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Do it yourself crew in the house?


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I'm not electronically minded either, but I can build other people's designs pretty well so fabricating PCBs at home would be great. Also control panels, router templates (although most people I know who've tried it prefer CNC for templates since you don't have to account for the diameter of the laser).

 

A really solid, 18" thickness sander would be the best, though. Honestly I'd probably take one of those over replacing the band saw I gave away when I moved into a smaller apartment, you can do pretty much everything the band saw would do almost as easily by hand but hand planing body blanks down to thickness is a big hassle and the maker spaces nearby don't really keep their stuff calibrated and sharpened well enough to be trustworthy for luthiery.

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Oh yeah, it's great for templates etc, that's what made me think I could do a 100% perspex guitar. All laser cut obviously.

It's a really useful bit of kit to have to be honest. Feels like cheating a little sometimes but fuck it.

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Not cheating, just moving focus to the design. There are all sorts of ways to make a good guitar. I like the quietness and convenience of hand tools but the only part where I really couldn't see myself wanting to ever use anything but hand tools is carving the neck, and that's just because I like to refine it by feel.

 

The down side is it's a lot slower to finish an instrument this way.

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Guest skibby

with just a piece of perf board and a bunch of wires instead of a printed circuit, would that cause problems like crosstalk or waste current?

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I don't really know electronics that well, but a lot of really god old tube equipment was wired point to point (not turretboards or terminals strips like you see in guitar amps, literally point to point) and it sounds great; perfboard is just point to point with a board to hold everything in place while you solder it. PCBs are a lot easier to deal with when you have complicated layouts, though, and you can usually make them a lot smaller. I've never bothered to DIY one, though, the only things I've made that are complicated enough for it to be worth the effort have either been stuff that I could buy a PCB or kit for, or amps on turretboard.

 

I've gotten in to veroboard lately, though, and the couple of things I've built with it have been easy and small. Last fuzz pedal I made fit onto a piece about the size of a postage stamp.

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Incidentally, if you play guitar and own a soldering iron and haven't built a Dallas Rangemaster clone yet don't even stop to think about it, just make one. They're about the easiest thing you could imagine (5 components I think, maybe 6, I've only made a few of them years ago but I still use the first one constantly) and are really useful to have around. Apart from being what they used for the first four albums worth of Sabbath recordings, they're great for overdriving other things. Rangemaster -> Fuzz Face (the second easiest build I can think of and even more nice to have around) sounds like some combination of the Davie Allan Fuzzrite sound and that ridiculous distortion on American Woman that they got by patching the speaker output on a Fender Champ straight into the input of another amp.

 

Sounds great on monosynths too.

 

EDIT: I just noticed that the photo I posted above actually has a lot of terminal strips even though I posted it as an example of stuff made without terminal strips, feel free to mock me ruthlessly.

Edited by RSP
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Guest Atom Dowry Firth

I've been following this guy build a replica of Eric Clapton's 1964 ES-335 from scratch in his workshop, dude is a beast. Absolutely mad skills. The amount of work that went into this is insane

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Finally finished the x0xb0x I started a few years ago. Got derailed by moving and changing jobs at the same time right after I finished the VCO and never got around to digging it out and finishing it until this week. Works/sounds great.

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  • 7 months later...

 

That's sweet, RSP. You've got me thinking about trying to assemble that bad boy.

 

If you've built a couple things it should be pretty easy. I got it as far as powering it up and testing it in about 3 hours and then came back from playing music with a friend and got the LEDs in and the case together before bed. It's digital so there really isn't a whole lot to put together.

 

Next thing is going to be one of these.

 

I'd have loved a shruthi or ambika, it's sad they're gone.

 

 

 

Forgot to respond to this...

 

I built the monitors that I use for producing from a kit (Dayton Audio), but that was several years ago. I'm pretty rusty, but really want to get back into this stuff. Are there any other synth kits you recommend?

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It's a bit of an undertaking but the x0xb0x with CPU upgrade and n0nx0x was pretty fun, well documented and works fantastically. I haven't actually built a ton of kits.

 

I just picked Ray Wilson's book for Make (Make: Analog Synthesizers) because I'm good at building but terrible at understanding how stuff works well enough to troubleshoot on the mercifully rare occasion that it goes wrong, and so far it's great and I highly recommend it.

 

Oh, the Audiothingies P6 was a really easy build (less than 3 hours from unpacking to successfully powering up and testing) and it sounds pretty good and is a lot of fun. I built a Midisizer Midirex last fall and it was easy and works well, but I still haven't gotten a good enclosure for it so I don't use it that much. Built a Gerhart Gilmore Jr. half watt tube amp about 8 years ago and it's still my go to recording amp but the price of the kit has gone up quite a bit since then. Built some kind of BYOC fuzz pedal from a kit a long time ago and it worked well too, but I traded it for a MidiNES. That's about it, as far as kits I've had good luck with go. Mostly I've just tinkered around with simple distortion pedals and repairing broken switches, plugs and faders in stuff I got cheap or free because it wasn't working.

