if there was a diy audio class...

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if there was a diy audio class...

Post by pixeltarian » Thu Mar 13, 2008 7:31 pm

the class would be within the audio engineering program at my school, I'm proposing it to the head of the program soon.

It will be for recording arts students with no electronics experience whatsoever, so I want it to be pretty basic and light on the math. objectives I've thought of are learning how to read schematics, understanding basic circuit components, and building a simple DIY project, like a headphone amp or something.

what would you experienced gents say? objectives? textbooks? difficulty level? easy projects to do? what should I propose as a name for the class? is this even a good idea, or do I just have preamp building fever?

all thoughts would be greatly appreciated. I'm just a student in the program, but I just think a "recording arts" degree should have at least one elective that covers the basics of audio electronics. So I'm going to push for it on my own.
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Post by The Scum » Thu Mar 13, 2008 10:23 pm

You say light on the math? How light?

With some moderate algebra, you can get into Ohm's Law, plus Kirchoff's, and a few others, which are the basis for circuit analysis. You'd also be able to get into some "cookbook" design.

The old National Semiconductor Audio/Radio Handbook might make an OK text...the math in there isn't too serious...and if the students think it is, it might suggest that the course just isn't meant to be. Without SOME math, it's very hard to actually do anything meaningful.

Easy projects? Go and get all of the Forrest Mims books...all sorts of simple circuits that each take about $2 in parts and run from batteries. A few of them are even music/audio related. I would suggest that hands on lab work should be 50% of the class, but your administrators might not like that idea, because it would mean some outlay for tools & materials.

I'd suggest that you also need to learn to run the tools of the trade - soldering and desoldering, voltmeters, ammeters, oscilloscopes, etc. I remember one of my first electronics lab classes, where every student was given an old circuit board, and told to start taking components off...

It's been a long time since I learned to read schematics. It was one of those things that started simple and grew from there, mostly a matter immersion in my university coursework. I don't recall there being a good guide to just the fundamentals...it was all wrapped up in theory and design work. When you start to remove the theory, a lot of design decisions start to look like arbitrary black magic.

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Post by The Scum » Mon Mar 17, 2008 3:35 pm

I was talking with an old friend this weekend, and he reminded me of a book that might be about right for this class:

Electronic Projects For Musicians by Craig Anderton. It starts with the basics and works its way up from there. Paia have a bunch of corresponding kits for the projects, which makes sourcing parts a bit easier.

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Post by RodC » Mon Mar 17, 2008 6:54 pm

Soldering, Soldering, Soldering, De-Soldering and did I mention Soldering?

Gather up all kinds of wires, learn how to join solid and stranded wires. Union twists and such.

Get old circuit boards, pratice taking components out and putting them back in.

VOM basics. Learn how to use analog and digital. (I think the analog models are wayyy overlooked these days. Think no sample rate, heck this is TapeOp right!?)

Learn how to identify a bad solid state component (Diode, transistors, FET) using a VOM.

Get some prototype breadboard and translte simple schematics to actual circuits.

Teach all the basic switch layouts. How a Pot works...

man we could go on for days...
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Post by oobedoob » Wed Mar 19, 2008 7:29 pm

What's the rest of the curriculum like? You want a lab course or a lecture + lab?

Some people want to learn about being a technician...

Some people want to learn about electrical engineering...
http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/Electrical-En ... /index.htm
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Post by AMelbye » Wed Mar 19, 2008 7:55 pm

I'm on a degree course of a sound technology course myself. We had a module called audio equipment maintainance. Our assessment was building a 4 band eq and doing a full set of tests on it (freq response, noise floor dynamic range etc.), as well as an exam. And we had our cable soldering skills assessed.

There was a bit of maths involved, such as ohms law, calculating the effects of capitance, and the math involved in creating simple filters.

One book that I found useful was called 'success in electronics'.

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Post by rickshawrecords » Tue Mar 25, 2008 8:56 am


Have you seen my DIY Ribbon Mic Plans? They might be just what you're looking for:
(Also reviewed in Jan/Feb 2008 TapeOp #63)

At $9.99, they're cheaper than most any book, but I'd be willing to consider offering educators a student discount if there was a DIY class.

Lemme know,

- Rick
Complete DIY Ribbon Mic Plans & Kits available from:

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