Cube On Ice : Streams!

At the time of writing, the last Cube event with the public in the building was a screening of ‘Color Out Of Space’ on March 11th 2020.

We had one of our monthly meetings on next day on the 12th, and from looking at the global pandemic situation decided to close our doors for the safety of our community.

So, time for a rethink . . .

At the meeting we came to the same conclusion many other cultural institutions have : that there are still ways to find to connect and produce culture. A relatively easy and practical one for starters is – as many have latched on to – streaming . . .

DJ and vol Paul Hansen did a joyful cheesy disco audio stream, with text-to-speech shout outs on Saturday (28th March) – the stream wasn’t recorded, but as a first test it went pretty well, and running commentary on the volunteers email list had a sense of us feeling digitally connected and warmed in our own little physical lockdowns.

Then on Monday we had the Cube show at NOODS radio.

This has been going for a while pre-lockdown, but I guess takes on a new character being one of the few events in our diary now.

It should be archived on the NOODS site soon, meanwhile here’s a link to the previous show early in the month : https://noodsradio.com/shows/the-cube-an-hour-of-audio-from-bristols-eclectic-microplex-2nd-march-20

EDIT : It was and is archived – stream it here : https://noodsradio.com/shows/the-cube-an-hour-of-audio-from-bristols-eclectic-microplex-30th-march-20

And if you go to www.cubecinema.com at the time of writing (March 31 2020), this is the message you will see :

CORONAVIRUS CUBE CLOSURE

With the escalation of the coronavirus situation, The Cube has decided to close it’s doors to the public starting from Sunday 15th March for an initial period of two weeks.

We have a duty of care to our volunteers, members and our wider community. This is not a decision that has been taken by us lightly. As an autonomous venue, we are lucky to have the ability to make a decision with the health of our community at heart.

We want to be able to be focused on those that need us and those we lean on as well as ourselves and our environment. We are aware that people rely on the cube and we will continue to be supportive of each other.

We understand how disappointing it is that events/screenings will have to be postponed or cancelled. But we believe that the benefit of the culture does not outweigh the risk of spreading this infection. As the situation evolves we will have a clearer idea about what will be cancelled and what can be postponed.

All tickets will be refunded for the first 2 weeks, and we have suspended sales for April for the time being. We will try to reschedule everything. We will keep you updated as the situation evolves.

We all love the cube and want to continue to provide the community and collaboration it gives us. It is a chance for us to come together and come up with new and creative ways to do what we do – we are thinking more radio, film streamings rather than screenings, submission projects, collaborative projects online, digital discussion groups, streamed live events. This will be under the banner of The Cube On Ice, watch this space!

Keep on washing your hands and looking after each other.

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Cube’s Surprise 21st Birthday Party

The party was a doozy by all accounts. Here’s some back stage / preparation pics thanks to Dominic Wade.

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David Bollier presents: FREE, FAIR AND ALIVE: THE INSURGENT POWER OF THE COMMONS

Recorded at The Cube recently . . .

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CHAMP get on board

For July’s Cube promotion the reins were handed over to the CHAMP collective.

CHAMP SAY : we don’t have loads (of pics) as we mostly went out on our own, but we had a lot of pics taken of us! Including a whole load of school kids haha. I met some people who used to come to the Cube ages ago but had lost touch, they were keen to reconnect after we gave them their culture vile! I think it worked well because people were generally just quite intrigued about what we were up to and we were quite attention grabbing!

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RADMIN 2019 documentation

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The Burning Issue

Today is the the last day of the K foundation’s moratorium – see here for more details : https://drive.google.com/file/d/1V1o-bbPAhjLIRMkEJnGPK0rvnx70MyHG/view?fbclid=IwAR3IIcb6noXFnf1DxEcMW8zl_JaAXcq-JHs8AKtHxCv7iisl3RhX1iYxhz4

Or wikipedia on the subject here : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K_Foundation#Moratorium 

The Workshop For A Non-Linear Architecture’s Journal ‘Viscosity’, which announced the K Foundation’s moratorium has always been of personal fascination to me, but what has this all got to do with The Cube? Well . . . I’d like to take this opportunity to share another esoteric publication that is related to the subject, with specific Cube related content : The Burning Issue.

Copies are available to buy from here : https://www.burningissue.net/

Scans of some relevant pages are below.

[2018][10][Burning Issue SD][095]

Picture 1 of 5

 

  

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How to replace the output transistors of a t.amp TA 2400 audio power amplifier

Say something terrible has happened to your t-amp TA2400 power amplifier, something disastrous like the outputs of two amplifiers being connected to each other, and then the amplifiers  driven with radically different signals. The likely result of this kind of abuse will be the destruction of all 8 output transistors, and the blowing of the two 16A fuses on the PCB of the channel in question. The obvious symptom will be:

  • The channel won’t work
  • The clipping LED will be lit, even with no drive

In this case, it’s Channel A (left) that is b0rked.

TA2440 front panel, clipping LED on

First port of call was to email Thomann UK to try and get hold of a schematic. Their piss-poor response was that one wasn’t available. No matter, we can freestyle it.

Disconnect from the mains and remove the top panel.

TA2440 top cover removed

Remove the four screws underneath that attach the heat sink assembly to the chassis baseplate. This will make it easier to disconnect the push-on connectors from the spades on the PCB.

TA2440 channel A heatsink assembly detail

Make a careful note of what colour wire goes to which connector on the PCB. If the connectors are stiff, pull back the insulating sleeve so you can get in with a small pair of connectors. Be careful you don’t rip the spades off the PCB.

