Sunday, June 27, 2010

Starving Student version 2

I got lucky on eBay again today. I snapped up another 48VDC 380mA Cisco power supply for my Starving Student version 2.

I've been slowly assembling some parts into small building blocks so final assembly is made easier. As for grid stopper resistors this time I'm going to add a 1KΩ resistor to each grid instead of one grid stopper shared between both grids. From Hongkong the two Elna RJH 470µF caps have arrived.

Both tube sockets got the center hole treatment so they're ready to accept a tube LED. I also removed pin 9 from both tube sockets as it's not connected in the 12AU7 version.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Starving Student tweak III

Yesterday evening I did some reading about using grid stopper resistors with tubes. In short, a grid stopper resistor prevents tube oscillation and attenuates radio frequency interference (also known as RFI of EMI).

The 12AU7 version Starving Student schematic has marked the 1KΩ grid stopper resistors (R14 & R15) as optional. Today I installed both of them. The difference is that touching my iPod Nano 4G no longer results in noise. Also, touching the metal volume knob now doesn't introduce noise as it used to do.
I find myself pausing the music occasionally to check where that annoying buzz is coming from. It's never there when the music stops...

So my experience is that the grid stopper resistors work, and very well at that. I don't consider them to be optional. True, the Starving Student will work without them but it will be even better if you add the grid stopper resistors. Resistors are cheap!

While I was at it I also swapped the left and right channel wiring at the inputs... Oops!


I just installed F.lux software. F.lux "makes the color of your computer's display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day."

Indeed it does work as advertised. Good for those late night computer sessions, a real treat for sore eyes. F.lux is free to use. Try it.

Friday, June 18, 2010

DIY Parts

My Elna Silmic's 470µF arrived this morning together with three LME49720 opamps. The Elna's are bigger than I expected them to be. One of the LME49720's now has found a new home in my Cambridge Audio 540C CD player. Sounds great. The LM49720 delivers a strong low bass, better than the OPA2134. I'm pleased with the overall sound quality.


I made 2.5 liters of Limoncello last week.  Tastes great! A nice drink for those long and warm summer evenings.

Starving Student - No.2

I'm so delighted with the sound of my Millett Starving Student Hybrid headphone amp that I'm gonna make another one... This time I'm gonna make it with slightly different parts and hardware. I'm using a wood box with an aluminium top plate. All connectors and controls are gonna be placed on top. For this new build I have bought slightly bigger heat sinks, instead of 2" tall they'll be 2.5"tall. The heat coming off the 2" heat sinks is a bit too much IMO. Bigger heat sinks will be cooler, though I don't think it's gonna make a huge difference. For the electrolytic caps I have ordered Elna's. Elna RJH 470µF for C1 and C6 and Elna Silmic 470µF for C3 and C5.

I don't have to buy resistors, LED's, IRF510's and the C2,C4,C3a and C5a caps as I have them in my parts box. Again the tubes and matching sockets will be the most expensive parts of the whole build.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Starving Student tweak II

I added orange LEDs under the tubes to emulate tube glow instead of going for the popular Cherenkov-look. Both LEDs are working @ 9mA. Looks great IMO.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Starving Student tweak

This evening I inserted a Kapton insulating foil between the IRF510 MOSFETs and the heatsinks on my Starving Student hybrid headphone amp. The foils were never used for the TO-220 diodes in my mini Aleph because they didn't need insulating. The foils are really cool ones. They come pre-coated with some sort of thermal grease on both sides but keep your fingers clean while applying them. As the MOSFETs heat up it softens and does its heat conductivity work. As a result the heat sinks are now hotter (57°C) than before, indicating a better transfer of heat away from the MOSFETs.

Now Is the Time

It's here! My copy of the new Jeff Lorber Fusion CD Now Is The Time got here today. Also pictured is the booklet of the Water Sign CD Jeff was kind enough to sign for me.

Bye bye Reader 9

The last couple of weeks my Adobe Reader installation needed to install an update almost every other day or two days. Fed up with Reader 9 needing updating so frequently and the fact that it has become so bloated I decided to ditch Adobe Reader 9 in favour of a lean mean PDF machine. I settled on Foxit Reader. It's small and fast. Bye bye Adobe Reader 9.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Jeff Lorber Fusion in Zoetermeer

Just got back from Zoetermeer. I went to see and hear Jeff Lorber and his band with a friend. The audience was predominantly male, aged 40+ (that includes me). Nonetheless we had a great evening with funky grooves and exemplary musicianship. Heared nothing but excellent stuff. Much to my joy some old Jeff Lorber Fusion tunes from the Water Sign album (like Toad's Place and Tune 88) were played. I even got Jeff to sign my copy of it! Thanks Jeff, Jimmy, Eric and of course Will for a highly enjoyable evening. 

Afterwards Jeff, Will and Eric took some time to pose for photos and have a quick chat with the fans. I talked with Will for a moment. Told him I was very glad to see him back with the Jackets and that I'll be looking forward to the new Yellowjackets CD. Will more or less promised to come back to Zoetermeer with the Jackets...