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”

Bride of Zen — Nelson Pass / 1994

This is the second installment of a trilogy of construction projects centered around the performance obtainable from absolutely minimalist circuitry. Part one described the Zen amplifier, a 10 watt single-ended class A power amplifier using a single MOSFET gain stage. In this piece we will examine its preamplifying mate, also a single gain stage MOSFET circuit. A lot of what I might say about this design has already been expressed in the Zen amplifier piece, and will not be repeated here. It is enough to say that I continue to be very intrigued by the sound of very simple topologies,… More...

Like Peanut Butter and Chocolate — Nelson Pass / 2002

Pass Labs XA Series Power Amplifiers For over ten years, the Aleph series of single-ended Class A amplifi ers have received praise for their outstanding sonic defi nition, warmth, and smoothness; and have often been compared favorably with the very best tube amplifi ers. The Aleph topology achieves state-of-the-art performance with a very simple linear design, and is additionally one of the most stable and reliable audio amplifi ers in existence. A considerable number of audiophiles have found themselves bi-amping their loudspeakers, putting Pass X amplifi ers on the bottom for power and control, conjoined with Alephs on the top… 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...

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