Theo Verelst Local Diary Page 20

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Tue Nov 2 14:32     2004

Sitting in the cantine area near a of course seriously expensive coffee stand, luckily enabled to have some coffee and a sausijzenbroodje (wouldn't now for the life of me what that is in english) I'm thinking about the medical library magazine info I just gathered in the Leiden Academic Hospital.

I didn't know there was such library, but assuming its probably the most prestigeous dutch academic hospital and university city, well, eehr, used ot be, I though it would have a pretty steep academic library, and indeed there is.

About half the magazines I knew about in the area of lets say neurology, cell biology, and nanobiology/chemistry, and I'm still skimming through some I didn't know.

At Leiden university library I've looked at some recent dutch magazines, and I found a historical magazine (a magazine about history) "The Journal of Israeli History" , politics, Society , Culture Vol 20, Summer Autumn 2001. This is from a dutch acedemic magazine:

Nov. 23 2003, 18:06

Well, at least some activity, though hardly at the level I could be at a decade ago, technically/scientifically speaking, but nevertheless some interesting ongoings.

First, I had made a wonderfull page on the tcl-er's  wiki, about a well chosen subject 'The Garage with the Pipe Wrench', no space for writing a new 'Brave New World', is there? Is that progress?

The Garage with the Pipe Wrench


It occured to me as sort of a poetic/litarary though, that car shop with on a golden spike the Ultimate Tool: the silver coloured Pipe Wrench, those Ultimate Special Water Pump Pliers, good for any rambling job. If the shop would be in Poland, they'd want to have Mr. Gates to specially bless it at the opening ceremony, in Texas it might have a star sprinkled banner painted on it, in Italy it might have a specially slick design, and Holland, it might have a special tombstone made for it somewhere.

But anyhow, the garage owner and repairman would wrench everything back together with his silver pipe wrench day in day out and be known to all the locals as the king of the water pump pliers.

Until some day somebody came along showing pity on the man, and donated a socket wrenches, so that no more after a service at this garage all other garages would have to turn the car down because all its bolt and nut endings would be rotten...

Thinking about the (now at least working) page on constructing a bwise graph from a formula, I though about when I learned about such things, which was fasionable at the time at the network theory section (Delft University o t., EE), lets say about 1986, in time of the rise of the big minis, workstations, and networks. The unwritten rule at the time amoung students and PhD students was to first be expert enough on Unix and C before anything, and one would have to be not affraid of Lex/Yacc, large hierarchical databases and their interfacing, complicated simulation tools, etc.

To make a language, and not write for instance a syntax/grammar definition first would be equally condemnable as sinning against the rule of not making a correct nested flow (nasi/schneider) diagram of your algoritm(s) first. Mind you the latter is freshman informaticists stuff of course, the former hard core Electrical Engineering matter.

This morning I woke up thinking about what in holland was called the 'fabeltjeskrant' (the newpaper of fables) which was an incredibly popular program in the beginnings of the 70's [1], where they had two beavers, Ed and Willem, who were mechanics.

A song was a big hit at the time 'Daar heb je Willem met the waterpomptang' ('there's willem with the water pump pliers') : [2] .

Well, that was it, and that had to be deleted, as can be seen on the wiki, I asked why.

Second, I was at another lecture of the  dutch section of the Audio Engineering Society which is a worldwide organisation dealing with all kinds of aspects of (high quality) audio, including scientific conferences. they have a magazine which has become availble for human fee levels through the internet, as a high quality .PDF file. I was at lecture 164 "Bandbreedte extensie" at Philips Natlab Eindhoven, which was fun, it had been a long time ago I'd been there. Also I saw (half of..) lecture 166 "aes-nl mini conference" where I was challenged to dig back in my electronicists university past (as student assistent) about opamps and their properties for audio signal amplification.

Reading Le Monde

A well known french newspaper, I read in a library at times, where it at the moment arrives say a day or two late, but it varies.

Just as I've been communicating with a german synthesizer software company from Berlin, I saw this reprint from the day the wall fell in '89 ( I in fact was at the pink floyd concert at the time):

'Ich bin ein berliner !'

Some attention again for supercomputers, for militairy purposes. They make great gaming machines, too...

Note it appearently is supercalculateur, as opposed to giga-ordinateur or something.

  A good artice in the august 19 issue about Bob Moog, one of the most well known synthesizer designer innovators of hisoty, who's back in business with a version of machineries I also had ideas about some years ago, and still have: a monophonic (only one key will sound at a time) synthesizer, after a well known world wide still in use good sounding hit-synthesizer (I:m sure you've heard it many times from commericals to dance hits) but this new version is programmable, under voltage control.

  (click on the image to download a big, readable photo, about 250kB)

The new company, MoogMusic has its name back after strange ongoings the last decades, by hey, my life too, has been quite strange in ways, probably we have to thank certain 'übermenschen' for that...  The new old synth is still pretty expensive, considering most big synthesizers have more like 32 or 64 voices against just one, but the sound quality and palette is very rich and strong, and I'm very sure for years already that in principle the complete absence of sampling puts this synth almost on its own in this time.

