The Spider Web Coil Pickup Experiments


After discovering that running a coil pickup through my external signal processer in my Korg MS 20 yielded interesting results, I began contemplating how to create a more powerful coil with an increased magnetic field with hopes to detect pixel changes on electronic devices. If successful I would be able to control the sounds received by the pickup via visual data – connecting this to laptop screens or my IPhone, I then could stimulate it by playing video or using the camera to get a live data stream from what was visually in front of you. Further experimentation with these ideas could lead somewhere very interesting sonically especially when paired with the dual oscillator synth.


My first attempt at creating a spider web coil was influenced by a video I was shown by ‘Giogio Sancristofono’ on ‘’ (link at bottom of post) where a DIY spider web synth was made of of copper wire.

After a failed attempt at laser cutting the coils diaphragm, I 3D printed a design found on ‘’ and made a prototype using nickel wire to some faint but hopeful results.

Nickel Coil

The sensitivity of the coil was weak, weaker than my shop bought coil pickup. Although it picked up certain noises from my laptop, the signal would have to be boosted intensely with a compressor to get any faint result from it. Spurred on from this (and thanks to Mike Hurst) I rewound the coil with 24SWG 0.56MM enamelled copper wire and increased the density of the wound copper to hopefully increase the signal. This was successful and it worked well after grounding the coil. I could pick up sounds like those I could get from the shop bought coil however I still couldn’t pickup any pixel or screen changes from it – to do this I think I will need the use of an AM radio, using the coil as an antenna…


testing copper coil


I will however do some recordings with this coil…


[A day later…]


So, I bought a FM/AM transmitter and dismantled it and attached the spider web coil to the AM aerial location on the circuit board and I was able to detect small changes and interference when placed near electronic devices such as my laptop and phone. However, these results were not as great as I was expecting. After trying various setups and wiring placement, trying different areas on the circuit board and different arrangements of the antennae, the interference wasn’t as drastic as I hoped. The best results I have got with the copper spider web antennae definitely came from connecting it up to a 1.5 mm jack cable and using it as I would with the telephone pickup coil. There is a lot more experimenting to do with this device I think that could yield greater results but as of now I think the results from the equipment I have used it with, haven’t hit the exactly criteria I has been hoping to reach.


My further sonic investigation for this project will be rooted in the backwards wiring of a small speaker as a percussive input and the shop bought pickup coil. I will also be making recordings with a solar panel as means of a voltage input, creating a light Theremin.



[Spider Web Coil Video]


Comments are closed.