Resistors (WIP)

I was hoping to write about my new Pro Tools set-up for the opening post of the blog – I recently scrapped together enough cash to buy an Mbox 2 and Pro Tools LE 8. I have a bunch of old projects from RIT’s LE 7.4 set up I really wanted to tinker around with, including my thesis.

Unfortunately, I’ve been running into a few issues loading up the old projects with this new setup …

So we’re going to talk about something else instead: resistors.

SO. What are resistors, you ask? Well, let’s say you took your brand new Pro Tools M-Box and smashed it against the wall in a screaming rage. While surveying the aftermath, you might notice that there are now many little electronic components scattered across your kitchen tiles. Resistors are the components that look like this:

It’s pretty easy to gather what a resistor does – the name implies the function – but understanding exactly why you need resistors is a bit more complicated. To help illustrate this, let’s pretend that you have a very nice new gaming console, and let’s pretend that I have a fat, disgusting friend – for simplicity’s sake, we’ll call her “Mennifer”.

Now, let’s say that Mennifer has come to a party that I was throwing – a party that I only intended close and intimate friends to attend, but someone had to go flapping their gums in front of Mennifer during a senior design class, and the next thing I know I’m coming down the porch steps to find her half drowning in the Cheetos bowl.  Mennifer may be semi-tolerable as a person, but when food gets involved in the picture, she becomes an insurmountable black hole, a fleshy wet vacuum, and a half hour into the party I’m left cursing to myself as the entire $50-odd I just spent on party snacks is shoveled steadily down her throat, some being sprayed back at my face as she tells us in lengthy detail about the cashier who just wouldn’t stop hitting on her at Subway, an event that I doubt was a misunderstanding on her part.

In this respect, your new console is very much like Mennifer, only considerably less disgusting. An Xbox 360 requires around 185 watts to power it; the current running from a small bedroom outlet averages around 15 amps – which means it can hold about 1,440 watts before tripping. Mitigating that flow is where resistors become important – without resistors limiting how much energy is being taken in, your new Xbox would eat as much of that available 1,440 watts as it could shove in it’s face. It would continue gobbling up power until something short-circuits, and you’re left with a massive brick exhaling blue steam and gas and desperate lonely tears, and that’s the real reason why she’s still single, even though you tell her that it’s because men just don’t understand inner beauty.

Resistors, aside from keeping your Xbox from gorging itself, become important in maintaining good audio sound quality when you’re worrying about signal flow. I won’t go too into detail about that (mostly because I don’t entirely understand it yet myself), but there’s an awesome article in the EETimes about it here, for anyone interested.



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