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 Post subject: Audio projects?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 4:46 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 23, 2009 8:26 am
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Location: Toronto, ON, CA
I have an 11 year old nephew who is obsessed with all things mechanical, and like his daddy, getting into sound and lighting (in school plays, etc.) I thought a good uncle might help him take a step towards electronics, and I thought an audio project might at least leave him with something to use afterwards. Any advice? Places to get such things (in Toronto, or online?) I had thought of a crystal radio, but are those even still a thing?

Many thanks in advance!

Gerard


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 Post subject: Re: Audio projects?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 5:00 am 
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Location: Toronto, ON, CA
First reading your post I immediately thought of Audio Note kits but that might be a tad rich for an 11 year old. But would be f’n awesome!! (think of the school yard bragging!!).

Googling audio kits – partsexpress has a slew of them.

https://www.parts-express.com/cat/elect ... -kits/1441


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 Post subject: Re: Audio projects?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 5:06 am 
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Location: St.Catharines, ON, CA
Check out Vellman kits.

Gary


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 Post subject: Re: Audio projects?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 7:15 am 
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Location: Brandon, MB, CA
There is a lot of lethal voltage involved in most audio projects.

This project might be a tad more safer (and more relevant in the long run): https://www.amazon.ca/Piper-Computer-Educational-Teaches-Coding/dp/B016HLFW44

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 Post subject: Re: Audio projects?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 7:58 am 
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Location: Not Toronto, ON, CA
Crystal Radio would be cool for an 11 year old in 1960, but maybe not so much one in 2017. I suggest starting with something universal that will be something that they will get some longevity out of.

Could always start low-voltage (depending on your comfort level with high voltage) and do a battery powered project to start...

One of my first projects was a Bottlehead Quickie battery powered preamp.

https://bottlehead.com/product/quickie- ... ifier-kit/

It's one of the only projects I saw through to completion. You get all the parts you need and you're not fussing with small details as much. What was great about it was that it sounded awesome, and allowed me to experiment adding caps, stepped attenuators and different tubes. Another cool feature is that I rigged 24 AA batteries to replace the 4 9V's in the original design, which got me wicked long life out of the Quickie, and 48 AA's were going for $9.99 last I checked (brand wasn't as important). What I like is the plexi top plate is already drilled for you, and goes together perfect... but beware you kind of get what you get for colours... may influence your build if its say... Red vs White... kind of fun little lottery. The PJCCS upgrade for the preamp is recommended as an upgrade too if you can splurge, as it does have sonic benefits.

Combine that with a small chip amp like the TPA3116 or 3118 and an old Laptop PSU, and you can help him put together a nice little Pre/Power Amp setup that will work with a wide range of speakers. You could use batteries with the amp as well if the high voltage worries you still. The power amp is relatively plug and play as the boards are already populated, just place in a small enclosure and make the necessary connections to speaker terminals on the case and connect to the pre/speakers. Lots of info online on the 3116/3118 as well. That way you can teach him about connectivity and isolating things etc... may not learn much beyond that, but feel it's a good start. Any old pair of reasonably decent speakers will work, and gives opportunity to build some next summer or something if the bug bites him.

Bottlehead also makes a battery powered amplifier kit, but have not heard it. Would be a good grab when ordering the Quickie perhaps. I know the folks at Bottlehead are super helpful and support their products to no end.

https://bottlehead.com/product/quicksan ... amplifier/

Supremetronic on College Street is my go-to as they tend to have one of everything when I need it. Sayal (multiple locations) is good, as is A1 Parts by Sherway Gardens.

The preamp should take an afternoon to put together, and the power amp a few hours. Could get a solid weekend out of it I am sure, and it still leaves some room to get creative with enclosures - can do wood, metal, taxidermied salmon, whatever. The size is also a benefit as they aren't imposing and can be put into quite compact enclosures.

That gets him a nice foundation to add whatever he chooses - DACs, speakers, turntables, any other analog source. Good luck with your selections, look forward to seeing what comes of this.

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 Post subject: Re: Audio projects?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 8:04 am 
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Location: Simcoe, ON, CA
Maybe an inexpensive speaker project. Something with a small Fostex driver for example.


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 Post subject: Re: Audio projects?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 8:51 am 
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Location: Toronto, ON, CA
Thanks guys, that gives me lots to go on!


