Just What Is Tone, In A Microphone?

As long-time Hackaday readers will know, there is much rubbish spouted in the world of audio about perceived tone and performance of different hi-fi components. Usually this comes from audiophiles with, we’d dare to suggest, more money than sense. But oddly there’s an arena in which the elusive tone has less of the rubbish about it and it in fact, quite important. [Jim Lill] is a musician, and like all musicians he knows that different combinations of microphones impart a different sound to the recording. But as it’s such a difficult property to quantify, he’s set out to learn all he can about where the tone comes from in a microphone.

He’s coming to this from the viewpoint of a musician rather than an engineer, but his methodology is not diminished by this. He’s putting each mic on test in front of the same speaker at the same position, and playing a standard piece of music and a tone sweep through each. He doesn’t have an audio analyser, reference speaker and microphone, or anechoic chamber, so he’s come up with a real-world standard instead. He’s comparing every mic he can find with a Shure SM57, the go-to general purpose standard in the world of microphones for as long as anyone can remember, being a 1960s development of their earlier Unidyne series. His reasoning is that while its response is not flat the sound of the SM57 is what most people are used to hearing from a microphone, so it makes sense to measure the others against its performance.

Along the way he tests a huge number of microphones including famous and expensive ones from exclusive studios and finally one he made himself by mounting a cartridge atop a soda can. You’ll have to watch the video below the break for his conclusions, we can promise it’s worth it.

Continue reading “Just What Is Tone, In A Microphone?”

An SMD Capacitor Guide

For electronics, your knowledge probably follows a bit of a bell curve over time. When you start out, you know nothing. But you eventually learn a lot. Then you learn enough to be comfortable, and most of us don’t learn as much about new things unless we just happen to need it. Take SMD components. If you are just starting out, you might not know how to find the positive lead of an SMD capacitor. However, if you’ve been doing electronics for a long time, you might not have learned all the nuances of SMD. [Mr SolderFix] has been addressing this with a series of videos covering the basics of different SMD components, and this installment covers capacitors.

If you are dyed-in-the-wool with SMD, you might not get a lot out of the video, but we picked up a few tips, like using a zip tie for applying flux. The video starts with an examination of the different packages and markings. Then it moves on to soldering the components down.

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We’d Sure Like To Strum The Chrumm Keyboard

If you want something as personal as a keyboard done right, you have to do it yourself. Not quite satisfied with the multitude of mechanical offerings out there, [summific] decided to throw their hat into the ring and design the Chrumm keyboard. And boy, are we glad they did.

Between the lovely tenting angle and tilt, the gorgeous flexible PCBs, and the pictures that could pass for renders, [summific] has given us something beautiful to behold that we can only dream of thocking on. Even the honeycomb plate is nice. Oh, but this monoblock split is completely open source.

This Raspberry Pi Pico-powered keyboard features a 3D printable case design without visible screws, and a rotary encoder in the middle. Those palm rests are firmly attached from the underside. Why are the thumb cluster keycaps upside down? It’s not meant to drive you insane; it’s because the contour is more finger-friendly that way, according to some people.

[summific] makes this look easy, but it doesn’t matter, because all the hard work is already done. If you want something easier, start with a macropad. Or a macro pad, even.

Via reddit

Neat Soldering Station Design Has Workshop & Portable Versions

The warm and rather stinky heart of any hacker’s lair is the soldering station, where the PCB meets the metal (solder). A good soldering station lets you get on with the business of building stuff without worrying about piffling details like temperature and remembering to turn the thing off. The AxxSolder is a neat design from [AxxAxx] that fulfills these criteria, as it includes full PID control of the iron and an auto sleep feature. It will run from any DC power source from 9 to 26 Volts, so you can run it off your bench power supply and have one less thing to plug in. There is even a portable version for those on-the-go hackathons.

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Audacity Runs Surprisingly Well In Your Browser

Audacity is an extremely popular open source audio editor, with hundreds of millions of downloads on the books. But due to some controversy over changes the Muse Group wanted to implement when they took ownership of the project back in 2021, the userbase has fractured somewhat. Some users simply stick with an older version of the program, while others have switched over to one of the forks that have popped up in the last couple of years.

The Wavacity project by [Adam Hilss] is a bit of both. It looks and feels just like an older version of Audacity (specifically, 3.0.0). But the trick here is that he’s managed to get it working with WebAssembly (WASM) so you can run it in your browser. Impressively, it even works on mobile devices. Though the Audacity UI, which already carries the sort of baggage you’d expect from a program that’s more than 20 years old, is hardly suited to a touch screen. Continue reading “Audacity Runs Surprisingly Well In Your Browser”

Hackaday Superconference 2023: First Round Of Speakers Announced!

Hackaday Supercon 2023 is almost upon us, and looking over the roster of fantastic talks gets us in the mood already.  We hope that it has the same effect on you too.

Supercon is the Ultimate Hardware Conference and you need to be there! We’ll announce the rest of the speakers, the workshops, and give you a peek at the badge over the next couple weeks. Supercon will sell out so get your tickets now before it’s too late. And stay tuned for the next round of reveals on Tuesday! Continue reading “Hackaday Superconference 2023: First Round Of Speakers Announced!”

Spuds Lend A Hand In The Darkroom

If film photography’s your thing, the chances are you may have developed a roll or two yourself, and if you’ve read around on the subject it’s likely you’ll have read about using coffee, beer, or vegetable extracts as developer. There’s a new one to us though, from [cm.kelsall], who has put the tater in the darkroom, by making a working developer with potatoes as the active ingredient.

The recipe follows a fairly standard one, with the plant extract joined by some washing soda and vitamin C. The spuds are liquidised and something of a watery smoothie produced, which is filtered and diluted for the final product. It’s evidently not the strongest of developers though, because at 20 Celcius it’s left for two hours to gain an acceptable result.

The chemistry behind these developers usually comes from naturally occurring phenols in the plant, with the effectiveness varying with their concentration. They’re supposed to be better for the environment than synthetic developers, but sadly those credentails are let down somewhat by there not being a similar green replacement for the fixer, and the matter of a load of silver ions in the resulting solutions. Still, it’s interesting to know that spuds could be used this way, and it’s something we might even try ourselves one day.

We’ve even had a look at the coffee process before.