Class T (subset of Class D) amplifier modifications..

I picked up a Lepai Tripath Class T (from the name Tripath) amplifier and did a load of modifications to it.  It has amazing sound now.  These can be found on Parts express.. 

Lepai Tripath Amp

Stock, the amp is quite underpowered for anything below about 100hz.  But the following modifications unlock the potential in this little marvel:

1) Replace Power cap (I used a 10K uF 63V)

2) Replace power inductor (I used a 10uH 6A toroidal ferrite core)

3) Replace input Caps (Use 2.2uF audio caps)

4) Remove op amps and bypass tone control circuit

5) Replace output Inductors (I used the same inductor as before)

6) Use a high current power supply - 5A 12V LCD power supply from

Here is my video description of the mods and a sound sample:

The Etymology of the term "Jerkwater Town" and Steam Locomotive Trackpans...

Doing a bit of research on Steam Engines (Izak loves Thomas and steam engines)... I found the following article regardling the origin of the term "Jerkwater Town".  Very interesting..


On a side note - I had always thought that stem engines took on water via a water tower.  And while this may have been the case for smaller engines in the early days - it was much more common for large trains to use a "Track Pan" that was filled with water and they would scoop it up as they passed at full - or nearly full speed.  There were several such high speed track pans in Michigan.. Here are some pictures of Steam engines in Michigan going over track pans:

And a link to a page discussing the Track pans in Michigan:


Cameras, Music, Gaming!!

Seems like most blogs I read fall into this dilemma... lots of updates off the bat, and then months of silence... sorry to be the same as all those!  Well, I know there are only *maybe* two or three people that will read this anyway, but I'll just pretend I have swarms of avid readers hanging on my every cyber-word... ;)

Camera Stuff

So - In the last few months I have switched over to a new Camera Kit - sold off the Nikon gear and went with a Sony Nex 5n.  (Link below)


Its an amazing little camera - Full DX sized sensor - essentially the same as used in the Nikon D7000, which has hoards of folks in photography heaven.  It also will do full 1080p 60 fps video.  And WOW does it ever.  The video quality is as good as any broadcast HD video I have seen.  

Best of all - its low light performance is phenomenal.  Shooting by candlelight is literally amazing... ISO equivalent of 25,600!!!!!!!  And it only starts showing any grainyness above around 9600... amazing performance.  No flash needed for most circumstances.

The only downside is that it accepts NEX specific lenses - of which I have purchased all but the most expensive one, so I have virtually every focal length covered (the high dollar lens is a super zoom 16-200mm).  


This follows closely on the heels of my Camera info above - I shot an HD video of some guitar noodling and posted it to my youtube site, feel free to check it out and make sure to be nice!!  I hadn't played in about 3 weeks when I shot the vid...

Look for more over the next few weeks, I have a couple bed track that I posted previously that I will probably put Lead tracks on soon...



Have you seen this??


Well, Let me just say - its a pretty breathtaking simulation game set in the year 2070.  Truthfully, I have only played about an hour so far, but the graphics and game play mechanics are pretty cool.  Tons of videos on youtube and elsewhere about it, but think of Simcity done correctly with factions, trading, full diplomacy, and war...  ohh yeah, and the graphics are awesome...

So - thats it for now - Hopefully more updates soon!!


- Chris

Thoughts on Steve...

For me not being involved in the tech industry, the thought of Steve Jobs passing should be a relative non-event.  Bear with me, but its true - Death is always sad and makes us think about our own lives, but for the most part, when someone in the public eye passes away it only affects us for a moment and then is forgotten.


Not so this time.


I can't say why I have been fighting back tears since I found out about his passing late last night..  I'm writing this in more of a cathartic sense, to deal with why I feel as I do.  I posted the following on facebook in response to a friends status update referencing the loss:

Just found out - very sad day indeed. The man was truly a revolutionary. Many never met him, but many can honestly say he changed their lives - I am one of many."


That is the fact of the matter, and why it is hitting me so hard.  This is the first time that someone in the tech industry has actually affected my day to day life.


The truth is that this man changed the way I live my life.  


I converted over to Macintosh around 2001.  I had been, up to that point, a total and complete PC zealot.  I would die before I would use an apple product... I thought the whole world was stupid for ever buying such overpriced and limiting proprietary hardware.  But, I admittedly had never actually "tried" an apple product.


So, I purchased a second hand Performa and played with OS 9.  I liked it, but felt it still was lacking.. so I continued on my PC path and ran the Basilisk mac emulator and tinkered off and on..


Then OSX was released and around the time of 10.3 my good friend Alex recommended that I take a serious look at it.  Being an amateur musician, the idea of Garageband in the iLife suite was more than I could handle.. I soon had a used Powermac G4 (Gigabit Ethernet model) and a 800mhz iBook G4.


