Aria Sinsonido preamp repair

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Re: Aria Sinsonido preamp repair

Post by ef37a »

Folderol wrote:Now that's an expression I've not heard before - must be one of those Northern things :lol:

Anyway, I'm quite happy with the idea.

Oh! Yes, getting "bolted up" is being volunteered/pressed into a task that you did not want and is not actually in your job descrip'!

Not to be confused with "fitted up" which is something our police never do or ever did.

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Re: Aria Sinsonido preamp repair

Post by Dr R »

Folderol wrote:If you really are stuck, send me a priv message - I'm a sucker for an unusual challenge :shh:

In that case I most definitely will, thank you.

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Re: Aria Sinsonido preamp repair

Post by Folderol »

This is proving to be a very strange design indeed! I've worked out a drawing, and it's so strange I had to keep re-checking it :o
See here.
Aria Sinsonido Preamp (1).jpg
(Updated diagram shown above)
Cold checks with a meter suggest there are no faults, so the tone control should work, if there are no dried out caps, although with such low impedances I'm not quite sure how! The unmodified gain of the amplifers is 20, so those 1u feedback caps will behave as if they were about 20u.

Notice that DC supply to the microphones. This makes me think they are electrets

As soon as i can get into the office, I'll snaffle their all-singing cap tester and find out what the actual values are.

The 150n 'dry' caps are a guess based on the amp spec sheet.

The 0u22 ones are actually mis-printed so any dot would be off the edge of the cap. Size-wise they couldn't realistically be 22u, and it wouldn't make sense, bearing in mind the feed caps are only 33u.

All very strange :?
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Re: Aria Sinsonido preamp repair

Post by zenguitar »

Bravo Folderol.

:thumbup:

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Re: Aria Sinsonido preamp repair

Post by Martin Walker »

And I agree with you that it's a very strange circuit! :?

Are you sure those 1u caps are not connected between pins 1 and 8 of the LM386?

Image

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Re: Aria Sinsonido preamp repair

Post by Folderol »

Absolutely. Pins 1, 7, 8 are as naked as a newborn baby.

Also today I did a few active tests in my {cough}kitchen{cough} workshop, using my signal generator (of DIY amp fame) and a modern true RMS multimeter. At these low frequencies they're pretty good.

I worked with an output level of 1V, which is quite reasonable as a headphone level, and as I'm not sure of the correct source impedance, I used 600ohms, 2.2k and 47k. The result was entirely consistent across all of these, which is something I didn't expect actually.

I can confirm the tone control has no measurable effect at all over the range 40Hz to 4kHz :o

Also, the -3dB point relative to 400Hz is 70Hz, which is way too high for a bass.

I might try tapping caps across those present (particularly those 33u coupling ones) and see what transpires.

I'm not at work tomorrow, but if I'm down that way I might drop in and see if I can borrow the cap tester - I should probably get one myself :roll:
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Re: Aria Sinsonido preamp repair

Post by Dr R »

;):clap: Huge thanks to Folderol for taking this on. It's beyond the limit of any electronics I have ever forgotten. Which is the tone pot pair??

I think we've found someone who can measure the microphone impedances as requested in a PM. Will let the forum know the outcome.

Thanks again to everyone!

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Re: Aria Sinsonido preamp repair

Post by Folderol »

OK, there is an error in tracing the circuit, and it now makes much more sense :blush:

Image
(Updated image -- HR)

If you click on the link itself, you'll get the corrected drawing. The 1u caps are compensation ones that go from the top of the volume control to the wiper.

This doesn't invalidate any of the actual tests. Also the latest news is that the 0.47u caps are dead, tapping one across them immediately made the tone control work.

The 'dry' cap and the 33u one are effectively forming a 2nd order high pass filter, both of them are dropping a significant voltage at 70Hz. Using an R/C calculator, the 33u one against the volume pot at full volume should give a -3dB point of 4.8Hz! so it looks like those are also dead-ish and the only ones that's supposed to be affecting the roll off should be the 'dry' ones. I only guessed their values, but with the behavior shown and good caps elsewhere I would expect the -3dB point to be nearer 45Hz - much more reasonable.

I'm wondering if the unit has been left somewhere hot for an extended period, or is much older than I thought.
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Re: Aria Sinsonido preamp repair

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

Pretty sure they are going to be electret mics given the DC supply present on the mic lines. All electrets have an active impedance converter-cum-output-driver. So they will have a very low output impedance of the order of 100 Ohms or less.

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Re: Aria Sinsonido preamp repair

Post by Martin Walker »

Aha - the 1uF caps now make FAR more sense Folderol! 8-)

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Re: Aria Sinsonido preamp repair

Post by Dr R »

The instrument lives in north Wales - but does travel to South Africa and France for extended periods so heat damage is entirely plausible.

