A practical introduction to electronics, for musicians and sound engineers
Learn how to build a great-sounding 'boutique' microphone preamp.
In three consecutive days you learn the theory and put it together with the help of an expert engineer. All the components are included and at the end of the course you take home your very own hand-built microphone preamp.
Our current DIY project is for a vintage-style series 500 microphone preamp: it uses the same components you would find in certain high-end equipment which most of us would never be able to afford, and it has a distinctive sound which can really add character to your recordings (hear the audio examples on this page).
Taking this course you will understand how it all works, what every component in the circuit does, and how to build one with just a soldering iron and some help form your instructor.
The course is made of three consecutive full days: in this time you will learn all the required theory and also build your microphone preamp, which will be then yours to keep.
The course fees include three days of lectures and all the electronic parts required to build the preamp. The value of the preamp alone if you were to find something equivalent in a shop makes the three days of lectures virtually free; in fact with the knowledge and skills you have acquired there is no limit to the number of things you can build for just the cost of the components. The current fee for this course is £570 per person but you can save a further £120 if you book a place before the end of the current term, so the actual course fees are just £450 if booked before the end of 2015.
The ‘series 500’ (or ‘lunchbox’) format was first introduced by API and is now adopted by countless manufacturers as an alternative to the 19” rack standard. The idea is that you don’t need to have a power supply for each outboard component in your studio, and you can save money and space by having a compact box - the size of a worker’s ’lunchbox’ - to provide power and audio connectors for multiple equalisers, compressors, and pre-amps.
To use any equipment that is series-500 compatible you will need to have either the original API lunchbox or a similar device from another manufacturer ( amongst others we can name Lindell Audio, Radial, Aphex, and of course API ).
Check the API luchbox > http://apiaudio.com/product.php?id=109
Check this page from Red Dog Music to get an idea of what’s on the market > http://www.reddogmusic.co.uk/catalog/studio-signal-processing/500-series-modules
Even better it is now possible to buy analogue mixers that have slots for series 500 processors, see http://www.inwardconnections.com/tree500.htm in the US and http://oceanaudio.co.uk/Products/Ark/ in the UK (both have international distribution).
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Wouldn’t it be great if you could build your own microphone and microphone pre-amps, equalisers, compressors, guitar pedals?
You could save a fortune on ‘boutique’ equipment, create devices that no-one else has, maybe start a small business, or at the very least have the knowledge and skills to repair what’s already in your studio when it goes wrong.
So how hard can it be? The answer is actually not that at all, when you have someone to help you.
At LSS we build something of our own every year, and it all adds-up in the making of a studio with a truly unique sound.
If it’s that easy why isn’t more people involved in DIY electronics? The answer is probably in that word, ‘electronics’. Indeed teaching yourself from scratch can be time-consuming and frustratingly dull - most books and courses are either too abstract or advanced, and it’s hard to figure out whether anything you read has actually anything to do with what you’d like to build.
It makes a huge difference to have a teacher who is good at explaining things and a project to follow, and once you get started properly it’s very easy to continue on your own.
With our course all the theory and soldering skills are provided in the context of building something that you can put to immediate use. The course itself may be just the starting point of your journey of discovery, but you can be sure that it will be enough to give you also a finished product.
For all of our projects we provide the schematics to follow, the soldering iron, the electronic parts, and all the explanations and support you need from an experienced teacher. All you have to do is turn up on time.
Help us decide which courses to bring in the future. Click on these links to send an email suggesting the course you’d like to see. The link will open your email app, please add as much details as you like.
The Precision MicPre is in use every day at LSS, and available for demos on request.
Contact the school for info.
For power and connections we recommend Lindell Audio, available in 3 and 6 slots forms.
500 Series Precision MicPre parts and schematics provided by fClef Audio, better known for its acclaimed hand-made bass amps and compressors.