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DIY Channel Strip
Old 13th March 2018
  #1
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Ensefalon's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
DIY Channel Strip

Hey, I am in question about constructing my own simple channel strip. I am new to audio electronics, But I sure as hell know how to solder and read circuit diagrams. My end goal is to produce enough of these so I could construct my own custom "SSL Wannabe" mixer, I just need to be set in the right direction.

What kind of preamp design should I use and could anyone provide a circuit diagram? (If at all possible, Diagrams of OP amps as well. I have alot, it's just so I can expand my knowledgebase and not spend loads of money on sh*tty(excellent) parts)



All of this is like learning how to ride a bike for me, but I'll soon get it and make the console of my dreams.

Thanks Guys ~ Sal
Old 13th March 2018
  #2
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ruffrecords's Avatar
Do not underestimate the complexity of this task. It is definitely a lot harder than learning to riding a bike.

The first thing to do is decide exactly what features you want in the channel strip and how thy will work together to form a mixer.

Cheers

Ian
Old 13th March 2018
  #3
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I'm currently doing the same thing. If anyone has any helpful resources then that would be amazing, but in my experience you will need to patch together different bits of info from many places. A solid understanding of what each part of the circuit is doing, and how they interact, is key.
Old 13th March 2018
  #4
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Ensefalon's Avatar
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ruffrecords View Post
Do not underestimate the complexity of this task. It is definitely a lot harder than learning to riding a bike.

The first thing to do is decide exactly what features you want in the channel strip and how thy will work together to form a mixer.

Cheers

Ian
Exactly. 4 Band EQ, Pass filters, Maybe compression circuits as well. Fader pots. Essentially just daisychaining all of those different circuits into a single channel strip. But that's the end product...For now I just need the knowhow for a mic preamp (If that's more clarifying)
Old 13th March 2018
  #5
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ruffrecords's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ensefalon View Post
Exactly. 4 Band EQ, Pass filters, Maybe compression circuits as well. Fader pots. Essentially just daisychaining all of those different circuits into a single channel strip. But that's the end product...For now I just need the know how for a mic preamp (If that's more clarifying)
I believe you need much more than this. "Just daisychaning" existing circuits fraught with difficulties. I have just spent one year mentoring a guy who wanted to do just what you do and, against my advice, he proceeded just daisychaning the circuits together and got into all sort of trouble simply because it is not a viable engineering approach. He has learnt the hard way that you need to do a lot more thinking and writing down before you even start searching for mic pre designs.

Cheers

Ian
Old 13th March 2018
  #6
You will need a good pcb cad program and the experience to lay out complex analog circuits. Those run from about a grand and up. Test gear is needed. That can set you back $15,000. Then you need expensive pots to be custom made, (usually with large minimums). Then there is that "know-how". That can take several years to build up. EE degrees can take 4 to 5 years and set you back up to $100,000 in tuition.

Dreams are nice but it's far easier and cheaper to buy a SSL channel strip and make it into what you like.
Old 13th March 2018
  #7
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Ensefalon's Avatar
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ruffrecords View Post
I believe you need much more than this. "Just daisychaning" existing circuits fraught with difficulties. I have just spent one year mentoring a guy who wanted to do just what you do and, against my advice, he proceeded just daisychaning the circuits together and got into all sort of trouble simply because it is not a viable engineering approach. He has learnt the hard way that you need to do a lot more thinking and writing down before you even start searching for mic pre designs.

Cheers

Ian

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
You will need a good pcb cad program and the experience to lay out complex analog circuits. Those run from about a grand and up. Test gear is needed. That can set you back $15,000. Then you need expensive pots to be custom made, (usually with large minimums). Then there is that "know-how". That can take several years to build up. EE degrees can take 4 to 5 years and set you back up to $100,000 in tuition.

Dreams are nice but it's far easier and cheaper to buy a SSL channel strip and make it into what you like.
Thanks guys, I am beginning to scope how much harder of an undertaking it is. But I want to start at least somewhere small with something much simpler I can evolve upon. I'm still a teenager and have a massive heckin appreciation for analog audio gear. The mixer is just my end goal(It may or may not happen), I am only starting here with just the mic pres. Overwhelmed by thousands of circuit diagrams. I value your input highly and what costs it would take to do something of this size. I am going to evaluate my approach and start drawing. Thanks ~ Sal
Old 13th March 2018
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ensefalon View Post
Hey, I am in question about constructing my own simple channel strip. I am new to audio electronics, But I sure as hell know how to solder and read circuit diagrams. My end goal is to produce enough of these so I could construct my own custom "SSL Wannabe" mixer, I just need to be set in the right direction.

