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PyschTone in Javascript (Like Triadex Muse)
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Music Tech DIY  
Author PyschTone in Javascript (Like Triadex Muse)
This was posted by Donald Tillman on the SDIY list and I thought people would find it interesting:

(Oh, there's also a link to his Javascript Muse emulation too - down the bottom - along with PDF of the original PsychTone DIY project)

This is a software simulation of the Don Lancaster's Psych Tone that runs in a browser.

The Psych Tone was an early electronic music algorithmic composer and synthesizer presented in the February 1971 issue of Popular Electronics Magazine. It uses a 6-bit Linear Feedback Shift Register, to produce a repeating pseudo-random sequence up to 63 notes long. Three taps are made off the shift register, those are weighted, and summed to drive a Voltage-Controlled Oscillator to produce a pitch. Then an envelope is applied.

The Psych Tone is incredibly rare. It was a complex project, not many people built them, and it is difficult to find a working unit today. And that's a shame, because this was a remarkable device and we can learn much from it. So I recreated the Psych Tone in software, from the schematics, so it can be appreciated.
I'm here for any questions or discussion about either the Psych Tone of the Muse.

Psych Tone:

Original article in Popular Electronics magazine:

Triadex Muse:

-- Don
Don Lancaster, nice to see you on the forum! Your articles from the electronic magazines and your books have been great sources of knowledge and inspiration for many of us.

Was wondering if anyone has attempted to more recently resurrect the classic Psych-Tone and build a unit from scratch. Could even etch the original PCB pattern, but the hardest part might be finding the same switches or adapting different switches.
I'm a different Don. You don't want to get your Dons confused. You can find Don Lancaster at

Building a Psych Tone would not be difficult. Of course you have to choose the level of authenticity you want to strive for.

You can find the original RTL logic chips on eBay, or you can substitute CMOS and make a few circuit changes (like the wired-or connection on the pause selector).

12-position rotary switches are certainly available, but they wouldn't fit the original PC board. The original 12-position rotary switches were a common part, so you can probably score some from the usual surplus places.

Only the three 12-position rotary switches were mounted on the PC board, all the other pots and switches were hand wired to the board.

The Voice selection interlocking radio button set was never spec'd, so you'd have to come up with something there. Perhaps a 6-position rotary switch.

-- Don not-Lancaster
Ahh yes, careless reading on my part, sorry. I've got my Dons straightened out now.

Thanks Don Tillman, for programming the software simulation of the Psych-tone, and making it available for all of us to try it out!
Thanks for sharing, very playable software. Guinness ftw!
Sliding a little bit out of topic, wondering if there a similar sequencer in modular format?
synthpriest wrote:
Sliding a little bit out of topic, wondering if there a similar sequencer in modular format?

Not yet, but I'm working on it (I've had the core of the code working for a long time, but I need to port it to a different processor and get the display driver working).

Fantastic project. Guinness ftw!
I drooled all over those pages back in the day. I desperately wanted to build that thing, but I was 11 and not well-funded, so it never happened. Thank you for letting me finally hear it!
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