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”

Audio, Distortion and Feedback — Nelson Pass / 2008

Audiophiles seem to revel in minor controversies – vinyl vs CD's, tubes versus solid state, capacitor, wires, magic dots... and negative feedback. At one extreme, the position is that “feedback makes amplifiers perfect”. At the other extreme, “feedback is a menacing succubus that sucks the life out of the music, leaving a dried husk, devoid of soul”. The former viewpoint usually belongs to so-called “objectivists” who have a fine appreciation for electronic theory and measurements. Their opposites would be the “subjectivists” who emphasize the listening experience and often own tube amplifiers. Accusations are occasionally made that objectivists can't hear, and… 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...

Current Source Crossover Filters — Nelson Pass / 2004

In today’s marketplace, audio power amplifiers are conventionally viewed as voltage sources, delivering a given voltage at the output that is a multiple of an input voltage. To the extent that they are truly voltage sources, having a very low output impedance, they simply deliver whatever current happens to reflect the response of the loudspeaker to the defined output voltage. Recently I have been playing with current source power amplifiers that have high output impedances and deliver a specific current to the load in response to an input voltage. The voltage across the loudspeaker reflects its response to this defined… More...

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