About Pass DIY

Nelson Pass has been an early contributor to the audio DIY scene; It has been said that Nelson has a knack of explaining engineering things very clearly in a few words, and that he obviously enjoys doing it. He is also a very active contributor at www.diyaudio.com. Being very generous with advice, tips, and complete amplifier designs that people can build.

What does Nelson Pass get out of this interaction?

“I like to speak to the teenager (me) who wanted to know this stuff—that's my audience. There are always people who appreciate a decent explanation that gets to the meat and potatoes. I see it all as light entertainment with a little education thrown in. The academic paper approach has its place, but it seems intended for people who mostly understand the stuff already. If you want to communicate with DIYers, you depend more on colorful analogies, a little hand waving, and very little  differential calculus. I get lots of personal satisfaction out of the whole enterprise. It gives me an outlet for some cool ideas and things that otherwise would stay bottled up, and I have an excuse to explore offbeat approaches purely for their entertainment value. Also, the process of communicating DIY stuff is a two way street—I would say I get about as much as I give. Nelson Pass”

Current Source Crossover Filters — Nelson Pass / 2004

In today’s marketplace, audio power amplifiers are conventionally viewed as voltage sources, delivering a given voltage at the output that is a multiple of an input voltage. To the extent that they are truly voltage sources, having a very low output impedance, they simply deliver whatever current happens to reflect the response of the loudspeaker to the defined output voltage. Recently I have been playing with current source power amplifiers that have high output impedances and deliver a specific current to the load in response to an input voltage. The voltage across the loudspeaker reflects its response to this defined… More...

DIY Op Amps — Nelson Pass / 1998

Carl Sagan observed, "If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." If you want to build an audio circuit, you will make the decision as to how much you will actually build yourself, and how much you will buy fabricated. The line is always drawn somewhere. Will you be melting down some sand to make your transistors? Probably not, but it is always in the mind of the hobbyist to do as much as possible. Many of the project articles in AE and elsewhere employ commercially available integrated circuits, usually operational amplifiers.… More...

The Zen Amplifier — Nelson Pass / 1993

I. "What is the sound of one transistor clapping?" There are two most essential principles to audio amplifier design. The first is simplicity. The second is linearity. Einstein said, "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler." Simplicity is a common element of the best and most subtle designs. It is preferred for purely aesthetic reasons, but also because fewer elements color the sound less, and lose less information. Many audiophiles, including myself, are willing to sacrifice other areas of performance to achieve the intimacy with the sound available through a simple circuit. An amplifier should be… More...

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