Blog Pages



A customer that purchased my 12AX7 vacuum tube breadboard adapters, years ago, recently sent me an image of how he is using it. He's doing some radio / audio circuits. We won't hold the radio part against him!

No matter what the application is it's always great to see these old PCB designs in action.  Many thanks for permission to share your image.

If you are interested in vacuum tube breadboard adapters just leave a comment and I will get back with you. Quantities are starting to get scarce but I still have some left from my original PCB run back in 2007.

Thanks for reading,



So here's my direct box I've been working on for some time now.

At the time of this image I didn't have the battery circuit working yet. This design operates on +48V and +9V and can fully isolate both system grounds. Power rails are +/-18VDC on a 9V battery and +/- 13VDC on phantom power.

The features are really simple. Input, Thru, Output, GND Lift and Power Select.
The 9V battery is secured to the PCB with a battery holder.

The battery holder is held in place using broaching clinch nuts made for PCB material. I get mine from Self Clinch You can buy direct from the web site and it's a fairly painless process.

I used 4-40 nuts, part number TR-KFS2-440, for the final design. The nuts in the images here are the 6-32 size which are way too big.

They can be installed with an arbor press or a hammer if you are careful. If you are going to hammer them make sure you do it before you mount any parts to the PCB. Below is the bottom of the PCB.

Here's a view at the top of the PCB. Notice how the fiberglass gets disturbed after installation.

That's it for now. I will post more soon.

Thanks for reading,


Rupert Neve Direct Box

I purchased a Neve RNDI as a reference for a custom D.I. that I am working on.

The Neve box operates on +48V phantom power only. (no battery option available)

It's really easy to use.  Plug "IN", Set to Instrument, Connect XLR cable and hit +48V. Done.

There is one giant Neve transformer inside that gives this box that "transformer sound".

A single input amplifier drives the transformer. (small SMT transistors at bottom right of transformer)

The box sounds really good and has a higher input impedance than you get from using a transformer alone.

If you are looking for a quality D.I., don't need battery power, and have +48V phantom power available, you may want to give the Neve RNDI a try. I think you will be impressed.

Thanks for reading,


So Cal World Guitar Show - August 2016 - Orange County, CA

The Amigo's are at it again with another great guitar & gear show coming up in August 27th - 28th 2016.


Used & VINTAGE- and some new Guitars / AMPS / Pedals- you name it.  The coolest
stuff is here. Bring in all you can carry to sell for cash, or trade.


$20.00 admision for adults - Children 11 & under free with adult.


Click here or the image link for more information.

Many thanks to my friend Barney Roach for keeping me informed about these great shows!

Thanks for reading,


AES - Los Angeles 2016

The Audio Engineering Society 141st Convention in Los Angeles is Sept 29th - Oct 2nd 2016.

If you are interested in the world of professional audio then AES is the show to attend.
Find out more about AES 2016 by clicking the image link above.

Thanks for reading,


Music Expo - San Francisco - Nov 12, 2016


Conference for Music Makers - Where Music Makers Go.

Music Expo, in association with Sound on Sound Magazine, is the premier music conference in the San Francisco Bay Area for artists, recording musicians, songwriters, music producers, audio engineers, DJs, students and anyone interested in the art of music making.

It's a full day of educational sessions with music production masterclasses, music business panels, product demos along with an growing music expo of the latest music technology.

Whatever you want to learn or perfect your songwriting, recording and music production skills, releasing your music, or just demo the latest music software and gear, we got you covered.

With approximately 40 sessions and 800 attendees from professionals to students as well as representatives from leading pro audio and music software manufacturers, the opportunity for networking, learning, and collaborating is huge.

For complete information including Agenda, Speakers, Remix Contest, Exhibitors and Sponsors, visit the official Music Expo SF 2016 website.
SAE Expression College - 6601 Shellmound Street, Emeryville, CA 94608


Electronics Training Videos

EPTAC is where I receive almost all of my IPC standards training.
EPTAC offers many high quality classes on electronics industry subject matters such as proper soldering techniques, solder joint inspection, wiring harness inspection, PCB design and inspection,  proper rework techniques and counterfeit component identification. EPTAC classes are not cheap, but they do offer free videos such as:

Magnet Wire and Getting a Great Solder Connection

Gold Embrittlement: When Gold Removal is a Must

Tinning: Critical Care of Soldering Tips in a Lead Free Environment

Damage Prevention When Soldering Ceramic Chip Capacitors

Selecting the Correct Crimp Terminal for the Job

Each video downloads as a .wmv file. Just scroll to the bottom of the page and hit the "watch on demand" button.

