Technics SL-Q2 modelling clay vibration dampening

My Trusty Technics SL-Q2, it has almost every feature of the higher end SL-1200 sans the stuff you don’t need if you aren’t a DJ. The only thing I’d really like it to have is height adjustment on the tonearm. Considering I got it for for trade (an old NAS I was not using anymore) there isn’t much to complain about. While when I got it I did have to fix the queuing lever, and replace the stylus (I actually ended up just getting a new Ortofon 2M Red cartridge, and keep the other technics cart with the new stylus as a spare) it autoreturns perfects (again after I adjusted, the first time it didn’t lift the stylus quickly enough and ran it across the record briefly). But with all this being said, what else can be done to improve my sound quality? I do find it is lacking in bass response. The turntable is not light, but it is not heavy either, adding weight is a common budget audiophile hack, and I’d heard of people using modelling clay to full the plinth (body) of the record player so I ordered up 2 pound packs of clay (I recalled seeing someone do it to the same model saying they used 7-8 Lbs in theirs, so to avoid having to wait for another order I played it safe.

10 LBs of Modelling Clay

I live in Canada, so once the clay was delivered, I arrived home and found… it was hard as a rock from sitting out in the cold, so after letting it come up to room temp for a few hours I disconnected the turntable, removed the platter, the headshell, and the 45RPM adapter. I got 2 stacks of books, and flipped it upside down on top of them so the tonearm was unobstructed.

After removing the 4 feet (the thinner springs are on the front feet, thicker springs on the rear) the bottom comes off, and ya start filling. around the tonearm mechanism is where I decided to start, as this a critical area with most of the moving parts. make sure to move all the moving parts around often as you fill to ensure they can still move freely are not obstructed by the clay. As you fill you will also want to run the auto-return mechanism a bunch of times while filling it in to ensure it can move freely, this can be done by unlocking the tonearm, and spinning the center spindle from bottom move the tonearm past the run-out area to engage the auto-return and ensure the arm returns back properly and further spinning leaves the arm put. When filling in I push the clay into the pattern on the aluminum shell to ensure it fills the entire void, and ensure to blend joints smoothly and try to avoid air pockets as best as possible.

Nearly done, but the base goes on too easily, that means there is more room!And now I ended up filling it a bit too much, I didn’t have to take any out, but did have to find where it was touching the bottom plate and smooth some areas out.8LBs of clay later, I did have 1 problem on my first play, at first a was really kind of upset because I had thought that one of my favourite records had a scrath! It was right at the end, so it wasn’t that bad, the song would just skip on the last bar or two. But then I flipped it over and played the other side (figuring if it was something I did to make the record play scratch the record or something I would at least only be damaging the same record again, and low and behold at the very end of the song (it was a 7″ single, Fascination, by The Beaches, if you are curious) it skipped again. So at this point I said to myself, I added quite a bit at the end near the mechanism without running it through a few cycles, so I turned it off, removed the record, and put the stylus protector on, then manually moved the tonarm to the center of the platter and back a few times, and now it works perfectly. So again, make sure to run the mechanisms before you close it up! it is only 4 screws, but still.

But the real question you probably have is something like “but Paul! What the hell does it sound like!?!?!?” Well, in a word, AMAZING! the bass response is so tight now, its incredible how much vibration there was before, I hear even very quiet things very clearly now in songs. It definitely made the guitar in Snake Tongue by The Beaches sound a lot more like it was being played right in front of me. Songs with synthetic bass-lines you can really hear the frequency sweeps much more deeply, this is a hard one to describe but hopefully you get what I mean. I wish I recorded audio from some records before and after to demonstrate, but alas, I was not thinking of writing this when I started this though, we’re lucky I even took before and after pictures…


Review: DeWALT 12/20V MAX USB power source

I’ve owned the DeWALT 12/20V MAX USB Power source (which I will not refer to as “the adapter”) for pretty mmuch exactly 11 months now, as my amazon cart will prove to you. 

