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”

B1 Buffer Preamp — Nelson Pass / 2008

Side A So here we are in the New Millennium, and thanks to Tom Holman and THX we’ve got lots of gain in our electronics. More gain than some of us need or want. At least 10 db more. Think of it this way: If you are running your volume control down around 9 o’clock, you are actually throwing away signal level so that a subsequent gain stage can make it back up. Routinely DIYers opt to make themselves a “passive preamp” - just an input selector and a volume control. What could be better? Hardly any noise or distortion… More...

Zen Variations 6 — Nelson Pass / 2004

U.S. Patent # 5,376,899 describes an amplifying circuit topology that takes advantage of the character of matched balanced amplifiers that are cross-coupled to provide cancellation of distortion and noise. The result provides high performance with very simple linear circuits and has been dubbed Super-Symmetry, an homage to particle physics, and is also known popularly as the X circuit. Super-Symmetry works by exploiting the complementary characteristics of matched balanced circuits to differentially reject distortion and noise, and applies a small amount of feedback to extend this symmetry, making the distortion and noise even more identical on each half of a balanced… 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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