Blog Pages

6/29/19

Header Pin Preparation - Vacuum Tube Adapters

A short video demonstrating how to prepare header pins for installation into vacuum tube breadboard adapters.


2/6/19

KORG NUTUBE - 6P1

I just received my Korg Nutube 6P1 VFD dual triode that I ordered from Ebay. These little things aren't cheap at $50.00 each. 

It shipped from Japan so delivery took a while. I "upgraded" my shipping because the Ebay listing warned against the cheap shipping. The image below is their "upgraded" shipping. (A bubble pack mailer) I'm not sure what you get with economy shipping.

NUTUBE 6P1 PINOUT

I am going to make a breadboard adapter for this VFD dual triode. So, for reference, I added the pinout from the KORG data sheet to one of my images using Corel Draw.


WHAT IS A VFD?

You will see these referred to as VFD tubes. "VFD" is an acronym for  Vacuum Fluorescent Display. VFD's can be found on many consumer items such as stereo receivers, DVD players, etc. Noritake is a leader in VFD technology. Find out more here: Fundamentals of VFD technology by Noritake.



KORG 6P1 NUTUBE IMAGES

 BOTTOM VIEW:


BACK VIEW:

TOP VIEW:


Once I get it up and running I'll post the circuits and results here.

If I can come up with a simple design procedure using the 6P1 I will make a YouTube video. Stay tuned.

Thanks for reading,
Trenton

1/31/19

Disturbed: Evolution World Tour - San Diego

It's not hard to see why the band Disturbed is so successful. They have a great group of people who make up an extraordinary team.  I was fortunate enough to have "All Access" to their January 9th show at the Pechanga Arena in San Diego. They put on a really great show for about 16,000 fans.


Myself and a couple of Taylor coworkers had recently gone through all of their Taylor acoustics to make sure everything was just right for their Evolution World Tour that started in San Diego. I'm always interested in knowing how our pickups and electronics sound and perform in major arena performances.  So, I was excited when they offered us full access to the show.


We hung around at sound-check to get feedback from the band. We spoke briefly with Dan Donegan to make sure everything was good. They were happy. That's what I wanted to hear.

They had a second stage located near Front-Of-House for their acoustic songs. After that they went back to the main stage to perform Sound Of Silence. They totally rocked it.


To stay on top of your game you need to surround yourself with a great team. The band members and the crew of Disturbed remind me of the Taylor Guitars team that I've worked with for over 16 years. There's a sense of pride, ownership and accountability that embodies each team member. Everyone is working hard and focused on their tasks. With all of the effort and energy that they put into their performances, it's not hard to see why the band Disturbed is so successful.

Thanks for reading,
Trenton

1/1/19

MSI Geforce GTX 1050Ti Gaming X 4G Install for FORTNITE

My son and I just recently installed a MSI Geforce GTX 1050Ti Gaming X 4G graphics card in my old ProTools 9 audio recording computer so he could play "Fortnite". This post describes what we went through to get it running.
 
HOW IT ALL STARTED
My son has been begging me to purchase a "gaming computer" for some time now. So, I told him that if he was willing to learn how to actually spec and build gaming computers that we would start by modifying my old recording PC for gaming purposes.


DOING YOUR HOMEWORK
So, my son did all of the research and recommended the MSI video card based on our PC's specs: Gigabyte GA Z77 DS3H motherboard, Intel i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM, 450W power supply, (3) 1-TB 7200 rpm hard drives, Windows 7 OS 64 bit, and a $200.00 budget.

 Gigabyte GA Z77 DS3H
 
THE MSI CARD WE INSTALLED
 I purchased the card from NewEgg.com here: MSI GeForce GTX 1050 Ti DirectX 12 GTX 1050 Ti GAMING X 4G 4GB 128-Bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready ATX Video Card


INSTALLATION AND TROUBLESHOOTING STEPS

INSERT CARD IN PCI EXPRESS SLOT
1. Installed card per instructions into PCIE slot. No power cable included. (Required)

CONNECT POWER CABLE
2. Went to Fry's Electronics and purchased a "dual" 4 Pin Molex - 6 Pin PCIE cable.
(Note: My cable had one 4 pin connector with 3 pins, and the other with only 2 pins)


4 Pin Molex - 6 Pin PCIe power cable for MSI graphics card4 Pin Molex Plug connected to power supply for MSI Graphics Card

6 Pin Plug on MSI Graphics Card
FIRST POWER UP
3. Installed power cable, booted w/ DVI in MSI card, Instantly received a DOS looking message saying "Connect Power To Your Graphics Card". Red LED lights on the graphics card were "on".

CABLE TWEAKING
4. Turned off PC, switched "6 Pin" connector Re-checked the 4 pin Molex connector as well.

SECOND POWER UP
5. Monitor display froze at BIOS selection screen.  The Keyboard was unresponsive. Tried multiple keyboards and multiple re-boots. Nothing changed. Always froze at BIOS select screen.

GIGABYTE BIOS UPDATE
6. It was time to consider updating the BIOS. (Computer was built in 2012 by Reyneirs Audio).

7. Switched back to onboard video and entered BIOS screen. Current BIOS was version "F3".

8. Using another computer I went to Gigabytes website and found the BIOS update page.


9. The latest BIOS that wasn't a "BETA" version was "F9".

10. I downloaded F9 to a USB thumb drive.

EXTRACTING BIOS FILE
11. The downloaded BIOS file was an .exe. I took it back to my PC and extracted the file.

