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”

Burning Amplifier # 1 — Nelson Pass / 2009

The Burning Amp Festival is an event every October in San Francisco. Do-it-yourself audio enthusiasts from all over gather to show off their projects, listen to talks and equipment demos, and rub shoulders with the rich and famous. Having a very large collection of audio parts and diminishing storage space, I seem to have fallen into the role of Santa Claus there, distributing components and cheap advice, with white hair, beard and a large elf (Colin Pass) to add verisimilitude. This year we also brought a batch of unfinished amplifiers, consisting of a chassis, connectors, transformer, power supply capacitors and… More...

Zen Variations 1 — Nelson Pass / 2001

As an exploration into the potential performance of a very simple amplifier, the Zen amplifier has succeeded in creating notoriety and some controversy over the last 8 years. More importantly, it's novel and simple construction appears to have encouraged a large number of doit- yourselfers to take up a soldering iron and jump in. Having only a single gain device, the design's name is a pun on the Zen Koan, "What is the sound of one hand clapping?", but the point is quite serious. High quality sound can be obtained with simple and accessible circuits. Conversely, it is quite easy… More...

The PLH Amplifier — Nelson Pass / 2005

In 1969 John Linsley-Hood wrote in Wireless World: During the past few years a number of excellent designs have been published for domestic audio amplifiers. However, some of these designs are now rendered obsolescent by changes in the availability of components, and others are intended to provide levels of power output which are in excess of the requirements of a normal living room. Also, most designs have tended to be rather complex. In the circumstances it seemed worth while to consider just how simple a design could be made which would give adequate output power together with a standard of… More...

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