Amazon order

While my dependance on it has varied widely over that time, the recent Pokemon Go craze combined with an aging HTC One (M8) has got me using it on amore daily basis. I’ve been using it with my 2 DCB203 20V (MAX) 2.0Ah 40Wh lithium ion battery packs from my DeWALT XR combo drill/driver kit. Lets go over the pros and cons of this USB battery bankk solution and see if it’s got you covered, or if it’s best left a the jobsite. 

Price – The adapter cost me 38.28 to my door, let call it 40 bucks, and you can buy battteries in as a 12V MAX if you want a smaller, lighter battery, or in 20V MAX if you want longer runtime, but with excess bulk. The batteries range from 40 bucks to upwards of $250-300, but many people already own one or more of these batteries from combo kits etc. All these factors really give the you a lot of flexibility.

Durability – The adapter is extremely durable, it’s survived many hip hieght falls and more than one from 8+ feet onto concrete floors. Both the battery and the adapter survive, despite the fact thaty they separate from each other on impact at what seems like mach 1 from the higher falls depending on how it falls. It’s designed with the jobsite in mind and it shows, I’d certainly rather it go flying than get destroyed on impact.

Battery Life & charge time – With my 2x 40AH drill batteries the dual 1.5A USB ports keep those amps-a-flowing for at 7-10 full charges of an iphone 4s. I can’t really use my HTC One (M8) as an example because it will die even while pluged into it’s factory charger. Having 2 batteries, as I’m sure most users will, is awesome for when you need more power ASAP. These lithium ion batteries charge extremely quickly, certainly much faster than you could ever drain them two 1.5A usb devices. Additionally the chargers load balance the batteries to some degree, and offer excellent diagnostics to let you know when a battery has gone south.

A face only  mother could love – Look , I’ll admit, even I have difficulty carrying around a bright construction yellow battery charger with two usb cable sticking out of it, especially when you’ve opted for a larger battery and cant even get the thing in your pocket anymore. It’snot pretty thing this, that’s for sure, it looks like a giant USB growth is coming off od your battery, and it’s all bright yellow to boot. Did I mention it’s blindingly yellow?

Pocketability – I haven’t tried the device with any batteries other than the one’s that came with my drill/driver combo (the 20V MAX 2.0Ah 40Wh ones mentioned above), but I doubt it it fit’s in your pocket all that much better with a smaller battery. With my battery it’s almost as tall as it is wide at 2-3/4″ x 3″, although it does narrow to from 3″ to about 2.5″ after the battery. No matter what way you slice it, pocketing this thing sucks, I often use a smal backpack and a short usb extension cable, but it’s not really a great shape for a pocket, brief case, or even a purse really.

Price – Ya, I’m listing price as a con too! you can buy a decent USB battery bank for 40 bucks, although it won’t give you many of the advantages you get from having hot swappable batteries, it’s likely to offer more USB ports, FAST charging, charging the bank itself over USB, or whatever killer feature it is you need for your situation. It’s not likely to get the same mileage charging or be as durable though.

Battery and cherger combined

So, all in all the pros and cons tell the tale, if you already have the batteries, and use it on a jobsite, or just need extreme capacity, rapid recharging, and durability, than this may be th eticket for you. But if you want something sleek and sexy to fit in your pocket and not make it look like you’ve got a serious growth, than I don’t recommend it at all. Overall my experience with the DeWALT 12/20V MAX USB power source has been good, it lasts for ages, and has saved me from agonizing boredom on numerous occasions.

The Zune that couldn’t read

Some time last year a good friend of mine gave me his barely used 80gb Zune media player because it kept giving him an error and the error pointed to faulty hardware. After telling him it would be about 20 bucks to fix by replacing the cable he decided against it as he had an iPod touch making the Zune redundant.

Well here we are a year later and I finally ordered that cable, and in under an hour it was replaced and the zune it now syncing. You see the error was caused by the cable being broken not allowing the Zune to read it’s own hard drive. After replacing the cable everything works beautifully. It’s probably the best thing I’ve ever been given for free.

No pictures this time as I forgot because the process was over so quickly, although it did claim one of my safe open tools. But hey they’re cheap for a reason.