Here's a link to all of the videos available: Archived Webinars

Thanks for reading,

Self Clinching Nuts

With summer coming to an end I can now get back to my blog. I'm working on a new battery powered project and I need to mount a 9V battery holder to the PCB.

So, I wanted to show you where I purchase my self clinching nuts Self Clinch .

The Self Clinch Direct web page is fairly easy to navigate and they accept PayPal.
These nuts are similar to PEM type self clinching nuts.
Thanks for reading,


Pivot-All Guitar Plug by Godlyke Distributing

The PIVOT-ALL 1/4" guitar plug from Godlyke. These could be handy if you constantly find yourself routing cables in tight spots on your pedal boards.

The design is pretty cool. The plug rotates 180 degrees using a wiper type contact.

They are currently available only in Tip-Sleeve / Mono / Unbalanced configuration.
No TRS / balanced / stereo version is available. (That would mean two wiper contacts!)

They're not cheap. I ordered my PV-A Pivoting Plug from Godlyke Distributing for $20.00.
They also have other plugs available as well. Find out more at Godlyke Distributing.

I will build this plug into a cable and let you know how it works out.
Thanks for reading.


Want your song mixed by Chris Lord-Alge?

Chris Lord-Alge Audio Legends Mix Course 2 at Audio
A song will be hand picked by Chris Lord-Alge himself to be used in the course.
Submit your song by April 1st.

Here are the requirements:
  • Must be in the Rock or Hard Rock genre (For Example- Green Day, Seether, Nickelback...)
  • Must have live recorded drums. They don't have to be recorded in a big studio. Drums recorded in a living room or bedroom are ok too, but they must be live drums and not programmed.
  • You must have the rights to the session and song. 

In order to submit your song, send a link (soundcloud, youtube, etc) of the rough mix to:

DO NOT attach any files. Any submissions with file attachments will not be looked at.

For more information on Audio Legends, visit
Thanks for reading,


Tektronix 2-Channel Oscilloscope for only $450.00

It looks like Tektronix is finally going start giving Rigol a run for their money with the TBS1000B Series 2-Channel Oscilloscopes.
Online retailers such as Mouser Electronics and Newark are currently selling the TBS1032B 30MHz model for only $450.00.

If you don't already own an oscilloscope I highly recommend you purchase one.  Although oscilloscopes have never been inexpensive, they are a must-have tool for audio design and troubleshooting.

I remember purchasing my first analog 20MHz scope, from Gateway Electronics in San Diego, for $400 while in college. That was a major investment for me at the time. However, having daily access to my own scope empowered me to improve the quality of my circuit designs.

The ability to see how your circuits are actually functioning can't be overstated. If you don't currently own a scope, and you want to design electronic circuits, then you need to invest in an oscilloscope very soon.

And now you can own an actual Tektronix scope for only $450.00. Absolutely amazing!

Thanks for reading,

Apple Recalls Travel Adapter Kits and Plugs Due to Risk of Electric Shock

Recall Summary

Name of product: AC adapter kits and plug adapters
The two-prong wall plug adapters for Australia/New Zealand/Argentina, Brazil, Continental Europe and Korea can break and expose the metal portion of the adapter, posing an electric shock risk.

Get the full details at the Consumer Product Safety Commission web site:

Thanks for reading,


Universal Audio LA-610 MKII Distortion Test

Recent blog comments regarding capacitor types in the LA-610 MKII got me wondering about the distortion performance of the unit. So, I pulled my unit out of my rack and put it on my bench for a quick look at how it performs.

For my first look I only used the Instrument input on the front panel. Below is the distortion performance with a 250mV input signal working the INPUT control from "1" to "5".

The Comp/Limiter was "bypassed" during this test. Blue is "1" and the Pink is "5". The Pink is just above 0.1% THD. I'm measuring the Line-Out XLR output.

The A-Weighting filter option is being used with a Fast RMS detector.

LA-610 MKII "Inst Input" Distortion

Next I looked at the distortion performance with the compressor squashing the same 250mV input signal about -10db. I added a bit of make-up gain to get my signal close to where it was without any compression.

THD is just above 1% at 100Hz. There is a lot of coloring going on here which is what I love about the LA-610. I'm measuring the Line-Out XLR output.

The A-Weighting filter option is being used with the Fast RMS detector.