The old minimoog, from early 70's or so, can still be found and bought for about the same price as at the time, which is almost incredible in this time of computer progress! Other good analog and microprocessor controlled polyphonic analog signal path synths (like the oberheim, prophet 5, jupiter 8) also are still in demand, simply because they sound good.

It is a new fashion to play with the same big and expensive modular synths, for which new ones have been made the last half a decade, but which from what I have heard are fun, but not really beating their ancient ancestors, except probably in price. Mr. Moog claims the new voyager has preserved the good sound even though it is programmable, but I'm not sure that is really 100% completely true from the tone of the statements.

A prize winning movie has been made about Bob Moog and his synthesizers, though not in any theaters in the european west continent, hopefully a DVD is brought out soon.

        The voyager analog Moog synthesizer with
        complete programmability

The synthesizer above is supposed not to suffer from any digital artifacts which so plague contemporary music, and it has a complete analog, non-digitized signal path. It is supposed to sound like the original mini-moog.

There's also software supposing to emulate the large modular Moog synthesizers of old, which I've tried, and that sounds strong and interesting on a good hifi system, but it is not the real thing, no sir, it isn't. I've tried my electronic moog filter after the high quality DA converter producing sounds from that software, and THEN it suddenly starts to sound analog and not of this digital world anymore...

   On the left, a Voltage controlled  analog 4th order filter (24dB/Oct) low pass filter à la Moog, followed by an instrumentation amplifier.

   A more official implementation of the high quality USB AD/DA converter in buildup

In the same library where they have recent Le Mondes, there is also a musical science section, with some decent book on semi-modern instruments like synthesizers from the 80's:

and also computer music of course.

From the upper right book above, a filter circuit.

Also, the manuals of a well known early digital synthesizer: the Synclavier, already present in 1975, with various incarnations later on, one being known for instance for its use by frank Zappa. Many big studio record projects used this machine in the 80's, or the main alternative: the fairlight CMI. Both bulky, interesting, advanced for the time, and *really* expensive. Could buy you a good new car, easily.

Clear to any musician from the field , and any well-trained or edified technician from the field, the advancement in the last decades of music making with respect to the equipment come mainly from the advancement of electroincs, both analog and digital and their application, and their cost effective production.

The below book (from the same library)  is a bad example of what university chaps with no technical background knowledge as it seems can all come up with around a pretty well defined world over the last decades (I was active part of it, I should know), when they don't observe sufficiently that technical advancement is one of the main reasons behind all kinds of musical equipment development. Failing to understand that leads to many vague, socio-tainted reasonings which make little sense, and paint a very obscure picture, while the whole of  'new' musical instrument development is definately worth floowing for it's content.

What's that picture, a disc on a vacuum clearner motor like I was told stories about when I was little ? That's nazi talk, isn't it? What a rubbish, though the subject is interesting. And maybe when one tries to imagine a future where technical limitations donr't hold anymore and anyone can have the most perfect and advanced musical instrument they want for free with a package of milk the considerations hold, but then again: instead of pretending to be a DJ, learn to play an instrument, buy an electronic organ or an electrical guitar and try to make it work. Jeez, what has the world come to.

Musical instruments, also really advanced computerized modern ones, are *quite* far from perfect. Really, believe me.

Try out a hammond organ simulation on you PC, and next play a Jimmy Smith record on your hifi system . See what I mean?

At the above fair I tried out a guitar amplifer and effect software simulation program which was fun. Using a S90 effect unit for the same is a lot more fu in high quality sense, but then again the box did even some Hendrix sounds with conviction.

Alternatively, I spent a day and a half at the French (Paris) Ircam institute

at their 'Porte Ouverte' (open days), which was interesting, though didn't move my own work out of relevance. Of course I saw and hear a lot of things, and it was quite pleasant to be in Paris, as far a europe goes, that is quite enjoyable.

I guass peaks of attention were a multi channel performance (which showed to me the sounds system really wasn't that good) a sound pannel demonstration (wrapped in army cloaking colors), and of course to my interest (but I didn't get around to talk much): physically modeled instruments and sound simulation.

Dec 15 2004

Resizable web pages

Flowers I shot in an Amsterdam park some time ago, I think is was rainy and I used fill-in flash.

It's starting to annoy people, well honestly, it anoys me: all those prefab web pages with their so called slick, but by now outdated flashiness, hopelessly fitted to a certain monitor and a certain browser....

My pages from the beginning have been fairly limited complexity html pages, though I've made framed pages, and used all kinds of efects, and even made japa applets under control of javescript menus and entries, too, but mainly I don't dislike simple html pages, headings, some formatting maybe, no ccs, no complicated loading schemes, just tecxt with pictures, preferably progressively coded pictures so they first load in coarse resolution, that's fun enough and doesn't grow to get on peoples nerves...

An issue with this is the same as it was in Desktop Publishing Software I used already on the Atari ST almost a decade before windows 95: the resolution of the screen. At the time I had a nice 640x400 atari paperwhite monitor, which I had adjusted myself to have exactly fitting and linear screen layout,. That did of course make the fonts all bigger, and the dots in drawings, too. Nowadays, I regulalry use a big 19" monitor with 1600x1200 pixels and therefore smaller pitch than most common monitors, so natirally, everything on the screen looks smaller than 'normal'.

