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Black Magic Amplifiers

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16 X 4 Amp to Speaker Switcher

16 X 4 Amp to Speaker Switcher

A client approached us who had a large number of amplifiers and speaker cabinets  needed a speaker switch to allow him to patch any amp to any cabinet.  He had done some research but the best offerings feel short of his requirements.  The $389 Cabbone 1×4 from Tonebone (Radial Engineering) switches a single amp to two cabinets, or much more economical is the de Lisle 4×4 switcher at $289

Since neither of these came close we designed a 16×8 speaker selector.   A single encoder knob with a push to select function in conjunction with an LCD display is all that is need to operate the device so making a very clean interface.  It also includes built in dummy loads for tube type amplifiers and is housing in a 2U rack mount cabinet.

The switch matrix is expandable in blocks of 4×4 with a maximum of 16×8. Switching is performed using relays to ensure maximum signal fidelity.

 

Nick Rhodes “Pixelator” Guitar repair

Nick Rhodes “Pixelator” Guitar repair

This unique Pixelator guitar was bought by a collector and brought to us for repair.  This was really quite tragic for the owner as it was demonstrated working before he bought it but the very first time he tried to use it, it stopped working.

The idea for this guitar came from Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran as an entry to a charity auction by Rockcoture in 2007.  This was a significant challenge as at that that time the technology required to do this was not so advanced as it is now.  He worked with company LED Effects inc. in California who designed the electronics and Sims Custom Shop in the UK who did the body work.

Being one of a kind there was little chance of success due to zero chance of any service documentation.  The best hope was to contact the original design company and ask for their help.  Well, they no longer existed but I was able to track down the former CEO Kevin Furry and ask what he could do to support us.  He did still have copies of the software that ran on the Windows PC and the documentation for it.  Unfortunately he could not tell me much about how it worked and certainly no schematic.

Things got worse.  After some testing we learned that the processor that decodes the data from the PC and that feeds the RGB LED strings was dead.  Since this contained the software to drive the Pixelator the only chance was to recreate that firmware from scratch.    It all worked out according to plan, the new processor chip was programmed and fitted and the Pixelator now lives again.

Valve / Tube Testing

Valve / Tube Testing

Our lab is equipped with two digital valve curve tracers for detailed parameter measurement as well as a traditional analogue tester with transconductance.