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Friday 03/11/2006

My amplifier blew up last week. Not entirely, but enough to make the music distinctly suboptimal. (Yeah, this might be a bit of a dull one. You might want to skip it... Oh, I dunno. Give it a crack, anyway, it might not be as dull as all that. People do seem to like my writing, though I have no idea why, I just witter on...)

Now while I could easily fix it - after all, I can design the fucking things - it's not so easy to get at it. Since the volume controls and stuff are all on a different, accessible box, and the amplifier is nothing more than a box with wires going to it, it has got buried over the years. I'd have to shift a huge pile of stuff not just around the room but out of the room altogether to get at it.

So I decided I couldn't be arsed, and bought a replacement off ebay. It arrived today. Compared to the one that blew up, it is usefully louder, but the sound quality is cack. Not to worry, it's still a major improvement over a half-blown-up one.

I then had a random thought (I have a lot of these), that in one of my cupboards there was a pair of mid-range drivers which I think were out of an old TV, which I had intended to use to replace the rather ropy mid-range drivers (holes and glue all round the edges) which were in my speakers already. They'd been there for years but I hadn't got round to doing anything with them. But I seemed to have a bit of free time, so I thought I'd get my arse in gear. Whacked the replacement drivers into the speakers and fired them up.

Excellent! The old drivers, deteriorating over the years, had been a lot more knackered than I realised. With the cack new amp but the good new drivers, the sound was better than it had been with the bad old drivers and the good old amp (before it blew up)... Dunno what I'm doing with these speakers at all really... once I have settled on my eclectic definition of "best" for any given situation I don't settle for second best, and these speakers aren't much cop. Well, they're odd really. First I picked up a good pair of random bass drivers for 8 which were the right size to fit but were otherwise totally mismatched to the speakers and theoretically completely unsuitable, and put them in. Then someone gave me a pair of treble drivers which were again the right size but otherwise totally unsuitable, and I put them in. Now I've replaced the mid-range drivers with a third random pair of theoretically unsuitable drivers, so in both speakers all the drivers have now been replaced with random selections which should totally fail to work - but the bloody things now sound better than they ever did in their factory-standard condition.

Anyone looking from the outside would expect that the combination would not work, but in practice it actually works really well. Hmm. Well, it has to be said that in my experience such a result is not without precedent. It's certainly the sort of thing that Jesus knows all about.

Thankyou Lord.

To continue with my wibbling on, the cackness of the new amplifier has reminded me of something else which, like the drivers, has been sitting in my cupboard for years. The current state of the art in high-quality low-distortion amplifier design is Doug Self's "Blameless". I have added my own touch to this to produce a design which produces ten times less distortion than the "Blameless" - ten times better than the existing best of the best. So it seems appropriate to call it the "Lucid". I built a prototype about four years ago and while it is difficult to measure such low distortion levels it certainly seems to perform as designed. Perhaps I should dig it out and get the pukka version finished. One element of its design is a much greater than usual capability to cope with weird speakers, and it would be interesting to see what it does with my now surprisingly good but nevertheless weird speakers.

Anyway, I think that's enough wibbling on for the moment, I'll see what my new amp and refreaked speakers make of some different music now. It's been a bit of an odd evening so far, but not entirely useless... We'll see how it goes. Could be cool. Don't think it'll be fucked up, though that is often an unwelcome if small possibility. Hope it's cool, anyway. If you wanna run cool, you got to run on... not "heavy fuel", that would not be cool, that song describes a bit of an unpleasant character. "Diesel fuel" would be better. Or "nuclear fuel". 2(d,n) 3He + 2.45MeV... Yes, I think that's a pretty good one.

Update: Well, it was a sort of odd mixture between fucked up and not fucked up. These are awkward times. But these days I can handle it. Again, thankyou Lord.

Valley's deep, and the mountains so high
If you wanna see God you got to move on the other side.

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