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Old 25th March 2012, 01:30 PM   #1
mfaughn is offline mfaughn  United States
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Default Video lectures on tube amplifier design

I tend to learn much better from a lecture than I do from books. I've found a few good videos that explain a few basic aspects of how tubes work on YouTube. Particularly from AllAmericanFive and the three part series starting with this one.

I was wondering if anyone knew of any other videos that they though were good and / or informative. What I'd really like at the moment is to find some stuff that would help me understand the use of load lines, designing an amplification stage, and how to properly connect two stages...you know, how to design a tube amplifier...or maybe an explication of a well known circuit.

And really, I know there are a bunch of people here who really know what they are doing. I'd like to put the thought into your heads that maybe you are the person to produce such videos
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Old 25th March 2012, 01:52 PM   #2
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Quote:
And really, I know there are a bunch of people here who really know what they are doing. I'd like to put the thought into your heads that maybe you are the person to produce such videos
Actually the thought has been in my head for some time now and I have been tinkering with some videos. Mostly playing around blowing stuff up, but I am trying to learn how to edit video. I have also realized that my 9 year old Sony still camera does OK (640 X 480 30 FPS max) but the sound sucks. I will have to get something better before uploading anything.
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Old 26th March 2012, 04:36 AM   #3
taj is offline taj
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Great plan George!

A request though... please use a clip-on lapel mic, not a camera's built-in mic that's 8 ft away, picking up all the street traffic louder than the talking head. :-) It's a pet peeve with me.

Heck, those little Panasonic WM-61a microphone capsules for $2 from Digi-key would probably kick the butt of any video cam microphone, if you're into doing a little DIY before you start shooting.

..todd
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Old 26th March 2012, 12:58 PM   #4
mfaughn is offline mfaughn  United States
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That would be awesome! I don't know how many hours I've spent reading discussions in which Dr. G. Blow-!t-Up has been a major contributed and I've been left wishing I understood a bit more about what was being discussed. If nothing else it would be entertaining .

Would a flip-cam work? They are dead simple to use and now dirt cheap since cell phone cameras have supplanted them. My wife still uses one to record the student teachers she supervises when she does her school visits. I'd be willing to spearhead an effort to procure some "community" equipment that could be passed around to whomever was willing to record some interesting or informative video if that would help.

The fact that there seems to not be much out there in the way of recordings of people actually talking about how these things work in anything but a very rudimentary fashion suggests that anything that does get produced might have a significant lifespan and distribution.

Last edited by mfaughn; 26th March 2012 at 01:03 PM.
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Old 26th March 2012, 01:41 PM   #5
Doz is offline Doz  United Kingdom
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Originally Posted by taj View Post

Heck, those little Panasonic WM-61a microphone capsules for $2 from Digi-key would probably kick the butt of any video cam microphone, if you're into doing a little DIY before you start shooting.

..todd
... followed by an EF86, and an ecc88 line driver, of course
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Old 26th March 2012, 03:01 PM   #6
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A request though... please use a clip-on lapel mic, not a camera's built-in mic that's 8 ft away
I am experimenting with my old Sony still camera. It does not have a connection for an external mic. Since I am not capable of doing more than a few seconds of anything without screwing up, video lectures or demonstrations will probably be done as multiple takes and pieced together (after I figure out how). I have the capability to add fresh audio after the fact if it is needed.

I made the statement yesterday that the sound sucks on the Sony. After reviewing several hours of videos taken over the 9 years I have owned the camera, I realize that is not the case. Many videos have clear sound and good video quality for the age and intended use of the camera. The videos that have terrible sound were ones I tried to shoot for the Hundred Buck Amp challenge. They were of me attempting to play the guitar and the volume level was too high for the camera's mic. Outdoor videos were good and indoor videos of kids and grandkids were good with reasonable sound.

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Would a flip-cam work? They are dead simple to use and now dirt cheap since cell phone cameras have supplanted them.
I bought one for my daughter a couple of years ago so I would get videos of the grandkids. I played with it and found that the videos weren't any better than the old Sony and had less detail. It offered no ability to focus close up on something. The old Sony will work down to about 10 inches and was used to shoot all the pictures on my web site, and most of the pictures I have posted here. I will get a real HD video cam eventually if for no other reason than the wider aspect ratio.

