Thursday, July 16, 2009

My first DIY project: Belari MP 105 (Black Lion Audio MOD)

So, I am slowly trying to understand how to modify (and maybe later repair) all my electric audio gear. So, after a lot of intense research I discovered that most of the stuff I wanted to do was WAY over my head. I also found a handful of easy DIY mods to get a hold of the terminology and the idea of up my electronics.

So, here are a few pictures of my Belari MP 105 Mod. The mod was originally designed by Black Lion Audio and I just followed the directions.

I didn't take a BEFORE picture but the AFTER Picture looks much the same.

Here is the preamp opened up:

Here are the parts that I took out:

Here are the sockets I took the components out of:

And here is the reassembled Preamp:

After it was reassembled I did what is called a "burn in" for 12 consecutive hours with a synthesized square wave, which basically takes all the rigid newness out of the replaced components; kind of like oiling up a baseball glove and rubber banding a ball inside it for a while. Anyways, it is still a little noisy but it sounds really good on direct bass and amazing on synthesizers! Oh and I didn't replace the pots like the mod said because I didn't feel capable.

For all you wannabe techies like me, here is the directions that I found on GEARSLUTZ:

The Bellari MP105 is the little blue and white single channel mic/line preamp that Bellari produced a few years ago. They might not even be available new anymore, but they are easily found used on Ebay for around $50 USD. The MP105 isn't a starved-plate design, so it's not as dull-sounding as other low-dollar hybrid preamps.

Black Lion Audio has designed a quick and simple modification to these that'll give you a really nice sounding preamp and DI. It's based on a more comprehensive mod that was done for a friend's MP105.

Here's what to do:

Replace U1 and U2 (BA4560 opamps) with a pair of Analog Devices AD826 dual opamps. They are socketed, so you don't even have to do any soldering.

Replace V1 with the 12AX7 of your choice. Black Lion Audio has long been a fan of the EI ECC83, which is an inexpensive reproduction of Telefunken’s long-plate 12AX7, and the Electro-Harmonix EH12AX7.

Now you're finished, simple as that! You'll enjoy it--it sounds wonderful on LD condensors, and it makes a great secret weapon on bass guitar!

Parts list:

(2) Analog Devices AD826AN, available from Analog Devices

(1) EI ECC83 tube or Electro-Harmonix EH12AX7, available from Triode Electronics eeldip

and finally, Matt recomended to me to replace the two pots (they suck in that their values aren't quite optimized to the circuit, and they crackle quite a bit) with clarostat 308NPC 100K pots. at this point, your new parts will cost more than the whole pre.. but you know.

they drop the noise level down quite a bit. now you can use the amp safely with loud condensers, or with quiet mics on loud sources.

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