useful first diy projects

general questions, comments and ideas about recording, audio, music, etc.
Brian Brock
buyin' a studio
Posts: 875
Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 2:50 pm
Location: Laveen, AZ
Contact:

useful first diy projects

Post by Brian Brock » Mon Feb 23, 2004 9:38 am

Hi - I'm going to learn to make electronics. I figure simple cables would be a good place to start, and useful. But what can people recommend as far as projects that do something with the cables? Like preamp, compressor, etc. An attenuator? Does anyone like any of the kits from PAiA?

I want some things that will let me practice soldering and reading schematics etc, without risking wrecking anything (like myself! bzzzt) and resulting in a functional device, so I'll care about it.

User avatar
soundguy
ghost haunting audio students
Posts: 3182
Joined: Wed May 07, 2003 12:50 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: useful first diy projects

Post by soundguy » Mon Feb 23, 2004 11:36 am

fuzzface is a brilliant place to start, and you'll always use it if it sounds good.

dave
http://www.glideonfade.com
one hundred percent discrete transistor recording with style and care.

User avatar
EasyGo
buyin' a studio
Posts: 834
Joined: Wed May 07, 2003 10:42 pm
Location: Culver, IN

Re: useful first diy projects

Post by EasyGo » Mon Feb 23, 2004 11:39 am

Jensen Full Featured DI Box Schematic

I thought this was a good introduction to DIY. Jensen has the transformer and a $5 kit that contains the capacitors and resistors, and you pick out the switches/pots/jacks/enclosure.

Although I had a bad ' r e a m p i n g ' fetish at the time, I found that I like the regular old DI function best of all. In conjunction with a good preamp, it sounds great on bass and keyboards.

And yes, it does the line-level-balanced-to-instrument-level-unbalanced thing just fine. If you build it with the optional potentiometer, it works even better in that capacity :wink:

Brian Brock
buyin' a studio
Posts: 875
Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 2:50 pm
Location: Laveen, AZ
Contact:

Re: useful first diy projects

Post by Brian Brock » Mon Feb 23, 2004 12:08 pm

Yes. Those both seem like excellent projects. Where can I find a kit/instructions for a fuzzface? Is an octave-fuzz much more difficult?

User avatar
leigh
carpal tunnel
Posts: 1635
Joined: Wed May 07, 2003 11:16 am
Location: Portland, OR
Contact:

Re: useful first diy projects

Post by leigh » Mon Feb 23, 2004 12:52 pm

Make sure to check out Craig Anderton's Do-It-Yourself Projects for Guitarists. This is a really well-written book, with an extensive introduction on the basics of soldering, preparing enclosures, and the tools you'll need. Then it has a few dozen projects, some of which would be great for general studio use (not just for guitars), like a cable tester and (active) DI boxes.

The Jensen DI is still probably simpler than anything in Anderton's book, but if you have zero experience with soldering and whatnot, the book is a great introduction for that.

Cheers,
Leigh

User avatar
eeldip
dead but not forgotten
Posts: 2139
Joined: Fri May 02, 2003 5:10 pm
Location: NoPo

Re: useful first diy projects

Post by eeldip » Mon Feb 23, 2004 1:58 pm

second project would be drew's sherlock.

Brian Brock
buyin' a studio
Posts: 875
Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 2:50 pm
Location: Laveen, AZ
Contact:

Re: useful first diy projects

Post by Brian Brock » Tue Feb 24, 2004 10:02 am

OK, good, these are all great suggestions. The Craig Anderton book in particular sounds like a great resource.

User avatar
MD
gettin' sounds
Posts: 123
Joined: Wed Oct 15, 2003 11:37 am
Location: NY, NY

Re: useful first diy projects

Post by MD » Tue Feb 24, 2004 10:35 am

You probably know about PAiA. They rock.

www.paia.com

Cool synth and theremin stuff, cheap (and cheap sounding) compressor and EQ kits.

The best thing about it is everything comes in a kit with all the parts picked out and thorough, clear instructions. A great way to get started.

-MD

thearnicasync
buyin' gear
Posts: 564
Joined: Wed May 07, 2003 9:05 am

Re: useful first diy projects

Post by thearnicasync » Tue Feb 24, 2004 12:36 pm

Hey...

I built the paia tube mic pre, and i think there are much easier projects out there to begin with. the switches (paia includes) melt, you have to deal with some mildy hairy soldering of coaxial wire; soldering potentiometers in tight spaces, etc...

I don't know about their other kits, I just thought I'd add my .02 about the mic pre kit.

That said, they're great and help you a lot. I broke my first paia, sent it in, and they charged me $7 to fix it. Really, really nice folks...

kelly

User avatar
trashy
dead but not forgotten
Posts: 2128
Joined: Wed May 07, 2003 10:30 am
Location: Red Bluff, CA
Contact:

Re: useful first diy projects

Post by trashy » Tue Feb 24, 2004 1:26 pm

You asked about the fuzzface; it's available all over, but I really like this site:
http://home.zonnet.nl/osbruil/fuzzfacetour.html

Not a kit, but it might as well be, pretty detailed (with pics) and easy to understand.

