Thursday, December 31, 2015

Last M.A.M.E standing 6: Get on down to the 8 bit sound and try not to set anything on fire.

Playing old school video games on mute?

Is this Rampage?

Perish the idea!


No no, I want to hear every punch, kick and katana swing in Final Fight and therefore we're going to need a couple of speakers to pump out every tap of the punch button. Again with a budget of not much, I figured I could rig up a couple of pc speakers that I already had...or instead create more work for myself from whoa to go (you've probably deduced by now that I truly am a glutton for punishment..) and pull apart a free stereo system.

The system that got the dissemble treatment was a Logitech Pure-Fi dock unit that work was throwing out...for the simple reason that it didn't work anymore. While it powered on and lit up in a cool orange glow, nothing appeared on the LCD screen. Buttons didn't work, docking didn't dock. So I didn't feel bad at all reaching for the screwdriver set to pull the speakers from their prison and enroll them into some emulation sound duties instead. (Which took a while might I add, Logitech really built this thing well.)

There are four mini speakers in this thing, two in the front, two in the back.

Specs on the speakers? No idea. I was just hoping they worked. After getting them out and testing them with a battery (very simple test with a demo here) I was more than happy that my free speakers were still pumping through the tunes.

First job was to remove the tiny wires and replace them with some thicker gauge complete with length (so they the wires can reach any position where I position them in the cabinet.) Forget red and black standard colored wires, all I have is blue... so blue it is!

Soldering skill level = okay.
Of course you just can't stick the speaker wire into the motherboard audio part and hope for the best (god that'd make things so much easier...) - we're going to need some kind of amp for both testing and actually wiring this in.

The good news is, I have an amp.

The bad news is, it's terrible for this application. Saved from a radio station clean out, this Denon amp weighs a tonne and heats up to the temperature of seven suns - meaning it'd break any and all supports I put in there and it'd be highly likely the whole thing would catch on fire if I played it longer than 20 minutes. The only thing that'd come out unscathed would be the amp itself..
Low chance of sound, high chance of fire.
Still for general testing of free speakers when there's nothing else around, I can't really fault it. So I wired it all up, plugged in my phone and randomly played something until I heard sound. Okay sound. Bit of a hum (fair chance that's the amp groaning at having to do some work) but you can work out what it's playing. The speakers aren't the stuff they recorded Abbey Road by the Beatles on (or even Digital Boy's Ten Steps to the Rise) but for the barrel breaking sound effects and occasional gunfire we're after, they'll do just fine.

But if I can't use this monster amp, what will fill their place? Thankfully something 100 times smaller, cheaper (read: free) and far more up to date (well sort of) - I pulled the amp pcb out of a set of Altec Lansing 2.0 pc speakers. Yeah I know the speakers are almost exactly the same size as the Logitech ones so I could have used what was already on board but since I'd already done the wiring, the Logitechs are here to stay. The bonus part is that I already have a power cord for this saving me the need to wire in another power supply and I can extend out the volume knob through the front of the cabinet. Seriously you could find something similar for about $5 at your local Sunday market.

After an initial test, they sound perfect. Just like the arcade machines of old. #Glorious.

Sound goes up, sound goes down, price is free, life is good.


Costs so far:

Motherboard: $20
New capacitors: $6.40
Bosch 1500w 184mm circular saw: $79*
Irwin 40T Carbide blade 184mm: $22*
Oh hey you look damn good safety work shades: $12
Speakers: Free
Speaker amp: Free
Wire for speakers: $5

Total so far: $144.40

AND IN OTHER NEWS

Don't you love when you do a clean up and find stuff you forgot you even owned? While throwing a tonne of junk out of the shed I tripped over a SATA hard drive and cord that amazingly had a few MAME games pre loaded from when I played it on PC. Brilliant! So now the rig has two drives and a tonne more space. Now if I could only find some big MDF panels lying around somewhere..

In the next exciting installment of this adventure: I find my previously presumed non working wireless net usb and add it to the machine to create a thinking super computer. Unsurprisingly this doesn't go as planned..



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