What kind of preamp design should I use and could anyone provide a circuit diagram? (If at all possible, Diagrams of OP amps as well. I have alot, it's just so I can expand my knowledgebase and not spend loads of money on sh*tty(excellent) parts)



All of this is like learning how to ride a bike for me, but I'll soon get it and make the console of my dreams.

Thanks Guys ~ Sal
Depends on the objective:
If it's to have fun and experiment, just go for it.
If it's to save money, forget it.
If it's to get something which works within even a remotely reasonable delay, forget it.

While it's fairly easy to find good schematics, a well working design requires a lot of experience.

Studer, SSL 4000 and many other service manuals contains countless detailed diagrams of well working existing gear but that's just the very beginning.

If you want to go digital there are evaluation boards, developing DSP and microprocessor boards requires quite some experience and is likely to fail unless using something totally uselelssly slow like a 6800, Z80 or 6502.

I remember in-house 68000 series board development, including complete firmware, it can be done but already required good specialists. Developing boards for fast current processors is much more demanding (though there are also way better tools). Modern high-end mainboards are amazingly well designed and very well made.

BTW As I was very young, in the 80's I had made a detailed block diagram of a large live console but of course I never made the detailed schematics. I also designed some amps based on ILP modules. I must still have some never used spare modules but no idea if they'd still work today.
Old 13th March 2018
  #9
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I'd start by building a CAPI GDIY rack and a variety mic pre and dynamics kits of different designs. When you've filled it up you will have a much better idea of what you want for your console and the time/costs involved.
Old 13th March 2018
  #10
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Originally Posted by Schoeller View Post
Depends on the objective:
If it's to have fun and experiment, just go for it.
If it's to save money, forget it.
If it's to get something which works within even a remotely reasonable delay, forget it.

While it's fairly easy to find good schematics, a well working design requires a lot of experience.

Studer, SSL 4000 and many other service manuals contains countless detailed diagrams of well working existing gear but that's just the very beginning.

If you want to go digital there are evaluation boards, developing DSP and microprocessor boards requires quite some experience and is likely to fail unless using something totally uselelssly slow like a 6800, Z80 or 6502.

I remember in-house 68000 series board development, including complete firmware, it can be done but already required good specialists. Developing boards for fast current processors is much more demanding (though there are also way better tools). Modern high-end mainboards are amazingly well designed and very well made.

BTW As I was very young, in the 80's I had made a detailed block diagram of a large live console but of course I never made the detailed schematics. I also designed some amps based on ILP modules. I must still have some never used spare modules but no idea if they'd still work today.

All in all, I'm a Rube Goldberg machine lover and it's all just for fun. I'd call this a precursor project to something of an occupation I'd have in real life.

I found a few actual useful diagrams that I wouldn't have to bend backwards for Advanced Mixer circuits These are well within my level of expertise of circuit design.

Once I get something that works, I will push a bigger investment (Time/Money) into something beautiful, and something I'll need a crane to move it with.

I already have drawn up power supply schematics for things of varying voltages. I don't want to use VTubes because of heat and high voltages that can be messy to work with, Especially given the dimensions of your average channel strip. But that's just my preference at it.

Do you recommend any kind of Audio OP amps or circuits of any kind?
Old 13th March 2018
  #11
Gear Maniac
 

