The Steam Amp | CopperSteam Blog

Generally speaking I’m not a fan of Steampunk. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate it or anything, it just isn’t my thing. But there are always exceptions to the rule and this beautiful DIY amplifier kicks ass in all of its steam-punk glory.

Here’s the completed project found on

The builder [Ævil Mike] has a thorough post about the amp which is constructed around a k-12g kit from tube depot but is housed in a copper enclosure of his own design. His notes and write up are here


Not at all DIY audio in any sense.  Not even close.  If ever has anything deserved an are-you-fing-kidding me this is it.

Clearaudio – Goldfinger v2 MC Cartridge.

The Goldfinger

Massive Rectifier Vacuum Tube

This thing is fucking massive and awesome and scares me. From the DIY Audio projects photo-gallery. I might need to make a new category for this blog just for this thing.  If there’s such a thing as a bong for smoking crack this is probably what it looks like.

Vacuum Tube (Valve) Audio Projects – Massive Rectifier Vacuum Tube (Valve) – DIY Audio Projects Photo Gallery.


150 Amp 6 Phase Rectifier Vacuum Tube

LoudestWarning Blog

The LoudestWarning Blog is another nice DIY audio and synth blogspot blog with some great photos of custom home-grown synthesis and audio projects. No need to re-hash all the great stuff on the site but I will say that the picture of blue knobs is right up my alley. It’s organized, repetitive, colorful, and who doesn’t enjoy a substantial collection of knobs?

LoudestWarning Blog - Bloo Knobs

DroneGoat: The BRAINRING!

DroneGoat is a tasty little blogspot blog covering analog synthesis and some DIY projects (among other things). There’s lots of great stuff here but I found this to be particularly awesome. An analog ring modulator built into a Brain water bottle.  Reminds me of my Alpo-Can ring modulator except this appears to process inputs and not simply modulate internally generated square waves.

DroneGoat: The BRAINRING!.

DroneGoat Brain Ring Modulator

TDA2030 DIY HiFi Amplifier by Vortchun

The DIY Audio forum’s photo gallery is rich with hundreds of amazing projects the DIY audio community has built over the years. I could repost and talk about every single one of them but I really try to avoid it. While browsing I came across the following build and for some reason it stood out from the crowd. The wooden enclosure is a nice departure from the typical aluminum and stainless steel boxes that you typically see.

You can read about DIY-Audio forum member Vortchun’s build here

Music From Outer Space – WSG mods completed

Usually I will just post a couple images with brief descriptions of the process behind a project I post. But with the completion of my mods to the MFOS Weird Sound Generator I wanted to offer up a couple of the dos and don’ts I learned while working on this.


  • Do buy an Alesis Quadraverb on eBay for 10 bucks and use the 1 space rack case instead of buying something new.
  • Do save the seemingly useless Alesis front panel because you never know… you might need it (and I did).
  • Do take the time to measure twice, three and four times.
  • Do be prepared to find out that your measurements might still be wrong.
  • Do go with your instincts and spend the extra cash to make it look nice.
  • Do use pre-tinned solid wire (and save a lot of time).
  • Do drill or punch starter holes.
  • Do look up parts you’re unfamiliar with in Mouser’s four inch thick hard-copy catalog. It’s far easier to get an idea of what your actually buying sight unseen.


  • Don’t waste three weeks comparison shopping at on-line front-panel design shops. You spend a lot of time learning stripped down versions of proprietary CAD tools that can be enormously frustrating and in the end the price difference isn’t that significant.
  • Don’t do anything less than 2mm on the width of the front panel.
  • Don’t ever go back to stranded wire.
  • Don’t pass by the $20 Quadraverb and waste two and a half weeks looking for a better deal. 18 days is worth the extra $10 bucks compared to the money you save from buying new.
  • Don’t rush.

And lastly, Don’t do this:

When you can do this:

This is a nice shot of the whole unit which shows the excellent work the folks at Front Panel Express did on this. If you’re considering spending the coin on a custom front panel and on the fence about it I can say without reservation that my expectations were exceeded and I will never doubt that it was money well spent. Just make sure you have your measurements right. I made a couple mistakes which I was able to work around without major issue but it was at the expense of several days time figuring out alternative solutions.

You can see more images of the final build on Flickr here…

The Octapol, a Flower Conservatory, and WTF?

I came across this great DIY midi controller by Flickr user Mikest

In addition to having a great aesthetic appeal the prototype for the LED ring digital encoders is bitchin’. Hats’s off to Mikest.

Just as an additional observation, usually when i find a flickr user with some cool audio/midi/synth stuff i like to look at all their images. More often than not you can get an idea what the person is into, their hobbies, personality. While browsing Mikest’s pictures this is what I cam across. So I get it, I can see what the flowers resemble, and it appeals to me. But what I think is really awesome is that one image wasn’t enough… another, zoomed in version was necessary.

What a ‘Titty’ sounds like

This is a follow up to my previous post on manipulating file’s header information to make them waves. It occurred to me that now that I know how the waves are rendered I could create some custom wave shapes of my own. Of course, being that I have the mind of an adolescent boy, my next though was to spell out ‘dirty’ words with a wave shape and then listen to what they sound like. The image below is the first result on my mission to create a dirty word audio library. Please allow me to introduce “Titty”…

Waveshape as a font

You can grab the Wave File Here

How to turn any file format into a wave

Boing Boing posted a link to this video from YouTube user r2blend. R2blend used Adobe Audition but also suggests using Audacity’s ‘import data as audio’ feature to render an executable file (and presumably other file formats) to a listenable audio format.

This is awesome and I wanted to give it a try but I don’t have Adobe Audition. I do have Audacity but it’s on the Linux boot of my only laptop so using it there doesn’t do me much good on the Windows 7 boot, where I do most if not all of my audio work.

So I decided to come up with a way to create a valid .wav file header for any file format which can be inserted with the use of a hex editor. Here’s how to do it…

.Wav file headers are incredibly straightforward and require very little calculation to generate. There are numerous sources available on the web but I find this single, 7 year old page on Stanford’s site really easy to understand.

Simplifying the info from stanford further in most cases (i won’t delve into the exceptions here) you need a 44 byte string as follows:

52 49 46 46 “RIFF”
6E E8 02 00 the file size minus 8 bytes
57 41 56 45 “WAVE”
66 6D 74 20 “fmt ”
10 00 00 00 16 for PCM.
01 00 PCM = 1
02 00 Number of channels
44 AC 00 00 sample rate (this example is 44100)
10 B1 02 00 sample rate * Num Channels * Bits per sample/8
04 00 NumChannels * BitsPerSample/8
10 00 bits per sample (this example is 16)
64 61 74 61 “data”
00 E8 02 00 Total file size minus 44 bytes

Now that you know what you need we can get started. First make a copy of the file you want to turn into a .wav and change the extension to “.wav”. I used the executable for ESET’s NOD32 64bit anti-virus software.

Right click on the file to determine the file size.

Input the file size information to my handy excel worksheet along with what sample rate you want, how many channels, and the bits per sample. Take note that you can have more than 2 channels…

Open the file you are converting to a working .wav file in your favorite hex editor. I use HxD which is more than sufficient for any of my needs.

Paste the copied 44 byte hex string…

Save it and open it in your favorite audio software and voila! You have audio, where previously there was none.

and as a treat, a look at what happens when you change the channels from one to eight using the same source…

And an example of the audio…