Building a DIY Cooper Time Cube "garden hose" Echo

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Praqtice
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Building a DIY Cooper Time Cube "garden hose" Echo

Post by Praqtice » Sun Apr 05, 2009 11:50 am

I'm a big tape echo fan. I like gear with that certain 'mojo' quality...

Recently my attention has been grabbed by UA's new plugin based on the Cooper Time Cube, a device made originally by Urei using a length of garden hose with a driver at one end and a pickup at the other to achieve a few ms of delay that creates wonderful spacial reverb effect and that slap back sound. I only have UAD 1 card so I can't run, but hardwares best with stuff like this anyway.

So I got thinkin, surely this wouldn't be too hard to build?

I've been looking up a few forums/manuals etc and the "cube" itself seems like you could make it for a bit over a tenner with some fine tuning to get it sounding right. (Check photos at bottom)

The only thing that seems like it would cost the money would try to get hold of some Universal 1109 amplifiers to power/eq the drivers/pickups. But surely you could use something else a little less expensive/lush and still get a great sound out of it...?

Apparently both the driver and pickup are just sm57 capsules so I'm guessing as long as you've got a pretty good preamp this will do for bringing it back up to line level. (correct me if im wrong!)

But does anyone know what the best way to power the sm57 capsule that's working as the driver?

The impedance is supposed to be 600ohm for an sm57 and this what urei list in their manual, which some headphone amps seem to be able to handle. But I would really like some on advice on the best way to go about driving the capsule to work as the driver for the hose...

Urei also mention in their manual that the signal going through the driver has had "high frequency pre-emphasis" which I'm guessing means "we've eq'd it till it sounds good going down the hose" so I'll just put eq on it at the send and the return to sculpt the sound into something musical. (please correct me if I'm wrong)

If anyone has any experience of making their own or repairing these and can shed any light on this post or anything else I should be thinking about ,please do!

In fact if you have any information, I'm all ears.

Also if anyone has a frequency response chart, sound example or even an impulse response for time cube for comparison and tuning the sound, please post or email me.

I'll try and keep this topic updated with my progress over the next few weeks and will try and get some photos up as i go too.

Thanks, Sam

Image
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Last edited by Praqtice on Mon Apr 06, 2009 4:15 am, edited 3 times in total.

winky dinglehoffer
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Post by winky dinglehoffer » Sun Apr 05, 2009 5:46 pm

I've thought about making one of these myself. It seems really simple & inexpensive.

My thought for going super cheap would be to use the driver out of an old pair of head phones (or ear buds even?) as the speaker, & a little electret (a la the Tape op electret mic project) at the receiving end. Plug it into mic pre of your choosing & you're good to go maybe?

Maybe I'll give it a go too.

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blackdiscoball
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Post by blackdiscoball » Sun Apr 05, 2009 7:10 pm

I've also though about doing if for a while. Let us know how it goes. Maybe Ill get the time and energy to do one as well?
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casey campbell
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Post by casey campbell » Sun Apr 05, 2009 8:34 pm

the lm386 chip would be a great i.c. for driving the signal...

cheap too.

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Post by Praqtice » Mon Apr 06, 2009 3:33 am

Am checking that amplifier circuit now casey, thanks for the tip!

discoball/winky, if you start building one it'd be great if you could let me know your progress here too.

I'm thinking that it'd be really great if you could assemble the cube with an amp circuit like this + power supply built inside so you can just plug a line level signal right into it and bring it back down a nice pre...

I'm going to try and use sm57 capsules as the driver instead of a small speaker, like the original time cube. do you think this will be enough to drive the capsule at 600ohms? mic capsules appear to be quite well suited because of how narrow they are...the key to the cube seems to be isolating the sound and eq'ing to make it sound musical... (sound examples or even IR's of a Time Cube or the UA plug would be really useful for getting this right if anyone can help)

if you look on the picture, in the centre of the spiral there's a little grey billet box that i can't find too much info on. all i know if this box is maintained at 1 atmosphere and is sealed tight, apart from that i can't find anything. anyone have any ideas what might be in there? or what it might be doing? apparently this part is quite crucial for the sound.

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Post by Praqtice » Mon Apr 06, 2009 3:37 am

Here's the manual pdf for anyone interested:

http://www.jblproservice.com/pdf/Vintag ... 920-16.PDF

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Post by RefD » Mon Apr 06, 2009 6:44 am

maybe call the clone the "Time Hose"? :wink:
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Post by Praqtice » Mon Apr 06, 2009 6:51 am

Found this on eBay...