This completely changed the way I did things - of course I struggled a bit in the beginning, but eventually, the OS became an extension of my every day life... I no longer was fighting with the computer, I was USING it.  The machine was augmenting my life instead of being a hindrance to it... Things became second nature - if I wanted to record a song, bam! - it was done.  No more finding software and wrangling it to work on my "custom" machine.

At this point, I still kept a PC, "just in case"... it was my fallback... afterall, I did briefly work in IT and could build a machine with the best of 'em, so I kept telling myself that I needed that ability.


Then, I finally took the complete and unadulterated plunge in 2008...

When the first generation Macbook Unibody (which later became the Macbook Pro) was released, I RAN to the store... It was simply the most beautiful thing I had ever seen..  I'm an Engineer, and anything that is custom machined from a block of metal gets my juices flowing...  This was the sexiest computer, hands down, to ever be sold... period.  Glass etched trackpad... Widescreen, wow... just wow...

Fast forward to today - The original unibody has been sold, and I now use, as my primary machine, a 17" Macbook Pro (2011 model) with max spec. as of last march.  I bit the bullet and dove in with both feet - and I don't regret a thing.  The machine is amazing and using it is a joy.


But, I digress - the reason I tell you of the backstory is to show how this man changed the way I do things... His vision, his love of pure design excellence came through in his products.  Look at the iPhone - the most revolutionary thing I have seen in my lifetime.  It changed the way people looked at communication.  I can't live without mine.  


So - why does my heart ache for a man I never met, whose life values are in complete opposition to my own?  Because, like him or hate him, he cared about his customers and he was passionate about his craft.  He strove to be the absolute best.  Average simply did not cut it... he would rather close up shop than become like his peers.

We could all take a cue from that attitude.  

May God bless his family in their time of grief, as well as the employees of the company he so loved.

Rest in peace Steve, you are missed.



I (Chris), found an AMAZING deal on eBay yesterday.... In the past, I used a DrumKAT dk10 as a midi controller for my drum production, but did not like the fact that the trigger inputs were not flexible enough... I would have had to upgrade to a full DrumKAT 3.8 to get the addition flexibility I needed... And that would have cost about $900. So I sold the unit and have been using loops the last three years.

Well, I found TWO DrumKAT units in the same ad, a DrumKAT EZ, and a 2.5... Both needed new sensors, and were being sold for $125 for the lot. Well, the EZ is a step up from my old Dk10, but still not what I wanted... BUT the 2.5 IS easily upgradeable to a 3.8 with a simple chip replacement.

So, for the cost of two new sensor array's ($300), plus a chip upgrade for the 2.5 unit ($100), I can have the unit I want, plus an additional unit to daisy chain in for 10 extra inputs!

Essentially, I'm getting over $2000 in midi controllers for $525. Awesome!

Beginning work on new music.

I started the recording process last night for a new track... This time around - I'm going to fix some issues I had the last time out - mainly proper drums instead of just a constant loop.  The reason I had avoided this in the past is that drum programming takes time, and I wanted to practice and not spend that valuable time programming drums... well, now I have to take the time and do it right..


So, here is a first track - with chopped up and arranged drums.  I think it does add a lot to the track, and I can see where people were coming from.  It is loops still, but instead of one loop, it is several, chopped and spliced... and then I added individual cymbal / bass drum hits in appropriate places.  No name for the track yet - its just a rhythm that I tend to play quite often when I practice and am warming up.  No lead yet as the ones I have recorded are not good enough to post.... but that will be coming in the near future.

Here is the Bed track with drums and rhythm guitar.


EP Release!!!

So - Here it is.  Three years in the making..  Titled "Navigating The Fretboard Labyrinth".  This is the culmination of my guitar studies and initial attempts at composition.

There are 13 Tracks, each track title is a link to the track... right click to save as, or regular click to open in an embedded player (if you have one installed, like quicktime, etc)  Here is a track summary, explaining how they came about.  This is not an "album" in the traditional sense - more of a "Musical Diary" of my progression and ideas as I learn to play the guitar.  Some of it may bore you, but if you are a guitar player and are struggling yourself, it may show you areas where I have also struggled and how I overcame  those difficulties.  Mostly, I made this to prove to myself that I could do it.  There are some editing issues - a couple of tracks have long pauses of several seconds at the end - I had planned on cleaning them up, but have lost the source files and can't re-master them... Ohh well - lesson learned!

1) Freeform

This was a spur of the moment track - recorded in under 30 minutes - exploring a more atmospheric sound with lots of depth and reverb.  I liked the way it turned out and thought it was a good lead in to the rest of the album

2) Jet City

Recorded in just two or three takes - this was a test of a Jet City JCA20h amplifier that I was modifying - I was going for that just on the edge of clean / distorted sound, controlled yet able to be pushed with the right touch.  Another track that was a one off and turned out great.  Love the bell like tones at the end - great harmonics!

