Earlier this year, Kevin from Calrec Audio contacted me about a board. (Thanks to the always thoughtful Andrew Back for making the connection!) Calrec is a leading maker of broadcasting audio equipment and this year they're celebrating "50 years in audio"!
Last year Calrec created a simple audio amplifier board kit. This year, being a significant one, they wanted it a bit more special. They came to the right place ;)
Calrec provided the schematics and choice of components, and I started researching and drafting concepts for the board. It was important for us to have references to Calrec, of course, but also to the 50-year celebration. Two elements of the circuit needed particular attention: the bulky 9V battery and the large speaker. Cost was a primary consideration, so that meant that the board needed to be kept about the same dimension as the previous one.
At this point I started making cardboard mock-ups. These are great for getting a feel for size and potential component placement or UI issues. It was also a great way to show Kevin the concepts visually to get his feedback.
After feedback from Kevin, I assembled the following mock-up, the first 'standing' concept -- it was now clear that we're going to do that.
In another round of feedback we decided that the speaker needs to be mounted, and the best place for it is in the back of the board, firmly attached and providing support for the boards. Also, I decided to be more explicit with the reference to sk, and so used the exact proportional scaled dimensions Calrec's flagship desk, the Apollo.
I had an idea that could provide a nice place to put the battery and reduce the size of the board so it's cheaper.
This worked! Kevin signed off on the design, and it was lovingly made by P&M Services over at Todmorden, West Yorkshire.
As I mentioned before, the board has a token that can optionally be broken off and used on a keyring, for example. The mill in which Calrec offices are is quite a landmark and is very much part of the company's identity. I wanted to have it featured on the board in order to tie the board to the company even further. In my mind's eye I imagined Calrec employees in another 50 years showing this token to young engineers and saying "I was there" :D
After some assembly, here it is!
This was an incredibly fun project and embodies what Boldport is about -- beautifully functional circuits. I hope to have the opportunity to work on many more such projects so if you have a need please get in touch! As a reference, the project was billed at 2.5 days of work and Kevin of Calrec had this to say