Guitar Pedal – Balanced in to Low-Z unbalanced ==> HiZ to Balanced out

A client asked for a way to balance a guitar pedal so he could send and return Line Level to his guitar pedals.   He wanted a way to use his pedal collection as effect sends.  We came up with a modified Ward-Beck Systems POD-1.  The POD-1 offered op-amp gain adjustment trimmer pots so you are adjusting the gain of the balancing amplifiers.

The un-balanced output impedance is roughly 30Ω and the unbalanced Input Impedance is 47kΩ.  It’s a pretty safe assumption that mopst guitar effects can operate within these ranges.

You could also use this as a re-amp tool and a hyper-transparant Direct Inject box for keyboards and anything unbalanced.


XLR input Balanced +4dBu differential Receiver to an RCA connector to a 1/4″ TS jack that feeds the pedal then return to the opposite.


If you are interested in trying one out contact Ward-Beck Systems IMG_0477-2015-03-04

sound guy xmas!!! Day 1 – Syscomp Curve Tracer

Xmas is around the corner.  Sound guys and gals are the hardest people in the world to shop for… I will be posting a stream of gift ideas!

Day 1:  The Syscomp CTR-101 Curve tracer:

Key Features
-Plots device characteristics for diodes, transistors, MOSFETs, JFETs, and more!
-Up to 30V test voltage at 1A test current
-True voltage and current source drive ampliers
-High resolution measurements
-Pulsed test mode to minimize device dissipation
-Auto-scaling real-time plotting during analysis
-Sample-by-sample power and current limiting
-Open-source software
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My first microphone pre-amp design

Doing a school project is the PERFECT excuse to design build a test my first ground up original Microphone pre-amp!

I learned these buzzwords from the Kimber cable guy:

The imaging is fantastic, totally forward sounding with edge AND detail on the soundstage.  Though precise, there isn’t that analytical flavour tainting the dry sound in the copper typically found in other microphone pre-amps.  Micro-clipping isn’t an issue anymore!  By a factor of at leased 10, the noise floor is lower than you’d ever expect.  With an un-constrained matrix, painting the sound stage will be a pleasure.  Tipping the value curve, the proportions are just right.

But honestly… I’ve not heard it yet, or kimber cable for that matter.

Seriously though…  it’s a transformer coupled double balanced class A instrumentation pre-amp using only the best.  Actual results to follow!

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Going to re-manufacture some WBS daughter boards

As a part of my school program, I’ve decided to take a shot at re-designing 2 WBS components.

First the 4-110 mic pre-amp for the M460 – M461. In the 90s WBS redesigned the card using 5534 but I’m looking at something even more modern.

Second the 109 cards. While at Revolution Recording, Joe D redesigned his version of the 109 card and it was a HUGE improvement. He described it as “taking the cheese cloth off the audio” and he was right.

The idea is to have a plug and play module available for users with a few new features not incorporated in past designs.


Once they’re done I hope to have them for sale on

A project I’ve been working on has come… full circle ;-)


Congrats to Kevin Park and the Lacquer channel team for getting the Neumann VMS70 back in the game. A fantastic project to have been a part of! We recapped the entire audio electronics for Kevin before he had lathe aficionado Chris Muth calibrate it. It’s a fine precision piece of audio electronics and Kevin is one HELL of a lathe mechanic and cutting engineer! It, and he, are in good hands over at Toronto’s Lacquer Channel. I’m excited to cut a few plates myself!

Photo and story here:

Did you see it?
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Many Thanks to Dave, Jose, and Tyler for their help and enthusiasm about the project!