The Atari Punk Console is a Stepped Tone Generator, that uses two timer ic’s – in this case a Timer556 ic containing two Timer555 circuits – to create two oscillators, or multivibrators.
An astable square wave oscillator triggers a monostable pulse oscillator, resulting in a specific continuous tone. Turning the potmeter of the astable oscillator – leg 12 of Timer556 – adjusts the frequency of its triggering wave, changing the pitch of the tone.
The second potmeter – leg 1 of Timer556 – controls the width of the pulse generated by the monostable oscillator, changing the timbre of the tone.
As the two waveforms shift relative to each other, at times pitch and timbre step to a different level – it is, after all, a Stepped Tone Generator – creating interesting effects. The table below explains this effect vizualizing the square wave forms generated by astable generator 1 and monostable generator 2.
The circuits used in this kit are integrated in one component: the Timer556.
Below you can see the pin configuration of a single Timer555 and how that translates to the Timer556: Timer A on the left side and Timer B on the right.
Translations of the building instructions for this kit.