Monday, August 27, 2012




Hey!  It's been a while...  I think we're going to try to have some new material up soon - it's only been what?  A year?  No big deal... Anyways, I've had a surprising number of requests for more information regarding the DIY speaker cables for Sony's evil proprietary connectors, so I thought I'd make a new post as a follow up that will hopefully clarify what's involved in the procedure...  Shall we?

As I mentioned in the original post, the two things you'll need are some speaker wire and a few 22-18 AWG .110 insulated female quick connect tabs (widely available online and in electronic component stores).  Let's start by looking at the quick connects themselves...



One side of the connectors is flat, and the other has two small loops that create a small groove - that's where the pin inside the receiver will sit... you'll see, gimme a chance here...


See the two pins inside each port?  Your quick connects are going to fit around the outside of both pins...

You'll want to make your cable just as I described in the original post; there's not much to it - but you'll want to make sure of the polarity of the speaker wire - most speaker wires will have a silver streak on the negative side, while positive is usually all copper.  Strip the ends of your speaker cable and then insert each end into a quick connect tab and squeeze it shut with a pair of pliers.  You should end up with something that looks like this...



So take the first quick connect tab - and connect it around the appropriate pin (+ or - ).  Here's a close-up of the first quick connect in place...




If you look closely, you should be able to see that the pin inside the receiver's port fits perfectly inside the groove of the quick connect tab...

Now push the other pin in place... It should look like this...




Both quick connect tabs should now be firmly in place...


et voila!

Now all you have to do is attach the other two ends of the speaker wire into your speaker (again, taking note of polarity).

And that's it!  I've had my subwoofer hooked up with my homemade cable for a few years now without any problems...  A few readers have also mentioned other Sony receivers cursed with these connections - here are the models (I'm aware of) that have them.  If you know of any others, let me know and I'll add 'em to the list:

DAV-C450
DAV-DX155
DAV-DX255
DAV-DX315
DAV-HDX589W
DAV-S400
HCD-DX375
HCD-HDX465
HDX267W

I hope this helps!

Until next time,
(hopefully sooner than a year from now).

M.

Labels: , ,

posted by Marcus at 11:30 PM | 5 comments
Thursday, May 26, 2011


When I first started making beats, I began like many other producers, with two excellent software programs: FL Studio and Cool Edit Pro (now known as Adobe Audition). Together these tools created an workflow that was fast fun and creative especially for editing samples. A year ago, I decided I was sick of always having to stare at a the computer screen and all the mouse clicking that using software for production requires and decided to get my hands on Native Instrument's Maschine. Maschine, a software and MPC like hardware controller, allowed me to make music with all the advantages of software but without the requirement of having to look at a screen, or use a mouse. However, one thing I did miss is chopping/editing samples in Cool Edit Pro. Maschine is also good for editing audio but Cool Edit Pro provided a much faster workflow with pinpoint accuracy. With Maschine's new drag and drop function (added in the 1.6 update) I made this little video showing how easy it is to chop samples in Adobe Audition (using the mac trial version) and lay them out on the Maschine's pads.

Labels: ,

posted by Donovan at 10:02 PM | 1 comments
Monday, March 14, 2011


Last time I checked, there were a lot of cats around here...

Yep, they're still here. I just checked again. We have a lot of cats... How many? So many... it's just crazy! Anyways, true to the immense suckers that we are, we've also somehow managed to come to support a small contingency of outdoor neighbourhood cats as well. While my own unholy feline army is safe indoors year round, the two (hideous) Tom cats that roam my neighbourhood have to brave the winter weather, and it was getting REALLY cold around here a few weeks ago. The solution? An emergency DIY outdoor cat shelter!

You can find a bunch of different designs for outdoor cat shelters around the web as I discovered when I began my research for the project. One idea that immediately stood out was this kind of design made from a large Rubbermaid storage bin. While I had originally planned on building my shelter out of wood, I found that a bin would be ideal since I have so many of them already from all of the cat-ruined clothes that I have in storage. These bins work really well for a shelter as they have no seams, and are thick enough to withstand the winter weather. Honestly, the bin should be pretty self-explanatory, so the majority of the work is simply insulating the crap out of it, cutting a "cat approved" hole, and making it comfortable for your guests.

Step One: Gather your parts

  • One large rubber storage bin.
  • Styrofoam insulation/regular Styrofoam is also acceptable.
  • 2 large garbage bags.
  • Some blankets/old soft towels that you're okay with parting ways with - they're probably not coming back, lol.
  • Bubble wrap (I know!) - The foil backed variety is preferable.

Step Two: Put it all together

First, I sized the Styrofoam insulation to fit the four inner walls and "ceiling" of the bin. The give between the Styrofoam and rubber bin made it relatively easy to get a good fit around the inside of the shelter. Hot glue easily secured the Styrofoam in place.



Next, I lined the inside "roof" with a garbage bag, and then added a layer of bubble wrap on the inside, covering the Styrofoam.