So I am in the habit of viewing web pages with Netscape (7.1 or so) set to 120 or 150% enlarged fonts. This has the major advantage of seeing text with a higher resolution, that is with finer pixels, and works fine for 'normal' web pages, except for pictures, which remain a but smaller, but that's ok.

On preformateed pages, and pages with menus and such, scaling page size up is desastrous: menu enries don't fit in thier box, sliders don't work, parts of frames aren't visible: not good.

But then again, when working on windows (linux is a bit better in that respect) lets say XP, enlarging the system font is also not without difficulty: various facilities recognize that the system font must indeed by larger, which is better for readability (effectively a higher resolution, especially when sitting a bit at a distance of the screen and enlarging 150-200%) , but not all, and it doesn't really work well. For instace certain help files remain at the smallest font type, which is annoying to work with. Though the screen handles small resolution well, so the texts remain readable, and of course a lot fits on the screen. It appears the latest Mac OS products deal with scaling better.

Pictures are another story, I love to have reasonable/good quality pictures in even quite high resolution visible on the 1600x1200 screen, which is about 3 times more detailed than current average screens, that look pretty good. In principle, one might want to have varying image sized on web pages, too, depending on download speed and screen resolution, probably that can be good for the appearance of web sites, and worth some effort to make.

I don't mean that one simply scales up images with text, because that would become 'dotty' or grained, but receiving a web page which contains the right image resolution and sized for a certain screen situation.

Anyhow, all those macromedia things, and all kinds of prefab made web pages score very low on scalability, which is not good, even tough that would be possible.

Moral, decency and condemnation

In Holland of course it is still a pile of miserable fascist junk at best.

The dutch minister president in a cartoonish pamphlet indicating with the kind of electrical machinery high voltage sticker that 'holland deserves better'....

Maybe people in fascism are even more senstive to wanting all the miserable deformations of life actively:

Art in the lobby of the new the Hague city hall building

There was a tv program on "  the value-whisperer of the Dutch minister president  "  on VPRO protestant television recently, which was not just not flattering, but downright horrible.

In the same horror category this lecture anouncement from  delta , the Delft University newspaper has the nerve to suggest actual moral could come from the professor that kicked me out shamelessly after an incredible amount of sh*:

Shameless. Brutal. Calls for war, or the pope.

Platonic Music ?

To the agony I'm sure of some people my self-built speakers and amplifier (and USB DA converter) have been tested in the Cultural Centre (formerly the Muzisch Centrum) of Delft University, along with some lets say techno-like DJ persons. For sure those guys no little about decent (not sucking) PA amplification or HiFi (disco-) mixing... And I'm sure they were sort of taken aback by what a powerfull amp with strong speakers can do to high quality sounds with accurate and fast and controleld transients instead of bass-port resonsance driving bass lines, ending up all sounding the same.

So, I let them have the volume knob reversed, as in I though I wouldn't just leave then to it. After all, my high-mid frequency range squakers are only 25 watts officially, and I'm sure my woofers will reproduce a 300 watt square wave per stereo channel, too, just like the bass-reflex monitor speakers they used alternatively, but wether my (also 12 inch) woofers would antually like or appreciate that... I don't think so, and they are not necessarily easy to replace, so I though I wouldn't take the risk!

The hifi experience was already more than overpowering enough, I heard, even when the house style music I amplified along got no more than maybe 1/4 of the power of my system. Those vinil records should sound pretty OK by their lack of DA conversion, but I don't think the quality of the turntable and the element, or the records after scratching are up to reasonable quality standards, and as everyone should know: play a arecord more then 10 times, and the quality of the high frequencies has already worn out a bit.

Anyhow, I liked acoustical sounds already decades ago when I apart from electronic keyboards and digital synthesizers I also learned to play the acountical guitar (country and western style guitar). The image above reminds me of a graphics model I made somewhere before '90 when making a 3 dimensional model of a guitar body, except the above image seems to show the standing waves or strain patterns on the blade, which is interesting. Why does a guitar sound good? Anyhow, lets say the below idea sound a lot better to me than some more afro americans with a big belly blah-ing about how much rubbish they can actually produce, or guys getting of actually scatching records. Please, can't they leanr to play an instrument? There are excellent courses for that.

Why are those record companies not out of business yet? Haven't we heard enough of hip/hop and U2 non-sense, or does the world not deserve better? One would be tempted to secretly hope that Napster (for mpegs only) would win. And let there be some well produced super CD's !

    Very early acoustical guitars, the image seems to radiate a good atmosphere. They'd have had to wait 2 centuries before Robert Johnson.

Probably 'Owl-pop' describes the current state of affairs in 'popular' music, when one is in a good mood:

See you later, Owls!

What's up and what's going down in the wonderfull world of electronics ?

Well, I hear mostly normally a lot of things go up. I was official electronicist at Delft university for years, as practicum assistent, and I was good at that. And of course electronics was one of my big hobbies in highschool, and I most certainly was very good and advanced at that. Electronics interestedme already i primary school,. and I gues I feel naturally enough there.

