The ring modulator makes an excellent addition to the studio. You can build an passive ring modulator with just 2 transformers and 4 diodes. This is an old design from the 50s. It sounds good, requires no power, and is cheap and easy to build.
Here is a demonstration of the sound. (144 KB, Inputs = triangle wave, square wave)
- You must use germanium diodes, not silicon. (Schottky diodes apparently work too, but I haven't tried).
- Use matched diodes for best carrier rejection, ie. test the diodes' forward-voltage with your multimeter and use four that have the closest values.
- Germanium diodes are susceptible to heat-damage - use sockets unless you can solder very fast.
- It doesn't itself make a sound, you have to plug two things into it.
- Use high level inputs (magnetic pickup (eg. raw guitar signal) is too low).
- The device may behave strangely, it's a weird old design.
- You can make the sound of the "orange light alien" from "Space 1999":