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”

Zen Variations 7 — Nelson Pass / 2004

One of the performance issues raised by the original Son of Zen (Audio Electronics, #2, 1997) was its efficiency figure, which was charitably described as 4% (500 watts in, 20 watts out). You may recall that this was dictated by the original requirements - no feedback, no capacitors in the signal path, and a single gain stage. Zen Variation 6 relaxed the requirements on feedback and capacitors in order to provide a tutorial exercise about “super-symmetric” feedback. The performance was improved in distortion and output impedance, but the efficiency was only slightly improved, largely because we used most of the… More...

Arch Nemesis — Nelson Pass / 2010

A poster of Einstein once said, “Things should be made a simple as possible, but no simpler”. This can apply to audio amplifiers, but if they are evaluated subjectively, the simplicity thing can get a little of of hand. Of itself, minimalism exerts a strong aesthetic attraction, and there is a reasonable belief that fewer components in the signal path allows more information to get through with less coloration. If like me you are interested in understanding of how we hear distortions with our brains (instead of our meters), you might appreciate that simple circuits help isolate these phenomena. I… More...

Zen Variations 9 — Nelson Pass / 2006

In ZV8 we dipped our toes into the waters of power JFET transistors using the new Lovoltech LU1014D in a simple circuit. The focus of the project was on the JFET itself, and except for a cascode transistor the rest of the amplifier used only passive components. Here in four installments we will increase the complexity of the circuitry around the JFET with an eye toward distortion performance surpassing any of the Zen projects to date. Much of this project will make reference to ZV8 (AudioXpress, January 2006 and www.passdiy.com), which discusses the characteristics of the LU1014D power JFET and… More...

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