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Tweaking
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Exploring laptop sound

Posted 16th April 2015 at 11:38 PM by fas42
Updated 27th April 2015 at 05:08 AM by fas42

As mentioned elsewhere, now have a laptop with reasonable internal sound, a HP Compaq 6830S (not a Pavillion, sorry!) of quite some vintage. My mainstay Dell over many years prior lost its sound many years ago, a USB port got cooked, and took down the sound circuitry at the same time; and what I was using as an interim, another Dell of nominally very good quality, had downright faulty sound, buzzed and rattled - was plain sick ...

OK, so the exercise here will be to see how good I can get the newly "installed" HP unit's sound to be, by my measures, using minimal or zero internal hardware tweaking - essentially working out what factors impact the sound, and whether the negatives can be circumvented. This gives an idea of how I go about things, what I use to "measure" with, what I'm listening for.

Trying a couple of CDs that I use often the signs were good - obviously no bass, and the volume is very restricted, but otherwise the sound was 'correct'...
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Remote tweaking

Posted 25th March 2015 at 11:13 PM by fas42

A thought has popped into my head ... I enjoy the process - well, most of the time, ! - of refining systems so that they deliver what I call convincing sound - a quality beyond what people typically achieve with audio systems assembled and "optimised" in conventional ways. And I've been able to help others at times move in the right directions, to advance what they're currently achieving.

So, I'm curious whether there are any out there, lurking , interested in having a one to one interaction with me in having a go at getting something better out of their systems. Before wasting any more time on pursuing a silly idea, I would be curious if anybody is interested? And if you don't like to "expose" yourself to the great unwashed, , just send me a PM!

Cheers,
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Doing interesting things with electronic keyboards

Posted 30th July 2014 at 01:44 AM by fas42
Updated 30th July 2014 at 11:24 PM by fas42

Provoked into Yet Another Project, fiddling with the Yamaha PSR-6700 Portatone we bought over 20 years ago, for my wife to have fun with. This is a solid unit, quite heavy, well thought of even now, with 76 keys - was top of the range, and was the best sounding of the brands and models we looked at the time, in that type of thing. Sometimes called an arranger keyboard, because it can do fancy backing accompaniments, the one-man band thing ...

For those who are not into such, this is an all in one box, very sophisticated synthesizer with internal amp and speakers. Think of it like a reasonable hifi system, where the source material is computer generated, and can get as fancy and realistic as one wants, especially these days. Even in bygone decades remarkable music was created using such devices - Peter Gabriel's well thought of 4th album, Security, was based extremely heavily on sounds from the Fairlight CMI, an Australian made pioneer of this technology.

As...
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A Better Audio Comparison Tool

Posted 2nd June 2014 at 07:25 AM by fas42
Updated 14th July 2014 at 02:01 AM by fas42

I've mentioned a few times the difficulty in using the software tool, DiffMaker - and others have experienced similar issues. So, I'm thinking seriously about attempting to put together a "better" utility, something that will be more intelligent in correlating between different versions of sampled waveforms, wherever they came from. And it will be specifically aimed at trying to ferret out the deep down differences, not the obvious stuff like frequency response, phase shifts and the like - but rather the low level, detail variations that seem to be so important in subjective quality evaluation.

To give an idea of the "challenge", consider taking 2 recordings from 2 vinyl plays of a particular record. Having already seen what results, this is impossible for the likes of DiffMaker to handle - the constant speed variation between the 2 captures completely defeats it. But this what I would aim to be able to deal with, to synchronise in meaningful ways between...
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2,000W into 1 ohm

Posted 12th February 2014 at 04:10 AM by fas42
Updated 12th December 2014 at 11:52 PM by fas42

I mentioned in a thread a while ago about doing an exercise of engineering an amp capable of delivering 2k watts into a 1 ohm load, with distortion aiming at the magical ppm figure. This is still happening, and making progress ... key problem as I saw it was managing crossover distortion intelligently - I'm looking at a conventional class AB output stage at the moment - and it didn't make sense to try and control it using a classic global negative feedback approach.

By nature I'm an excellent scavenger, I look to see what ideas are already out there - so I'm trying out some concepts in using local negative feedback. This is evolving, step by step - and showing promise: in a simulation of the output stage only, getting effectively 2kW in 1R, at 200kHz with reasonable stability - and the waveform at this stressful frequency looks pretty good, there is still some crossover glitching, but I'm reducing the visible level of it steadily.

.
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