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Topics - joecool85

Honey Amp / LM386 specs - max wattages etc
November 02, 2021, 10:49:11 AM
All data below based on LM386N-4, 8 pin DIP with 1.25w package dissipation, and max PSU of 22v

Current datasheet from TI:

Maximum power without heatsink, sorted by speaker output in ohms:

4 ohms (Figure 7 on datasheet) = Max 0.35w @ 6v (clean 0.25w) [Min 0.35w @ 6v]
* Need heatsink above 11v
* PSU recommendation: 7.2v NIMH or 7.4v Li-ion

8 ohms (Figure 8 on datasheet) = Max 0.85w @ 12v (clean 0.5w) [Min 0.3w @ 6v]
* Need heatsink above 14v
* PSU recommendation: 9.6v NIMH or 11.1v Li-ion

16 ohms (Figure 9 on datasheet) = Max 1.6w @ 16v (clean 1.2w) [Min 0.2w @ 6v]
* No heatsink required
* PSU recommendation: 11.1v Li-ion, 12v SLA or 14.4v auto power
The Suhr Discovery Analog Delay has been released.  It looks to be an absolute beast of an analog device: built with old-school bucket-brigade IC tech, can store up to 127 presets, 17-2000ms delay range with digital readout, tap tempo input, multiple division modes (1/3, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16), and an array of controls.  Plus it is built here in the USA and looks to be made of sheet steel stamped into an approximation of a 1/32 scale Sherman tank.

This looks to be a very professional piece of kit, and comes with an appropriate price tag coming in with an MSRP of $549 USD.
It seems to be all about pedals this year, and here is more of the same...sort of.

Chaos Audio Stratus is running a Kickstarter for their new pedal that they claim will be the last guitar pedal you will ever need.  Controlled by your smart phone, this pedal is all digital and only has one physical knob.  A winner?  I doubt it, but interesting none the less.

Next we have the TC Electronic Zeus Drive.  In their now-familiar stompbox size, they are offering for $60 USD a great little "Klon style" overdrive.  I think I may need to play with this one in person!
Boss is commemorating 40 years of the SD-1 Super Overdrive and 30 years of the MT-2 Metal Zone.  Say what you will about these pedals, but you can't argue they have staying power!  Plus the black looks killer!

You pay a $10 premium for the new paint bringing the MSRP for the SD-1 is $59.99 USD, and the MT-2 in at $112.99 USD.
I've had a few people ask about these so I figured I would share them.  Attached are the manuals (with schematics) for the LM1875 and LM3886 kits BrianGT sold at for a long time.
TC Electronic has released their new Skysurfer Mini Reverb, a small footprint version of their original Skysurfer.  It packs all the same functionality, but with smaller switches and knobs and much less wasted space.  For only $50 USD, this one sounds like a keeper!
Honey Amp / Getting started with your Honey Amp
April 03, 2021, 09:05:08 PM
Thanks for purchasing your Honey Amp!  Time to put it together and start making music!

None of the parts in your kit will be labeled to match component numbers in the schematic.  IE, a capacitor won't be labeled "C1."  This means that you need to know how to read component values.  Luckily, this isn't difficult and there are a lot of resources to help you along the way.

AMZ's Capacitor Calculator:
Capacitors have varying types of labels on them.  Electrolytic capacitors (they look like tiny soda cans) are usually labeled with plain text that will tell you the size and maximum voltage of the capacitor (10uF / 63v etc).  Pretty much all other capacitors use a code.  To break this down, use the link above.

Resistor Calculator:
Resistors don't typically have values printed in numbers on them.  Instead, resistors use color bands.
Thankfully there are charts, graphs, and calculators online available to help you decode this color band system - I like this one for it's simplicity.  It's easy to use, and it makes it easy to start learning how the color codes work so they make sense.

The rest should be pretty straight forward by following the silk screening on the PCB.  IE - it shows the direction to put the IC in, same with transistor and even diodes.

Now that you have identified your components, it's time to start soldering.

Always start with the shortest objects first.  When I say this, I mean the components that are the closest to the board.  In the case of the Honey Amp, it works well to start with the 1n4148 diode and resistors.  Put them in place, bend the leads slightly and then turn the board over.  Solder them on and then clip the remaining lead.  Continue on until you have installed the tallest component.  Now you are ready for off-board wiring.
Honey Amp / Honey Amp Docs
April 01, 2021, 09:37:12 PM
Enjoy  :tu:
Honey Amp / Honey Amp FAQ
April 01, 2021, 09:27:41 PM
Q: Why was the SSG-AMP-1 kit eventually called the "Honey Amp"?
A: My first build using the printed PCBs went into a tea tin.  The second one went into a Honeywell HVAC control box.  I trimmed the "we" in Honeywell and it made "Honeywell" (Honey II).  This means the first one was the Honey and I decided to go with the name.

Q: Where can I purchase a Honey Amp kit?
A: Currently these are not for sale.  The kickstarter has finished and I am mid-process shipping the kits out from that.  Once this is completed, I will be adding a store section to where you can purchase a kit then.

Q: How much power can I expect this to make?
A: The power output is dependent primarily on impedance of the speaker the amplifier is connected to as well as the supply voltage applied to the board.  Obviously there also needs to be sufficient input signal strength.  Maximum power for this board is 1.6w on a 16 ohm load using 16v supply voltage.  Using an 8 ohm speaker the maximum power output is going to be 0.85w powered by a 12v supply.  And lowest power comes from a 4 ohm speaker on a 9v supply coming in at only 0.35w.

Q: Can I use this for electric bass?
A: You sure can!  If using this for electric bass, you will want to adjust the output capacitor from the stock 470uF to somewhere around 2,000uF.  You will also probably want to make some changes to the tone stack (adjusted to taste).  Please remember that using a proper electric bass speaker will really be necessary to make this sound decent.

