[4U] Outsie, a basic output utility

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hox3d
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[4U] Outsie, a basic output utility

Post by hox3d » Wed May 20, 2020 5:37 am

I wanted a simple audio interface which could drive headphones in LW format, so here is one.

It is a fairly classic and uninteresting design; I looked up schematics here and there, you know, those that everybody uses.
It is based on Befaco Output.
Anyway, since it was my very first PCB design, it wanted something quite simple, so it's a perfect first project. No mistake, nothing completely wrong, even the controls align, so it can't be that bad, right?
It could be slimmer; even though it is still smaller than much of CGS PCBs with CLee's brackets.

It is a stereo output which can drive headphones. It also has two 1/4" jacks outputs, which can be processed further with a mixing desk.

Panel design by me, but ordered and handled by Loudest Warning (which is, as usual, great).

Everything you need to build it is on the repository:
https://gitlab.com/hox3d/outsie
Note: current gerbers are confirmed working (as of 30th of June 2020).

It requires a bit of wiring, but nothing unbearable. :razz:

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Last edited by hox3d on Tue Jun 30, 2020 2:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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htor
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Re: [4U] Outsie, a basic output utility

Post by htor » Wed May 20, 2020 5:43 am

wow, looks lovely.
thanks for sharing!

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Re: [4U] Outsie, a basic output utility

Post by oldenjon » Wed May 20, 2020 11:17 am

Nicely done. Good documentation too. Keep it up :tu:
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Re: [4U] Outsie, a basic output utility

Post by Revok » Wed May 20, 2020 8:15 pm

This looks perfect for a single boat thing I'm working on. Looking forward to building one!

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Re: [4U] Outsie, a basic output utility

Post by tele_player » Thu May 21, 2020 1:42 pm

Can you normal it so a single input goes to both outputs?

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Re: [4U] Outsie, a basic output utility

Post by cackland » Thu May 21, 2020 5:18 pm

hox3d wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 5:37 am

Panel design by me, but ordered and handled by Loudest Warning (which is, as usual, great).
Curious about this stage of the process. Does LW manufacture them or sends them else where? Is there the ability to add alternate colors?

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Re: [4U] Outsie, a basic output utility

Post by oldenjon » Thu May 21, 2020 5:36 pm

cackland wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 5:18 pm
Curious about this stage of the process. Does LW manufacture them or sends them else where? Is there the ability to add alternate colors?
I think he uses Re:Synthesis and maybe Schaeffer/Frontpanel express for one-offs.
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Re: [4U] Outsie, a basic output utility

Post by hox3d » Thu May 21, 2020 6:30 pm

tele_player wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 1:42 pm
Can you normal it so a single input goes to both outputs?
No, banana jacks do not allow this, unfortunately. You would need a switch on the front panel...

For the panels, I usually send him a .pdf with panel graphics and holes markings (which is in the repository).
I use black only, but color is possible i guess: the Monsoon has a bit of blue and red, so he should be able to do that too.
But yeah, I think it is from Re:synthesis.
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Re: [4U] Outsie, a basic output utility

Post by tele_player » Thu May 21, 2020 7:05 pm

Oops, I missed the fact it’s got real bananas. Thought it was some kind of EuroRack gadget, with banana-looking jacks. I also missed the LW format clue, and [4U] in subject.

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Re: [4U] Outsie, a basic output utility

Post by KSS » Thu May 21, 2020 9:13 pm

Looks nice, hox3D!

Always curious about the layout choices different designers make. How did you decide to put Right below Left?

I've tended to equate Left with Lower, and Right with Rise.

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Re: [4U] Outsie, a basic output utility

Post by hox3d » Fri May 22, 2020 3:01 am

tele_player wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 7:05 pm
Oops, I missed the fact it’s got real bananas. Thought it was some kind of EuroRack gadget, with banana-looking jacks. I also missed the LW format clue, and [4U] in subject.
Well, it is a 4U gadget ;)
KSS wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 9:13 pm
Looks nice, hox3D!

Always curious about the layout choices different designers make. How did you decide to put Right below Left?

I've tended to equate Left with Lower, and Right with Rise.
To be honest, I didn't think about that at all. I guess I completely overlooked it; I just made sure that right input and right output were below their respective left counterparts (so outputs and inputs match).
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Re: [4U] Outsie, a basic output utility

Post by roglok » Fri May 22, 2020 8:14 am

KSS wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 9:13 pm
Looks nice, hox3D!

Always curious about the layout choices different designers make. How did you decide to put Right below Left?

I've tended to equate Left with Lower, and Right with Rise.
looking at mixers, hi-fi systems etc. it seems like a de-facto standard and probably has to do with Western reading direction (left to right and top to bottom). obviously in a horizontal layout Left will be "first" which in a vertical configuration translates to Left above Right.

