W A R N I N G !

W A R N I N G !

This page is full of non-facts and bullsh!t, (just like the internet and especially forums and other blogs), please do not believe entirely without exercising your intellect. Any resemblance to real things in reality is purely coincidental. You are free to interpret/misinterpret the content however you like, most likely for entertainment, but in no case is the text written on this blog the absolute truth. The blog owner and Blogger are not responsible for any misunderstanding of ASCII characters as facts. *cough* As I was saying, you are free to interpret however you like. *cough*

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Quote of the day:

"There are no winners on the internet, but there are those that are less loserish."

Friday, October 29, 2010

Price of internal component - $0.02, price of component wrapped and packaged nicely for external application - $200

A few posts ago I mentioned (but didn't promise, gotcha) I would talk about why all the expensive tweaks are external tweaks.

So here it is.

There are two reasons for this.

First reason - it's not that all (an absolute all) expensive tweaks are external, there are some internal stuff like clock and buffer upgrades also.

But, there are people who do audio tweaks that can't remember v(t) = L di(t)/dt

So they can't do anything related to electronic design.

So they do non-electronics-related tweaks instead. And claim it somehow links to the electrical performance of the equipment.

And internal tweaks usually mean electronics.

So these non-electronic tweaks are usually outside.

Second reason - products must be sold to people who can use them.

Don't laugh - I've seen people asking me how to remove the cover of something

Asking about simple things that can be Googled (that reminds me to write a post about online guides)

On a side note, it is super funny when people ask said kind of question on forums and it gets answered by forummers who know even less than the person asking for help. See this post for my opinion on this.

And people who tend to have the money to buy (and/or be suckered to buy) expensive tweaks are not technicians, engineers, or scientists. Because 1) they know well not to buy, well, at least the real professionals (n. 2. One who earns a living in a given or implied occupation) do, not wannabes, and 2) ever seen a technician/engineer/scientist that is rich? (I'm not counting "engineers" of audio tweaks themselves, those have thrown away their respect for this field, and many are wannabes. Anyway, they only give the illusion of being rich (so you'd think you can believe in them knowing what is good for an expensive system *chuckle*), for if they were really rich they would've spent more money to improve their f***ed-up webpages.)

In short, many people who buy expensive tweaks don't have a toolkit - I blame it partially on the lack of practical DIY knowledge being passed down from fathers to sons, and from mothers to daughters, and soon people won't even know what this is for. The other part is because they are rich and have maids and pay overcharging technicians to do anything.

So, unable to do internal tweaks, they only want to buy external tweaks.

And that's why most tweaks are external.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Rich-poor gap

Jurong Point

A showcase of the rich-poor gap

And overpopulation

And aging population

And foreign worker influx. Especially foreign worker influx. But these will be talked about another time, lets focus on rich-poor gap.

Around Boon Lay MRT station (inclusive of within the station itself and Jurong Point, I can count four stalls selling $2 chicken rice (one of them sells $1.50 actually) or economic nasi lemak, I believe there to be more hidden somewhere.

And opposite is Cavana chicken rice - $4.50 per plate.

And in the basement of Jurong Point, a short street of Japanese cuisine.

And beside that, an area full of restaurants

On the top floor of JP2, a Kopitiam that only has restaurant-like food, and price.


On the top floor of JP2, and more scattered everywhere, are shops you'd find in Orchard road

Beside them, FairPrice Xtra for all your cheap goods


But the best/worse has to be this - there used to be a free space area where tonnes of factory workers would sit around.

Now, that area is replaced with a Wendy's.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Magic Platform

Coming across the Shakti Stone and my previous experience with overheating my Zhaolu gave me a new novel idea for an audio tweak, or "tweak" as you may like to call it -

I present the:

Magic Platform.

It works by increasing the working temperature of your device to decrease ESR of capacitors and increase conductivity of semiconductors (hence involving quantum physics). It is made of high density wood specially processed into pulp form removing defects and irregularity in the process to provide the much-required mass loading and mass damping and makes your equipment more natural. The quantum-mechanical additives in the pulp protects the equipment below it from cosmic rays while the pencil lead blocks nuclear radiation. The wood also balances the feng shui which is otherwise too heavy in huo (fire), jin (gold, also refers to metal), and dian (electricity).

And the effect of this tweak? It sounds warmer. Get it?

Oh, the plastic poles sticking upwards are not part of this product, but another tweak called the Plasticizer which regulates resonances (plastic does not exaggerate the high frequencies too much as with metal resonators) and absorbs charges in the air and store it within themselves to create a barrier field protecting the equipment from interference.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Casing affects sound quality!

All the talk on spikes and footers, coupling/decoupling on solid-state equipment,

without firm theoretical basis and less to say numbers of reality.

Because in Audio Land, anything that you do changes sound quality. And any change in sound quality is for the better.

So spikes, footers, granite slabs, suspension, magic rocks whatever works because it changes the way things vibrate.

