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The Soundwerx Designs DoodleBug

DoodleBug History

Where did the DoodleBug come from?

From Head-Fi user "Avro_Arrow:"
Well, it started around January, 2014, when I got the idea to set up a listening station in my bedroom. I wanted to use a laptop to connect to my music server and listen with my pupDAC and PPA. It worked great except there was a lot of background electrical noise from the laptop. I decided this was not really that enjoyable and was ready to scrap the idea. Now, if there is one thing I have learned in my time in audio electronics is “You're almost never the first to think of something.” This extends to problems as well. If I’m having a problem, chances are I’m not the first or only one. I started looking around the internet to see what others have done in this situation. I ran across such ideas as cutting the USB cable and inserting your own power and using a powered hub. Then I saw mention of a USB isolator. I looked into what it takes to make one and found there is really only one solution: the Analog Devices ADuM3160 and ADuM4160.

So I got the data sheet and studied it. The data sheet example showed a USB powered switching power supply to provide the

(1st prototype DoodleBug)
isolated power. Now like many, I feel switching power supplies have their place, but I try to avoid using them for audio. I’ve built many power supplies in my time and I had a design that I hadn’t tried yet and thought this might be a good place to use it. So the basic design for the Doodlebug was born.

About the same time, I was reading the forums and saw that TomB was having some problems with his pupDAC getting knocked offline at work. I asked him if he would be interested in trying a new project I was working on and he agreed. We ordered three prototype boards, not something that was marketable or finished by any means, but they would tell us if we were on the right track.

Well, TomB reported back that it worked and there was no more getting knocked offline. He mentioned something else that was not one of my original design goals: it improved the sound quality (TomB: The improvement was readily audible!). This improvement was not just subjective, but measurable. When I designed Doodlebug I was just looking to get rid of noise from the computer and provide a stable power supply.

I polished up the design and sized it to fit in the same Hammond case as used in the pupDAC. We had a run of ten test boards made and offered them up to volunteers on Head-Fi. They provided valuable feedback and confirmed that it worked as intended and better. After incorporating tweaks from the tester feedback, the production run was ordered.

TomB's notes: As often happens with bringing a product to fruition, there were setbacks along the way - too numerous and business-related to really describe in detail. I can only offer my own apology to the community that this excellent design took so long to make available to the general DIY community.

(TomB's 2nd prototype DoodleBug build)
file last changed:Friday, October 31, 2014 7:19:34 PM
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