As an aside: Apparently it's great to travel with as it's light and will go in an aircraft overhead locker. The downside is that in its bag it looks like a rifle and airport security get very twitchy :-)
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Re: Aria Sinsonido preamp repair

Post by ef37a »

Well done that man!

Are you sure those capacitors are not old Tantalums? They promised much but after just a few years generally delivered shorts! I guess a few also went open circuit.

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Re: Aria Sinsonido preamp repair

Post by Folderol »

@hugh
The tone control tests suggest that these mics are round about 1k. Even a 600ohm source means the control has less effect. 100ohm would give a -3dB point of 3.4kHz at maximum attenuation.

@Dave
That was my first thought, but they look like standard SM electrolytics, and the codes also suggest that. I'll be replacing the 0u47 ones with multilayer ceramics. They are not much bigger, more stable and much quieter.

I'm a bit concerned about the volume pot wiring, as it will have a frequency component, depending on it's position (as well as what's on the output). Near minimum the LF cutoff will be about 400Hz as only the 10ohm resistor will be relevant against the 33u cap, but at full volume it will be 4.8Hz. This could account of the apparent poor low end. So maybe it should be run as close to max as possible.

And finally a bit of bad news. My sig genny seems to have developed a fault on it's higher ranges and goes unstable when the gain is turned up :cry: and it's only about 45 years old.

I'd write a nasty letter to the manufacturer... only it was me :shh:
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Re: Aria Sinsonido preamp repair

Post by ef37a »

" My sig genny seems to have developed a fault on it's higher ranges and goes unstable when the gain is turned up"

Sounds like a duff decoupling CAPACITOR to me mate!

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Re: Aria Sinsonido preamp repair

Post by Folderol »

Job done now, and the beastie will soon be on its way home.

Latest drawing is here. Incidentally, I tend to post links to PDFs for drawings as they are much clearer than any bit-image. The changes are all indicated as you can see.
Aria Sinsonido Preamp final.jpg
Swapping the tone control caps for ceramic ones was a no-brainer. As well as being more stable, they are actually smaller than the originals!

From actual frequency response behaviour I've downgrade my guess at the original 'dry' caps to only 100nF.

Increasing the 33u caps to 47u and adding the 100ohm resistors, makes the worst-case LF -3dB point about 45Hz. That's with the volume control a sniff above zero. As the volume level increases that drops to to about 30Hz. This has one drawback in that the level will be lower in headphones. However, at the same time the battery life will be slightly better as the amplifiers won't be dumping power into a 10ohm resistor at low volume.

I added an extra resistor, rather than changing the value of the existing one partly because space was getting really tight, but also because it's quick and easy to revert if needed.
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Re: Aria Sinsonido preamp repair

Post by Martin Walker »

Folderol wrote:Job done now, and the beastie will soon be on its way home.

Bravo Folderol :clap:

- looking forward to hearing the end result in situ in the instrument :thumbup:

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Re: Aria Sinsonido preamp repair

Post by Dr R »

Yes, huge thanks again to Folderol for doing this. :clap:

Hope to have the board and bass reunited this weekend, though the football may have an impact on available time ;-)

I didn't record the original sound, but will definitely post recordings of the new improved sound.

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Re: Aria Sinsonido preamp repair

Post by Dr R »

Quick update:

"Real Life" has completely got in the way of reuniting the board and bass. :(

We've therefore booked a meeting room at work over lunch tomorrow and the plan is to bring in the gear to reconnect it and record it then. Fortunately the directors on our floor appreciate that most of the time we actually do useful and productive work:

http://dilbert.com/strip/1994-06-26

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Re: Aria Sinsonido preamp repair

Post by Folderol »

'Real Life' eh? Not sure I want one of those - sounds expensive :tongue:
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Re: Aria Sinsonido preamp repair

Post by Drew Stephenson »

I think I saw one from a distance once, but I wanted no part of it... ;)
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Re: Aria Sinsonido preamp repair

Post by Dr R »

Still not done the soldering. There is a small, but at least non-zero, chance of it happening this weekend.

"Real Life" is on average a "good thing", but the peaks and troughs are unpredictable. Maybe there should be some sort of calibration system which allows for dynamics but didn't leave you totally exhausted at the end of two weeks?
LUFS = Life Units relative to a Fortnights' Sleep

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Re: Aria Sinsonido preamp repair

Post by Drew Stephenson »

Dr R wrote: "Real Life" is on average a "good thing", but the peaks and troughs are unpredictable. Maybe there should be some sort of calibration system which allows for dynamics but didn't leave you totally exhausted at the end of two weeks?
LUFS = Life Units relative to a Fortnights' Sleep

Rich

Presumably the scale goes into the negative! :D
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Re: Aria Sinsonido preamp repair

Post by Dr R »

I was thinking more that if there were too many constant peaks at high amplitude it was unpleasant and grating. In which case negative units would imply something very strange that I can't quite think of an analogy for..
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Re: Aria Sinsonido preamp repair

Post by Drew Stephenson »

Dead on your feet. ;)
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Re: Aria Sinsonido preamp repair

Post by Logarhythm »

Dr R wrote:I was thinking more that if there were too many constant peaks at high amplitude it was unpleasant and grating. In which case negative units would imply something very strange that I can't quite think of an analogy for..