I became invited to a 'Silica' (or AVnet) meeting for certain reasons recently, to a seminar about various dutch electronics (often digital/computers) branches, and for a christmas dinner and a workshop on a new Analog Devices microcontroller with Arm processor and decent IDE, where a small pcb with the processor and some perifierals could be taken home, so I now can handily use it. Cool.

The 7020 based little stamp board with quite powerfull 16 bits risc ARM and multiple 12 bit AD and DA's..

Electronics break, too, like I'm sure can be caused by worn out capacitors in a switched supply. A TV box I can use from Pinnacle, which digitizes into an MPEGII stream over USBII live, had it's chinese supply broken recenty. It's supposed to feed the box with 6V 2 amps, but it's dead now, so I improvised a replacement, which is not too easy, because 2 Amps is more than most standard solutions can handle.

I used a found (with the garbage) old computer supply unit (the box at the back) and a lm337 regulator chip on a heatsink and some parts to make a nice 6 Volts supply from the 12V output of the computer unit, which is then fed over 2.5^2 wires (the thick red/black ones) to the tv box: andit runs fine.

I'm making pages about the blackfin DSP EZLITE boards and Xilinx interface to that, which is working already. Now to connect many parts up to the setup I prepared a lot of connection wires (over 150 connections) for displays, buttons, knobs (I used one of those eternal dials) and AD and DA connectors, and maybe external static memory.

A good place for electronics is an earoplane, in this case: a completely electrical one:

Flying by batteries!

Now a little field with nice blue solar pannels, and we dont't need to worry flying in the nicest green environments as much as one likes.


I visited a lecture from Lawrence M. Principe about "The Role and Placed of Alchemy in Early Modern Culture" at a language building of Amsterdam University (where as all should know I've never been a student or scored any grade, I've often been working there on my own subjects though, also in some miserable times). Organized by the section of history and hermetical philosophy, the as it appeared prominent speaker from Hopkins university (US) made clear alchemy, lets say trying to make gold by chemical processes which could be mastered in the middle ages, was an important idea having to do with getting away from the main modes of life which lead to the organisation and (mind) control of people in unpleaseant or undesirable ways.

Lets say somebody at microsoft is hacking Linux in his spare time , is that alchemy? No I guess not, but the idea of people wanting power over matter and wanting to do something unique and unknown, which has great value too is the idea.

I'm sure the tenure was that modern people also have all kinds of alchemistic tendiencies which may rule a great deal of life, without anybody daring or willing to break through the taboos around such ideas.

It is my distinct impression that a lot of people would like to turn their computers into gold by using just the right kind of ingredients when they put programs on it and use all kinds of things computier users use.

More like a religeous quest for some holy grail then techinically oriented activities, and therefore dangerously jeopardizing sanity of mind and thoughts. Sourcerers looking for idols to worship.

I'd rather go back a bit further, for instance the old french town of Tour (of Gregory of ~) or other nice landscapes, and enjoy the view:

I've been able to have a picture like the above printed on 20x30 photo paper which looks quite cool, that format is just fine for 5 megapixels. The below is an experiment with very long shutter times, with nice spooky result:

Even in these not retarded nice resorts in green nature, another spooky effect needs to be discerned:

pictured along the wonderfull river shore line in Tours.

Electronics Parts Samples

Now that's a different story. Suppose you're electronicist with an interest in the latest development in electronics, then what can you do? GO to a a specialty store? Visit a collectors meeting? Well, probably since about 92 (?) when I started doing that as part of my profession, one would browse the web. And ask some of the semiconductor suppliers/manufacturers for samples of products you're interested in, if and when you're also a practicing electronicist, an experimenter, or even prototype builder.

I was those things already at 12 or so, and my projects I made myself, and they worked, too, I guess one could say I was a miracle child, though I never though about that myself. So when I'm doing now at times is not really (thus far) challenging my knowledge or skills much.

But, to get some things in gear a bit I thought the last years I'd keep up with electronics developments, and also get a decent set of samples or otherwise gotten parts to work with.

   The box with my current set of samples, all in antistatic bags.

That has led to a good set of parts which I'm sure will prove usefull in various prototyping, research and development projects I'm doing.obviously in the fields of audio and sound synthesis, but also more general projects. I guess the total value is easily $500 or so, but then again: I se them for the actual reason they're given out for: prototyping. It's nice to have access to recent 'hot' electronics parts, and most of them come not so slow via a parcel service with tracking facility, so you can follow the package from its source until it is delivered over the internet.

Most of the below images in the sample chip list are to scale of the above ruler!

Below is a summary of the sample parts that I actually received, with pointers to the web pages of the chip manufacturers offering them, and pointers to the (pdf format) datasheet of each one of them. the number is the number of parts I received (asked for). I made the pictures of the actual parts, and after the picture and short description follows some reasoning about what I want with the particular part, and when I've used it already my experience with it.

MCP6S28-I/P  : 1 , Datasheet
Programmable Gain Amplifiers offer 1, 2, 6 or 8 input channels respectively and eight steps of gain, programmable over an SPI bus.

