SEPTAR: Audio Breakout Design for Multichannel Guitar

Graham, Richard and Harding, John

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

Multichannel (or divided) audio pickups are becoming increasingly ubiquitous in electric guitar and computer music communities. These systems allow performers to access signals for each string of their instrument independently and concurrently in real-time creative practice. This paper presents an open-source audio breakout circuit that provides independent audio outputs per string of any chordophone (stringed instrument) that is fitted with a multichannel audio pickup system. The following sections include a brief historical contextualization and discussion on the significance of multichannel audio technology in instrumental guitar music, an overview of our proposed impedance matching circuit for piezoelectric-based audio pickups, and a presentation of a new open-source PCB design (SEPTAR V2) that includes a mountable 13-pin DIN connection to improve compatibility with commercial multichannel pickup systems. This paper will also include a short summary of the potential creative applications and perceptual implications of this multichannel technology when used in creative practice.