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 PLH Amplifier — Nelson Pass / 2005

In 1969 John Linsley-Hood wrote in Wireless World: During the past few years a number of excellent designs have been published for domestic audio amplifiers. However, some of these designs are now rendered obsolescent by changes in the availability of components, and others are intended to provide levels of power output which are in excess of the requirements of a normal living room. Also, most designs have tended to be rather complex. In the circumstances it seemed worth while to consider just how simple a design could be made which would give adequate output power together with a standard of… More...

Zen Variations 5 Low Res — Nelson Pass / 2003

The Zen Amp concept is an exploration of how well you can make a simple audio amplifier perform. It makes for an interesting illustration of design technique, since more complex circuits are inevitably composed of collections of simple circuits, and it is well recognized that the optimization of these simple sub circuits is usually the key to getting the most out of the larger circuit. Apart from that, there is aesthetic pleasure in rendering a device in a simple way. Also we find that, other things being roughly equal, simple circuits sound better musically. The Zen series has so far… More...

Power Supplies — Nelson Pass / 2001

Lots of people don't understand electricity, but they do understand plumbing. Hydraulics provides a good analogy in understanding basic electrical flow. Wire is a pipe. Water pressure is voltage. Water flow is electrical current. Lakes and storage tanks are capacitors. Diodes are one-way valves. Tubes and transistors are faucets. The entire power circuitry of an amplifier can be seen as a community water system. The sun, driving the weather cycle, deposits water on the landscape, and it collects in a lake behind a dam. The community draws water as needed through pipes. In the winter, the rain collects in the… More...

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