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    The preamp board wired up. This is the original preamp board. The circuit was adding a simple reverb circuit that totally ruined the sound of the amp so later we bypassed and removed this part of the circuit. The third socket from the left and its associated circuitry were removed.

    The preamp board wired up. This is the original preamp board. The circuit was adding a simple reverb circuit that totally ruined the sound of the amp so later we bypassed and removed this part of the circuit. The third socket from the left and its associated circuitry were removed.

Electronics Bit Evolution In An FPGA Simulated “Game Of Life”

On the Origin of Circuits Article #280 • Written by Alan Bellows ▼ Scroll to Continue ▼

Ever since I learned about who Jeri Ellsworth ( http://www.linkedin.com/in/jeriellsworth ) was and watched a few of her videos ( https://www.youtube.com/user/jeriellsworth/videos ) I was hooked on this vivacious young lass from (at the time) Portland Oregon. I rapidly learned that she was an ardent fan of the mighty FPGA chip. Now I had heard of these chips and I knew that they were Field Programmable Gate Arrays that could be programmed through a computer interface but I just presumed that they were for use in fancy switching circuits and had no idea of their true underlying power until I started researching Jeri and her fascination with them and her self taught usage designs. She inspired me to obtain and explore the FPGA world and though I have not accomplished near the level of understanding of them that she has I have certainly learned a lot from her over the years in both watching her countless videos and live hacking feeds.

This is a really cool article involving FPGAs and the Game Of Life (not the board game either). It reveals a lot about evolution that would otherwise not be able to be studied given the life span of a single generation yet here Adrian is able to accomplish dozens of generations in just a short time.

Here is the first part of the article. Click on the link at the end of the article to go to them main page of the article and read about the rest of it there!

In a unique laboratory in Sussex, England, a computer carefully scrutinized every member of large and diverse set of candidates. Each was evaluated dispassionately, and assigned a numeric score according to a strict set of criteria. This machine’s task was to single out the best possible pairings from the group, then force the selected couples to mate so that it might extract the resulting offspring and repeat the process with the following generation. As predicted, with each breeding cycle the offspring evolved slightly, nudging the population incrementally closer to the computer’s pre-programmed definition of the perfect individual.

The candidates in question were not the stuff of blood, guts, and chromosomes that are normally associated with evolution, rather they were clumps of ones and zeros residing within a specialized computer chip. As these primitive bodies of data bumped together in their silicon logic cells, Adrian Thompson– the machine’s master– observed with curiosity and enthusiasm.

Dr. Adrian Thompson is a researcher operating from the Department of Informatics at the University of Sussex, and his experimentation in the mid-1990s represented some of science’s first practical attempts to penetrate the virgin domain of hardware evolution. The concept is roughly analogous to Charles Darwin’s elegant principle of natural selection, which describes how individuals with the most advantageous traits are more likely to survive and reproduce. This process tends to preserve favorable characteristics by passing them to the survivors’ descendants, while simultaneously suppressing the spread of less-useful traits.

Dr. Thompson dabbled with computer circuits in order to determine whether survival-of-the-fittest principles might provide hints for improved microchip designs. As a test bed, he procured a special type of chip called a Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) whose internal logic can be completely rewritten as opposed to the fixed design of normal chips. This flexibility results in a circuit whose operation is hot and slow compared to conventional counterparts, but it allows a single chip to become a modem, a voice-recognition unit, an audio processor, or just about any other computer component. All one must do is load the appropriate configuration.

Adrian Thompson

Read all about it here!

via On the Origin of Circuits • Damn Interesting.

101 Ways to Make Money as a Musician DIY Musician Blog

101 Ways to Make Money as a Musician By Guest June 3, 2013{ No Comments } This is a guest post from Philip Taylor, editor-in-chief at PT Money, where the focus is on fixing your finances so you can build the life you want. His podcast features interviews with successful part-time entrepreneurs. Here’s Philip…There are a ton of different ways to make money as a musician. I’m not suggesting that everyone can make money with each of these ways. But I can promise that you can make money using at least one of these ways.I present to you 101 ways to make money as a musician.

via 101 Ways to Make Money as a Musician DIY Musician Blog.

“Silver & Light” with Ian Ruhter

Ian Ruhter makes some remarkable tin-type wet plate photography. I found a great interview by Jonah Samson of http://www.coolhunting.com and happened to find his Vimeo page then was off to Ians website.

Here is a photo sample of some of his work which is simply astounding and hauntingly beautiful and he does it all with “Silver & Light”! See below to catch his really cool video on how he makes these natural beauties.

Ian Ruhter Portrait

Ian Ruhter Portrait

As promised here is Ians “Silver & Light” video!

THE CHAMP CBA-20807 1000 Watt AMPLIFIER by John Chambers


I found this article on Hack-A-Day website. Some of you may recall my 100 watt custom monster amp post but even it in all its awesome glory is super small potatoes to this creation!