Converting Micro SD to M2: M2 to MSPD adapter

This is a continuation if this story, read it first if you have yet to do so.

The M2 cards I ordered came in the other day so I figured I’d have a look at them while I wait for my dual MicroSD to MSPD adapters to come from china. After opening the package I discovered that these adapters are actually quite difficult to get apart if you’ve never done one before, I hope not to have to open the other but if I did I’m certain it would go much more smoothly. As you can see below I managed to get the adapter ripped open and quickly discovered this is just a straight pin to pin adapter as I suspected it would be seeing as they are technically the same format.

Continuing with my work I used my multimeter’s continuity tester to see which pins were connected to which, turns out they’re in the same order except that the MSPD has one extra pin which serves as a second ground. When I discovered that they were basically the same I drew a quick diagram so that I’d remember the pinouts without having to retest everything. I also discovered that the two outside pins are not connected when the card is in the adapter so I went and found the pinouts for both which are in the links below.

Well that’s really all I’ve got for now, check out the info below if you care, or don’t if you don’t! Until next time…


Acidmods Topic about the first SDHC to MSPD adapter

SD spec comparison

M2 pinout

The tale of the Ebay PSOne

As some of you may know I have a bit of a gadget obsession, I love rare, obscure and cool tech. As a result the PSOne is high on my list of cool stuff. This being said I own 3 or 4 of them now with the screen. This is the tale of the most recent unit I purchased off eBay, needless to say it didn’t go as planned.

Part 1: The Transaction

I purchased the console on eBay in late december 2013. The auction was a simple one with no real description from the seller just some photo’s which was good enough for me. The item was listed as “Used: An item that has been used previously. The item may have some signs of cosmetic wear, but is fully operational and functions as intended. This item may be a floor model or store return that has been used. See the seller’s listing for full details and description of any imperfections.”. The four pictures made the console out to have seen better days with dirt in the disc drive, but it was listed as functional so for all intents and purposes it would do the trick for me.

It was a slow cheap shipping option I chose so when the console finally arrived early January I was pleased as punch. I ripped open the box to find an immediate feeling of unease. It’s not so much that the console wasn’t packed well, just the manner in which it packed left something to be desired. It was stuffed in the box with a bunch of plastic grocery bags used as a form of bubble wrap, and after the PSOne I bought before it was probably the best packaged item I’ve ever received this was disappointing. But I pressed on none the less, digging to find my treasure, a ratty looking PSOne. The dirt was way worse than it looked in the pictures, but it cleaned off fairly easily using some baby wipes I had lying around from when my son used to need them. After I got it all cleaned up I noticed something; there wasn’t a power supply. As a man who just told you I already owned 2 or 3 of these things I wasn’t really worried, I grabbed the nearest power supply which would work, which happened to be the power supply from a slim PS2. Now I don’t recommend just using a power supply on something it wasn’t designed for but these are well-known compatible power supplies that only run 1 volt higher than the original. Anyone with a basic understanding of how electronics work knows that the voltage regulator can deal with an extra volt no problem. So here it came, the moment of truth, and… nothing.

Well, maybe not nothing, after all the console is powered up, the screen just isn’t on, but who knows if the problem is with the console or the screen? Again, owning many of these a grabbed a known good screen and slapped it on the back of the system, BINGO! worked perfectly. With a sigh of relief I started looking into why the screen I got wasn’t working. A quick google search provided me with this: the greatest resource ever to come from one google search. I looked into it further over at, a well-known console modding/hacking community and it turns out there are 2 fuses that can cause this in the lcd screen. It seemed quite likely that one of these fuse was simply blown as it seems to be a common problem. Here was my problem, I can’t just rip this thing open without contacting the seller first, as he might ask me to return it for a refund which I’d rather not do as I can probably fix it.

So I sent a message off to the seller informing them of the situation, the transcript is below.

Me 11-Jan-14: Hi, The Playstation is in much worse condition than the pictures made it out to be and the screen doesn’t work like the ad said it would. Without the screen functional I really have no use for this. Please get beck to me ASAP so we can figure this out together.

