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 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...

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...

Matching Devices — Nelson Pass / 1993

After you acquire the devices, you will need to test them. You might consider running lots of tests on these transistors, but only one is essential: measuring gate-source voltage versus current. The greatest variations occur here, and it is necessary to do some matching to get proper performance. This test will also tell you whether or not the device is broken. The test is simple and requires a power supply, a resistor, and a DC voltmeter. Figure 12 shows the test hookup for N- and P-channel types. The supply source resistance (R1) is nominal, and is found from I =… More...

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