Johns work is exquisite and simple in design with thoughtful approaches to a variety of aspect to his amp. We are all anxiously awaiting part 3 of Johns missive into his marvelous amplifier containing schemtaics, results, and notes.

Johns website has a host of other useful information and ideas as well as how to’s and other designs both by him and other third party amp companies. Be sure to follow Johns progress as he seems to be a serious and well aged contender in the tube amp market and certainly better versed and more experienced than I!

The 1000 all tube Beastial Amplifier!

The 1000 all tube Beastial Amplifier!

Novachord 555 Project Begins With Baby Steps!

I found this article quite some time ago.
I wanted to share this again because I have been
considering how to emulate it accurately just using
555 and 556 timer chips along with various support
circuitry needed to recreate this behometh synth
from 1937! I am going to be using opamps and or
transconductance opamps and various transistors
and amplifier chips. All of the tonal generation
circuits and octave dividers and so on will be
from 556 and 555 chips! I have been thinking about
this project for almost 2 years but specifically
when Jeri Ellsworth and Chris Gammel held
The 555 Timer contest. Given the short time
frame of the project and slow shipping from
china I was not able to participate. But now I
have my chips and hopefully soon will find the
time to actually begin construction. I have been
doodling circuits on paper but have not had the
time to test board a few circuits together. It
certainly has been bugging me though and I need
to accomplish this monstrosity of a synth.



by Phil Cirocco of CMS

Welcome to the NRP site. This site may drastically revise your perception of electronic music history.

The first commercially available synthesizer was designed by the Hammond Organ Company in 1938 and put into full production from 1938 to 1942. The Novachord is a gargantuan, all tube, 72 note polyphonic synthesizer with oscillators, filters, VCAs, envelope generators and even frequency dividers.

If you are skeptical about the Novachord being a true synthesizer, check out the sound clips near the bottom of the page.

I bought my Hammond Novachord around 10/2004 in Connecticut. After chatting with the few brave souls who tried to repair these beasts, I soon realized that replacement of all the passive components was necessary for reliable and stable operation of any Novachord. However, the sheer number of components and it’s complexity, make properly restoring a Novachord

a Herculean task.

Please don’t let this site lead you to believe that restoring one of these 500 pound monstrosities is anything close to easy. You will need tons of: time, resistors, capacitors, muscle, money, test equipment, patience, family members with patience, etc.

via Novachord Restoration Project.

The Plumber’s Pipe (Making PVC Flutes, Make a Flute)

In continuing on with my acoustic instruments creation thread I found this article about making flutes from commonly available PVC piping. Good luck, be careful and good flauting around!

Plastic plumbing pipe is nearly ideal for simple flutes. There’s no easier material to work with. Sanded clean and smooth, it’s attractive, requiring no finish. It’s waterproof, crack-proof, and nearly unbreakable. It’s fine acoustically, if you use the right dimensions. And once you develop a pattern, the pipe’s regularity allows a perfect flute every time.

via The Plumber’s Pipe (Making PVC Flutes, Make a Flute).

Here is another link to a different website with more great info about making your very own PVC flute!
via Make A PVC Flute

The Didgeridoo – How To Make A Didgeridoo

You might want to try making your own didgeridoo if you’re on a tight budget, if you want an inexpensive practice instrument, or if you just have fun making things. Figure 6-1 shows three didgeridoos made by the author — made of plastic pipe, copper pipe, and bamboo.

You can easily make a didgeridoo of your own, tuned to any key you want, with a few basic hand-tools and some inexpensive materials. For example, you can make a plastic pipe didgeridoo in a couple of hours for a total materials cost of less than $10 (US#, and without any tools more complex than a hacksaw. By the way, if you scoff completely at the idea of playing a plastic pipe, the Bloodwood CD by Alan Dargin & Michael Atherton #see the Discography page) contains a track of Mr. Dargin doing some rather amazing things with a 2 meter (6 foot) length of plastic electrical conduit. This track clearly demonstrates the playability of plastic pipe and other non-traditional didgeridoos, although that probably wasn’t what Mr. Dargin specifically had in mind.

via The Didgeridoo – How To Make A Didgeridoo.

Univibing the Electro-Harmonix Small-Stone (’97)

Sometime in the late 70’s Rick Onslow – Frank Marino’s tech at the time – said to me that you could modify pretty much any four stage phase-shifter to make it sound somewhat like a Univibe … the key word here is “somewhat” for I haven’t set them to lie exactly where a Vibe has them set, rather I’m playing with the 10:1 decade ratio in two parts … I decided to first try this idea out that concept on the Small-Stone OTA-based circuitry though I’ve more recently done it on Op-amp based circuits, and those are matched to the Vibe response … recall that well-behaved “studio” phase shifters have their all-pass filter stages set to an identical shift frequency by using the same shifter cap value throughout …

via Univibing the Electro-Harmonix Small-Stone (’97).

