Sunday, February 26, 2012

Old Man's Eyes

This winter, I have been thinking a lot about audio electronics, learning on the internet, and planning a few projects. Unfortunately, that isn't good subject matter for this blog. Let's face it, my friends may enjoy the music reproduced when the project is finished, but talking about balanced .vs. single ended inputs and signal to noise ratios may bring a glazed look from many.

This weekend, I started "populating" the board of a new preamp project and came up with one idea worth sharing. If you are going to play with building electronics, do it now before you eyes become "old man's eyes". Basically, at the same time as your eyes are getting worse, the electronic components are getting smaller. Thank goodness for magnifying glasses.

Here is what I mean. Below is a photo of an SMD resistor. There are nearly 100 of these to be mounted on the two small circuit boards that make up my current project. These resistors are relatively large. There are some optional resistors on the board that are only abou 1/3 the size.

The resistors are large when compared to the transistors. This little transistor powers the LED that displays volume level and input channel. Happily, there are only 2 of these to solder in place.

I'm not sure how long this project will take, but I'm hoping the results will improve the sound and I can invite you to hear the results without being bored by too many details.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Changing Luck

You know how it goes. Most days are normal, everyday, routine.

Sometimes, you get a string of bad luck. Things are plain going badly. And you stick it out because you know the good and bad will even out eventually.

Last week, I was traveling again and I had a bad string going. And then, just as suddenly it was gone. Two things were a clear sign that my luck had changed for the better.

First, when I checked out of the hotel, they asked me where I had parked. It turns out that a drunk driver had crossed the road, the lawn, and plowed into 4 cars parked in the hotel parking lot. My rental car was 5 spaces further down and just fine.

On the flight home, the sun is just past the horizon, the sky is a little pink at the horizon and blue above. We are flying just above a layer of intermittent puffy white clouds. Occasionally, they tower up above our level as we fly around them. Thousands of feet below, where the earth should be, there is a layer of white clouds that makes you feel like the earth has disappeared. Meanwhile, the clouds roll and wave and hide and seek, an interesting country I would like to explore. They are so close that you could reach out and touch them.

I thought about trying to capture it with a picture, but I think you will do a better job inside your head.

Most of the time air travel is crowded, ugly, and impersonal. If you keep your eyes open, it can occasionally be beautiful.