 

Oh, and for a very simple but very useful way to get back in to it, I made this a couple years back and it's excellent:

 

http://www.recordingmag.com/resources/resourceDetail/314.html

 

You could easily do away with the resistor-only mode (I've never once found it useful, it's supposed to make it behave more like a single coil but really it just makes it sound like the impedence isn't quite right - a bit quieter and kind of dull sounding) and I don't really use the volume pot either, but that would still be useful. A TRS 1/4" jack would be just as good as an XLR jack, too. If you made those changes it should cost well under $30, with at least half of that being the aluminum box and shipping; the transformer was about $8 and everything else was a lot less.

 

I've had mixed experience with the Synthrotek stuff I've tried. The prices are good and they're easy builds but as far as actually being useful or even sounding like the demos I'd say I've had a 50/50 success rate. They do have a passive ring modulator kit that's I think $15 and works really well. You could easily make the same thing for less on perfboard or even point to point but their PCB makes it easy to build it very compact. Took less than 10 minutes to build and it's great to have around.

 

EDIT: don't get me wrong, synthrotek seems to be a good operation, their tech support is helpful and the actual kits are well thought out and well documented, but their overall thing seems to be more lo fi, unpredictable stuff that hasn't really been that useful for me. The last one I tried was the Dirt Filter and it doesn't even pass audio in most settings. From the comments it seems like that's a common issue and has to do with how it interacts with the other stuff in the signal chain. In general their things seem to be hit or miss depending on how you want to use them.

Edited by RSP
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Oh, I got carried away and forgot to ask what Dayton cabs and what drivers you used. I read an article about DIY monitors built with some prefab cab from Parts Express that I think was mostly Dayton stuff but I haven't really had the money or space to give it a shot. My monitoring situation is a joke right now, though. I've got really nice Sennheiser HD-650 headphones I picked up when I was actually making my living editing and mastering audio books for a while (and had a friend at the local Guitar Center who got them for me half off), but for speakers I just have two different pairs of wildly inaccurate acoustic suspension stereo speakers (AR 2AXes for the lows, low mids and generally sounding really good for vinyl listening, and Realistic Minimus 11's for the highs, surprisingly good imaging, and watching movies at night without disturbing the neighbors, since they don't have much low end at all. Between the three I usually do OK and my room's so small and poorly treated I don't worry about it right now, but I'm going to be moving someplace bigger next year and I'll be looking to DIY some proper monitors then so I'd love to hear some details about what you used and what you think of the results!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Made an 8-bit delay/bitcrusher from an atmega88 chip, here's a little jam with it

https://soundcloud.com/th555/bidtelay

One half of the time knob adjusts the buffer length for fast delay/flanger stuff, while past a certain point it starts to lower the sample rate. You can get pretty long delays this way (almost a second) even though it only has 1 kilobyte of memory.

Edited by th555
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Oh, I got carried away and forgot to ask what Dayton cabs and what drivers you used. I read an article about DIY monitors built with some prefab cab from Parts Express that I think was mostly Dayton stuff but I haven't really had the money or space to give it a shot. My monitoring situation is a joke right now, though. I've got really nice Sennheiser HD-650 headphones I picked up when I was actually making my living editing and mastering audio books for a while (and had a friend at the local Guitar Center who got them for me half off), but for speakers I just have two different pairs of wildly inaccurate acoustic suspension stereo speakers (AR 2AXes for the lows, low mids and generally sounding really good for vinyl listening, and Realistic Minimus 11's for the highs, surprisingly good imaging, and watching movies at night without disturbing the neighbors, since they don't have much low end at all. Between the three I usually do OK and my room's so small and poorly treated I don't worry about it right now, but I'm going to be moving someplace bigger next year and I'll be looking to DIY some proper monitors then so I'd love to hear some details about what you used and what you think of the results!

 

 

I honestly don't know what the drivers and cabs are, since I built them 8 years ago :wacko:

 

The speakers sound really good, especially for the money that I spent. I think they were like $150-200. It was for a class, so we were able to use good soldering irons and whatnot. Assembling the crossover unit was the most nerveracking.

 

I need to get a new receiver though. The one that I use was found on the street, and usually works, but one of the channels keeps going out. It's about time for an upgrade!

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I need to get a new receiver though. The one that I use was found on the street, and usually works, but one of the channels keeps going out. It's about time for an upgrade!

 

 

If you're still looking, a friend of mine had the same problem recently and ended up getting a Symmetrix 420 power amp on eBay for $45. It works great (you'd need an external phono pre and source selector though) and they show up pretty regularly, although that's a lower price than normal.

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  • 1 month later...

Heads up for the DIYers here:

 

The group order for a third run of the Jasper EDP Wasp clone kit is open over at Muffwiggler.  Finally registered and got on the list yesterday, can't wait!

 

Demo of one of the earlier runs:

 

Edited by RSP
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