Wes Yoder Is At It again With “Damn This Crooked Road”

My buddy Wes is back in the studio and recorded a cover of Damn This Crooked Road by Chris Knight. Some of you may remeber Wes from our video of “6th Avenue Heartache” by The Wall Flowers

Maker Faire 2011 – The Future of Education Panel by Element14

The 2011 San Mateo Maker Faire was a great success! So many wide-eyed kids (and adults) visited the element14 booth to witness a live taping of The Ben Heck Show, to see Ben Innes and the official unveiling of his stunning art installation piece as well as to see the culmination of the Great Global Hackerspace Challenge. This panel Features Jeri Ellsworth, Ben Heckendorn, and Mitch Altman. The panel Moderator is Michelle Dobson.

Make: Online | Krs – Hackerspace Electronics: From Nub to Ninja in Under a Year

Krs who learned electronics and went on to design electronic conference badges (and teaching others). She has the maker bug! “Krs – Hackerspace Electronics: From Nub to Ninja in Under a Year”….

via Make: Online | Krs – Hackerspace Electronics: From Nub to Ninja in Under a Year.

About Reflecting in the Chrome: A Nine Inch Nails Live Recording Archive!

Reflecting in the Chrome was created in 2008 at the end of The Lights in the Sky tour. Over the years NIN has been captured live by many people; there are hundreds upon hundreds of recordings. However, there was not a site that collected these recordings and shared them with NIN fans. RITC is an archive of Nine Inch Nails’ live recordings over the last 20 years. All recordings are available for download free of charge.

via About Reflecting in the Chrome: A Nine Inch Nails Live Recording Archive.

Surviving Pink Floyd Members Reunite at Roger Waters Show in London

The surviving members of Pink Floyd reunited onstage tonight at London’s 02 Arena during a stop on Roger Waters’ Wall tour – marking only the second time that Nick Mason, David Gilmour and Waters had played together in the last 30 years. Waters and Gilmour performed “Comfortably Numb” as the crowd at the arena went absolutely insane, and during the finale of “Outside the Wall,” Gilmour returned to the stage alongside Mason, who played a tambourine.

As he did on the original 1980/81 tour, Gilmour played his epic solo on the top of the Wall. Last July, Waters promised that Gilmour would play the song during one show on the tour, but drummer Nick Mason’s involvement was kept a secret. They last performed together at Live 8 in 2005. Original keyboardist Richard Wright died in 2008.

via Pink Floyd Reunite at Roger Waters Show in London | Rolling Stone Music.

Jeri Ellsworth: Race Car-Building & Driving, Roller-Derby Skating, Self-Taught Chip Designer And My Buddy!

Take one race car driver, give her a roller derby jersey with the name “Rectifier 1N34″ (sic) and access to some components, and who do you get? Jeri Ellsworth.When Jeri took the stage this morning at ESC Silicon Valley, keynote comparisons were made between Woz, the Tuesday keynote presenter, and her. The basics are that they are both nerds who were bullied, they both had amazing dads who encouraged them to become electronics kids, they both dropped out of school (Jeri out of high school, Woz out of college), and they are both very much self taught. Unlike Woz who went back to school after starting Apple, Jeri did not. In fact everything she’s done – and it’s a lot – is self taught.

Catch the full article here:  Jeri Ellsworth: Race car-driving, roller-derby skating, self-taught designer.

One day I was researching alternative ideas for a reverb circuit and chanced to run into a video recorded  by Jeri Ellsworth where she took an old floppy drive and floppy and figured out how to control it and feed audio into it and out of it in effect turning it into a delay/reverb unit! I got excited about this and though it turned out that the device  was not very musically valid for what I wanted it was still very cool and so I subscribed to her youtube channel. That was a couple years ago and since then Jeri and I have become tech buddies and supported each others endeavors in the tech video/article world (she much more than I unfortunately). If you do not know who this “Force Of Nature” is be sure to check out her youtube channel at http://www.youtube.com/jeriellsworth or her website at http://www.jeriellsworth.com or just do a google search for her name on http://www.google.com to  find many many links to articles, stories, videos, and podcasts of her, by her, and for her! Jeri is currently working on a series of technical videos for both Element14 DIY parts supplier and Adafruit industries DIY parts supplier. Anyone who gets featured on the same keynote ticket as Steve Wozniak is a winner in my book!

Paul Stanley of KISS On Hearing Loss

A medical condition impacting his ability to hear did not stop legendary entertainer Paul Stanley of KISS from pursuing his dreams. Stanley made it big and he says you can, too.

In the video at the link Stanley goes on to mention visiting http://soundrules.org for instructions and tips on how to save your hearing. As a lifelong musician that suffers from partial hearing losses I cant help but to wholeheartedly agree!

via Paul Stanley of KISS.

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