The lost valley of the dinosaur components


I was quietly sitting in a friend’s back garden, reviewing Stack Exchange posts on the Arduino site, when a friend came out to see what I was doing, and to have a chin wag about electronic audio devices (effects pedals and the like). One devices was mentioned, the Eisen 500, which was not commonly available as they had gone out of production, but they had a unique sound, and people were currently trying to reproduce, and reverse engineer this device, using discrete components available today. The gist of the conversation was as follows

The search terms that I used for the sound processing stuff are things like:
Eq schematics
Compressor schematics
Pre amp schematics
It’s an attempt to try and replicate some of the ‘Neve 500 series modules,’ but this stuff is the cream of the crop. Even guys who have been in the business for decades have difficulty replicating the stuff.
Guitar pedal schematics should be easier; still very difficult though.
Some search terms you could use together with schematic are things like:
Compressor guitar pedal schematic
Distortion (three types) 1.Fuzz, 2. Overdrive & 3. High Gain
A pedal that is great is a Spring Reverb Pedal. Not a digital one. Spring because they have real springs in them. See . Only really available from the states.

This led me to research the issue, and this is what I came up with. Continue reading The lost valley of the dinosaur components

Bench hardware


After my recent purchase of an oscilloscope, I realised that I was also in the market for a bench power supply and a signal generator.

  • The power supply should produce 0-15V @ 2A, but 30 V @ 5A would be good.
  • Signal generator 5 MHZ, 5Vp-p (40 MHz, 10Vp-p), can make one using Arduino, but a bench boxed model would be nice
  • Frequency Counter – I have one in my DMM, so not absolutely necessary, but a nice to have.

Continue reading Bench hardware

What a Cad!


Need some PCB design software? Well you have a few options, free and not free. These are KiCAD, CadSoft Eagle and Novarm DipTrace or Altium respectively. The full Altium package costs around $15000. There is, obviously AutoCAD, but which hobbist has money for that? Although there is AutoCAD 360, which is free. However, which one is right for you?

Continue reading What a Cad!

LED Walls, Cubes and Curtains


A good friend of mine from the Riddim Shack, Koh Chang was after an eye-catching display for his mobile tuk-tuk bar now based in Sihanoukville, Cambodia. He wanted it to stand out from the crowd and be noticeable from a distance. I immediately proposed an LED wall, or curtain, that could be controlled by an Arduino based controller. This would open up a range of possibilities, rather than just a static display of lights. For example, in-bar advertising, an LED spectrum analyser display in beat with the music, videos, images, not to mention just random visual effects. The resolution does not have to be excessive, as it is surprising how forgiving the eye is on moving images, the ear is a much more strict master. Glitches in audio tracks make one wince, but video corruption is not a biggy. In fact, this is why in the olden days, when System 7 was cutting edge, Apple’s QuickTime gave priority to the audio track, and let drop outs occur on the video, if processing power was momentarily outstripped.

Continue reading LED Walls, Cubes and Curtains