Me 16-Jan-14: it’s been several days since my last message. I’ll be filing a claim with eBay and PayPal if you do not respond by 5 tonight

Seller 17-Jan-14: ok I understand, I did inform you the item was untested and that there was no way to test it

Me : maybe you should have said that in the auction. and when did you tell me anything? we haven’t had any communication.

Seller : item was given to me and sold for a friend. and was not tested bc there was no way to test it

So basically he claims he told me it was untested although we have had no communication until I messaged him the first time. I filed the Paypal claim at 10pm on the 16th, 5 hours later than I told him I would, hoping he’d have more time to get home from work or check his eBay account, no such luck. He only contacted me once the claim was filed, and after over a week, Paypal refunded me the total and let me keep the item because it was under the dollar value for it to be worth returning. If the seller had of contacted me I would have definitely accepted a much smaller partial refund of around $10 instead of the entire $50 I got back.

Part 2: The investigation

Once this fiasco was over I decided it was time to rip this thing open and check out those fuses. I’d only taken apart one of these before and it had a fried ballast for its backlight, but that’s another story I suppose; so I began looking up how to disassemble this thing and it hit me, THE BOOK! I ran over to my book shelf (not even joking here) and began searching through them, it wasn’t long before I found it; one of the holy grails from my youth, a book titled Hacking Video Game Consoles by Benjamin Heckendorn (remember from above? How do you think I found that?). This book is a step by step guide to building portable versions of home consoles (The NES, SNES, PSOne and Atari 2600 if you were wondering) and all of these consoles used the same screen, that handy little PSOne screen. Sadly this book is long out of print and nearly impossible to find for a reasonable price, but if you look around an ebook version is somewhere out there on the net. So I opened the book and away I went.

The stock photo was used because my photo contained my hairy legs!
The stock photo was used because my photo contained my hairy legs!

Once disassembled I discovered 3 things, once again the backlight ballast was blown, the fuse PS1 was blown while the fuse PS2 was functioning (Just to clarify these fuses are labelled PS for power supply, not for PlayStation), and in the most incredible engineering feat I’ve ever seen EVERY singe screw holding this screen together is the exact same size. Using a jumper wire I jumped the blown fuse which powered the circuit again, This resulted in a tiny electrical fir at the backlight ballast. I disconnected my jumper and everything went back to normal so I powered down the unit, disconnected the power supply and removed the backlight ballast entirely. After this I hooked everything back up and jumped the fuse once more, no fire this time, just a faint image on the screen; with no backlight the screen was very dim but I could make out the disc and memory card icons meaning the screen itself is fully functional! Unfortunately getting it to display required both hands and the image was extremely faint so I couldn’t get a picture of it.

A common modification for these screens when used in portables is the LED mod in which you remove the original backlight and replace it with 3 white LEDs and a resistor connected directly to the voltage regulator. With a blown backlight I don’t have much of a choice now do I? I won’t be getting around to the repair this time as it’s late and this is quite a long process, but at least I can do both screens I have with the same issue at the same time. As soon as I begin the process you can expect and update.

New Project: Converting Micro SD to M2

I recently rediscovered my PSP go and decided it would be fun to play again. The issue I ran into was that I’d like all my games on the console at once, including emulators and all the roms for them. The built-in memory of 16Gb would not be sufficient for this purpose so I needed to see what was available.

Proprietary format can burn in hell!
Proprietary format can burn in hell!

I started looking at the proprietary Memory Stick Micro (m2) Sony had developed for the PSP go and select other Sony devices, mostly mobile phones. These sticks were generally over double the price of an equivalent Micro SD card which bothered me too much to buy one, especially when you consider that these have been discontinued for at least a few years by now. On top of that the maximum size available is 16Gb, and for around 80 dollars. I began my search for an adapter.