Well people "researching" in this field sure left out a very important part.

The components inside the equipment don't float by themselves, they stay still because something is holding them up against gravitational acceleration.

The screws holds them down to the chassis.

The chassis connects the footer to the screws.

So wouldn't the physical properties of the chassis affect more than that of the footer? Considering the length and thickness. And casing panels are known to flex under load, but not the footer.

So the casing is more flimsy than the the footer?

So what is the point of a firm/unfirm/whatever science connection between the equipment and the tabletop when the casing is going to affect more?

Of course, if what your equipment only does is to send high-bandwidth time-critical signals into outer-space, you don't need a good chassis or isolation footers.

Anyway if you want a firm connection use a screw goddamnit.

And some spike footers come with threads for you to replace the original feet of your equipment. But many don't also.

Because people aren't expected to know how to replace the equipment's feet.

And as you might have known all the expensive "tweaks" over a few k are external tweaks. As for the reason why, that deserves a post of its own, I'll cover it next time.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Random chatter: Lets clone something!

When you are bored and you want a project yet there is nothing that you need

Cloning something expensive with half the cost is always satisfying.

So here we go:


I don't think I want to clone anymore.

It's just not fun.

It's just no challenge to clone this because anyhow huntum also can build it cheaper. Maybe it would take some skill to build it for a tenth of the price. But it would be cheaper to buy a ready-made one with the same quality for a twentieth?

BTW this kind if things is the reason why I don't believe in "extreme-end" audio.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

47kohm resistor vs 50kohm pot

Looking around, I chanced upon people looking for exact values of resistors and capacitors, and people who when they couldn't find the values needed combine stuff - e.g. to get a 47kohm resistor they put 2 22kohms and 1 3ohm in series, that kind of example.

Of course, monkey see monkey do that's why.

Well, first thing, an unrelated but important thing to know, is that the exact value of the potentiometer doesn't matter as long as it is within 10k to 100k with 20k/50k often used (and often argued over which is the better one).

The above fact makes it pointless to ponder one situation. Lets get back to topic.

Have you wondered why are electronic components in weird values like 22 and 47?

There is actual science involved!

Remember physics in secondary school/jc (hope you still do), the thing about number of significant figures and decimal places?

If you use 2.2 to add 3.3, you write it as 5.5 and not 5.50?

It's a similar thing in real life.

Resistors and capacitors, have a tolerance of 20%, unless otherwise stated.

So that means a 1.0 can be anywhere between 0.8 and 1.2.

If this is the case it does not make sense to have values of 0.9 and 1.1 right?

Nor 1.2 - 1.2 can be 0.96 to 1.44, still an overlap.

So the next value used is 1.5 - giving a range of 1.2-1.8
Next value? 2.2 - range of 1.76 (1.8 when rounded) to 2.64
Then 3.3 - 2.64 to 3.96
And so on

See the pattern?

Here is a list of available values for various tolerances.

So moral of the story - if your component is 3.3 @ 20% tolerance and you replace it with something 1% tolerance, don't be a gay and look for 3.3 if you have a 3.0 value available, because chances are the 3.3 @ 20% isn't 3.3 in the first place.

Or if you have a 3.0 @ 1% and you want to replace it with a 20% part, don't be gay trying to find a 3.0 @ 20% because you'll never be able to find it, and if you use 3 x 1.0 @ 20% it won't be precise anyway.

In short, just don't be gay.

But there are many opportunities for one to be gay. Like typing this blog. It's hard to cover all.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Conductivity of silver and (hic) gold

I needed to write this someday.

Some people say silver and gold are better for (blah blah), citing better conductivity as the reason.

Reality check time.

Silver's conductivity is 5-10% higher than copper.

But when people buy pure silver cables they buy thinner because 1) it is more expensive and 2) the higher conductivity makes up for the thinner gauge.



The difference in area between wires 1AWG different in gauge is roughly 26%.

So for the same amount of money, you can get thicker copper cable which is more conductive.

Next, gold.

Gold is less conductive than copper.

End of discussion.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

"Once a Soldier, Always a Soldier"

And there is no way out. Until you ROD.

Ad placement win?

Monday, October 11, 2010

I have a bad feeling about this...

FE1006 and FE1007 are first-year Maths I and Maths II respectively.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

"Audiophile quality" or best quality solder?

Audiophile-grade lead-free silver solder.

Vs generic 60/40 or 63/37 leaded solder.

Which gives a better connection?

Share some info - despite the ban on lead leaded-solder is still allowed in military, power, server and other applications demanding high reliability; in fact in some military applications leaded solder is the only type that is allowed to be used.

Around The Interwebs

"The foundation of the HD Audio Opamp is a sophisticated Voltage Differential Amplification network."

Hmm... are there any op-amp with single-ended input? But it wouldn't be called an op-amp by definition.