I got the 8 channel part in DIP (Dual In Package) form, which can easily be used in a breadboard. The idea is to use it as front end for AD converters of not super hifi quality, for instance to measure potentiometer or temperature sensors, so that the programmable gain is handy.

MCP1525-I/TO  : 2 , Datasheet
low power, high precision voltage reference, 2.5V

I tried this one out with a digital multimeter and they agreed easily withinn tolerance, though not perfectly. Funny enough it needed a capacitor to filter the output voltage, or else the meter would go bezerk.

PIC18LF4539-I/P  : 2 , Datasheet
PIC microcontroller, flash memory

A relavtively big and heavy PIC which needs a clock (I can give it that), and a serial programmer (I'm working on that), and of course a programmer or lets say at least an assembler which produces a hex file. I downloaded MLAB which needs a programmer, but probably can give me the right hex file. Also I downloaded and installed working the sourceforge SDCC environment under cygwin, which should be able to produce PIC80 compatible code from C source, but I need first to see how I can make a programmer.

The rest should be easy, its a DIL, there are examples, and well, a microcontroller is a microprocessor system, I know about those.

TC623CEPA  : 3 , Datasheet
3V solid-state, programmable temperature sensor

In fact this part has only digital outputs, its for driving a fan.or alerting at high temperature, primarily. It has hysteresis at its 'fan-drive' output. Unfortunatel, I can't use it for the amplifier chips I use, because they auto-retaliate at 150 degrees Celcius, which is too much for this case.

MCP6549-I/P  : 3 , Datasheet
Open Drain, quad comparator

DS89C450  : 2 , Datasheet
Ultra-High-Speed Flash Microcontrollers

This should be a decent, compatible microcontroller, based on the archaically present 8051 core, but quite fast, 33 MIPS. I got this serial download program for it, and the sdcc compiler/assembler should be good for it, but I haven't tried it out, and I'm not sure all the pitfulls are covered yet. The only microcontrller I did program succesfully (except my own Z80 based experiments) already was the AD 7020 ARM based one, which is new (and not so much available yet it seems) and quite powerfull. Except impossible to solder, I'd think. AD uses a Keil based programming env with gnu compiler which works fine thus far.

MAX5479  : 2 , Datasheet
Dual, 256-Tap, Nonvolatile, I^2C-Interface, Digital Potentiometers

For all kinds of control settings, offset control, and not-perfect hifi volume control, didn't try it out yet. It has flash memory and some of these chips can be reprogrammed quite meany times, so it can actually be used as part of a machine that way, for instance for defaut setting.

MAX7418  : 2 , Datasheet
5th-Order, Lowpass, Switched-Capacitor Filters

A filter which has a cutoff frequency depending on a digital clock input frequency. I've tried it and it works, but I didn't really like the sound quality when an audio signal was fed through, though I also didn't really dislike, so it would work in a synth setup. covers the audio range, and has reasonable clock rate distance wrt the cutof point. The little pcb on the picture I made myself to make a breadboard unit.

MX636  : 2 , Datasheet
True RMS-to-DC Converters

Good for synthesizer units, compressors, and maybe measurement setups.

MAX4355  : 2 , Datasheet
16x16 Nonblocking Video Crosspoint Switch with I/O Buffers

I got an alternative doing the same from AD, with a bit different programming scheme, but both feed 16 inputs to 16 outputs in any permutations, and with little loss and not so much distortion, though unfortunately not even at 0dB up to my hifi standards.

For video signal switching (like TV, VCR, Satelite, camera) to various sinks: TV, vcr, PC tv cards, etc. Wouldn't require 16 channels for that. It should be up to computer monitor signals, too, frequency-wise, that may be good.

My primary idea was to make it part of the ananlog signal path of my synthesizer prototypes, which then becomes routable in the analog domain, without delay, and without having to use patch cords. It could be used for modulation signal routing from lfo's and envelope generators to all kinds of inputs.

There are buffers, so routing from one source to various sinks is possible. IT's a pity the pins are so undecent to solder, but hey, they're there to be used, and it's not impossible, I've done it before. I just requires adaptor PCB, and yep, they are hard to get, and not completely cheap....

The control input doesn't allow PCM up to very high supersonic rates, IIRC.

MAX5478  : 2 , Datasheet
Dual, 256-Tap, Nonvolatile, I^2C-Interface, Digital Potentiometers

ADS831E  : 2
8-Bit, 80 MSPS ADC , Datasheet
See also my local diary page 3.
I've tried this chip out before at low data rates and it worked but I wasn't satisfied with the DC behaviour, though that can easily be the result of the long wires I used for this race-car type analog to digital convertor, which probably would prefer real short lead decoupling capacitors. I used it sucessfully with a computer graph readout, but later on my experiment setup got noisy, and wasn't well behaved enough anymore when I tried to solder on little SMD capacitors directly to the chip. Maybe I didn't pay attention to anti statics, maybe I overheated the chip or made it gather moist, or maybe my setup was just messed up. I have another one I may put on an adapter board, and feed to a Xilinx and therewith to a BF533, to get some realy sporty converter times for scope purposes.