The search wasn’t long, a resounding “NO!” cried the internet. The issue here is that SD and Memory Stick are not compatible formats. The two formats are written to and read from in completely different ways. For the larger Memory Stick Duo and Memory Stick Pro Duo this isn’t an issue when adapting to micro SD because the Micro SD is so small that there is plenty of room inside the adapter to put a chip which adapts one format to the other in a more complex manner than your typical adapter. This is necessary because unlike normal adapter for format x to format y simply rearrange the pins and the size/shape of the card to make it fit the slot properly; Memory Stick is not a typical card, it was developed by Sony specifically so that people had to use them and could not adapt cheaper cards to the format. So what could I do? Dead end right? Wrong!

Micro SD to Memory Stick Pro Duo Adapter
Micro SD to Memory Stick Pro Duo Adapter

Here’s the plan, I’ve purchased 2 Micro SD to Memory Stick Pro Duo adapters as well as 2 1Gb m2 cards that came with an adapter from m2 to Memory stick Pro Duo adapter. I purchased 2 of each because both were relatively cheap and this way I could disassembly one of each and still have a spare left in case I ruin it on my 1st attempt. The idea here is that if I can convert Micro SD to Memory Stick Pro Duo, and m2 is essentially a tiny version of that, then it should be possible to convert it externally of the slot. I plan on removing (or at least disconnecting) the memory in the 1Gb m2 card and hijacking the pins to run to the micro SD to Memory Stick Pro Duo adapter. I’ll use the m2 to Memory Stick Pro Duo adapter that comes with it to determine which pins connect to which on the micro SD to Memory Stick Pro Duo adapter. By doing this I should be able to read the micro SD cards just fine. The fact that this is external and may be ugly is a non-issue because my PSP go is always in a case which could be easily modified to accommodate the adapter and a flat ribbon cable.

m2 card w/ Memory Stick Pro Duo adapter
m2 card w/ Memory Stick Pro Duo adapter

The adapter I purchased is capable of accepting 2 micro SD cards which is perfect because I already have one 16Gb card and a second would be dirt cheap. This would allow me to meet the maximum capacity for the PSP go at 32Gb. It would be possible to go even higher if Sony hadn’t limited the maximum capacity card readable in the PSP go’s firmware, however I think 32Gb from the cards and 16Gb internal should be just fine for my purposes.

I’ll update when the adapters arrive, one is set to be here within 7 days and the other 3 weeks so I may make an update for each or just update when they both get here and the real work begins.


M2 pinout

MSPD pinout

Useful SD info

Micro SD to MSPD adapter teardown

Wikipedia comparison of memory card formats

Wikipedia SD size

Armored Core 5 – The gripe that stopped me playing day one

On march 20th of this year I went to my local EB Games and with the excitement of a little girl getting a puppy I bought my copy of Armored Core 5. As a fan of the series I knew what I was getting into, I only own every AC game ever. So I bring it home and it immediately starts off with a problem; the opening cutscene. In all other AC games the opening involves a few of the coolest looking mechs in the game duking it out in a cool environment, and that part hasn’t changed. However, a staple of the series, the soundtrack, has become as bland as any other game music. AC started of with electronic music and slowly worked its way to some awesome orchestral scores in AC4. Well in AC5 the music, rather than serving as a center-piece, serves as the background; it’s just a means to make the game less boring. Even the intro music has no epic feeling or scope.

So after This I’m a little down but I charge in and start having some mech killing fun. Let me just say the game play has nothing to do with why I put the game down; The game plays well and I, unlike many others, don’t rue the series for it’s change of direction to be more of a “real robot” game. The real problem is From’s new obsession with the internet. I want to buy some parts to upgrade my mech so I head over to the shop and click on new parts; what happens next is baffling to say the least, it’s empty. The store is completely empty, so I go back and notice a new addition to the store, the “used parts” section. So I go into there and there is a sparse variety of used parts which I can choose from. So I make do with my used parts, “no problem” I’m thinking. Perhaps as the game goes on I get to join a corporation and then I can buy new parts to keep the balance going throughout the campaign. After another hour of play I figure it’s time to upgrade again when I notice the used parts store is giving me an error, “could not contact the server” or something to that effect. So now, I can’t upgrade my mech at all therefore I can probably only continue a little further before I run into a mission I just can’t beat. So I continue and beat the mission I’m currently on. When I’ve one I notice the mission over screen gives me the same error as the shop, and I just did that whole mission and got no money for it. So I put the game down and haven’t picked it back up since. 

