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”

Speaker Cables — Nelson Pass / 1980

AUDIOPHILES RECENTLY BEGAN re-examining the performance of every link in the audio playback chain, and before long their attention turned to the lowly loudspeaker cable. In response to demand, a number of companies are producing or distributing new and exotic cables claimed to improve audio power transmission from amplifier to speaker. Pointing to lower resistance and inductance, proponents of the newer cables insist they sound significantly better ("better than an expander!"); however, the subject is controversial, and some hi-fi notables claim performance increase is negligible and the higher capacitance of some new cables can cause amplifier instability and damage.1-4 Neither… More...

Zen Variations 5 Hi 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...

Trouble Shooting — Kent English / 2002

Pre-Amplifiers Within the Pass Labs pre-amplifier family we typically see two installation errors, both involving cable issues. The most common error concerns improper sequence of cable connection for our pre-amplifiers with dedicated outboard power supplies. The last cable attached to these preamplifier products must always be the power cord. Attach these cables out of sequence and the logic circuitry in these particular products may cause them to self protect. The power cord must be plugged into the power supply chassis after all other cables are attached and lastly plugged into mains power. If you have done this out of sequence,… More...

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