I set up a YouTube account and "channel" yesterday and posted two videos from a car show's burnout contest. They were taken with the Sony at full zoom from the top of the grandstands and are a bit shakey. All the stuff shot for Tubelab will be on a tripod.

At this time there is no Tubelab related content worthy of posting. I posted these videos just to see how it all worked. I now know that a better internet connection will be needed before going too far down this road. Those videos took about an hour each to upload. I will also need a new computer, because Vista sucks, but I have known that for a while, and it is almost done. The YouTube channel is (tubelab was already taken):

http://www.youtube.com/user/TubelabCom

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The fact that there seems to not be much out there in the way of recordings of people actually talking about how these things work in anything but a very rudimentary fashion suggests that anything that does get produced might have a significant lifespan and distribution.
I believe there are a few reasons for that. YouTube has a very large user base. How many of them are technically inclined? How many of those care anything about vacuum tubes? And how many of those really want to know how stuff works? How many people are out there that really understand how they work are actually capable of teaching the fundamentals at a level where the newbie can actually understand? Have you ever watched a YouTube "basic" theory demo where the first thing seen is a schematic diagram. NO, first you need to understand how to READ a schematic diagram.

Spend a day or two searching YouTube for words related to vacuum tubes. I was surprised to find a few Tubelab amps, but most of the posts are related to guitar amps. Only a very few were technical and they had fewer views than the guitar amp metal shredding videos.

So, it seems that the demand is fairly small, but as you say, there isn't really much quality out there today. The real problem is the scope of the task. There is a large volume of material to cover from zero to building your own tube amp. That would be just the steps to get a beginner up to the average technical level of the users of this forum. From there we need to go from building an amp from a schematic, to actually understanding enough to design your own amp. Now, where in all of this do you start?

Obviously basic electricity, reading a schematic, how tubes work, and why they don't are the necessary fundamentals. We also need to cover how to test an amp, and how to use all the common test equipment. This stuff would get boring to a lot of viewers and the guy making the videos, so there must be some "edutainment" like blowing up a few tubes.

Start at the very beginning, and bore most of the forum users? Start in the middle, and go both ways? Start an the PHD level and lose everybody but sound impressive? Do we restrict ourselves to only tubes, or cover some sandy state stuff as well? How deep in the sand do we go? Any ideas??????
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Old 26th March 2012, 05:09 PM   #7
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Well I like the idea and like it a lot.

I am probably the most inexperienced and uneducated vacuum tube builder on the forum (though I am pretty good at assembling things ) and would like nothing more than to have an archive of videos to browse to understand basics and -not-so-basics.

Also videos concerning instrument use (oscilloscopes/DMM/signal generators ecc) would be a HUGE hit in the forum. Many can understand a theoretical lesson on tubes but to understand how to obtain reliable results from measuring instruments that is another matter.

The equivalent of the difference between understanding the theory behind endothermic race engines and teaking AFR/spark advance ratios.
I know tubelab.com knows what I am talking about.

I think we could have 3 "containers".

1) basics about thermoionics (maybe something visually enticing like huge transmitting tubes used as models)
2) more advanced videos about specific topics: ie load lines/topology/transformer matching
3)instrument usage and measurements.

More advanced topics would really defeat the purpose and scope of these videos, also, at the top level a written exchange on tthe forum might just be enough. I would try to keep the "type 2" videos just complex enough to make the average user able to follow most of what is discussed in the most advanced threads.

Just one question (an don't take it the wrong way tubelab.com) will you be starring in guitar-hero-shirtless mode?
(just kidding)
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Old 26th March 2012, 05:15 PM   #8
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Also, videos would be very effective FAQ replies. Before asking questions about simple topics one could be asked to watch the pertinent video and only then post the question.
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Old 26th March 2012, 06:01 PM   #9
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Just one question (an don't take it the wrong way tubelab.com) will you be starring in guitar-hero-shirtless mode?
If it was up to me, I wouldn't be seen at all. Nothing is more boring than watching some guy narrate a lecture from behind a podium. The camera should be pointed at something that draws the viewers attention and is useful. I am neither. A smoking circuit maybe
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Old 26th March 2012, 06:08 PM   #10
SY is offline SY  United States
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Just promise to keep your shirt on, OK?
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