If high amplitude events drag the LUFS rating up and are unpleasant/grating, then these are surely the tiresome bits of this traumatic "real life" concept - work, bills, supermarkets full of angry sunburned people etc.
Thus negative units significantly reduce the total LUFS figure - sort of akin to sorting out the gain structure to find more sensible headroom and space for proper dynamic range. In this "real life" thing, these events are therefore rejuvenating and allow proper context for these otherwise unpleasant peaks, so I guess things like time pottering on the DAW, playing an instrument (with the possible exception of bagpipes), a nice picnic etc contribute a reduction in the overall LUFS value?
It's rather tenuous (turns out "real life" may not be quite as simple as audio signals ;) ), but it's worth persevering with if it provides (pseudo)scientific justification for the more fun things :thumbup:
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Re: Aria Sinsonido preamp repair

Post by Dr R »

Logarhythm wrote: ...significantly reduce the total LUFS figure - sort of akin to sorting out the gain structure to find more sensible headroom and space for proper dynamic range. In this "real life" thing, these events are therefore rejuvenating and allow proper context for these otherwise unpleasant peaks, so I guess things like time pottering on the DAW, playing an instrument (with the possible exception of bagpipes), a nice picnic etc contribute a reduction in the overall LUFS value? :thumbup:

I think you have hit on something fundamental there. A nice picnic with friends should have low peak stress, and so contribute little to the integrated LUFS. But if in order to achieve it we have to deal with screaming kids, broken cars and wasps this is the equivalent of too much gain (and probably bad eq but we can work on that later), leading too excessive peaks.
Taking the analogy further, messing about on this subject in a forum is low peak, and reduces overall LUFS. Were Paul White to ask for these ramblings to be turned into a publishable thousand word column by Wednesday, that would require a huge gain increase,which would have to be followed by suitable calming activities.
Or something like that. ;-)
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Re: Aria Sinsonido preamp repair

Post by Dr R »

IT'S ALIVE :bouncy: It also fights back ...

Finally pushed real life out of the way for long enough to reconnect the board and the bass. Hooked it all up and did a quick test with everything electrically connected but not put back - excellent. Placed the board properly, put the pots and covers back on, tuned the bass to record some tests - and discovered an intermittent break in the connection to the output socket. My fault entirely so replaced the cable and retested. All good - hooray!

This is a very short recording to demonstrate the range of sound. This is recorded with a stereo headphone jack sending L&R directly to the two inputs of a ZoomH4N. Output on the guitar was about 3/4 max, gain on the Zoom almost nothing :-)

https://soundcloud.com/richard-rose-374426498/ariabasstonecomparison

The first scale is with the tone control set to maximum bass (ie max treble roll-off). It sounds like a bass guitar, and you can clearly hear the stereo separation with lower notes on the left of the image and higher to the right. The second scale is with the tone control set to max treble. You can hear there is a lot more HF, and clearly hear sound of my fingers sliding across every string. The two notes at the end are open strings, with max treble and max bass.
Prior to the repair it sounded like the full treble version, but worse ("pentatonic tinnitus" was one description). Post repair I reckon there is a pretty reasonable guitar there, and with the option to take two outputs and EQ them separately you could make all sorts of funkiness. Clean strings would help too.

My playing is very beginner level (as you can hear), so I roped in my son this afternoon to play a better demonstration for this forum, and to play it though an amp as well. He tuned up, and the tuning peg on the A-string promptly snapped! :o
All very frustrating, but Amazon have a set which one reviewer bought specifically for the same guitar when his snapped, so all repairable.

Most importantly: Huge thanks to everyone who has responded on this forum, and especially to Folderol for his time and effort (including multiple PMs to ask intelligent questions and respond to dumb ones). Another round of applause to that man. :clap:

Rich
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Re: Aria Sinsonido preamp repair

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

Excellent news, and :clap: to mr F for his detective work.
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Re: Aria Sinsonido preamp repair

Post by Martin Walker »

Indeed - three cheers for Folderol! Hip hip?

Hooray!! :clap::thumbup:8-)

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Re: Aria Sinsonido preamp repair

Post by Folderol »

Awww shucks :blush:
This has been a very enjoyable challenge, and I'm delighted it worked out so well. It certainly sounds good, and there is always an element of doubt when working entirely on test instruments.

Just a final suggestion for Dr R. Maybe print out the schematic on something like A5, then fold it up and tuck it in the compartment.
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