TA2440 channel A heatsink assembly removed

The output stage is made of a 4 2SA1943 PNP transistors hanging off the positive rail and 4 2SC5200 NPN transistors hanging off the negative rail.

Laughing in the face of Design For Manufacturability, Thomann have designed the A and B amplifier assemblies to be weird mirror images of each other, rather than using the same assembly for both. This means on channel A (left) the NPN transistors are uppermost, whilst on channel B (right) the PNP transistors are uppermost.

Use a DMM (digital multimeter) to do a diode test on the power transistors). This is complicated by the presence of low resistance paths on the PCB. Despite these, it should be bleeding oblivious which transistors have been fucked, as the diode test will show close to 0V in both directions.

TA2440 diode test

Having identified the dead devices, cut the legs near the body, leaving enough lead on the PCB side to grab with a pair of needle nose pliers.

TA2440 channel A heatsink assembly legs cut

After making a note of which transistors go where, remove the screws and transistors. Don’t put the dead transistors in the bin. This is electrical waste – it needs to be proper WEEE disposal. Save up other WEEE waste and take it to your local tip.

TA2440 channel A heatsink assembly transistors removed

Clean off the heatsink compound with paper towels soaked in IPA. Carefully desolder the cut-off legs from the PCB using a high wattage soldering iron (at least 80W) and some thick desoldering wick. Use the wick to remove the solder so as to open up the mounting holes. You will get through a lot of wick.

TA2440 channel A heatsink assembly holes full of solder

 

Clean off the flux with cotton buds and IPA. The transistor mounting holes should now be nice and clean.

TA2440 channel A heatsink assembly holes free of solder

We now need some heatsink compound aka thermal paste.

heatsink compound

Apply a thin smear of the heatsink compound to the metal face of the transistor using a tooth pick, cocktail stick or similar.

Applying a thin smear of heatsink compound to the transistor

Carefully feed the transistors legs through the mounting holes. Screw the transistors to the heatsink now,  before you solder them in.

TA2440 channel A heatsink assembly new transistors ready to be soldered

Solder the legs of the transistors to the PCB. Cut off the excess and clean with cotton buds and IPA.

TA2440 channel A heatsink assembly new transistors fitted

Repeat for the transistors along the other side of the PCB.

Before you put everything back together, you should clean the fluff from the front panel air intake foam, and check the rear panel fans are OK. If a fan need replacing, they are 80 mm square, 20 mm deep, 24 V DC, for example this from Farnell. Cut the PCB connector from the old fan and solder it onto the leads of the new.

Reconnect the wires and screw in the heatsink. Now for the moment of truth. If you are feeling cautious, start off with lower value fuses (1 or 2A) before fitting the proper 16A fuses.

Be very careful if you power-up the amplifier when the top cover removed. The rails are ±67.5V- the internal power supply is big enough to barbecue an ox, certainly enough to kill you.

All being well, the fans should start, the protection relays should click and all should be well. For bonus points, check the positive and negative rails  on both sides of both fuses (should be around ±67.5V with no load) and remove the fuses to measure the quiescent current (Idq). I measured 19 mA on one amplifier and 25 mA on another. The positive and negative Idqs should be very close to each other in value.

TA2440 jobs a good un

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slip matz

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Some possible designs for Cube slip mats based on James Vickery’s and Alex Wright’s “infinite cube” designs….

Here’s what they could be like cropped on a circle :  

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Torrey Pines + live score by Your Heart Breaks

torrey pines at the cube cinema

Another Cube sold out event and no surprise about that, with an hour-long animation set to a live score, this was not one to miss.

Our Facebook event page described the animation as a “queer-punk stop-motion coming-of-age tale based on director Clyde Peterson’s youth, taking place in Southern California in the early 1990s. Raised by a schizophrenic single mother, Petersen’s life story unfolds in a series of baffling and hallucinated events. With a mother fueled by hallucinations of political conspiracy and family dysfunction, twelve-year-old Petersen is taken on a cross-country adventure that will forever alter the family as they know it.”

The film was accompanied by a live score performed by Seattle-based lo-fi collective Your Heart Breaks, who also performed the incidental music in the film. This created a pleasant confusion in the mind over whether the band was playing or not throughout the movie.

The audience laughed out loud as the tale unfolded and the band received enthusiastic applause at the end. Oddball merchandise was offered by Clyde in the bar afterwards, before the band headed off to the next leg in their UK tour.

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Camera / Carbon Manual / Taos Humm 2017/01/13

Camera hit the Cube on the Bristol leg of their 2017 tour, promoting their album, Phantom of Liberty.

The night kicked off with a set by Taos Humm, on the brink of releasing their debut album. They delivered their songs really well and the sound was excellent. I think they went down well, judging by the reaction of Jeff, rocking in his front row seat.

Second on the bill was The Carbon Manual, who played a set of flowing basslines and gnarly guitar over a drum machine, while front man, Jeremy, offloaded his stream of consciousness, often prowling amongst the crowd as he did so.

On the night Camera invited a mate from Bristol, Matt, to sing with them. Their style centres on drummer, Michael, his standing technique driving the rhythms. Each night is different, as they improvise every time. I liked Steffen’s wall of keyboards. Throughout the evening Michael would text me photos of where he was in the building, perhaps an arty composition, or a portrait of who he was talking to. Very sweet. I also had the pleasure of listening to Steffen as he attempted to play the Cube’s prepared piano. The result was extremely listenable and I’m glad i recorded it!

The event sold out and seemed to be popular with the crowd. As for the band, who stayed at my home afterwards, I couldn’t have hoped for a nicer group of artists. They are the first people not to be put off by my left-handed guitars, they simply picked them up and started making music – very Cube.

All gallery photos by Spudd Connor

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