Chris Randall: Musician, Writer, User Interface Designer, Inventor, Photographer, Complainer. Not necessarily in that order.
 

Archives: 2005


December 7, 2005

Pyp-Bomb...

by Chris Randall
 



Okay, if you go over to the Pyp-Bomb website, you'll see some of the most ridiculous marketing-speak ever coined:


The PyP-Bomb is truly the next generation in quality portable power amplifiers. Combining solid state technology with state-of-the-art circuitry the PyP-Bomb is able to reproduce your instrument like no other portable amp can. Not only is the PyP-Bomb a great guitar amp, but it can also become your portable bass amp, harp amp, and even portable PA system! With the proper adapter, and a pair of PyP-Bombs, you can even get stereo reproduction from your iPod or any other standard MP3/CD player!


That paragraph is the best example of writing-by-groupthink that I've ever seen, and I've seen a lot. How something combines solid state technology and state-of-the-art circuitry is utterly beyond my powers of reasoning.


Here's my translation: it's an 18W solid-state amp with 1/4" and 3.5mm inputs, built in to a piece of 4" PVC tubing. ThinkGeek sells it for $149 as an iPod accessory, believe it or not. It has a rechargable battery, which is (according to the site) good for two weeks of "normal use," whatever that is. While the superlatives and description are just lame as lame can be, that doesn't change the fact that this is a pretty cool product, I think.


 
December 5, 2005

New BBD chips available...

by Chris Randall
 



I know this is probably old news to the sorts of people that pay attention to such things, but Visual Sound (the makers of the excellent H2O chorus pedal) have done a large run of BBD chips that are direct pin replacements for the Panasonic MN3207 chips used in pretty much every good analog delay, flanger, and chorus pedals and rack units. They're not that expensive, either. $3.75 for the BBD and $1.95 for the clock. Here is the Panasonic datasheet for the BBD chip. Here is a simple chorus circuit that uses this chip. There are lots more out there that a Google search will pump out.

 
December 4, 2005

Continuum Fingerboard MIDI controller...

by Chris Randall
 



And from the "Strange But True" file, we have the Continuum Fingerboard, a MIDI controller from Haken Audio. It is available in a 4 or 8 "octave" configuration. Each pad area corresponds to a MIDI note number, and it is sensitive to x-axis movement, and y-axis movement, so you can shit out CC messages to your heart's content on ten simultaneous MIDI channels (one for each finger). As you all no doubt know, I tend to look suspiciously at non-keyboard controllers, because, well, I'm a keyboard player. I'm not entirely sure what the purpose of something like this would serve, but then again, I'm not one of those arty sorts that likes to "redefine the barriers between man and instrument" and all that jazz.


So, go forth and read all about this $5290 controller, and how you will become the King Of Glissando once you own it.


 
December 4, 2005

The Battle Of The Ex-Trident Engineers, Round 1 (FIGHT!)

by Chris Randall
 



Pictured above is the upcoming console from Toft Audio Designs, the Trident Series ATB console. The prototype was shown at the recent AES, and according to Toft personel posting on Gearslutz, it will be around $2499. As you no doubt know, Malcom Toft, aside from making some excellent gear in the middle price range, is a former Trident engineer, and one of the 80 or so people that can claim to be responsible for the "British EQ" you hear so much about.





Pictured above is the upcoming console from Oram, the Trident Series 8T console. The prototype was shown at the recent AES, and according to Oram personel posting on Gearslutz, it will be around $2400. As you no doubt know, John Oram, aside from making some excellent gear in the middle price range, is a former Trident engineer, and one of the 80 or so people that can claim to be responsible for the "British EQ" you hear so much about.


Both of these consoles are designed by shortish, balding, plump yet respected British engineers, who have been in the business a long time. Both are 8-buss analog consoles. The Oram one has a pair of analog meters. The Toft one has a digital option. The Oram one is "hand made in England," and the Toft one features some Chinese manufacturing, but has more features.


I'm sure a shootout will occur in one of the many magazines that deals with such stuff, but let me say it here and now: it's a good time to own a project studio, with these two nearly identical products competing for your console dollar. I'm sure I'd be happy with either one.


 
December 3, 2005

4-channel AM16 clone DIY...

by Chris Randall
 



If you're looking to get four really nice mic pres for the cost of one, you could do worse than to score this PCB from Prodigy Pro for $100. It has space for four Langevin AM16 clones, and includes a power supply PCB. Aside from the transformers, it's just a few parts, and would be a pretty easy build. (I'd put it midway between "beginner" and "advanced.") The transformers are the expensive part, of course, and you'll need four input traffos and four outputs. Total cost to build is going to be around $1500, using the Sowter reproduction AM16 transformers, when all is said and done. However, when a single channel of AM16 clone goes new for $1100 or so, this is a considerable cost savings.


The thread for discourse on this subject is here. If you were trying to decide what to get me for Christmas, you could just build me one of these.




 

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