Making Sound with Sensors

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Often one wants to trigger "some sort of sound" with sensors. Deciding what setup to use for this depends a lot on:

  • the kind of sound you want to make: 8bit music, synthesized sound, playback sound files and modification of sound files (granular synthesis...)....
  • your previous knowledge in different software such as: arduino, processing, pure data, max/msp, vvvv, audacity, ableton....
  • how much time you have :-)

An attempt at an overview: THE ISLAND OF SOUND


island of sound:

Hardware + Software Examples

Here are a few setups that have been used by S&&O over the years:

Arduino Sound (synthesized 8bit sound)

making 8-bit sound with Tone function or with Mozzi sound library

SD Card Players

Trigger sound samples from an SD card

Overview video "Audio modules for electronics project":

DF Player Mini





MP3 Music Player Voice Playback Amplifier Module 5W SD/TF Card Integrated UART I/O Trigger Class D



IMPORTANT infos about the library:


Arduino C++ DY-SV5W MP3 Player with Uno or Mega 2560:

Arduino C++ DY-SV5W MP3 Player with ESP32 Dev Module and ESP8266 D1 Mini:


DY-SV17F MP3 Player Module

datasheet >>




Specific Sound Hardware:

Teensy Sound (triggering samples or synthesizing using the teensy sound library)

triggering samples on an SD card or synthesizing using the teensy sound library

Adafruit Audio FX Mini Sound Board - WAV/OGG Trigger 16MB Flash



Adafruit S1053 Codec + MicroSD Breakout

MP3/WAV/MIDI/OGG Play + Record - v4

Adafruit Wave Shield KIT v1.0


use it:

Record and Playback Modules

Sound from the Computer:

Processing Sound (synthesized sound, playback sound, sound effects)

sound examples from the Minim sound library

vvvv Sound (synthesized sound, playback sound, sound effects)

Bandsalat vvvv patch by Julian for the Sensitive Puppets course

Pure Data Sound (synthesized sound, playback sound, sound effects)

Communicating Bodies PD Patches: Sensors to Pure Data via Serial Port or MQTT, triggering sound samples and granular synthesis

Max Sound (synthesized sound, playback sound, sound effects)

Connection Kit by Ableton - "If you’ve been looking to use Live with technologies like Arduino, LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 and OSC, this free set of Max for Live devices provides exactly what you need."

Extra Stuff

Stereo 3.7W Class D Audio Amplifier - MAX98306