INA103KP  : 1 , Datasheet
Low Noise, Low Distortion Instrumentation Amplifier
I tried it as balanced audio amp, which worked, but I wasn't really satisfied.

PCM2702E  : 1 , Datasheet
16-Bit Stereo Digital-To-Analog Converter with USB Interface
Got replaced in my thinking by a 2906 (DA and AD) before I got to trying it.

PCM2906DB  : 1 , Datasheet
Stereo Audio Codec with USB Interface, Single-ended Input/Output and SPDI/F
Very decent high quality audio (as compared to good hifi sets) DA converter and pretty decent AD converter, with excellent measurement results. See a previous diary page for my first, self made prototype PCB, here shown is a prefab pcb with the 2902 (almost the same)  which I've tried before it was all finished (it still requires an accurate external voltage reference for the AD and the filter for the DA) in this case with an optical link. The optical link works fine with a consumer (sony) CD player, which can be made audible over the exisitig other DA prototype based on the 2906 by using a audio pass program I adapted to work with more than 2 sound channels. Sounds quite neat.

TUSB3200ACPAH  : 1 , Datasheet
USB Streaming Controller
Not tried out yet because it would seem a bit cumbersome to program.I would be good to use as multichannel, 20/24 bit high sampling frequency (192kHz?) interface for the blackfin audio channels to a PC.

ADS8411IPFBT  : 1 , Datasheet
16-Bit, 2MSPS ADC with P8/P16 Parallel Output, Internal Clock & Internal Reference
I've started a prototyping setup with this nice little chip, again with almost inpossible (but not quite for me) soldering pads, because I like to try using it as a microphone AD converter at 1 or 2 megaherz, as input to the blackfin DSP tomake sure I get rid of most high frequency sampling a phase artifacts. I'll have to filter the output to get real 16 bit data, I think it will be effectively 14 bits noise free, which isn't perfect, but filtering should make it ok, and then a good reference for audio digitisation and measurements, and alternatively for synthesizer control signals.

I first must get it to tick, though! I at the time only asked for one sample, which isn't smart because if it breaks I have no replacement, but IIRC it was expensieve... Well, 16 bits at 2000MS/s probably IS expensive!

(See above on the lower left of the usb optical example board)
OPA2353UA  : 3 , Datasheet
High-Speed, Single-Supply, Rail-to-Rail Op Amps MicroAmplifierTM Series
Decent audio opamp, though I haven't decided on the problem yet, and it isn't all perfect if I remember correctly., used as 3 pole filter in above prototype DA USB converter.

PGA2500IDB  : 6 , Datasheet
PGA2500: Digitally Controlled Microphone Preamplifier
I'll work with this one a bit, which should be good for a very decent balanced microphone preamp, which on top of that is digitally controllable. Excellent chip, is seems, lets hope it will work in practice.

(no image)
SN74ALVCH373DWR  : 4 , Datasheet
Octal Transparent D-Type Latch with 3-State Outputs
Smd version, I tried it at 3.3V, it works, but it unfortunatily didn't like my feed the output over a resistor to input trick to make debounced switches all too much. Bt the datasheet warns for its bus hold circuitry...

SN74LVC2G00DCTR  : 1 , Datasheet
Dual 2-Input Positive-NAND Gate

SN74LVC3G14DCTR  : 4 , Datasheet
Triple Schmitt-Trigger Inverter
I tried it using this adapter, and it did fine, though I think the frequency range wasn't soaring, but reasonable. I wonder what the wires have to do with that, making a semi DIL of it might do the same to the speed as a dil package, or what?

THS4271D  : 1 , Datasheet
Super-Fast Ultra-Low Distortion High Speed Amplifier

OPA2613ID  : 2 , Datasheet
Dual Wideband, High-Output Current, Operational Amplifier with Current Limit

OPA2726AIDGST  : 4 , Datasheet
Dual Very Low Noise, High-Speed, 12V CMOS Operational Amplifier

OPA2846ID  : 4 , Datasheet
Dual, Wideband, Low-Noise, Voltage-Feedback Operational Amplifier

PGA2310PA  : 2 , Datasheet
+/-15V Stereo Audio Volume Control
I asked TI for these A grade alternatives of the normal grade I've used extensively in a prototpye in practice before I dive into tone control/equalizer circuits with digital control. The result promises to become really one of a kind excellent audio building blocks under computer control, which is quite unique and a very strong and essential controlled analog domain issue.

PGA4311U  : 5 , Datasheet
4-Channel, +/-5V Audio Volume Control
Below a part of the prototype on breadboard is shown which contains two of these chip samples to see what a mixer made of them would do:

This 10 channel (5 channel stereo) mixer has been running in practice for a long time and has very superior and satisfactory sound quality, at least a 0dB. FOr further testing, I asked for some A grade parts, and I'll make a soldered setup with more attention for signal shielding and ground planes, which then could be a real good product prototype, which I'll use myself. This setup was controlled by a computer parallel port (with extra buffering) and of course suffered from some grounding noise, depending on the connected equipment and the whole connection setup.