3) Two String Modal Exploration

This track has been the bane of my existence for about 2 years.  Its based on a two string pattern I came up with while practicing modes in G Major.  I made the rhythm track over two years ago and practiced to it all the time... I decided to re-record the backing track about a month ago, and then put the lead on... there is also a video of this track - literally as it was recorded... check my youtube link.  This is the audio from that recording.

4) Mr. Paul

One of the oldest tracks on the EP.  I recorded this while practicing modes way back when I first learned about them in my lessons.  I had also just learned about Les Paul, and really dug "How High the Moon" with its many many layered guitars.  So, this is my version of his layered guitar sound.  Just simple scales, but I thought it was fun and told a story, so I included it.

5) Hollow

A neat little ambient track with some deep sub bass processing that I found interesting and a lot of reverb for texture... Not finished in any way, but once again - I like the textures, so I threw it on...

6) Searching

The most recent composition on the EP.  The title says it all really - seargin for sound, for musical meaning, for coherence in song structure... those were the emotions I was feeling while recording.  The tone used on the lead is sad but hopeful... Sad because of the frustration I sometimes feel when trying to come up with new ideas - hopeful because, as always - the Lord blessed and I found the song in the end.  There is also a youtube video of the making of this track.

7) No Hosta for You

A fun little song - really just a chord progression that I was messing with.  The title came from a trip to the local greenhouse - looking for some Hosta for our back year - and they didn't have what we wanted...  I found out later that the chords are nearly identical to a silly 70's cartoon "Basketball Jones"... Subliminal music coming back from my youth?  I have no idea... definitely not planned though..

8) The Chase - Part 1

My first deliberate attempt at creating a song from start to finish with a "feel" in mind.  I had just come back from a trip up north - and we had been visiting Lighthouses (The working title for this was lighthouse I believe)... I was going for the feeling of a bird being chased by a larger bird, weaving around the lighthouse and through the trees.  Adrenaline - Excitement... Being chased...

9) Echoes

Similar to the first track - A little progression I had hanging around that I managed to find a place for... no deep story, just a bit of music I liked.

10) The Professor

This track began life as another idea completely - but isn't that always the way.  I had a nice rhythm track and I layed two lead tracks down.. My instructor, Bryan Gill, canme by for a lesson and I played the track for him.  Well, I asked if he would like to put something down on it as well... so one of the lead tracks was deleted and he put down the high rhythm track - in one take no less!!! Makes me sick I tell you!!!  The last lead is my original lead - seems to fit pretty well... 

11) Release

Ever have one of those days?  Can't win for losin'... feel like you got kicked every which way, and teh harder you try, the worse it gets..  This track was recorded at about 11:00pm after one of those days.  Definitely an aggressive frustrated feel.  Sorry if its not your cup of tea - but It was cathartic.

12) The Chase - Part 2

Subtitled - the flyover... Same bed track as "The Chase - Part 1".  I wasn't done with that foundation track and needed to do a bit more with it - found another interesting high lead pairing and this was the result... The "Flyover" is the lead at the end - I imagine the birds soaring over the top of the lighthouse after the chase has ended and they go their separate ways...

13) Ambience Found

Depth... Listen to the rhythm track - the breadth of it - and then to the lead.  Depth and an open abient feel.  Thats what this track is all about... that feel. 

**** Many many thanks to Bryan Evans Gill IV - YOU are the man my friend!!!

Navigating the Fretboard Labyrinth

Very soon - I will be releasing my first Solo Guitar CD... this is just a fun project that I have been working on as I study the electric guitar.  I began by recording my practice sessions back when I still played drums, and that has progressed into songwriting.

The Disc will have 13 (more or less) tracks, all under 3 minutes - ranging from musical "sketches" and vague ideas - to completed compositions.  The process started over two years ago and some of the earliest recordings are very "spartan" in their composition...  But it tells a story, a progression over time.  Tracks are not in any particular order, other than what seemed to flow best.

This is the artwork I put together for the CD:

Check my YouTube Link for a few of the tracks...


8-18-11 Created our Web - Aggregation page...

As you can see - I'm trying out a new service - Squarespace. Been hearing about it on the TWIT podcast for quite some time and decide it was time. Here you will find *eventually* links to all of my and my families online files... photos, music, text... whatever we are involved in online, it will be linked here... This is the site to go to as a stating place for all things related to the Purdy family.

Check the social links for Youtube and Flickr, also there is a list of website links under Navigation to the various websites and forum contributions I (Chris) am active in.  Youtube has various music videos that I have recorded as I study guitar and drums.


Welcome, and enjoy!