Where's the best place to start?



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Where's the best place to start?

Postby Roseweave » Sun Jul 05, 2009 11:06 am

I'm a bit lost. Mainly what I want to learn is exactly how different components effect the sound, that's what I can't wrap my head around, like how an Equaliser is possible without DSP, things like that.

Also is there a "virtual signal" kind of software package? That can emulate the effects of different components if I run a signal/WAV file through it?

My problem is I don't want to just learn how to put stuff together, I want to learn all the theory behind it.
Roseweave

 

Re: Where's the best place to start?

Postby V0id » Mon Jul 06, 2009 2:01 pm

Roseweave wrote:Also is there a "virtual signal" kind of software package? That can emulate the effects of different components if I run a signal/WAV file through it?


That would be awesome for everyone O___O
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Re: Where's the best place to start?

Postby Scruffie » Mon Jul 06, 2009 3:26 pm

Well I can help you with a few links of where to go learn about building...

The best way to hear the effect of differen't components is to do it yourself, build a pedal onto breadboard (theres layouts on beavis audio) and then change the parts out to hear what the different effects are for yourself

A good begginer site is www.beavisaudio.com
Check down the right hand side for articles

www.geofex.com
Although a bit tricky to navitage the site due to its layout there is loads of really good information on there but you may have to search for it as I can't find articles on there half the time even though their there.

www.diystompboxes.com
Join the forum of this site, there are some people that have worked in designing pedals for up to and probably over 40 years, if they can't help you no one can.

www.freestompboxes.com
A great site for pedal schematics and a friendly community, with lots of good articles and threads.

For an EQ without DSP then it'd be filtering is the main answer to that, low and high pass fitlers etc.

There are some signal emulator programs, I think I hear a program called SPICE being thrown around alot, although I haven't really looked into any of this myself and am not sure how good it would be.
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Re: Where's the best place to start?

Postby Ryan » Mon Jul 06, 2009 7:20 pm

Hi Roseweave,

I think Scruffie pointed you towards some awesome links and probably the best places to start doing some reading. If you want to check out a couple software ideas, electronics students generally use either PSpice or Electronics Workbench for circuit simulation. You can probably download home/student versions of these programs or if you went to your local college/university book shop you could get an analog fundamentals textbook that would more than likely come with a disc of either program plus then you'd have the text for reference.

The simulators are a great way to see how the component changes you're talking about affect signals. You could set up a Tubescreamer circuit, run a 1kHz, 250mV sine wave into it, and then mess with that mid-hump all day. You'll just need enough electronics know-how to connect the components properly and the circuits in the software read exactly like a schematic.

I definitely agree with Scruffie that the best way is to get a breadboard and some components and start experimenting.. plus it's just plain fun!

A great textbook to get into the workings of electronics is The Art of Electronics and the Student Manual For The Art of Electronics. $100ish brand new but you can find them used on eBay for way less.
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Re: Where's the best place to start?

Postby Roseweave » Tue Jul 07, 2009 10:55 am

Also, I'm awful at drilling holes, is there any way I can avoid this? Like just buy 2 or 4 knob generic cases etc.

No articles seem to offer a satisfactory step by step breakdown of what each component actually does... It's all too orientated towards "Build this for this to happen". I'm more interested in how things work moreso than ever actually building any pedals. I like to understand things and hate when I don't.
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Re: Where's the best place to start?

Postby Scruffie » Tue Jul 07, 2009 12:49 pm

www.smallbearelec.com do pre drilled cases, i'm awful at drilling die cast aluminium aswell but you get used to it.

Sadly there are very few places that give you it straight out, I try and learn aswell but you do have to ask questions on pedal forums or do an electronics course or buy a book on it which you probably wont understand what your reading unless you build it anyway.
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Re: Where's the best place to start?

Postby Roseweave » Tue Jul 07, 2009 1:45 pm

Does Zspice or Electronics workbench actually let me run a wav file through the circuit as a signal though. I can't really tell from looking at sine waves. It would only have to be a short clip.
Roseweave

 

Re: Where's the best place to start?

Postby metalmariachi » Tue Jul 07, 2009 6:43 pm

If you want to get very technical, there are a lot of books out there.

Most of the really good tube amp books go into components pretty thoroughly.

Check out Dave Funks Tube amp work book, or any of Kevin O'Conners.

They even get into how your power supply and filtering effects preamp tone.

Then like music, practice, practice, practice. train your hearing and you will be able to hear the difference between an nos black cat, current Mallory 150 and a new Spreague orange drop.
Trust me that won't come over night.

Have fun

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Re: Where's the best place to start?

Postby Ryan » Wed Jul 08, 2009 5:32 pm

I'm not really sure if you'd be able to run a .wav file through a circuit simulation, I think they generally just work with their own software generated waveforms, but viewing the changes in waveforms is really what it's all about. At the very least you could feed in a noise source that covered the audible range of frequencies and see how the filtering affected it.

My knowledge of circuit simulation is a little outdated too... there's probably an iTouch or iPhone app already that lets you build filters and run mp3s through them.

Wikipedia has a great read about filters, covering passive and active with circuit examples (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_filter). These fundamentals will help you to understand how the resistors and capacitors, in specific combinations either by themselves or as part of active feedback paths, affect the frequency of the signal they see.
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