce the proper scratch sound - some will produce the wrong sound - and some will produce no sound at all. This proves that there are definite differences in components that are manufactured to behave consistently in almost all electrical equipment. But for the DRUM BUDDY, all of the transistors and ICs must be hand picked and tested in order to produce the proper DRUM BUDDY sounds and even when they are achieved - no two DRUM BUDDYs will sound exactly the same. My point being, and you can clearly hear it in this recording, is that the magical combination of three things - mechanical energy (the players hand), light sensitive electron resistors (CD cells), and carefully designed analog sound oscillators - truly demonstrate how the nature of electrical energy can be revealed as far more subtle and biomorphic than a simple on/off switch or a bolt of lightning.
Oh yes, by the way, the DRUM BUDDY is indeed 100% analog. On this controversial subject I must say that, although I am certainly not anti-digital, there is definitely no replacement for the natural life-like sound of analog when it comes to producing electrical sounds. Digital is the ultimate imitator and I truly believe that there is no limit to what it can do given enough programming time and memory. But along with the latest in digital recording, sampling, and processing technology, there also needs to exist new types of electronic instruments making new sounds to be processed and manipulated. It is my opinion that a good musical instrument is simple to operate immediately and that it sounds like itself. There is a reason beyond the persistence of tradition that the tone wheel organ (Hammond B-3), the piano, the electric guitar, the trumpet, and the MOOG synthesizer are still around today. They have characteristic sounds all their own and were wholly designed to just do that one thing. A piano makes its sound in a mechanical acoustical way - with the physical vibrations of metal wires on a soundboard. The Farfisa organ makes its special sound in an electronic way and the limitations of the circuitry are what makes a Farfisa sound like a Farfisa. And that is a good thing, right? I believe that the digital revolution has cut short the development of new analog electronic instruments - this is a mistake. Analog instruments are presently regarded as charming primitive antiques. Though the DRUM BUDDY and its older analog siblings can create far few "types" of sounds than a contemporary digital sampling keyboard, if you analyzed the waveforms of both you would find the DRUM BUDDY sounds to be in a constant state of subtle fluctuation, whereas the digital sounds - since they are really composed of little uniform building blocks - will be rigid and unchanging unless some parameter on the instrument is changed. The analog sound of the DRUM BUDDY, however, are constantly changing themselves - shimmering with a living complexity which even the 24 bit digital signal could never truly posses. When you hear the DRUM BUDDY (unless it is one of those rare moments when it is performing its "violin" or "flock of witches" sound effects) you will know that it is the DRUM BUDDY - it can be nothing else. This is not an old fashioned or "retro styled" instrument. This was even suggested to me by one of my first patent lawyers who was immediately released. The DRUM BUDDY represents the future of electronic instruments. Mark these words: After the cultural obsession with digital begins to fade (it is already happening in the world of cutting edge techno, noise, and rap music) the DRUM BUDDY will just be one of many different types of electronic instruments - both digital, analog, and especially hybrids - each of which will posses its own characteristic sound and each of which needs to be played physically in some special new way. The purely programmable/non-interactive computer instruments and music software of today are what will seem old-fashioned in the future. The DRUM BUDDY does not require any musical training or computer skills to play - and you do play the DRUM BUDDY; it must be learned just like any other instrument. The only difference with the DRUM BUDDY is that the rules are all new and not based on any pre-ordained music system, but on color-coded switches, pipes, knobs, and your own sense of rhythm - not a single number, letter or word to restrict your playing. Sure, you can just turn the thing on and let it go by itself, but the real action is in the scratching and the knob twiddling. Even if you are not considering purchasing one of these, I am sure that you will still enjoy this first introductory LP of an incredible new electronic instrument - the DRUM BUDDY.
The Drum Buddy is a five-oscillator, light-activated, mechanically-rotating drum machine that took five years to develop and design. The multitude of sounds it produces are a result of a direct link between the human hand and sheer electronic voltage!
Mr. Quintron explains, "It creates sounds and music electronically, like a synthesizer, but the important thing that separates the Drum Buddy from all other synthesizers is that the oscillators are light activated and you can play them intuitively by moving a can around which is located on the top of the Drum Buddy. Also, the relationship between the light and the oscillators is very delicate and constantly changing - and that is what gives the Drum Buddy its unique sound."Ê The Drum Buddy is an impressive looking instrument, and easy to play. It's ideal for DJs, musicians, recording engineers, and even children.
ORDER YOUR DRUM BUDDY TODAY for a special introductory low price of $999.99.Ê Only 100 Drum Buddies will be sold! Each drum buddy is handmade and tested by Quintron. Each Drum Buddy is an original, with each one sounding slightly different. The Drum Buddy comes with a 9 year guarantee. Also included is a FREE CD or LP of the Drum Buddy Demo, and a Drum Buddy hot beverage ceramic mug! PLUS, you get FREE admission to a Drum Buddy workshop where you get a hands-on lesson from the inventor and master of the instrument himself, Mr. Quintron!*
*All Drum Buddy workshops are held in New Orleans. If you live outside of the city, you must pay all of your own expenses to New Orleans for the class.
the drum buddy (second prototype)
To receive FREE information on how to order your Drum Buddy or other products in the Quintron catalog, please send a SASE (self addressed stamped envelope) to: