<![CDATA[Lightning Boy Audio | Studio Production Electronics - Mike\'s Blog]]>Fri, 19 May 2017 20:55:57 -0400Weebly<![CDATA[The Lightning Boy II - Revision A]]>Thu, 18 May 2017 12:15:48 GMThttp://lightningboyaudio.com/mikes-blog/the-lightning-boy-ii-revision-aThis past Monday I started labeling the LBII pedals (inside cover) as Revision A.  I'll list out the updates below:
  1. One small swap of wires improves the circuit impedance, resulting in ~25% more volume, a brighter/meaner tone, and slightly less noise.  
  2. A bleed resistor was added to the power capacitor bank.  This has no effect on the B+ voltage when the pedal is powered up.  When powered down it will dissipate the stored charge in the caps over the course of about 10 minutes.  Without this resistor is can take a week or more for the caps to self discharge.  The point of the bleed resistor is safety, related to servicing.  
  3. A bleed resistor was added to the circuit input to minimize the click sound from the stomp switch.  
  4. Wiring layout improved for aesthetics.  

Anyone who purchased an LBII pedal before May 15, 2017 can have their pedal updated to Revision A for $10.  Owner is responsible for round trip shipping charges to LBA.  Email sales@lightningboyaudio.com to schedule an update to your pedal.  ]]>
<![CDATA[Exciting times.  Please share in the developments.]]>Tue, 09 May 2017 20:10:18 GMThttp://lightningboyaudio.com/mikes-blog/exciting-times-please-share-in-the-developmentsSo many things are cooking, but is it all good?  I created a group on facebook called the Lightning Boy Audio focus group.  Its open to join, but a closed group that requires my approval for you to join.  I'd prefer if you owned something LBA before joining.  Your input would be more highly valued since you would have first hand experience with products.  If you're on facebook and you'd like to join, please either use this link:  ​https://www.facebook.com/groups/793490294159998/ or look up Lightning Boy Audio focus group.  Customer feedback is always appreciated.  This is an opportunity to help direct the development of new and existing products.  Thank you!]]><![CDATA[Spring Cleaning - Help us clear out some inventory.]]>Wed, 03 May 2017 11:13:15 GMThttp://lightningboyaudio.com/mikes-blog/spring-cleaning-help-us-clear-out-some-inventoryI reduced the price of the Op-2 Comp "BLEM" pedals.  We have 4 in stock as of this post.  They are now under $300.  Thats about 17% off!  Pretty sweet deal if you ask me.  Its the same awesome pedal inside and its brand new.  Just a misprint on the case.  If you want to thicken up your guitar and add some warmth to your signal, this is the perfect pedal for you!  Check it out here:  Op-2 Comp BLEM
When I was getting the first batch of Op-2 Comp pedal cases made we did a run of about 18.  Just after they came back I decided a few changes needed to be made to the pedal before we could release it.  Those changes were made and we did another run of pedal cases with the correct printing.  The misprinted cases are the BLEM models that we're selling for a reduced price.]]>
<![CDATA[Follow up on my last post.  LBII Videos]]>Sun, 30 Apr 2017 21:45:31 GMThttp://lightningboyaudio.com/mikes-blog/follow-up-on-my-last-post-lbii-videosThe people said they want more demo's of the Lightning Boy II.  To make the experience easy, I have a youtube playlist going that I will continually update with more videos as they come out.  Here it is:
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<![CDATA[New LBII modular pedal demo]]>Mon, 10 Apr 2017 16:47:41 GMThttp://lightningboyaudio.com/mikes-blog/new-lbii-modular-pedal-demoI've been getting a good number of requests for LBA to do more demos of the Lightning Boy II.  I'll start by saying more are on the way, but here's something new for right now.  Recommended to watch with headphones on or some good speakers.  
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<![CDATA[Grundy Q - a custom stereo passive equalizer]]>Thu, 06 Apr 2017 11:14:26 GMThttp://lightningboyaudio.com/mikes-blog/grundy-q-a-custom-stereo-passive-equalizerPicture
I spent the past week building this custom stereo passive inductor EQ for a customer named, Dave Grundy.  I think its obvious how the name, Grundy Q came to be.  Dave wanted an EQ for his home hi-fi stereo, but he also wanted to be able to use it with his home recording setup.  I designed the EQ to have useful frequencies for home room acoustics with a stereo hi-fi system in mind.  Balancing that with usability in the studio world required some careful thought into what frequencies would be best.  Budget and ease of use were both important factors in the design.  Dave will be the first to tell you he doesn't have a lot of experience with equalizers, so I did my best to make it a no-brainer when it comes to practical use.  Set the knobs at 12:00 and the EQ has a flat response from 20Hz-25kHz.  The bass, mid, and treble knobs can boost or cut. Bass has selection of 20Hz, 40Hz, and 60Hz.  I chose those frequencies because I know many speakers lack those deep tones.  With boosting 20Hz on the EQ its like adding a subwoofer to your room.  In mixing, I tend to gravitate to 60Hz for boosting bass guitar or kick drum.  The mid section has choices of 300Hz, 500Hz, 700Hz.   I feel these frequencies are general areas of mud in both mixes and in room acoustics.  I would probably cut somewhere around 700Hz for my own living room, but if I were using the EQ to mix bass or kick I might boost 300Hz a tad.  The treble is 10kHz or 20kHz.  I felt 10k is a pretty standard high frequency control to have.  Boosting 20kHz on this EQ adds a nice bit of air to anything.  Each channel has a bypass switch on the top (near the center vacuum tube).  There is a front panel switch (center) to choose unbalanced RCA ins/outs or balanced XLR ins/outs.      

The Grundy Q tube compliment is a pair of 6922/6DJ8 dual triodes, a pair of EF806S pentodes, and a 12AU7 dual triode.  295v B+ for loads of sexy headroom.  Only the highest quality parts throughout and of course, its wired point to point.  
Overall, I'm super pleased with the results of this EQ.  It sounds incredible and delivers useful control over frequencies in an easy to use package.  Its flexible in operation, offers super low noise (which I'm all about), and sounds fantastic!  I'm seriously considering offering something based on this as a product in the future.  Unfortunately, that will probably be a long way off.  My to-do list is long.  As with anything, it comes down to time and money.  Hopefully I can afford to bring something like this to market in the coming years.  
  
Noise is -110dB A weighted.  The EQ can boost your signal by about 6dB over unity.  THD is 0.125%    
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<![CDATA[Solo Sidecar Module]]>Sat, 25 Mar 2017 02:43:50 GMThttp://lightningboyaudio.com/mikes-blog/solo-sidecar-moduleA new sidecar module has arrived for the Lightning Boy II.  Check out this video for a quick rundown on the Solo.  
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<![CDATA[The wild and crazy LBII]]>Sat, 28 Jan 2017 11:50:50 GMThttp://lightningboyaudio.com/mikes-blog/the-wild-and-crazy-lbiiThe Lightning Boy II is a significant achievement in engineering.  I put more time and money into its development than all past LBA pedals added up.  Its a highly thought out design packed full of exciting new developments from the LBA lab.  Its a high voltage vacuum tube powered modular instrument preamp, to sum it up.  On its own, the LBII makes for a serious overdrive/distortion.  The pedal comes loaded with a 12AX7 vacuum tube, but also uses an inert gas voltage regulator tube inside.  The high voltage onboard power supply is mounted on a PCB, which is a first for LBA.  Jon Clarke designed the layout of the PCB with some minor guidance from me.  The audio electronics are all wired point to point still, but in a much cooler fashion than in the past.  I'm in-house manufacturing what I'm calling, the tube module.  The module consists of a ceramic tube socket mounted on a metal bracket.  The bracket also has a pair of modified solder lug tag strips mounted to it.  The tube electronics are all mounted on the mounting bracket directly connected between the vacuum tube socket and the solder tags.  The tube module can be removed from the pedal, taking all the electronics with it, for serviceability.  The module is mounted on two pins and is held down by 2 nuts.  The vacuum tube inside the pedal can be removed with ease.  No need to take the tube module out to change a tube.  You could unbolt the module if your fingers are of the large style.  The LBII will sell for $235.

The Lightning Boy II is modular in design, both inside and out.  There is an 1/8" jack on the heel side of the pedal for connecting an LBA Sidecar Module (Gen II).  At the same time as the LBII is released, we're going to also be releasing the CH2 Sidecar Module, which turns the simple 1 knob LBII into a 5 knob dual stomp multi-channel instrument preamp.  The CH2 is a two channel box with gain and treble controls.  The LBII normally has a fixed amount of gain with a master volume control.  The CH2 allows one to manipulate the gain of the LB2, but also gives you two separate foot switchable channels.  Each channel has a super cool treble boost knob, a unique design of my own.  The boost utilizes a custom Cinemag inductor.  The LB2's vacuum tube literally powers the EQ boost circuit.  The CH2 is a $149 option.                

International buyers rejoice!  I developed an international power supply that works everywhere in the world.  From the USA to Australia, to South America or Asia, it works everywhere.  There's a side switch on the PSU to select the operating voltage.  It works from 110-240V AC and 50-60Hz.   Buyer supplies their own IEC power cord to connect it to the wall power in your country.  For North America and Japan customers, we have a budget wall adapter which can be used instead, but the LBA PSU is superior in 3 ways.  The LBA PSU is not just internationally flexible, but it also outputs less noise than the wall wart due to its improved power regulation from its toroidal transformer, fully shielded case, shielded twisted pair 12V wire, and onboard power conditioning.  The LBA PSU outputs exactly 12.6v AC at 800mA, which is ideal for the Lightning Boy II.  The budget wall wart adapter outputs 15.3v AC at 1A, which is high for the LBII, but works fine.  15.3v will run the tube filaments at 14 volts internally, shortening the tube life to about 7000hrs.  The LBA PSU runs the tube filaments at 11.3v, or under the 12.6v spec, which increases the tube life to about 20,000hrs.  The internal B+ of the Lightning Boy II is 115v with the wall wart, or 100v with the LBA PSU.  The difference in sound is not a lot, but noticeable.  The distortion is sexier sounding (and there's more) with the LBA PSU.  There is more headroom with the wall wart, but a tad less distortion and a tad bit more noise.   The wall wart is a $15 option.  The LBA PSU is $39.   ]]>
<![CDATA[No dampers for the LBII]]>Fri, 20 Jan 2017 11:21:12 GMThttp://lightningboyaudio.com/mikes-blog/no-dampers-for-the-lbiiIt should go without saying that prototyping is a battle of goals vs achievability.  I wanted to include tube dampers on the Lightning Boy II's vacuum tube as an added bonus, but alas, they do not fit inside the case.  The lid will not close when tube dampers are installed on the vacuum tube.  I'll look into getting some automotive high temp silicone O-rings for the future.  The automotive kind used in transmissions are generally thinner and should do the trick.  I'm not sure if its something I can procure in time for the official release, but I'll do my best to try.      ]]><![CDATA[Prototyping the Lighting Boy II]]>Tue, 03 Jan 2017 00:50:50 GMThttp://lightningboyaudio.com/mikes-blog/prototyping-the-lighting-boy-iiToday I finished building a prototype of the LB2 that I'm happy with the sound of.  Things progressed through the prototyping phase in a way that I could not have predicted.  The noise is super low, the gain is high, the headroom is high, the tone is beastly.  Its tight, clear and mean.  To get to this point I had to do some things I didn't want to do.  Things that make the pedal more expensive.  I'm going to have to install a power filter choke inside the pedal, which takes up a good bit of space and costs a bit.  Its necessary for super low noise.  The added choke is complemented by an added filter cap that's fairly large for such a small pedal.  These new parts in the power supply section lower the B+ voltage a little bit - down to about 100VDC.  That didn't seem to have a noticeable effect on the sound of the pedal other than it has much less noise.  I plotted out the placement of parts in the pedal and everything fits if I omit the internal turbo switch I wanted to add.  The switch would have been an inexpensive and cool feature to add, but there really isn't enough room for it.  Worth considering are the high voltages inside the pedal.  Its probably best to avoid sticking your finger inside to flip a switch.  I don't want anyone getting shocked.

Now that I have the pedal sounding the way I want, the next step is designing the PCB for the internal power supply section and getting it manuftured.  The audio portion of the electronics are still going to be wired point to point.]]>