Little circuit using the LM386 IC mentioned... Does anyone know how I'd modify this to drive the 600 ohm SM57 capsule as a speaker? I'm a bit of an electronics novice.

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll? ... 0173092237

sam

P.s for those looking to build these you should know that Urei based the length of the tubing on 1ft= .884 ms of delay. Therefore to get the two 14ms and 16ms delay lines you will need 4.815M & 5.486M of tubing. (15.8ft & 18ft for the yanks)

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Post by Praqtice » Mon Apr 06, 2009 6:57 am

Great idea for name!

"The Time Hose"

I will write up all the costs etc as I go so hopefully this thread will eventually be a reasonably detailed description on how to build "THE TIME HOSE" since none seem to exist...

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Post by The Scum » Mon Apr 06, 2009 9:14 am

Little circuit using the LM386 IC mentioned... Does anyone know how I'd modify this to drive the 600 ohm SM57 capsule as a speaker? I'm a bit of an electronics novice.
Heck, get a funnel, and try using the speaker provided with the kit on your hose.

Otherwise - snip those speaker leads. Wire one (preferably the amplifier output) to pin 2, and the other one (pref. ground) to pin 3.

Actually, you might reverse pins 3 and 2 on that: due to the way they're coupled via the air in the hose, if you want to preserve polarity, it probably needs to be wired backwards: you want it so that when the driver moves outward, that's seen as a positive pressure by the pickup (diaphragm moving inwards). Since they're moving opposite directions, one needs to be polarity-swapped.

You might also try some different types of hose & tubing. In the states, you can get this rigid, smooth-walled black tubing that's made for sprinkler systems. The smoothness and rigidity might be beneficial...it's also a lot less expensive than actual hose. If you're not dead-set on 100% authenticity, you could also look into much longer hose.

In fact, I've got maybe 30 feet of leftover sprinkler pipe you could have. It's in the garden shed, just come get it. :lol:

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leigh
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Post by leigh » Mon Apr 06, 2009 10:13 am

Praqtice wrote:Found this on eBay...

Little circuit using the LM386 IC mentioned... Does anyone know how I'd modify this to drive the 600 ohm SM57 capsule as a speaker? I'm a bit of an electronics novice.
Here's a similar kit, states-side: http://store.qkits.com/moreinfo.cfm/QK17

The LM386 doesn't need any mods to drive a higher-impedance load like a 600 ohm capsule. Driving speakers at low impedances (8 ohms) is the tricky part. If it can handle that, switching that out to 600 ohms isn't a problem in this kind of (lo fi) circuit.

Really, if you're at all comfortable with electronics, you don't even need a kit to work with an LM386. It will work just fine with almost zero external parts - the only essential one is the output capacitor (usually shown to be around 250 uF). Other than that, hook up input, output, and power, and it will work.

The output dampening network (usually shown as a 0.05uF cap and a 10 ohm resistor in series, from output to ground) will help smooth out the frequency response, as I understand it, but it's not absolutely necessary. (And when you're running a signal through a dozen feet of garden hose, I don't think you're going to hear a touch of high end ringing, or whatever.)

I think a Time Hose would be a great DIY project... go for it!

Leigh

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blackdiscoball
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Post by blackdiscoball » Mon Apr 06, 2009 10:26 am

I like how lofi the original one was. It clearly looks like some peg board its attached to and regular harware store hardware, I imagine getting something to sound pretty close to that wouldn't be hard at all. If I can knock down a large part of my repair list I might get going on this.
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The Time Hose

Post by RefD » Mon Apr 06, 2009 1:36 pm

looks like the mechanism is mounted on an octagonal masonite panel that is suspended inside the case by four springs a bit like a plate would be.

what could be used for dampening instead of the styrofoam packing material, tho?

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Post by newfuturevintage » Mon Apr 06, 2009 3:42 pm

I wouldn't bother with the lm386...far too quick to distort in most applications i've used it. I'd just use a headphone amp and call it a day. I'd spend more time worrying about isolation, the HF pre-emphasis and / or possibly dynamics control.

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Post by Dakota » Mon Apr 06, 2009 3:58 pm

I am also intrigued with the idea of building a DIY hose delay.

So... what would be a practical way of getting variable delay times, and possibly 2 different output taps (stereo), and feedback/regeneration... ?

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