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”

The Kleinhorn Part 1 — Nelson Pass / 2004

33 years ago I decided to build a big horn system. Constructed in the dorm library over Christmas break, the result was dubbed The Claw, a straight exponential horn 9 feet long with a 42 Hz expansion curve and a 50 sq ft mouth. We mounted a JBL LE15A woofer in the throat and used a JBL 375 compression driver and horn for about 500 Hz on up. No matter where we pointed it, the cops showed up every time. I've always wanted to build a stereo pair capable of even lower frequencies, and these days I am fortunate enough… 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...

Speaker Cables — Nelson Pass / 1980

AUDIOPHILES RECENTLY BEGAN re-examining the performance of every link in the audio playback chain, and before long their attention turned to the lowly loudspeaker cable. In response to demand, a number of companies are producing or distributing new and exotic cables claimed to improve audio power transmission from amplifier to speaker. Pointing to lower resistance and inductance, proponents of the newer cables insist they sound significantly better ("better than an expander!"); however, the subject is controversial, and some hi-fi notables claim performance increase is negligible and the higher capacitance of some new cables can cause amplifier instability and damage.1-4 Neither… More...

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