I recently read an article saying that games need to vie for your complete attention early on otherwise your chances of buying DLC drop exponentially with each passing week. On top of that you never want a use to walk away from your game, it’s the single worst thing you can do in gaming. If From had of just thought for a second to say “Hey, what happens if the servers aren’t working properly or get overloaded on launch day?”. They may have seen that this would basically make the whole game unplayable. What happens when the servers go the way of Chromehounds servers? I’ll bet you that From will do the same as sega and just leave it at that. For some reason these companies don’t want to say “Hey community, here’s the server software we use for this game, set up your own servers and we’ll throw a little patch into the game to find servers to play on”, nope they just leave it dead. 

So in conclusion, I’m not sure when I’ll pick AC5 back up again, but maybe you’ll get a review eventually.

My biggest pet peeve with the Vita (And a simple solution that anyone can do)

Today while my car was in the shop I was wandering around the mall and mooching free wifi to watch some netflix to cure my boredom. Soon the dreaded battery low warning appeared and I was without a charger, although I did have my USB cable. So I roamed around the mall and found the cheapest USB wall charger I could find. To my dismay the vita did not light up when I plugged it in and I was stuck bored yet again. however some googling once I got home found the same issue on the PSP Go, and a simple solution that involves a USB extension cable and a knife.

What you’ll need:
– A USB extension cable
– Something sharp to cut it open
– some electucal tape or heat-shring tubing

A simple diagram outlining the process

So once you’ve got these things you’re already more than half way there. All you’ve got to do now is open up a section of the cable by cutting off the outer plastic shielding (try not to cut the wires inside). Once it’s opened you’ll see 4 little wires each with their own insulation. Leave the red and black wires alone (those are for power) and cut the other two. Now on the female end of the cable take those 2 wires you cut and join them together. Now make sure the wires on the other ends don’t touch my isolating them with some electrical tape and then tape the whole wire back together like that (or use heat shrink for a nice finish).Bam now your vita will charge in ANY USB port! I wouldn’t recommend using this USB cable for charging anything other than the PSP Go or Vita and this cable will now only supply power to you cant use it as an extension for transferring media to/from the vita, that’s why we use an extension instead of just cutting the vita USB cable.


Drive – Official Soundtrack (2011)

2011’s Drive is an Oscar-bait movie based in the current day; although throughout the movie you will frequently forget that the it doesn’t take place during the 80’s. As a result the soundtrack is an odd technoey mix with a love song or two on top of the actual cinematic music from the film. If different music is your thing or at least your open to hearing some odds are you’ll like this quite a bit.

I found that the first song, Nightcall, was my favourite because it was simple, technoey and did a good job at summing up the main character in the movie (herein referred to as Driver). Driver is a socially awkward mechanic/stun driver/get away driver in love and this song definitely gets the socially awkward part down. Nightcall is also probably the most modern sounding song of the lot. The only other really notable song is A Real Hero, which is definitely very 80’s sounding; I don’t even know what more to say about that song.

The soundtrack also features all the music composed specifically for the film which is probably what most people bought it for and it doesn’t let down. The tracks from the movie are generally very dark sounding with deep sound and use a lot of higher pitch instruments and synth for effect. Some of the tracks are quite short because they were obviously made for specific scenes in the movie, and although this is to be expected I found myself wishing most of them were a little longer.

The only song that really stood out as annoying to me was Oh My Love which is a more classical song from a long long time ago. It wasn’t so much that I don’t like the song it’s that it doesn’t really jive with the rest of the tracks on the album. I wish they just placed the song at the end so I’d never have to hear it mid immersion. I actually (and ironically) use this CD very frequently when driving and being the 4th song on the album it does a great job at pulling me out of the moment and forcing me to change the song.

All in all the Drive Official Soundtrack is full of great music with a few soft spots. If you liked the movie or just want to hear something different this is definitely a good listen.

Final Grade: B