While the original design that I based my own upon used the lid of the bin as its roof, I decided to do it the other way around - I simply wanted it to be wider at the bottom. If you're really in doubt, just ask the preference of the cat that will be using it.


(Exhibit A: 1/2 of the Gruesome Twosome.)


To prepare the lid I began by lining it with another piece of garbage bag, and then a layer of bubble wrap. The garbage bag helps to seal the bin when you finally attach the lid (be it floor, or ceiling). I also added a towel and an old blanket to really spice things up.


What’s with the bubble wrap? Well, it's supposed to act as an insulator, or specifically, like a cluster of tiny thermal pockets. If the wrap is exposed to a enough sunlight, the air inside the bubbles will heat up, and can be retained for quite some time – at least, so I’m told. I had a little extra after finishing the inside, so I decided to wrap the remainder around the top of the bin as well.



Lastly, I had to cut a hole big enough for the cats to use, but not quite big enough for the raccoons, skunks, breath-stealing trolls, or anything else in your backyard that may want to get inside. Also, since this is supposed to protect from the cold, it is desirable to have the entrance as small as possible.

I started with a way too small hole, and then slowly cut more away using a jigsaw after testing each iteration with a feline volunteer of approximate size to my outdoor friends. I also wanted the entrance a little high so that when a cat is inside the shelter, the hole is a little higher than they are (also in an effort to minimize the effects of cold winds). My faithful feline test subject jumped right inside the shelter once the hole was the right size. The trick to getting the entrance right is mostly making sure that its tall enough - your guests need to be able easily step into the shelter.




Step Three: Deploy the shelter!


You may want to experiment with where you place your shelter - some recommend avoiding places where the outdoor cats like to eat, as the shelter could potentially attract rivals. However, regardless of where you place it, you may want to consider putting some dry food, or treats in it when you deploy it for the first time in order to let the outdoor cats know you mean business.

So does it work? To tell you the truth, I had my doubts at first... I would see the (horrible) Toms checking it out, but they never seemed to want to take the plunge.

But then, on one particularly rainy morning I noticed something...




Holy crap!



Until next time,
M.

Labels: , , ,

posted by Marcus at 10:58 PM | 2 comments
Saturday, March 5, 2011


We hit a bit of a milestone a couple of weeks ago when (to our shock) Robot-Party surpassed 20,000 hits.

I am painfully aware of the gaps that sometimes occur between our posts around here, and for that I apologize - in our defense, we're a (just barely) two-brain operation. But we are thrilled with even the slightest possibility that our blog has been in any way helpful or informative for our readers, and we will continue to do our best to provide the best content that we can.

Thanks so much, everyone!

M. & D.

Labels: ,

posted by Marcus at 2:34 PM | 0 comments
Thursday, February 24, 2011


Hey! It's been a while...

It seems like just about everyone’s talking about eBooks these days… This year has witnessed an explosion both of a plethora eBook formats, as well as accessible technology that has enabled both their proliferation and use. The biggest players in the eBook game still seem to be Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, and Sony. But whether you choose a Kindle, Nook, Ipad, or one of Sony’s eReaders, it’s worthwhile to consider the file formats inherent to each platform before you decide to take the plunge.

While Project Gutenberg has been digitizing public domain books into plain text for years, almost every major eReader on the scene either favours, or has introduced a its very own eBook format (and DRM system along with it). Since the very core appeal of eBooks lies in their capacity for accessibility and convenience, you’ll want an eReader that can read as many different formats as possible while offering up the least amount of DRM-related barriers. And barriers there be! Seriously, it’s a terrible mess of (un)interoperability – It’s so dry, I don’t even want to paraphrase it, so I’m going to let Wikipedia take over for a block quotation. Hit it!

There are four main ebook DRM schemes at present, one each from Adobe, Apple, Barnes & Noble and Amazon. Adobe's Adept DRM is applied to ePubs and PDFs, and can be read by several third-party ebook readers, as well as Adobe's Adobe Digital Editions software. Apple's Fairplay DRM is applied to ePubs, and can currently only be read by Apple's iBooks app on iOS devices. Barnes & Noble's DRM scheme is implemented by Adobe, and is applied to ePubs and the older Palm format ebooks. Amazon's DRM is an adaption of the original Mobipocket encryption, and is applied to Amazon's Mobipocket and Topaz format ebooks (Wikipedia).

Wow, I’m not convinced that was even necessary… Anyways, Wikipedia also happens to have a handy chart illustrating device compatibility, check it out!

The TLDR version of the chart is that just about every eReader on the market can read the EPUB format except for longtime EPUB holdout Amazon (none of the Kindles support EPUB natively, though I’ve been told there’s an application available to convert EPUB files for use on Kindle).

Of course, the reading experience also varies from format to format… So how is one to decide? Why not test drive some eBooks! A great way to do this is via one of the many eReader apps available for PC, such as Kindle for PC, or the Kobo Desktop Reader.