12. The exe. file extracts to 3 files.

13. The "F9" BIOS file had a file extension of ".F9".



UPDATE GIGABYTE BIOS FILE
14. Rebooted PC using "On-Board" graphics to enter BIOS set-up (hold delete key during boot).

15. My Gigabyte motherboard supports "QFLASH".

16. Selected QFLASH, clicked "YES" to enter QFLASH.

17. OPTIONS: Load New BIOS, Save Current BIOS, Exit.

18. Selected "Load New BIOS". (Note: I should have saved my old F3 BIOS file first)

19. Files in the USB thumb drive showed up. I selected the "F9" file.

20. The process of loading and verifying the new BIOS was a fairly quick process.

21. The system auto rebooted.

MSI GRAPHICS CARD WORKS
22. While rebooting I quickly switched the DVI cable back to the MSI card.

23. The BIOS selection screen appeared but then the screen soon went black.

24. After a few more seconds the BIOS selection screen suddenly appeared again and then also went black again. (I'm thinking to myself "Oh Great. We're stuck in a loop")

WINDOWS 7 LOADS
25. After the second cycle through the BIOS selection screen, the Windows loading screen appeared.

26. After Windows loaded, the computer was now running on the new MSI graphics card.

EPIC GAMES LAUNCHER
27.   My son eagerly installed the Epic Games Launcher and it said "Graphics Card Incompatible. Update Drivers". Oh, the look on his face was priceless.

MSI LIVE UPDATE
28. We then installed "MSI Live Update" to help ensure drivers were up-to-date. Which they were.

UNINSTALL EPIC GAMES LAUNCHER
29. We uninstalled the Epic Games Launcher.

WINDOWS UPDATE
30. My son ran "Windows Update" and select all updates. My computer was behind on updates.

REINSTALL EPIC GAMES LAUNCHER
31. My son then re-installed Epic Games Launcher.

FORTNITE RUNS ON MSI Geforce GTX 1050Ti Gaming X 4G
32. SUCCESS!! FORTNITE RUNS!

SUMMARY
This was a great experience for my son. He had to find a compatible graphics card and go through the physical process of getting it to work. He is very proud of his efforts. He also realized that making things work in the "real world" is not as simple as downloading an APP on his iPad. Overall it took us a few hours to go through and troubleshoot each little thing that came up.

I  hope our experience helps make your installation a little less painful.
Feel free to leave comments on your installation.

Thanks for reading,
Trenton

11/21/18

PULTEC EQ PROTOTYPE

Revision "A" PCB's for 2 out of 3 sections of my Pultec EQP-1A are now completed.  The 3U enclosure is from Collective Cases.com.

6X4 POWER SUPPLY

The power supply PCB was the first section to be built and tested. The DC output from the 6X4 rectifier tube is good and clean. I purchased my 6X4's from Tube Depot.com. I purchased the Hammond 270FX power transformer from Mouser Electronics.


BALANCED AMPLIFIER

The output stage of a Pultec EQP-1A is a "Balanced Amplifier Topology". A balanced amplifier operates with a "balanced input signal" and the signal remains "balanced" throughout the entire amplifier. Theoretically, a "perfectly balanced" Balanced Amplifier can significantly reduce Even-Order distortion.


TRANSFORMERS

One of the challenges of building your own Pultec EQ is deciding which transformers you would like to use. Quality transformers are not cheap. So, getting it right the first time is important. For this build, I chose a Sowter 1475e input transformer and a Cinemag CM-S217D output transformer.


PASSIVE EQ STAGE

The passive EQ stage is currently being breadboarded on my bench. I will need to create a PCB layout for it once I am finished testing. Stay tuned.

Thanks for reading,
Trenton

11/11/18

SKRM AUDIO DSP PROTOTYPE

I just recently finished a prototype design for an audio circuit that integrates a SKRM DSP module with analog processing. If you've never messed with DSP audio effects before, the folks at SpinSemiconductor make it pretty easy. They offer small modules with built in DSP effects.
Trenton Blizzard Audio DSP SpinSemiconductor SKRM Module
For my design, the SKRM module will install on the bottom side of this prototype PCB. The header-socket isn't installed in this image. Getting DSP effects into your audio designs is a fairly straight forward process when using these modules. However, coding your own DSP will require a great commitment in time in order to master your own effects.

According to Experimental Noize, the FV-1 IC's are available individually and come pre-programmed with effects. You will need to include external memory if you want to create your own effects. Find out more at Experimental Noize.

SKRM MODULE

Trenton Blizzard SKRM DSP Module
Shown above is 1 of 3 SKRM modules available mounted in my BB-SK breadboard adapter. BB-SK adapters make it really easy to prototype audio circuits with these cool little DSP modules by bringing out all of the double row pins into a single row that you can plug into a standard electronics breadboard. All pin functions are labeled on the PCB for easy hookup.

Thanks for reading,
Trenton

11/3/18

How To Design A 12AU7 Gain Stage Part-2

Part 2 of my "How To Design A 12AU7 Gain Stage" video series on YouTube.
In this video I demonstrate:
  • Breadboard Assembly
  • DC Plate Voltage
  • AC Voltage Gain
  • Frequency Sweep



Thanks for watching,
Trenton