The good people over at the commonsound collective have some great kits/pedals/projects that I've been drooling over building for a while. In December, I finally broken down and forced myself to build a couple of them. My intention was to build one for my brother, but ultimately I ended up making two boards and doubling my parts order so that I could construct one for myself.

triwavepicoswash 1 triwavepicoswash 2

On top of that, because I couldn't decide which sounds I liked best, I decided to build two pedals into one monster box pedal. Instead of doing the printed-paper-glued-on-cardboard approach, my cohort Halluc convinced me to layout and etch (well, route actually) some PC boards. Through his connections, we gained access to a circuit board router. After laying out the schematic in PSpice, the router did all the work. I have to admit, having a real PCB made the construction much simpler.

The result is the triwavepicoswash...a device that combines the triwave picogenerator with the noise swash. Limited edition only, numbered 1 through 2. ;)

Version 1

owner: dustin plumb, las vegas, nv

Version 1 of the triwavepicoswash was built into a nice aluminium case that originally housed an underwater sonar depth finder, circa 1974 (thrift store cost approx $8.00). The case is perfect because it is aluminium and has a hinged top with a plexiglas panel. Before the case was spray painted fire-engine red, the plexiglas window was masked off to maintain the transparency. The end result looks a bit like a smallish, bizaare television. A customized picture can be added to the box by simply opening the hinged lid and taping one on. The bottom has stick-on rubber feet to protect the valuable surfaces on which it may one day sit.

Controls (switches/knobs/jacks) are mounted on five sides of the box (all but the bottom, duh). Input jack is in front, output jacks are in the rear. All controls and jacks are labeled with cheap-o laser printed scissor cut labels.

The following pictures show version 1 in various states of construction and the final outcome. Although the inside is a bit of a rats nest (yes, that is a technical term), I think it turned out well.

Sounds from version 1:

The following sound clips were recorded directly from the triwavepicoswash version one. There are no effects added and no editing has been performed. These clips were recorded quickly in one take with next to no practice. I simply plugged the device into a sound card for a few minutes prior to shipping it off. They are intended primarily to demonstrate some of the basic sounds and are not to be misconstrued as pieces.

I should also note that the noise swash sound was created with no input device attached. All noise swash sounds were created by setting the self-oscillating features. It could sound quite different with something actually attached. :)

version 2

owner: jason plumb, portland, or

Version 2 of the triwavepicoswash was built into a retro style heating plate originally used to keep food warm (thrift store cost $3.95). The heating plate case has real wood handles and an artificial wood grain top. The gold finish sides and fakey wood top are aluminium, the bottom is cheapo pressboard with hard plastic feet.

All controls are mounted on the front panel and labeled with scissor-cut laser printed labels. The input, output(s), and power jacks are on the rear and side. Space was left in the middle of the panel to separate the two functional groups, show off the nice wood grain, and provide a convenient beer coaster.

Sounds from version 2:

The following sample really shows some of the mayhem that can be caused with the triwavepicoswash. It was recorded directly off the version 2 box in one take, no effects, with no editing. The output of the triwave picogenerator was fed into the input of the noise swash for this sample. I think it adds a whole new depth to the sound.


This project would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication from the guys at the commonsound collective of audio innovators. Thanks a ton. Keep the noise.