Thursday, 27 August 2015

Project X part III-making a noise!

That took time! I was just combining the contents of two older micro sd cards to a newer Samsung 64gb one as the originals were smaller in capacity than those you can get today and as it was works by the same artists were split between them which made no real sense anymore.
Cards of  that capacity now can be had for around GBP £18  easily so I think in so far as anything in lossless full cd quality that'll be my minimum size.
Meanwhile on Project X, we've wired it up to the speakers it'll be used on in my rest room for when I'm feeling rough which is fairly smallish.
I've had these for a while being the bigger and more general purpose base model to my regular Wharfedale Diamond IV, which are a ported mini monitor come bookshelf speaker designed more for absolute accuracy than efficiency .
The Delta 30's go a bit lower at the bass end and are 2db more efficient which is as well as although the SMSL SA 36 Pro is quoted as delivering 20 watts per channel, when you look at the integrated circuit manufacturers website, that figure is quoted at 10% thd+n distortion where most regular amplifiers quote the output relative to 0.1% or less and so in reality it's more like 8 watts.
In practical terms, in a smallish room with these speakers you can fill the room with relatively loud music sounding clean with the volume control no further forward than '11 o' clock'  leaving some capacity for sudden peaks.
With the other speakers you'd need an output rated more like 20 or more watts at 0.1 thd+n distortion or less to achieve a similar volume in the same sized room.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Project X Pt II, the selected page

It it had arrived last Saturday and has spent the week being soak tested to make sure it had no faults on arrival and did not develop any in use as naturally it would be returned to the suppliers for replacement.
As mentioned, the matter of having just one input would be addressed as while that would be fine if say you were using to improve on the sound of your tv with a small pair of speakers, it's not convenient for changing sources, having to plug and unplug every time.
So I got this.

It's really a A/v switch unit by HQ of Denmark for home theatre systems but having looked into the cost of buying the parts and a aluminum project case there would be no real gain plus I'd have buy a few beers for whoever was gonna drill and wire it up for me.
To connect it I bought a 0.5 metre Fisual cable as you really don't want long wires to take the output from this box to the input on the amplifier. I have 3.5mm mini jack for my Fiio X1 digital music players line output to plug into the switch and several Radio Shack (RIP) "Tandy Gold" thick oxygen free copper 1 metre cables.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Project X

I've been interested in how things work for quite sometime which in the old days was fairly straight forward in that often you could see just by looking at all the key bits and that often was connected with audio equipment as getting good sound has always mattered to me.
Sometimes I'd buy either a full kit to assemble or boards with all the main components mounted on to just wire up and a few bits to make say a radio unit or an amplifier for not much money.
Sometimes it was worth it just for the learning experience alone.
As a good number of you know in recent years because of my acquired difficulties with my hands, that whole avenue has been denied me simply cos I can't solder and screw things together anymore. That really hacks me off big time.
I've bought something more or less ready done to experiment a bit with though and it is this.
It's a SA 36A Pro 'amplifier' ready assembled from board similar to what can be bought part done with a power unit.
The first and in many ways intriguing aspect to it is it uses a special low power integrated circuit to produce approximately 25 watts per channel made by TI Instruments, the TPA3118D2DAP, which is a Class D high efficiency one that a number of people are raving about for its sound..
I won't bore the pants off of you by explain all about Class D as there's a good entry on Wikipedia explaining all but it's why such a small cheap board can equal the output of a more conventional amplifier of a similar power using less electricity and getting less hot.

The front panel shows just how small it is and  also why  I put parenthesise around the word amplifier as while it has a volume control, it does lack an input selector which at a later stage of this project I intend to tackle.

This is the actual board as fitted with the integrated circuit the small black object in the centre and you'll also see how careful design has removed the need for trailing wiring from back to front.

This is the back panel of the SA 36, original version which only accepted 12 volts dc input, the 36A Pro accepts up to 24 volts for higher output via black switched mode (transformerless) power unit that is supplied.
There are binding posts to connect 4 to 8 ohm loud speakers to, left and right line input and that 2.5mm inner, 5.5 outer socket for the power unit.

The supplied power unit is 12 volts but only 2 amp maximum which I feel is a bit restricting so I've ordered a 60 watt max, 5 amp one to use with it as if the amplifier draw more than the supplied power unit can give it's protection circuits are more likely to need to kick in and some have found the quality of these units is compromised  by the rather basic supplied units, that are not the manufacturers own. 

That unit also has a fused UK mains lead where as the supplied unit is a unfused continental 2 pin one with a basic unfused adapter which I wasn't happy about on safety grounds as serious conditions could develop before your mains circuit tripped, knocking off the power.
I'm interested in two things, the first being just how good is this chip? and secondly as advocate of getting good sound into peoples lives, can budget hifi equipment by non mainstream manufactures provide a way in for people who end up with so-so all in one music systems to enjoy more of their music.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Triggers and managing shared space

Sometimes real life events gets in the way of posting it may be that you're going to be away, you have bigger priorities at that moment  or and this does happen to me from time to time, there are things that bring back painful memories  that can  completely override your emotional sense that you are locked in that emotion.
Such 'Triggering' is very much for real where some item, topic, or event has an effect like a Trigger that causes you exhibit that behaviour and you may not realize it until minutes later just how it's effected you.
It's not that you don't like to see something or a group of people to discuss a certain topic or other to the point you really wish to prevent or shut down a discussion you don't agree with, which sadly sometimes people like me can be accused of.
Most of us accept you can't and wouldn't wish to prevent others exercising their rights to 'free speech' but rather where it's the case you know certain subjects do have an effect and you're in a space be it say in cafe or in a online chat room connected to a site that's not about the topic, is there anything wrong with recognizing it and not talking say around things like guns, forced sex and so on?
Are these topics that might in any event be better discussed by those with an interest elsewhere?
Is the appropriate response to a polite request to change the topic "It's my goddam right to free speech and I'll talk about what the hell I like here" or is it not the case while free speech as an excellent ideal, worth upholding it too is subject to some qualifications and even a degree of recognizing what you may have a perfect right to do doesn't necessary make it right to deploy it in each and every situation?
How hard is for to create spaces wherere most of us can feel 'safe' in?
It's also why I'm so loath to use online chatrooms where too many times people feel so detached from another emotionally, they refuse to even consider anyone elses needs.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

R.i.p Cecil

I honestly wish I didn't feel the need to post this but I do.
The senseless killing by bow and arrow, leaving him suffering for hours, sickens me to the core. 
How could any intelligent person consider killing an endangered  species whose population has fallen rapidly in the last ten years  and was even  part of a breeding group program?
All it takes is money, corruption and an a***hole of a Midwestern Dentist seemingly addicted to killing things by bow and arrow.
Please give to what you can to wildlife charities supporting breeding and consrvation work and support bringing that individual to full account for his actions.
Let Cecil not die in vain.
Thank you.