5 Sliders based on a tcl/tk program on the computer screen would control various sources to two destinations, which worked quite well, and is a real relief and joy in comparison with those dreaded digital volume controls. The sound is nice, tight, distortion poor (as I said, at leasdt at around 0dB) noise poor, and the controls with the onscreen (long throw) sliders works neat.

I asked (and received) some more samples because I want to try out the effect of subsequent volume chips on a row (from the same and different cases) and various mixer setups (the inputs require fairly low impedance), and also I want to try tone controls, and maybe even DCA's and compressor setups with these devices. Try to find a VCA with 0.0002 percent harmonic distortion somewhere, anywhere at al...

SN74AVC16244DGGR  : 5 , Datasheet
16-Bit Buffer/Driver With 3-State Outputs

SN74LVC2G53DCTR  : 8 , Datasheet
Single Pole, Double-Throw (SPDT) Analog Switch or 2:1 Analog Multiplexer/Demultiplexer

TUSB3210PM  : 2 , Datasheet
Universal Serial Bus General Purpose Device Controller

DSD1608PAH  : 2 , Datasheet
24-Bit 8ch Multi-Format DAC
Well, I'll like trying this recent sample out, for instance on the blackfin. * channels of very high quality, up to 192 kS/s, high dynamic range DA converters with as it seems a standard PCM interface, that is good. Multi channel sound, in principle DSD (Super audio CD) though I have no source for that at the moment, and also I like the idea of being able to use this as a control signal generator for in a analog synthesizer: very accurate and more than a few channels. Let the Xilinx do the bit pattern repetition and maybe interpolation.for envelopes, frequency controls and such.

INA101HP 4 , Datasheet
Very High Accuracy Instrumentation Amplifier
This should be a pretty decent instrumentation amplifier according to the specs, I want to use it to unbalance synth block signals such as from a ladder filter (like the moog filter), maybe control signals, and possibly for audio and measurement, though IIRC audio is not perfect with it. I didn't really like the ina 103 for mircophone, maybe I should compare.

LM211P 5 , Datasheet
Single, Strobed Differential Comparator with Open Collector and Emitter Outputs

MSC1200Y2PFBT  : 1 , Datasheet
8051 CPU with 4kB Memory, 24-Bit ADC, Current DAC, and On-Chip Oscillator

MSP430F1232IDW  : 2 , Datasheet
16-bit Ultra-Low-Power Microcontroller, 8kB Flash, 256B RAM, 10 bit ADC, 1 USART
This boy is popular for measurements  in electronics land at the moment, there is even a ethernet interface for it. I just downloaded the TI open source IDE for it, and didn't get around to see how that environment generates code or what programmer schematic diagram it needs, but it seems like fun to find out what it needs to get set up and run.

OPA2134UA  : 5 , Datasheet
SoundPlus(TM) High Performance Audio Operational Amplifiers
Will try.

THS4304D  : 5 , Datasheet
Wideband Operational Amplifier

TUSB3410IVF  : 3 , Datasheet
RS232/IrDA Serial-to-USB Converter
I found out this thing requires 24 instead of 27 MHz crystal, otherwise I might have tried it out already, seems cool to connect a machine up with its own USB serial interface, I already can use a serial flash, that migh give it its own device serial number. Fortunately it requires not the fines (most often needed) converter pad on a conrad adapter board.

MPY634KP   : 4 , Datasheet
Wide Bandwidth Precision Analog Multiplier
This will be fun: a multiplier in analog form, with at least usable specs, but (as ever...) not really for high quality audio signal paths. But, for a guitar amplifier simulation, and as decent modular synth block, it will make a nice ring modulator, or VCA, or part of some dynamic circuit with feedback, for all kinds of mathematical formula solutions.

PCM4202DBT  : 3 , Datasheet
24-Bit/192kHz, 118dB, Stereo Audio A/D Converter
As counter part of the above DSD DA converter, this is the best AD chip I've seen advertised thus far, except for recently, when AD anounced some like these, too. Self explanatory why I want to make a nice prototype board for this honey: its harmonic distortion lies under the noise floor of most DA converters....

But I'm sure a little battle might be at hand to actually get it to perform according to specs. Opto couplers in the digital signal path ? 5 mm grounded copper all around it ? Mu Metal seperated ultimate balanced drivers as front end? We'll see. My power amplifier does over a 100dB or so S/N, so it is possible.

PGA2311PA  : 5 , Datasheet
+/-5V Stereo Audio Volume Control
The nice little A here makes the part about twice as linear as the alternative I've tried already, and probably matters price-wise, too. But then again: what does a good potmeter cost? Or worse: a decent motorized fader ! I'll put these recently gotten parts on a board soon and start tring all kinds of circuits with them, at least these are easy to prototype (for me) DIP packages.

This package also has an alternative supply voltage, otherwise I migh not have dared to ask for yet another bunch of these black boxes from the sample division... It's good to have +-15 volts for dynamic range in the tradition of decent mixers, but contemporary circuits often even reduce to 5 Volts, which is easier and more portable.

The 4 channel parts (in bit smaller packages see below and elsewhere on this list) don;t come in higher voltage variation, I wonder why for the high voltage parts one has to go DIL.

