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”

Burning Amplifier # 1 — Nelson Pass / 2009

The Burning Amp Festival is an event every October in San Francisco. Do-it-yourself audio enthusiasts from all over gather to show off their projects, listen to talks and equipment demos, and rub shoulders with the rich and famous. Having a very large collection of audio parts and diminishing storage space, I seem to have fallen into the role of Santa Claus there, distributing components and cheap advice, with white hair, beard and a large elf (Colin Pass) to add verisimilitude. This year we also brought a batch of unfinished amplifiers, consisting of a chassis, connectors, transformer, power supply capacitors and… 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...

Construct a Class - A Amplifier — Nelson Pass / 1977

Most audio power amplifiers use class A circuitry except in the drive and output stages, where they use class B or AB operating modes to achieve high efficiency. In class B and AB modes, the output stage operates in a pushpull configuration, where one set of output devices delivers positive voltage and current and another set delivers negative voltage and current. When one set is working, the other set is turned off. This scheme operates efficiently, but has two serious flaws, the extremely nonlinear characteristic of the transistors at the collector cutoff region and the turn-on/turn-off times of the devices.… More...

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