For about the same price as building your own fuzzface, you could buy Small Bear's Tweak-O pedal kit:
http://www.smallbearelec.com/Ordering/Stocklist.htm
in case you felt weird about finding the parts at Radio Shack...

Probably the easiest DIY I've ever done was when thearnicasync built some TapeOp DIY mics and gave them to me. He's a totally cool guy, that's why.

User avatar
wayne kerr
ears didn't survive the freeze
Posts: 3868
Joined: Thu May 08, 2003 10:11 am

Re: useful first diy projects

Post by wayne kerr » Tue Feb 24, 2004 4:22 pm

I'm gonna build a 2" 24-track. I think it will be an excellent first project. Just the other day I changed the batteries in my smoke alarm without any help. I think I'm ready. Anyone know of a good aluminum foundry in SoCal? And I'll need a pluggie innie thingie... :lol:

CC
PP
The Edge... there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.
-Hunter S. Thompson

User avatar
soundguy
ghost haunting audio students
Posts: 3182
Joined: Wed May 07, 2003 12:50 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: useful first diy projects

Post by soundguy » Tue Feb 24, 2004 5:43 pm

maybe an expert writes a book on how to build one at home...

dave
http://www.glideonfade.com
one hundred percent discrete transistor recording with style and care.

newguy12
alignin' 24-trk
Posts: 64
Joined: Wed May 14, 2003 12:17 am

Re: useful first diy projects

Post by newguy12 » Sat Feb 28, 2004 2:06 pm

Rather than start a totally new thread I figured I'd just hijack this one. I have decided I want to build the jensen full featured direct box. I must admitt that my electronics knowledge is quite limited and except for some soldering and installing some new pickups in a guitar I don't really have any experience building something from scratch. Hence I have a few questions regarding the project that I was hoping someone could help me with.

First of all, the most of the switches in the schematic appear to be single throw, single double pole switches but I don't know exactly what switch to order from digikey/mouser etc..?

Also I want to build it with the poteniometer for the optional variable pad but I don't know what type of potentiometer to order (I know the value and it recommends a conductive plastic element) but I don't know if some are better or different than others.

Also I don't quite understand what is going on with the wiring of the transformer and the reference to different colors (I've never worked with a transformer before) and S5 for the ground lift on the output, what type of switch is that, is that single throw, single pole? Any other recommendations or suggestions will be greatly appreciated, I plan on ordering the parts kit with all the resistors and caps and I already have the jacks so I just need to get the switches, pot and the transformer, unless there is something else I don't know I need.

User avatar
Milkmansound
george martin
Posts: 1253
Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2004 3:15 pm
Location: San Francisco, CA
Contact:

Re: useful first diy projects

Post by Milkmansound » Sat Feb 28, 2004 6:31 pm

OK - I will try my best to answer these last 3 questions - someone feel free to correct me if I am mistaken.

1 - single pole switch will have 2 contacts - there is the ground (through) and the hot (interupted) Single double pole probably means 4 contacts, 2 through and 2 interupted on the same switch. This is more condusive for a stereo application for example - 2 grounds, left hot and right hot on the same switch. Double double may mean more than one switch position, allowing for more combinations within one switch and so on.

2 - the colored wires coming out of the transformer represent the different windings within the transformer. For example, a simple synthesizer may have 6 windings - 2 going in are AC 110V (hot and neutral)- 4 coming out are the 5 and 15 volt lines (hot and neutral respectively). Having not seen this schematic, I will assume that this is a 1:1 audio isolation transformer with 6 windings - hot and cold in, then a pair of hot and cold out which is similar to a y cable, but with no loss of signal. Ahh physics!

3 - you can probably expiriment with different types of pots. In this application, they most likely short the audio input to ground. The different tapers are like different logarithmic curves. I would try a simple audio linear taper pot - that is just a diagonal line on a dual axis graph " \ " as opposed to an exponential curve. If you spend the money on a sealed pot, as opposed to a standard one you will never need to clean it since theoreticaly oxidation will not happen. I am not sure what they mean by conductive plastic element - I thought most pots had carbon as the contact....

Keep a wet sponge around when soldering for cleaning the tip of the iron after every joint, and try to keep your iron around 650 degrees F so as not to nuke anything. Also, wash your hands often even if using lead free solder and wear shoes. Hope this helps - it may be all wrong, and if it is please correct me! - Tim
(((((((((((((((((((((((((())))))))))))))))))))))))))))
www.pedalsteelamp.com
www.milkmansound.com
Follow me on Facebook!

philbo
suffering 'studio suck'
Posts: 469
Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2004 11:43 pm
Contact:

Re: useful first diy projects

Post by philbo » Sat Feb 28, 2004 10:48 pm

this place has some good ideas for audio stuff:

http://ethanwiner.com/gadgets.html

- Phil
Tangent Studios

Locked

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests