micro-blackdeath noise synth


... to bring back to all of us a natural, occult equivalent of the dogma we no longer believe.

[Antonin Artaud]

*Micro-blackdeath is now out of production.The Dark Interpreter is now released.*

Returning the body, electronics, and dystopic code to the earth, revived and decoded years later as "yersinia pestis," the micro_blackdeath marks a new development in virulent open source plague computing and audio re-synthesis. In contrast to the blackdeath noise synth, micro-blackdeath (codename: yersinia pestis) acts as an infectuous sound generator rather than a vampiric sampling and processing engine. A new, additional programmable analogue filter and switched noise/feedback section render the results far from digitally restricted.

Yersinia pestis is a fully fledged viral computation unit including a central plague unit [CPU] acting as interpreter for selected instruction sets which operate on the interior cells or sound-generating individuals (the simulation of a medieval village within the synth). Instruction sets include masque (of the red death, courtesy of E.A Poe), brainfuck, redcode, plain plague and SIR (susceptible, infected, recovered).

Speed of execution and instruction set are both selected by the left-hand knob. In addition, the interior population (used to generate audio frequency) is subject to inflected plague processes (such as the hodge-podge machine) selected by the right hand (control) knob which is also used to control plague speed and filter modifications. Finally the central (hardware) knob controls the filter depth and other parameters such as switching feedback/white noise generation.

The micro-blackdeath is played like no other synth; although the hardware knob offers some degree of direct control, subtle interactions of instruction set and plague process over time distinctly alter the sound landscape, the medieval village itself played back as direct, physical audio. Please note: Crashing is part of the process; the plague CPU is, by its nature, unstable and a reboot is sometimes necessary.

Yersinia/micro-blackdeath is delivered fully assembled and tested with three high quality ALPS potentiometers, 9v battery holder for portable use, and a full size (6.5mm) JACK output socket.

Price: 57 euros with free shipping worldwide

No longer available.


Recorded using Tascam DR-07 mics in front of monitor speaker. No effects. No edits.

micro-blackdeath (yersinia pestis) by martin_howse


Schematic and design


The schematic and PCB design (all licensed under the GPL) are available from: https://github.com/microresearch/blackdeath

Parts List

  • 1x micro-blackdeath PCB
  • 2x 22pF capacitor SMD 0805
  • 6x 100nF capacitor SMD 0805
  • 2x 1uF capacitor SMD 1206
  • 1x 10uF capacitor SMD 1206
  • 1x 10K resistor SMD 0805
  • 1x 330R resistor SMD 0805
  • 1x 16 MHz XTAL HC49 SMD
  • 1x AVR ATmega168-AU SMD
  • 1x 4066 SMD
  • 1x 40106 SMD
  • 1x MAX7400 switched cap filter SMD
  • 1x 7805 voltage regulator TO-220
  • 1x red LEDs SMD 0805
  • 3x ALPS 100K potentiometers (RK09K1130A5R)
  • 2x Mono PCB or panel mount jack (6,35mm) (Banzai: Jack MO-PCB-NS)
  • 5 pin SIL RM2,5 connector for programming
  • 1x sliding switch (ALPS)
  • 9v battery holder(Keystone)

Make your own PCB or purchase for 17 euros (with free shipping worldwide).

Sold out

Parts placement



To program: attach a usbasp compatible In System Programmer (ISP), power on, and from the blackdeath directory run:

make fuse
make flash 


  • m at 1010.co.uk

Author: root <m@1010.co.uk>

Date: 2014-07-28 22:34:04 BST

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