LA-610 MKII Compressor Distortion

What's Next?

I will look at the microphone input THD next so please keep checking back.
Thanks for reading,


Chris Lord Alge Mixing Course at Audio

Finally, you can learn the tricks and techniques that Chris Lord Alge uses in his mixes with this course at Audio

More classes can be found here at Audio

Thanks for reading,


AEA Ribbon Microphones Come to San Diego!

Saturday, February 20th | 4:00PM - 6:00PM @ Studio West

Learn about the story of ribbon mics, RCA, how ribbons compare to condensers, and how AEA has continued on RCA's legacy.

Listen back to full-band tracks by Christine Parker recorded only with the use of AEA's mind-shattering ribbon mics in a state of the art studio room.

And while you're at it, check out one of the best studio rooms in Southern California - Studio West's Studio A!

Tickets are FREE but space is limited!

RSVP* to attend.

*They will be filming and photographing this event. By RSVPing you agree to have your photo and video taken and used for marketing and social media purposes by Event Organizers. If this makes you uncomfortable, just let them know at the time of the event and they will make sure to not include your image in the final edits.

Thanks for reading,


Capacitor Distortion - The Truth

Cyril Bateman's Capacitor Sound articles

Do you want to know the truth about capacitor distortion?

If so, then read this series of articles called CAPACITOR SOUND, written by Cyril Bateman, and published in Electronics World between 2002 and 2003.

Mr. Bateman's technical expertise was in capacitor manufacturing.

Mr. Bateman passed away in 2015, but these articles have been kindly made available on Mr. Jan Didden's website Linear

Within these articles you will find the truth behind capacitor distortion for ceramic, film and electrolytic capacitors.

You will also find information about the test equipment Mr. Bateman built and used to perform the measurements.

Thanks for reading,


CANJAM SOCAL 2016 - March 19th - 20th

I'm looking forward to this show! CANJAM is all about headphone amps and headphones. Solid State or Vacuum Tube, it will all be there. If you're into enjoying music with headphones and want to experience the "next level" of head phone heaven, then don't miss this show.


CanJam SoCal 2016
The Westin South Coast Plaza
686 Anton Boulevard
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Saturday, March 19, 2016
9am to 6pm

Sunday, March 20, 2016
9am to 5pm

Show Passes

Weekend Pass - $30
One Day Pass - $20

Kids 12 and under have Free Admission with an adult pass holder

Attendee Registration

Please register for the event here:

Exhibitor Registration

For companies wishing to exhibit at CanJam SoCal 2016, please contact me via PM (third_eye) or via email:

Press Registration
Accredited members of press can register for CanJam SoCal 2016 passes here: 


Discounted hotel parking is available for $6 per day or $12 per day for guests staying overnight.


The hotel is ideally situated in very close proximity to John Wayne Airport (SNA) in Orange County. There is also a footbridge directly into South Coast Plaza and dozens of restaurants within walking distance of the hotel.

Hotel Discounts

We have a limited number of rooms available at a discounted rate of $169/night. Please use the following link to reserve your rooms:

CanJam Volunteers

In addition to our official CanJam Event Staff, we will be looking for several volunteers to help us out during the show. You will need to be able to commit to a half-day (4 hours) on either Saturday or Sunday. CanJam Volunteers will receive a free weekend ticket along with a CanJam Singapore T-Shirt. If interested, please send me a PM.

Get Social

Help us spread the word! Stay up to date on all things CanJam:


Microchip Technology to Buy Atmel for Nearly $3.6 Billion

Microchip Technology agreed to acquire a fellow chipmaker, the Atmel Corporation, for about $3.6 billion, part of a wave of mergers and acquisitions within the semiconductor industry. Read the full story in the New York Times.


California World Guitar Show 2016 - NAMM Weekend

The Texas Amigos present the California World Guitar Show on January 23rd & 24th at the OC Fare and Event Center in Costa Mesa, Ca.. Adult admission is only $20.00.

It's a "Buy-Sell-Trade" type show.

You as an attendee may bring all the musical instruments or related items you can carry to sell, trade, or have appraised.

By getting bids from several exhibitors, you can quickly establish the market value of an item, and proceed to sell or trade with confidence.

You may see everything from guitars, amps, banjos, mandolins, effects, memorabilia, sound gear, parts, records, drums, violins, books, accessories, online companies, manufacturers, retail stores, builders, and repairmen, to celebrities who attend the event.

For More Information: Click Here

See you at the show,