PGA4311UA  : 5 , Datasheet
4-Channel, +/-5V Audio Volume Control

SN74AUC1G66DBVR  : 10 , Datasheet
Single Bilateral Analog Switch

TS5A3159DBVR  : 10 , Datasheet
1-Ohm SPDT Analog Switch

ADXL203CE   : 2 , Datasheet
High Precision, ±1.5g, Dual Axis Accelerometer
Apart form application in model choppers, this is a top-fun to use part: it measures acceleration. I've had to make a unperfect contraption to hold it in place on a small piece of board and to let it make contact, because officially it is a very difficult process to solder the little thing, because the whole heating up and cooling down porcess must take place over the course of 5 minutes or so, at a feq degrees per 10 seconds or something. Ludicrous without the right eqpment, so a basically clamp-connected it, which works.

When connected to supply and a multimeter, it nicely responds when it is moved, the faster it is moved themore output votlage change. I didn't yet get to trying it as a displacement meter by integrator use, but it functions.

AD8045ARDZ  : 2 , Datasheet
3 nV/sqrt Hz Ultralow Distortion Voltage Feedback High Speed Amplifier

AD8108ASTZ  : 2 , Datasheet
325 MHz, 8x8 Buffered Video Crosspoint Switch (Gain=1)

AD8332ARUZ  : 2 , Datasheet
Dual VGA with Ultralow Noise Preamplifier and Programmable RIN
More then decent but not perfect audio range behavioru according to datasheet, this recently gotten sample will be tried as VCO synthesizer block, and maybe as OTA style VFC experiment.

AD7742BN  : 2 , Datasheet
New Low-Cost, Single-Supply, MultiChannel Synchronous VFC
Also recently gotten, this voltage controlled oscilator will serve as a sample reproducing VCO core, by making a few megaherz VCO drive a sample table lookup circuit which drives a fast DA converter, when it is well behaved enough, that is. Alternatively, or simultaneously, it may drive a switched filter.

MAT04FS  : 2 , Datasheet
Matched Monolithic Quad Transistor
A standard part from long, long ago. I recall in primary school (before 78) I read library books which mentioned chips with matched transistors on it for good temperature stability.

The 4 transistors on this chip are matches in pairs, and as is shown below have very good current amplification.

should be good for stable moog-type voltage controlled oscilators and maybe filter currents.

AD603  : 1 , Datasheet
Low Noise, Voltage-Controlled Amplifier For Use In RF And IF AGC Systems

AD6644  : 1 , Datasheet
14-Bit, 65 MSPS Wideband Analog-to-Digital Converter

AD9772A  : 1 , Datasheet
14-Bit, 160 MSPS TxDAC+® with 2x Interpolation Filter

( ADCMP567BCP AD8343ARU MAT04FS  These samples are in request, I just received confirmation they are on their way with a Tnt tracking number )

The ruler again is more or less to scale with most shown pictures.

Is there any use to all these, eh, chips? Of course! Below some test setup, see also this Dsp page and this Xilinx page which connects a fast digital signal processor board to external devices such as displays and knob, as a start for a sound synthesizer prototype. Does it all work? Yep, in principle all things I tried work.

What's with all these electronics and wires?

Well, for instance, they can tell you the time:

The picture shows three perfect enough ways to tell time with one second accuracy, and any moment of the day: a radio signal controlled clock, a microsoft time server synchronized windows XP clock, and a low latency video window with satelite dish received MTV teletext clock in the upper right corner, and guess what: they all display the same time, all less then a second apart, without special tricks, I didn't set those clocks, they were 'live' !

But before you can make all that work, a lot of wires have to be in place, as example here the back of a computer I can use regulalry:

What's in there, and does it work? Well, lets see, and yes, it all works, and in fact it isn't by far all.

From top to bottom:

The power cord and mouse and keyboard plugs
A parallel cable to either and experimentor breadboard, or a Xilinx programming interface JTAG plug, and when it was in used, alternatively to a parallel port controlled sound mixer prototype.
A serial cable to either a blackfin DSP board or a Ananlog 7020 Arm microcontroller mini-board (as programmers/communication interface) , and possibly to other microcontrollers, using a MAX232 level converter chip.
A builtin soundcard connection set (currently not in use except for low-fi speakers to 'bleep' when the sound system is turned off), and a MIDI connector (not often in use, but there is a fully operational keyboard for it)
A ground connection (with little clamp) for grounding a peron working at connected electronics against electrostatic charges.
A monitor connector
Two USB1 (low speed) connections (invisible), one dedicated to ADSL modem, the other connected to a 4 out USBII hub, which holds: pinter, webcam, and high quality audio USB AD/DA converter 1 and 2.
IEEE1394 Firewire connections to fast local network and video camera connection
4x USBII (fast USB) to: streaming MPEGII digitizer, blackfin EZLITE bf533, idem BF561 (dual core) , USB-Midi (to synthesizer), alternatively to a photo camera output or a video camera photo card-reader output
A wireless network (wifi) connector to antenna
Video (second video input) connections to: antenna, video input (from VCR or camera or satelite), remote control, sound output to mixer
LAN connection with 100baseT UTP ethernet cable
modem phone connection (unused)