Q: Can I play music through this (mp3 player, cell phone etc)?
A: No problem!  I do this regularly with mine, it works great to drive some speakers for my desk when I want to listen to music on my laptop.  Use the aux input on the board and crank up some tunes!

Q: What about power supply?  What should I use?
A: Most little amps like this end up being powered by batteries, but any stable DC voltage supply ranging from 6v to 18v will work depending on what impedance you have hooked to it.  Recommended max voltage for 4 ohm will be 9v, max for 8 ohm is 14v, max for 16 ohm is 16v.

Q: Can I get clean tones from this amp?
A: While this amp does best for crunchy tones, it does have some tasty clean sounds as well - just at lower volumes.  To get this dialed in, start with gain all the way down and volume at half.  Turn your volume up to the desired level (it may well be maxed out and that is okay).  Then slowly turn the gain knob up until it starts to get a little distortion, back it down just below that point and that is the loudest clean setting you can get.
Gamechanger has created and released the Light Pedal.  This is a spring reverb pedal that incorporates not only real springs, but also infrared optical coupling to achieve their sonic offering.  This sounds very interesting, but it lists for 289 EUR, about $350 USD.  I've never spent remotely that much on a pedal, but maybe someone will?
Hughes and Kettner have released the AmpMan Classic pedalboard amps.  50 watts of on-board power, 2 channels, and multiple controls but limited tone.  It has sagging, presence, and resonance, but only a "tone" control for both channels.  While I'm sure it sounds great, it is starting at almost $500 USD.  Full of mojo?  I sure hope so!
EHX has released the "Ripped Speaker" effects pedal.  It claims to emulate that "torn speaker" sound.  While I can't imagine that is a sound someone would emulate on purpose, for $99 USD it can be on your pedal board!

What do you guys think?
ProCo has released the Lil Rat.  It is supposedly identical electrically to the full-size version.  Not much else to say here, looks cool though!  :dbtu:

Pricing TBD.
Behringer showed off their new line of practice amps during the virtual 2021 NAMM.  These look like a return to the basic workhorse line of practice amps very similar to Fender's now-retired "Frontman" series (technically the 10G is still in production).  These new amps come in 10, 20, and 40 watt ratings with 6", 8", or 10" speakers respectively.  The 20 and 40 model feature reverb.  All amps have two channels and three band EQ.  They also claim to utilize "Virtual Tube Circuit" technology.  Honestly, I think we need to stop calling things "tube this" or "tube that" and just have good-sounding amps regardless of what is inside.

Pricing TBD, but it is Behringer so you know it will be on the lower end of MSRP.
ST Modular has released it's new line of "Workmates."  They are DIY kits for passive circuits.  They include an Attenuator, EQ, Combiner, Swap, "Clipping Cat," and LPG (low pass gate).  These use SMD componentry and according to ST Modular, they are a very easy circuit to practice your SMD soldering skills.  I think they are really cool, but haven't seen anything on pricing or availability.
Available for purchase April 2021, or pre-order from many places now, the Fender Mustang Micro will sell for $99 USD.  It comes with 12 amp models and 13 effects.  It has a headphone out jack as well as USB which is used for charging and direct recording to a computer.  DSP in your pocket, guitar case, or desk drawer!
Guitar News / Gibson acquires Mesa/Boogie
January 10, 2021, 06:19:22 PM
One of the most expensive major guitar brands, Gibson, has now purchased one of the most expensive major amplifier manufacturers, Mesa/Boogie.  Now I'm not saying anything bad about either company, they both make killer stuff!  But they are pricey.  It will be interesting to see what happens moving forward.  Mesa/Boogie will be making Gibson's new "custom series" amps.  Maybe they (both companies) will start a line of gear in the several hundred dollar range rather than several thousand.  We'll see!
It's official, the Kickstarter campaign is live!

The Honey amp is a small 1/2w, LM386-based amp.  Unlike most LM386 amps though, it doesn't use that chip for it's primary distortion.  The LM386 is set open for a gain of 20.  Preamp duties are taken care of by a modified version of my 5th Gear Overdrive circuit, including a custom BMP style tone adjustment.  I've voiced it very similarly to the Top Boost circuit of a Vox AC30 - it does not emulate the Vox, but it does have similar tonal response.

It can run from 6v to 18v (spec'd with an LM386-4).  It comes with aux in and headphone out 1/8" jacks, and has gain, tone, and master volume controls.  Check it out!

**Edit to include maximum wattage specs @ 10% THD  / 1% THD**
4 ohms = 0.35w @ 9v (clean 0.25w)
8 ohms = 0.85w @ 12v (clean 0.5w)
16 ohms = 1.6w @ 16v (clean 1.0w)
For just under $200 USD, you can get a Vox Valvenergy pedal onto your pedalboard.  The concept is that using a "NuTube," which is effectively a small flourescent tube, will bring you "real tube" sound.  Is it worth it?  Does it work?  Not sure, but if I see one in a local guitar shop I'd sure try it out.  They look cool, and the concept is great.  It sure is expensive though...

Of note, this technology has been in a handful of their amplifiers for months now and they do have fairly good reviews.
Puzzle Effects has come up with a prototype effects pedal case that snaps together like puzzle pieces and uses a 3 conductor connector to hook them together.  Power up one pedal, they all have power.  Plug your guitar into the pedal on the right, your amp on the left and proceed to rock on!  No patch cables!  The coolest part is that if you only have one pedal, you can always use the in/out jacks on the top like normal and just have a weird shaped pedal on your board!  No price yet as these are prototypes, but they sure do look interesting!