Fiddling with the Speaker Bit

I am having a great time experimenting with my Synth Kit and Arduino Bundle. One spot of trouble I have had is from the Speaker Bit. When I plug a cable into it I get either a very weak signal or a loud buz with no signal, depending on the cable. There seems to be a “sweet spot” that works, with the cable in just enough to cut off the speaker, but not far enough to cause a problem. I have had this problem reported by another Kit owner as well. I am wondering if there is a particular cable which works better. Any suggestions?

Thanks so much for reading,

David

Hi David!

What are you plugging the speaker into? Are you using stereo or mono cables? Both should work, but I’m curious.

Best

Hi edBear! Thanks for your note. I bought a 1/8" mono to 1/4" mono cable from Radio Shack to use with the LittleBits synth. I am connecting it to an IK Multimedia iRIG cable on my iPad/iPhone.

David

I’ve had the same difficulty. It is hard to find any mini (1/8") cord that really works well. (I’ve noticed the same difficulty with Korg’s Monotron, although the one MAGIC CORD that works with that device doesn’t work at all with littleBits). If someone could point to a cord that works perfectly… I’d buy some !

I am hoping that the forthcoming USB input/output bit provides a reliable solution for this problem. I wish I knew when it would be available. I expect to buy several to accomplish mixing, so I hope they are not too pricy!

On a couple of occasions I found the jack output from the speaker bit to be so disappointing that I resorted to setting my iPhone next to the speaker bit and recording from the speaker. I was pleasantly surprised with the results.

It would be great if a LittleBits engineer could conduct testing with a group of speaker bits, and propose a way to tweak a cable or bit to solve this problem. It is pretty clear that there is a design problem here of some sort so it should be easy to duplicate in the lab.

Hey @djpeterso23662!

I’ll pass your question to a team member and we’ll address your concern ASAP!

Hey @djpeterso23662!

Have you tried using a stereo cable connected to the speaker module with a mono adapter on the other end. That usually fixes it.

Hi MR_STEAM,

I have not tried a mono adapter, but I have tried a mono cable, a stereo cable, and an attenuating cable. The issue seems to be that the signal is bad with the jack all the way it, and good at a sweet spot when the jack is hanging out by 1/8 inch or so.

I will try some more combinations as soon as I can.

Thanks,

David

As said above, I use a mono adapter. Sounds great. I want to know if I can strip one of the connecter wire bits and make a proper output jack.

I may be off base here, but the iRig is built for guitar input. I believe that means it’s expecting a different level of signal than a line-out that the speaker provides. This could be an incompatibility.

YO EB! Did anything change on the Spkr Bit since this was posted? Or do I just need to have mono adapters on hand? ¡hasta luego

I found that I can wiggle the jack in the speaker bit socket, with it about halfway out, and get a strong audio signal. If I put the plug all the way in, I get a very quiet signal output, or no signal. I did not have any better result with a mono cable. However, your results may be different.

Above all, I recommend the USB audio output bit for connection to a computer, iPad, or iPhone as a much better option than the Speaker bit.

Regards,

David

We need to be clear about what we mean by mono adaptor! … but yes, nothing has changed, yet :wink: The trick is to use a TRS/Stereo 1/8" plug into the synthSpeaker, then discard or mix in the right channel. Then you don’t have to fiddle with the jack.