Adding a Guitar Jack to an Antique Radio the easy way

Here’s a diagram for an easy way to add an auxiliary jack to your antique mono radio so you can play guitar through it. See my video below on YouTube too. The theory is quite simple — The volume control varies the level of an actual AC audio signal — Not audio high-voltage DC on a tube plate, or some weird radio IF frequency, so you know it’s an easy place to put an auxiliary signal in. The only downside is you don’t know how strong that signal is going to the volume control, so if you plug a guitar directly in there, you may have to crank up the volume all the way. There are possibly better places to put the guitar signal in that would give you more gain, but you’d have to trace the circuit, understand it, and then put your aux jack in — It’s a LOT more work.

“Out for delivery”

I’m still waiting eagerly for my PCB blanks to arrive for the mini-VUMP project! I made the mistake of using USPS as the carrier, so it took a week or two longer than DHL. My previous PCB designs were carried by DHL, and it typically took under 2 weeks to get around the world. It’s nearing about now, but the status update says “Out for delivery”!!

The Mini-VUMP is COMING!

The Mini-Voltage Unit Meter Pedal is coming along nicely. Check out the page for updates. I expect the first circuit tests to be wrapping up by the end of Feb ’21. Then it’s on to finishing the pedal cases — Powder coating, machining, CNC-engraving, testing, and shipping them out to you all!

I’m also just finishing up restoration of a vintage tube Akai M-7 Reel Player — This is a rare Made-In-Japan Akai unit, not a rebranded Roberts unit! My brother has first dibs on it for his film scoring work to get that “vintage” sound. He’ll get it with this thing alright!

Here’s a rendering of the MIni-VUMP PCBs that are on order!

August 2020

Okay, well the Telefunken-Bayreuth 5552MX console is coming along great. The NF2 tube amp rebuild came out better than I imagined. I LOVE the dancing Tuning-Eye tube. Let me know if you’re interested in the schematic for that. Schweet…. I’m working on the LED lighting effects now. The speakers have been TOALLY upgraded with a pair of vintage AR5’s rebuilt into the console in a proper sealed enclosure. The crossover was COMPLETELY rebuilt using metal-film capacitors for top-quality sound. The original air-inductors were kept.

Hello 2020! Current projects…

Folks: I’ve been super busy being a 2nd-time dad and rebuilding antique stereo consoles recently, so I’ve been AWOL here! Here’s the briefest glimpse into what’s been going on.

Here’s some progress on rebuilding the classic Grundig NF2 amplifier (4x EL84, 2x 12AX7) from the bare chassis up! I’m using all new professional Vishay-Dale (USA) resistors in the signal path, and reusing the old wax caps only if they match within 2% and pass the high-voltage leakage test. This amp will get wood bars on the sides and a decorative cage over the output transformers (not shown in this photo). This amp goes with my Grundig / Bayreuth console that I’m fully restoring augmenting. Yes, that tube that will be in the middle is a tuning-eye indicator tube for visually showing the music! It’s going to look awesome! The teak console will be for sale when it’s done, and will include this beautiful amp, the restored original FM/AM/SW radio, turntable, reel-to-reel tape player, bluetooth connection, DSP digital equalizer correction, and auxiliary inputs to boot!
This is several measurements** of a Grundig KS680 console from the 1960’s with all original speakers in excellent condition. Note the maximum at 1kHz-3kHz, no bass below 100Hz, and vanishing treble above 6kHz. This is the EXACT OPPOSITE of the Fletcher-Munson equal loudness curves!! No wonder these old consoles sound so terrible! I’ll augment this with two 8″ subs, rebuild the crossovers, and add digital DSP equalization correction built right into the console. That console will also be for sale and come with the restored original AM/FM/SW radio, turntable, reel-to-reel player, Bluetooth, and DSP equalization correction. It’s going to look and sound stunning!
[[ **Using the amazing and free REW, and the UMIK-1 ($75) ]]

Interestingly, my VU-meter pedal has received some attention lately, so I’m also working on making production versions of those!!

Antique Stereo Consoles Coming

I’ve been bust the last few weeks working on antique stereo consoles and vintage audio components. It’s a LOT of work to restore (and improve) these, but they are awesome! Keep an eye on us. These things will sell FAST.

See the new “For Sale” page!!

Wow, it’s November already??? I haven’t forgotten about you. I’ve been busy on a number of really cool projects and had a bunch of stuff on Etsy for most of the year. It hasn’t panned out that well! I’m hoping posting all my “For Sale” items here might generate some interest.

I still have the AWESOME analog clocks available. There was a lot of views on my Nixie clock on Etsy, but no buyers. Someone please buy it!! It’s really cool.

I’m working hard on an organ pipe doorbell with 28 pipes, including one almost 7ft tall. It’s an amazing project and it’s coming together. Images/videos coming soon.

Little update

I’m back working on some items again. Sold two steampunked leather mice. Yay! But other stuff has been stagnant, so I dropped the prices on Etsy a LOT. Please buy stuff!! I really think my next move is going to be guitar pedals. I’ve been scouring the market so far with analog clocks, cigar box drums, steampunked wireless mouses, etc., but with hardly a bite. I’ve finally got Instagram account up and running to help get the word out.

It’s kind of depressing to spend so much effort on items I think are cool and have no sales to show for it, so I guess my final foray will be guitar pedals. If that fails, I’m going toward my big invention ideas whole-hog. Youtube hasn’t panned out for me yet either, now that you need 1,000 subscribers to make even a cent.

Here’s a preview of my new “Mini-Tubulum” with only 4 pipes. Actually, if you use the palm of your hand, you can get each to speak an octave lower, so you have effectively 8 very bassy notes. This one is tuned D, E, G, A, with the D 3 half-steps lower than the F on my big tubulum. It sounds really cool!! The pipes are 1-1/4″ PVC and are noticeably quieter (and lighter-weight) than the 2″ PVC on the big tubulum.