“Sound City” – A forgotten Art

Sound City and analogue mixers

I watched this movie a few weeks back and it had me intrigued on many levels.  Not just the snippets of famous and much loved musical genius but the mere fact that one went to Sound City Studios to make music first and secondly to become famous.

Neve 8078
The legendary Neve 8078 in The Way Recording Studio, London.  (Wiki )

You had one take.  Now with our DAW, digital mixer and a host of plug ins one can become famous from your bedroom. And it happens. It just so also happens, and not because of my age, that much of the music made then rather than now is timeless.  Here I’ll single out Fleetwood Mac.  Who didn’t have a crush on Stevie Nicks in the 70s, girls and guys.  But we must stop and consider the impact that the aristocratic Michael Fleetwood had on this group. Co-founder and driving force,  I always visualise this goliath behind a drum set and mixed through a Neve 8028.

David Grohl really does a fantastic job in this documentary, a must see for not only 70s music and audio enthusiasts but budding sound engineers as well. Continue reading ““Sound City” – A forgotten Art”

A Lecture on IoT- where we are headed

The Internet of Things – better things to come still

We recently ran an article called “IoT – A cynics viewpoint of the Internet of Things“. The thing is it wasn’t that cynical.  Nowadays we have Cloud Services, simply put, running our applications on a rental server.   As luck would have it, both are a going to be a requirement, if not now, in the very near future.

IoT or The Internet of Things is a required training program I need to pass on to colleagues at work. Yes, my real job, the one that pays the bills.  Question is, where does one start? Continue reading “A Lecture on IoT- where we are headed”

Hacking your HT or audio Pre-amp

Rebuilds and Tune-ups for Pre-amplifiers

There seems to be a stigma about buying lesser known brands.  The fact that someone designed a device at home doesn’t mean it’s inferior.  I had a Rotel amplifier which vaguely looked like a WooFlungKak and inside it actually looked the same. In fact it was the same except for the power supply where many short cuts had been taken. Taking out the bits, strengthening the supply and re-case the whole lot and you have a good home brewed amplifier.  But I am looking at pre-amplifiers here, a commodity which isn’t that common on the shelves in thrift stores. After a few nasty surprises through Gumtree I decided on Crusaders and Converters. Continue reading “Hacking your HT or audio Pre-amp”

Multiplexer and Demultiplexer switching (follow up)

Using Electronic switching to route signals

As a follow up to our article on multiplexing (and demultiplexing) or MUX/DEMUX and running my own experimentation with a CD4051 it comes as no surprise that this chip works well but there are limitations.

As I am no expert in this field I must confess that the biggest obstacle IMO when switching or routing signals is not the degrading of signal quality necessarily but the dangers of phantom power.  As most microphone preamplifiers use an XLR plug or TRS combo, the TRS does not pass the +48V but the XLR does.  Now if someone unwittingly connected his expensive tape deck to XLR outputs and then into an XLR mic preamp there is a chance that they would end up with a toasted front end to the deck. Yes, we all like XLR plugs but this can be a problem. How to eliminate this problem? Continue reading “Multiplexer and Demultiplexer switching (follow up)”

Bose Speakers

Why Bose speakers are so expensive

Recently whilst trolling through Quoro I came across this gem, written by Neya Rangesh.


For many of us the article resonates (pun intended). I have owned a set of speakers which was supposedly entry level but which sounded on par or better than some of the more expensive out there. In fact I have build my own speakers which sounded better than most out there using simple pine wood. If braced properly why not? (audiophiles cringing?).

Yes, I do believe human experience is the best measure of a loudspeaker system and the 901s prove it.


Bose 901

Power supplies for projects

+10V to +60V 600W boosting circuit.

Cheaper alternatives for supplying power to projects

Let’s face it, EI and toroidal transformers break the budget.  Going back a few decades I always recall my own projects being run from batteries.  Family would give me their faulty gear to strip and if I was lucky I could get away with a transformer or two.  Maybe this is the case for many of you but the fact is, the supply can be a wallet killer.

Always amazed at the amount of money enthusiasts sink into their audiophile equipment it’s no wonder that R3 000.00 for a toroidal doesn’t raise an eyebrow.   Continue reading “Power supplies for projects”

Audio and consumer electronics – trends in 2017

Curved HDTV, Bluetooth and Sound Bars

Love it or hate it, Bluetooth is making a big comeback in the world of audio. Although Bluetooth never really left our shores it’s only with the iPhone 7 that we gather a lot more emphasis is being placed by certain manufacturers on either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi or both. (here it would be for BT earphones). Or maybe inductive charging?

Crystal Radio - Arnold Reinhold
Crystal Receiver:  Wiki Commons – Arnold Reinhold – Own work

Bluetooth is treated as a proprietary protocol because of licensing requirements,  Wi-Fi more for internet usage.  Wireless on the other hand, like Bluetooth can also be used for components to communicate with each other albeit at longer distances and at higher speeds, bandwidth allowing better imaging as well (stereo, quad etc). Continue reading “Audio and consumer electronics – trends in 2017”