The Living Thing / Notebooks :

Cheap music gear

Digital amps and mics for the prissy yet broke

With special attention paid to building sound systems for small mountain villages in Daerah Sunda.

See also raspberry pi and friends, audio software, sample libraries, mutant sound design.


You know, for playing audio loudly? I would like ready access to a selection of portable sound systems for musical mayhem.

Yes - class D amps are better and cheaper than ever. This is the smallest, cheapest, and most surprisingly reliable option. Otherwise I just bought one of these and it really is almost 2 x 100W. Hypex is much more expensive, but actually proper hi-fi. These cheap $20 boards are good enough but totally expendable if you want them to be. Also of course - the two boards I linked you to are both 12-30V (ish), which means they are 100% battery suitable. Typically the best configuration is to put two 12V batteries in series to get 24V - at higher voltages the boards are more efficient. If you want to run off mains power, then that Yuan-Jing site has power supply options.

Updated: see also

Cheap sound cards

Cheap microphone hacks


Higher fi

FACT profiles LOM field-recording microphony.

Cheap earphones

IEEE has a review of various options including cheap Chinese imports such as DQSM D2 (USD168), the Tennmak Crazy Cello (USD50), and the LKER i8 (USD37),

All provide good, if not perfect, sound at low cost.

Cheap snakes/multicores

Copper is expensive. And multicore mixing snakes Can I turn a CAT5 cable into a multicore? CAT5 is freely available second hand and easily replaceable. Real multicore is expensive, hard to fix and hard to find in, e.g. Indonesia where I have been asked about this a lot.


Cheap DIs that are not terrible

sucks air through teeth

Cheap retail hacks