Air Music Tech Loom Synthesizer

Loom Synth Engine

Loom is an additive synthesizer from Air Music Tech that takes a module style approach to synthesis. The various modules can be combined in any order to generate and manipulate sound. It is a different style to most other synths that take a traditional approach and layout so this can take a little time to get used to the way sound creation and manipulation works. Once you master this it has some interesting possibilities and can make really unique sounds.

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Audjoo Helix Synthesizer

Audjoo Helix VSTi Synth

Audjoo Helix is a wave-table shaping, virtual analogue, hybrid soft synthesizer with a deep rich high sound quality that makes it suited to pads and textures with motion and depth, although it is quite capable of bass and leads etc. Some of the pads and textures possible in this synth remind me a little of other older synth engines such as Native Instruments Absynth for example but this is not a typical thin sounding old school VSTi.

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LM3886 Gain Clone Amplifier DIY

Gainclone DIY

In 1999 a manufacturer called 47 labs released a 3000 USD amplifier called a gaincard. Although it got good reviews it caused a great deal of controversy because it was based around a pair of 5 USD LM series power amplifier IC's with a basic power supply. So a 3000 USD product had about 100 USD of parts inside. It is not unusual to find any audio equipment selling for at least 10x the parts cost today. Coming from an electronics background I regularly see equipment I would not pay the retail price for based on the grounds the build cost being so low in comparison.

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Musical Fidelity M1 HPA Headphone Amplifier Review

Musical Fidelity M1HPA Headphone Amplifier

I have had a bit of a love hate relationship with musical fidelity products in the past. They always seem to get good reviews in the Hi-Fi press but a few times after prolonged use I find that the immediate wow factor is eventually replaced with a feeling that the initial gloss is hiding a few problems. I found this particularly true with an A308 CD player I used for a while. This was advertised as being 95% equivalent to the Nuvista 3D CD Player at half the cost. When one came available second hand for a good price I took a chance.

Sennheiser HD 800 Review (vs Grado and Stax)

Sennheiser HD800

The HD800 headphones are currently Sennheiser's top end set of headphones. They claim to have the largest transducers and the most advanced driver technology of any current headphone on the market at this time. These are reference class headphones and a benchmark to compare many other headphones against. Premium parts have gone into the build, the transducer being encased by precision machined stainless steel and the ear-pads are claimed to be hand crafted from a high-quality microfibre fabric.

Audio HiFi Mains Cable DIY

DIY Audio HiFi Mains Cable

Nothing invokes more of a mixed response in Hi-Fi circles than the concept of 'audio-grade' Hi-Fi mains cables. The idea of spending up to £1000 for a mains cable for many, myself included, seems ludicrous. Audio grade mains cables are very much a Hi-Fi thing and not so much in the pro-audio world were the only time a slightly more expensive mains lead would be used is one that has screening to stop noise radiating out of the cable and inducing on other near-by more sensitive audio carrying cables. This does have some engineering sense behind it.

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Yulong A100 Headphone Amplifier Review and Capacitor Upgrade

Yulong A100 Headphone Amplifier

The Yulong A100 is a class A headphone amplifier from the far east. They are not a well known brand in the west but produce some higher end models along with this reasonably priced unit. I have used tube headphone amplifiers in the past and wanted to try a class A solid state. It is a compact well made unit with a brushed black metal chassis, thick aluminium front plate and nice vintage style VU meters. The knob is plastic however but it still looks very good and not particularly plastic looking.

Teac VRDS Copland 288 Rubber Tray Repair

Copland 288

The Teac VRDS mechanism used in many high end players does not age well. The gears go soft and start to perish making the unit skip on playback or the tray fails to open and close. These gears are very hard to find now and expensive if you do manage to find some. Therefore unless you have a 3D printer and a good set of gears as a template then I would avoid paying too much for any Teac based cd player.

 

Removing The Tray Rubber

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Nelson Pass Labs B1 Buffer Pre-Amplifier Update DIY

Nelson Pass Labs B1 Buffer

Having sold the last B1 buffer I built I ended up building another. I had a spare pcb sitting around for a while and since it is such a good pre-amp, easy to build and the fact I had 90% of the parts already it was a situation of... might as well. It also meant I could use one of those nice aluminium cases from modshop in Italy to match my copland cd player and the lightspeed pre-amp case. Solid state builds such as this simple design do not have much to go wrong and testing is safe unlike tube gear. A big difference working on 18V here rather than 300V plus.

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Grado PS500 Headphone Review

Grado PS500 Headphones

For the past year I have been using a pair of stax lambda pro electrostatic headphones with my Copland 288 cd player in one of my setups. I sold my Martin Logan speakers and wanted something as good but more suited to a small room, able to be used any time of day or night and as loud as I wanted with minimal external noise. Quality headphones are very hard to better with similar priced loudspeakers. They also provide a highly involving listening experience. Their diaphragms are much lighter than typical dynamic speakers and so have timing and pace unmatched bar the very best speakers.

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