What’s that? Where can you find different eBooks to try out? Happily, the Internet abounds with places to download eBooks… But maybe give these a try first!

Ebookee.org
Ebooksbay.org
Fictionbooksbay.com

Hit the books, Nerdlinger!
M.

Labels: , , , , ,

posted by Marcus at 12:24 AM | 0 comments
Thursday, September 9, 2010



Recently Dave Smith Instruments released a 32 key version of their popular and affordable analog desktop synth, the Mopho. Unlike the painful menu diving interface of the desktop version, the Mopho keyboard offers plenty of hands on knob control of all the parameters.

While wishing I could afford to purchase the new mopho keys, I decided to create a midi template for my Novation X-Station 25. If you happen to own one of these great synth/controllers and a mopho please download my sysex template and upload it using the novation template editor. I made this template using CC messages (check page 32 of the mopho manual for the parameter list for CC's) but apparently you need NRPN messages to take full advantage of the mopho controls. Either way, this template will send you in the right direction if you haven't explored the midi side of your mopho.


Download Link (copy/paste)

http://www.divshare.com/download/12509320-fd6
posted by Donovan at 2:06 PM | 7 comments
Saturday, July 24, 2010


I usually like to put a little more time between posts, but this little victory deserves to be posted...

If there's one thing about technology that I really can't stand, it's proprietary connections... They're the worst, around! (in a Joe Esposito sort of way). I've encountered proprietary AC adapters for notebooks and LCD monitors, proprietary video plugs, proprietary audio cables, you name it! But recently, I had to deal with something that really takes the cake... Something so insidious, so evil...so... unnecessary! I discovered... a proprietary speaker wire.

Here's how it all went down...

I recently salvaged a Sony DAV-C450: it's an older 5.1 receiver... Anyhow, as I was hooking it up I found that one of the speaker wires seemed to be missing... No big deal (or, so I thought) until I took a glance at the back of the receiver and noticed this...


When you see it, you will... wait - how does that go again?


Ye gods... the horror of it all! A proprietary plug just for a standard set of speakers! Dammit Sony, how am I not surprised?! And of course, just to add insult to injury, on the speaker-end there's regular spring clips... /facepalm.

A few searches later, I had found others in a similar situation, but no solution...

I figured I'd check the Sony site to to see how much a replacement wire would cost... how bad could it be, right?

Well, this bad: $30 + tax and shipping! lol I was glad I hadn't taken that sip of coffee...

It became obvious that it was time to take a closer look at the plug itself...


Looks sorta familiar...



... and that's when it hit me. The spare quick connects remaining from the DIY Arcade stick!



A 22-18 AWG .110 insulated female solderless quick (dis)connect terminal. These guys are commonly available in bulk from electrical component and arcade parts suppliers.


Putting it all together

So, take...

A piece of extra speaker wire

and...


A bag of quick disconnect adapters.



+ Some splicing and crimping =



....Voila!


The quick connects fit around the outer sides of the pins quite perfectly, without any modification needed.

But does it work?

Yup!

This should probably work with (among others) the following systems as well as with the DAV-C450:

DAV-DX155
DAV-DX255
DAV-DX315
DAV-HDX589W
DAV-S400
HCD-DX375
HCD-HDX465
HDX267W


Enjoy!
M.

photo credit: supremevictory.com



Labels: ,

posted by Marcus at 9:24 PM | 18 comments
Epic Disclaimer: Certain projects are inherently dangerous, and even the most simple tool can cause serious injury or death if not used properly. Always read and follow instruction manuals and safety warnings. You must be particularly careful when dealing with electricity - always use common sense. Any advice, guidance or other information provided on the Robot Party! website or within any of its publications cannot completely anticipate your situation. If you are at all unsure about completing any aspect of any projects, consult a qualified professional or contractor to advise or perform the service(s) for you. Always follow electrical code requirements specific to your area, and before undertaking project that involves electricity, contact your local electrical authority and your insurance company to ensure that you comply with all policies, warranties, regulations and authorities concerning this work. You expressly agree to hold Robot Party! and its contributing authors, harmless for any property damage, personal injury and/or death, or any other loss or damage that may result from your use of the information provided. No advice or information obtained by you from us shall create any warranty not expressly made herein. Reader agrees to assume all risk resulting from the application of any of the information provided by Robot Party!. By using this web site, including any applets, software and content referenced therein, the visitor agrees that the use of this web site and its information product is entirely at his/her own risk. RobotParty! does not take any responsibility for the information presented. Information offered through Robot Party! is in no way guaranteed. Due to the nature of the internet, technology and the DIY movement some articles may discuss topics which may be illegal in some locations. Said information is provided for educational purposes only and is to be used at the reader's own discretion. Robot Party! and its contributing authors do not condone or endorse any illegal activity. All contents copyright © 2010, Robot-Party! All Rights Reserved.