Inexpensive to make/learn: PAiA Corporation - Analog Synths, Theremins, Preamps, and More. Might mention that many high end products use proprietary designs that a qualified designer might be able to reverse engineer to a certain extent but you're not going to "find" that design. Also many console preamps etc use transformers that would be very expensive to source if you aren't purchasing in the quantity to get the price a hardware building company gets. Don't want to discourage anyone - building stuff can be a lot of fun. Just saying start small and learn all you can
Old 13th March 2018
  #12
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Old 13th March 2018
  #13
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GroupDIY - Index
Get/build a lunchbox (CAPI if you're in the USA) and then tackle your mission one by one. Start with a preamp, they are the most simple things... compared to a eq or comp. Except the Gordon pre. You don't want to build that one. Later, when you built a few things you will start to wonder how the brands can offer good gear for so little money. And i mean little money like 2 k. My personal 2cents for DIY: JLM audio.
Old 13th March 2018
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 64gtoboy View Post
Inexpensive to make/learn: PAiA Corporation - Analog Synths, Theremins, Preamps, and More. Might mention that many high end products use proprietary designs that a qualified designer might be able to reverse engineer to a certain extent but you're not going to "find" that design. Also many console preamps etc use transformers that would be very expensive to source if you aren't purchasing in the quantity to get the price a hardware building company gets. Don't want to discourage anyone - building stuff can be a lot of fun. Just saying start small and learn all you can
I'd be unable to design high-end audio circuits, it's not my domain of expertise but I'm sure that if the most skilled forum members would team up they'd be able to design very high-end professional audio equipment (i.e. Nagra, Sound Devices, SSL, etc. class level).
Old 13th March 2018
  #15
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Ensefalon's Avatar
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by 64gtoboy View Post
Inexpensive to make/learn: PAiA Corporation - Analog Synths, Theremins, Preamps, and More. Might mention that many high end products use proprietary designs that a qualified designer might be able to reverse engineer to a certain extent but you're not going to "find" that design. Also many console preamps etc use transformers that would be very expensive to source if you aren't purchasing in the quantity to get the price a hardware building company gets. Don't want to discourage anyone - building stuff can be a lot of fun. Just saying start small and learn all you can
This is very helpful and gives me an insight to the circuitry and how these are made, Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by frans View Post
GroupDIY - Index
Get/build a lunchbox (CAPI if you're in the USA) and then tackle your mission one by one. Start with a preamp, they are the most simple things... compared to a eq or comp. Except the Gordon pre. You don't want to build that one. Later, when you built a few things you will start to wonder how the brands can offer good gear for so little money. And i mean little money like 2 k. My personal 2cents for DIY: JLM audio.
I don't want to go beyond the simple PCB just yet, I'd be investing too much money into something I'd grow out of real quick once I design what works/what I like.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Schoeller View Post
I'd be unable to design high-end audio circuits, it's not my domain of expertise but I'm sure that if the most skilled forum members would team up they'd be able to design very high-end professional audio equipment (i.e. Nagra, Sound Devices, SSL, etc. class level).
Agreed, but again it's all in the name of fun and *coolness*
Old 13th March 2018
  #16
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ruffrecords's Avatar
Don't be discouraged. I built my first mixer in my teens. But that was back in the 60s. There was no internet, just the library and monthly magazines. I built it from PCBs supplied by a guy who published the design in Tape Recorder magazine |(later to become Studio Sound). Simple three transistor class A stuff. I had no design skills but I could solder. I made a lot of mistakes and learnt a lot. Less than 10 years later I was designing consoles at Neve.

Today there are endless kits, some of which have been mentioned already by others. Start by building some of these. Personally I would go for PCB only designs so you become familiar with the process of selecting and buying parts.


Good Luck

Cheers

Ian
Old 13th March 2018
  #17
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Ensefalon's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by ruffrecords View Post
Don't be discouraged. I built my first mixer in my teens. But that was back in the 60s. There was no internet, just the library and monthly magazines. I built it from PCBs supplied by a guy who published the design in Tape Recorder magazine |(later to become Studio Sound). Simple three transistor class A stuff. I had no design skills but I could solder. I made a lot of mistakes and learnt a lot. Less than 10 years later I was designing consoles at Neve.

Today there are endless kits, some of which have been mentioned already by others. Start by building some of these. Personally I would go for PCB only designs so you become familiar with the process of selecting and buying parts.


Good Luck

Cheers

Ian

Thanks Ian. One day I hope to take a similar path to what you've told me, and oh boy I'd live in my parent's basement for the rest of my life building mixers. But thanks for the advice Ian, it means alot to me.
Old 14th March 2018
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ensefalon View Post
Thanks Ian. One day I hope to take a similar path to what you've told me, and oh boy I'd live in my parent's basement for the rest of my life building mixers. But thanks for the advice Ian, it means alot to me.
Sounds like you have the passion. Build stuff all the time, work hard at school, get good grades, do an EE degree at university and you will be set for life.

Cheers

Ian
Old 14th March 2018
  #19
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by ruffrecords View Post
Sounds like you have the passion. Build stuff all the time, work hard at school, get good grades, do an EE degree at university and you will be set for life.

Cheers

Ian
Thanks again Ian
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