What is the difference between Line and Microphone Inputs
This is a question often asked in the forums, not necessarily as simplified as this but there is often ambiguity in the replies. So here we will look at what not to do and hopefully this will prevent mishaps in the interwiring of consumer and professional audio goods.
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.
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.
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.
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”
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)”
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.
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.
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?
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”
In a previous article on Patchbays and the author’s own dilemma at having to switch different components in an audio system using XLR and TRS connectors, it made sense to investigate real world examples of what other enthusiasts are doing to complete their kit. Continue reading “Multiplexers (and demultiplexers)”
Note: This is a preliminary article and will cover the construction of a basic Arduino controlled patch bay/audio signal router. Users should be aware that manufacturing a patchbay as a DIY project can and will will be very expensive. The Samson S-Patch Plus retails for between R2000 and R2500.00 in South Africa. A parts B.o.M places this project at about R5 000.00. However, careful consideration of B.o.M (input types) and digital control will be infinitely cheaper than an electronic audio signal router off the shelf.
The Samson S-Patch Plus is remarkable in that it tidies up your flow, gets rid of unsightly cables, is quick and affordable. If you are like me you prefer to purchase pro series audio because it’s modular and often cheaper than commercial consumer integrated audio. So you can throw away the parts you don’t like and only add that which you deem necessary and very importantly, have some control from the PC or laptop.
This comes at a price of course, spaghetti! And if you are like the mechanic whose car never runs properly this spills down to never being able to find that missing plug or socket. To be honest, pro audio can be a nightmare.