Archive for January, 2009

A Little Audio Hackery

January 13th, 2009

Hi All,
Well, I just wanted to share a bit of nerd fun I had tonight. For Christmas I received a Griffin TuneCenter Pro (whew, that’s quite the name). I’ve been pining for a way to navigate my iPod on my TV and until now have been too cheap to buy anything. Well, the TuneCenter has been discontinued (rightfully so it turns out) so instead of being $130 dollars it was $17. I read reviews saying it was terrible but I decided to risk it. I told my step brother I wanted one and he delivered. 🙂

I hooked it up and all was great until I was listening to some Radiohead at moderate volume and noticed some distortion in the song “Videotape”. If you’re unfamiliar with the song, the piano is quite dynamic as the track itself is very quiet. When the piano played, it distorted badly. I wasn’t sure if I was imagining this problem or not, so I plugged my iPod directly into my stereo and presto, no distortion. I was bummed, but not surprised as I’d read the TuneCenter has problems with audio distortion and general audio issues. Griffin may have bit off a bit more than they could handle with this project, which is probably why it’s dead. 🙂 I removed the dock from my system and threw it in my computer junk drawer…oh well I thought.

That leads us to today. I went to work and told my co-workers about the problems with the dock but that got me thinking. What if I cracked it open and by-passed the audio processing of the dock and just ran the iPod output audio signal directly to my stereo. I would loose the ability to stream music from the dock but I doubt I’d ever use that feature anyway so no loss. I’d have to solder wires to the dock connector audio out inside the case but it seemed like it might be doable. What’s the worse that could happen, it could end up back in my junk drawer. 🙂

Tonight I dissected the dock and found the audio out from the dock connector. It was running through the PCB out the bottom side where the left/right channels were connected to a couple of resistors. The ground was also in the same general area and had a couple through holes I could solder onto. I broke the original 1/8″ pin output jack off and ran a new 1/8″ jack out the back and ran the lead wire through the old hole. A bit of splicing tiny wires and I had a new 1/8″ output jack soldered to the PCB board. I then de-soldered the left/right resistors to disconnect the audio signal path from the TuneCenter so the dock pins now go directly to the 1/8″ output I routed through the back.

I hooked it back up to my stereo and success. No more distortion! Turns out I might end up with my on-screen navigation after all. 🙂 This has been a night in the life of an audio junkie and a nerd. 🙂

cheers, will

# posted at 5:50 am by Will

Big Family News

January 12th, 2009

Hi All,

I’m pleased to announce Wade had his first child, Liam Colin, December 23rd! =) Both Mom and Dad are adjusting well and Liam is cute as a button. We had hoped to have a Bookit release out before the big event, but that didn’t happen. It turns out preparing for a baby is a lot of work. 🙂

Unfortunately, this will most likely slow our progress on Bookit 4 as Wade adjusts to running on little sleep. However, I’m still plugging away. I’ve recently finished the new MobileMe support and am now working on finishing up the new syncing infrastructure code.

cheers, will


# posted at 7:54 pm by Will