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”

A75 Part 1 — Norman Thagard & Nelson Pass / 1992

READERS' REQUESTS FOR more power are reasonable, but not interesting enough to justify another article. Hanging some output transistors on the original and beefing up the power supply is best left as an exercise to the reader. While the A75 delivers more power, particularly into low-impedance loads, that is not the primary goal of this project. We wish to introduce more advanced concepts in amplifier design, including balanced inputs, dual differential inputs, true DC response, cascode and folded cascode operation, tiered and regulated supplies, operation with and without feedback, and details of designing with the new generation of power MOSFETS.… More...

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...

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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