"without rigid component matching, it would be easy for sonic imbalance to occur."

Let me check Farnell - the most common value of tolerance for resistors is... 1%, at 18574 items.

Maths time - how much is a difference of 1% in decibels?

i.e. what is the difference in decibels between a 1.01V signal and a 1.00V signal?

Correct! The answer is 0.086dB.

Go and hear that.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The $20 wattmeter

$18 from eBay including shipping, $2 for the UK plug bought from SELFFIX.

$0 for the time and anxiety spent on settings this up.

You see, when I bought this on eBay, I told the seller I wanted a type G plug for use in Singapore. Not only did it come without, the sticker on the back of the unit says "110V".

Now who in his right mind would plug this in.

But there are hints - hints that say this thing might be usable with both voltages.

Too impatient for the seller's reply, I decided to uncover the secret.

Finally the pic.

Inside - the chip at the top corner beside the crystal is the energy metering IC ADE7755 - quick Googling of its datasheet shows that it has no issues with working with 230V. Also, the way it measures power by multiplying the current and voltage that it measures means that it has no problem with accuracy with different voltages compared to one that uses only current to calculate power. Why measuring both current and voltage works, if you don't get it, ask your physics/electronics teacher.

The yellow capacitor is rated for 250VAC. There is a single diode hidden behind for a half-wave-rectifier. Also hidden behind the capacitor(s) is a U2 in TO-92 package. 'U' stands for integrated circuit, don't ask me why. This should be the switch-mode power supply (transformerless?).

One thing good about SMPS, is that it can work with a large range of input voltages while ensuring up-to-spec output voltage. With unregulated, changing input voltage changes output voltage in the same ratio and fries things. With linear regulation, the regulators have to drop the extra voltage and fry. With switching power supplies, the PWM duty cycle is reduced so the higher input voltage still results in the same output voltage.

Now the issue is, I can't see the markings on U2. I can only hope that it can withstand 230V. If I were the designer, I would use U2 that can withstand 230V and use it for all models of my product, which is only differentiated with a sticker. And the power plug. Instead of having two versions and needing more inventory.

It is a guess. But a calculated guess.

So I wired up the thing and plugged it in. Nothing exploded.

So it is working.

Now time to have some fun with it.

How accurate this is - with a table lamp (bulb to be precise) rated at 7W, I got between 6.9 to 7.2W. So it's fairly accurate.

These are the power consumptions of my laptop (T4200, 14-inch LED-backlit screen) in different conditions:

Should be 17.8/17.9, the LCD was transiting between the two.

The screen consumes around 1.9W (~2W), bravo.

Note that the liquid crystal part of this screen is "always-on" - I can still see the screen and it changing with the backlight off, but just very barely, and only in the right conditions. The "switch off screen" (Fn + F6) of my Acer laptop only switches off the backlight.

Still, 2W for backlight is worth commenting. (I'm not sure whether it is worth commending.)

Battery removed - I removed the battery and do Linpack with screen on again. The battery has no effect compared to natural fluctuations in wattage.

I played a 1080p H.264 file that was lagging my CPU with 100% load all the time - it used to be just barely able to play with stuttering at the more difficult parts, I think it is due to virus.

Edit: Turns out I disabled ffmpeg-mt for the decoder, and for some reason CoreAVC was disabled, so it was using some unknown leftover codec to decode, which is obviously slower than ffmpeg-mt and CoreAVC.

Edit2: I found the unknown codec - DivX decoder. Yes it is still alive and long forgotten. And for good because their encoder sucks and their decoder is so slow.

ffmpeg-mt is actually not so much slower compared to CoreAVC. Not bad for a free codec.

With easier videos (those that can be played on an Atom, without hardware accelerated H.264 decoding), it was either 23.5W or 24.5W.

Worst case scenario? Probably Linpack, CPU not undervolted, with screen at full brightness.

I need to learn to document things as I move along.

The power that the laptop uses varies probably +-0.5W, which means there could be up to 1W difference between measurements of doing the same things.

Now some other measurements in text... I'm too lazy for more pics

Zhaolu D2.5A idling - 10.4W
Zhaolu D2.5A playing - 11.7W

What? 10.4W doing nothing? No wonder it is this hot.

Sony SRS-D4 w/MX5021 satellites -
Idling - 6.7W
Playing - 6.8W

which is pretty much the same - the readings were fluctuating between those two values anyway. Typical of most amplifiers - you'll only see higher power draw at way higher output levels.

The subwoofer and satellites use less power than the source, bravo.

The computer is the most power-wasting alright; this is a laptop which consumes very little compared to desktops.

And, why bother with overpriced "small" low-power SFF systems when you can have comparable power draw for much more awesome performance, a screen, and a battery so you can bring it out, and is cheaper for the cost of everything?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Around The Interwebs

"Yes, it is class AB buffer circuit for the headphone amp!"

Is that supposed to be special?