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Re: [4U] Outsie, a basic output utility

Post by simon owl » Sat May 23, 2020 5:47 pm

Thats awesome thanks for sharing. Where did you print the PCB? Did you just do one?

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Re: [4U] Outsie, a basic output utility

Post by cackland » Sat May 23, 2020 7:27 pm

oldenjon wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 5:36 pm
cackland wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 5:18 pm
Curious about this stage of the process. Does LW manufacture them or sends them else where? Is there the ability to add alternate colors?
I think he uses Re:Synthesis and maybe Schaeffer/Frontpanel express for one-offs.
Cool. What design files did you send him? Illustrator ? Dxf?

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Re: [4U] Outsie, a basic output utility

Post by KSS » Sat May 23, 2020 11:52 pm

roglok wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 8:14 am
looking at mixers, hi-fi systems etc. it seems like a de-facto standard and probably has to do with Western reading direction (left to right and top to bottom). obviously in a horizontal layout Left will be "first" which in a vertical configuration translates to Left above Right.
Thanks roglok. That makes sense.

I've been working with a format that mostly flows upwards bottom to top for so long I've missed that alternate way of looking at it.

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Re: [4U] Outsie, a basic output utility

Post by hox3d » Tue May 26, 2020 3:21 am

simon owl wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 5:47 pm
Thats awesome thanks for sharing. Where did you print the PCB? Did you just do one?
Well, there are many many manufacturers online that will do that for a small fee. Many of those are from China, because they have cheaper prices.
If I had to manufacture a bigger batch, I'd try to find it here in France, but for prototyping it would be expensive, unfortunately.
cackland wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 7:27 pm
Cool. What design files did you send him? Illustrator ? Dxf?
I do these with Inkscape, which is a FOSS alternative to Illustrator. Works well, easy to use, it's great.
Then I export a .pdf; check panel/outsie.svg on the repo, this is the file.
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Re: [4U] Outsie, a basic output utility

Post by jersupereq » Tue Jun 30, 2020 11:59 am

Thanks hox3d! Just built a couple of these and they are working well, thanks for the great work!

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Re: [4U] Outsie, a basic output utility

Post by hox3d » Tue Jun 30, 2020 2:35 pm

Oh, nice!
Where did you order the PCBs?

Which panel did you use? Post some pics when they are done!
I'll mark the project as complete. I wonder if there are people interested in a run, or if I should just let them do their own...
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Re: [4U] Outsie, a basic output utility

Post by Revok » Tue Jun 30, 2020 8:29 pm

Do a run! I'll buy two.

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Re: [4U] Outsie, a basic output utility

Post by jersupereq » Fri Jul 03, 2020 2:10 pm

I ordered them through Seeed Studio, pcbs came out great. You have to buy 5 at a minimum so maybe ordering a bunch and selling yourself? I need to redo the panel though, my friend made me a paper design but the orientation on the output knobs and jacks was off. I also ordered the wrong pots for the right/left channel. Here is the artwork I'm going to replace it with. I just ordered my first panel from Front Panel Express, if it comes out well I might make two of these panels to replace the paper ones.

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Last edited by jersupereq on Sun Jul 05, 2020 12:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: [4U] Outsie, a basic output utility

Post by cackland » Fri Jul 03, 2020 2:34 pm

Have you measured the SNR? I’ve heard the Befaco configuration can be noisy and if this is based off that, wondering if you’ve come across any issues?

You also mention a reference to Douglas Self’s book.. is there is a specific Figure diagram you are referring to?

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Re: [4U] Outsie, a basic output utility

Post by hox3d » Sat Jul 04, 2020 11:38 am

cackland wrote:
Fri Jul 03, 2020 2:34 pm
Have you measured the SNR? I’ve heard the Befaco configuration can be noisy and if this is based off that, wondering if you’ve come across any issues?

You also mention a reference to Douglas Self’s book.. is there is a specific Figure diagram you are referring to?
I didn't measure the SNR, since I couldn't hear a noise significantly high, but YMMV.
If you take a look at my schematics, you'll see that the design is slightly different: I did not reduce the signal amplitude at the input, but only when it is needed, i.e at the phones output. That way, I try the keep the signal at its original amplitude, unless it is necessary to reduce it: the circuitry noise floor stays small compared to the signal. Maybe in their design, reducing the amplitude first causes an unnecessary higher noise floor?

Of course, if I'm wrong, feel free to correct me. Maybe it has to do with their PCB layout too, I never saw their board.
Have you hard these complaints about noise in their previous version of the module, or are you certain it was V3?

The reference to Douglas Self is the same used by Haraldswerk which is the same circuit I've seen in many headphones outputs.
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Re: [4U] Outsie, a basic output utility

Post by cackland » Sat Jul 04, 2020 7:57 pm

Fair enough. The negative noise issues may be referencing a previous version.. not sure. Just through I'd ask if you have any noticeable issues.

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