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 Post subject: Re: Audio projects?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 8:15 pm 
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Location: A-Tube-O-Coke, ON, CA
Start with a battery, a breadboard, a few resistors, a diode or two, and a multimeter, notebook, and pencil.
Tell him about Ohms Law.
With the parts you can then draw a schematic and explain Ohms Law, them lab it.
Get him understanding how to use a multimeter by taking resistor measurements unenergized, then voltage potentials after connecting a battery.
These are basics that should become second nature if he remains interested.
Then get the parts needed (power cord, transformer, diodes, bridge rectifier, capacitors) to breadboard a basic DC power supply. Never stop stressing safety.
If he still shows interest, get him a book on basic electricity and a book on basic electronics.
Pick up a few more resistors, pots, and a couple of op-amps (741's?). Lab a few amp circuits, timer circuits, etc.
If he's STILL interested, have some fun by studying a schematic and opening up the equipment and do some circuit tracing.
Somewhere along the line he will either lose interest or catch the bug.
My first project was a logic probe. Cost $18 at some generic electronic supply store 28 years ago. Pencil grip, Hi-Lo--Short indicator LEDs, alligator clips to local 5-30 VDC for power, small circuit board to stuff and solder descrete and an ASIC (app specific IC).
I still have it around here somewhere........was a bit of fun me being a nearby.
I would avoid showing him tube stuff until you see him using proper safety techniques out of habit even around basic low voltage stuff. Get him developing good habits FIRST. You don't want his first shock to be his last.

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 Post subject: Re: Audio projects?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 9:15 pm 
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Location: Hamilton, ON, CA
Good advice especially from android.
Check out https://store.qkits.com
They have huge selection of kits and educational stuff

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http://www.dtsaudioelectronics.com


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 Post subject: Re: Audio projects?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2017 5:04 am 
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how about a CMOY headphone amp? He can learn something about electronics for sure, as well as soldering, layout, etc, and it only uses a 9V battery.
https://tangentsoft.net/audio/cmoy/
Byron

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 Post subject: Re: Audio projects?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2017 5:14 am 
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Maybe build a streamer or dac from a Blackberry Pi kit.Their stuff is certainly cheap enough to play around with

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 Post subject: Re: Audio projects?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2017 7:06 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2006 7:39 pm
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Location: Toronto, ON, CA
Take him to Sayal. They have a lot of electronic kits, which he can put together. They are not necessarily Audio kits, but at the same time, most of them don't require soldering.


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 Post subject: Re: Audio projects?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2017 7:26 am 
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Soldering should be lesson #1.

Gary


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 Post subject: Re: Audio projects?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2017 7:44 am 
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Location: Toronto, ON, CA
sasquatch wrote:
Soldering should be lesson #1.

Gary


Understanding of circuits and functionality is the #1 thing to learn. Sure, it is important, but soldering is an applied skill. You can be the best soldering person in the world, but if you don't know why you're installing/replacing a part, or how the board operates, you're just a soldering robot. That's the difference between educational kits and "just kits". Educational kits are made for kids to learn functionality in addition to just putting stuff together. Regular "kits" (old Dynakit and Heathkit kits are a good example) are for people to just put together - they assume you have skills and knowledge.


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 Post subject: Re: Audio projects?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2017 11:02 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2012 2:18 pm
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Location: Sooke, BC, CA
Android wrote:
Start with a battery, a breadboard, a few resistors, a diode or two, and a multimeter, notebook, and pencil.
Tell him about Ohms Law.
With the parts you can then draw a schematic and explain Ohms Law, them lab it.
Get him understanding how to use a multimeter by taking resistor measurements unenergized, then voltage potentials after connecting a battery.
These are basics that should become second nature if he remains interested.
Then get the parts needed (power cord, transformer, diodes, bridge rectifier, capacitors) to breadboard a basic DC power supply. Never stop stressing safety.
If he still shows interest, get him a book on basic electricity and a book on basic electronics.
Pick up a few more resistors, pots, and a couple of op-amps (741's?). Lab a few amp circuits, timer circuits, etc.
If he's STILL interested, have some fun by studying a schematic and opening up the equipment and do some circuit tracing.
Somewhere along the line he will either lose interest or catch the bug.
My first project was a logic probe. Cost $18 at some generic electronic supply store 28 years ago. Pencil grip, Hi-Lo--Short indicator LEDs, alligator clips to local 5-30 VDC for power, small circuit board to stuff and solder descrete and an ASIC (app specific IC).
I still have it around here somewhere........was a bit of fun me being a nearby.
I would avoid showing him tube stuff until you see him using proper safety techniques out of habit even around basic low voltage stuff. Get him developing good habits FIRST. You don't want his first shock to be his last.


Good advice!

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