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A Rant on Why Passive Preamps are Totally Stupid

Posted 16th July 2016 at 02:04 AM by rjm (RJM Audio Blog)
Updated 20th July 2016 at 09:57 PM by rjm (corrected attenuator output impedance in attached diagram)

A [just my opinion, bro] post...

I actually had occasion to try this the other week. I had a box with a volume control followed by the bboard unity gain buffer and in preparation for replacing it with a similar buffer with voltage gain (a power-derated Sapphire 3) I removed the buffer and briefly used the box as passive preamp, i.e. just the 47k stepped attuator, with 1 m interconnects to the amp and 2 m interconnects back to the phono stage. Sure enough the system noise increased, depending on the position of the volume control, with some nasty low level buzzing interference.

Why does this happen? It's pretty simple really. Noise is usually induced as a current, and the larger the resistance (impedance) this noise current is forced to flow through to reach circuit common, the larger the noise voltage since by Ohm's Law, V=IR. Noise induced between the volume control and the amp is faced with the high impedance of the amp (47k) or the output impedance of the...
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Old

What are "Ground Boxes"?

Posted 23rd January 2016 at 11:48 PM by rjm (RJM Audio Blog)

Ladies and gentlemen, please try to keep a straight face while browsing the following link.

http://www.entreq.com/products/ground-boxes-17667704

I'm not sure whether its possible to build a passive, permanent device that dissipates/neutralizes electrical charge. But the scientist part of me finds the claims that you can interesting.

Static electricity will eventually dissipate by attracting counter ions from the air. This happens more quickly if the humidity is high.

So seriously, if you just stuck a wire into a bucket of dirt, how much "earthing" would that actually provide? Is there any way to amplify that effect by using special materials or even passive electrical components?
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Old

Audio Op Amps

Posted 26th June 2015 at 02:59 AM by rjm (RJM Audio Blog)
Updated 1st October 2015 at 07:04 AM by rjm

I'm often asked "which op amp sounds better".

The reply is usually a scowl and muttered "does it look like I care!?" Which is something of a lie... I do care about getting op amps to sound good. It's the phrasing of the question I dislike.

Op amps do not come in "good, better, best" flavors. All it is - and this is pretty obvious I would have thought but apparently not - all this is about is matching an op amp to the job it's going to do; the circuit it's going to be sitting in.

The op amp you'd choose to use as a DAC IV converter is different from the one you'd choose to back a 100k volume potentiometer in a preamp is different from the one you'd choose for an MC phono preamp input stage...

Why do you think there are like a thousands of different op amps to choose from in the first place? It's because there are thousands of combinations of op amp characteristics and properties ... not because companies...
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Commentary on the TDK Life on Record A33 Wireless Weatherproof Speaker

Posted 10th May 2015 at 03:23 AM by rjm (RJM Audio Blog)
Updated 11th May 2015 at 04:58 AM by rjm

There is something freakish about a brick-sized block that sits there and plays room-filling music ... with no wires attached whatsoever and no obvious moving parts. It gave me the same "I'm living in the future!" sense of wonder I got buying my first 1 TB hard drive.

It doesn't take too much searching the internet to discover that among wireless portable (bluetooth) speakers, the TDK A33 is highly recommended for its exceptionally good sound quality. That comes with a massive caveat, however: Most of the people writing these reviews only have Bose, Beats, and the internal speaker of their iPhone as references for comparison.

So does the A33 sound good in a hifi context?

Read on to find out...

No, okay don't bother. The answer is "no".

But it doesn't sound bad. I'm listening to it now as I type this, hooked up via the AUX input to my Onkyo PCI-200SE sound card, with the A33 tucked under the...
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Old

I've been cloned!

Posted 29th March 2015 at 12:26 PM by rjm (RJM Audio Blog)
Updated 31st March 2015 at 09:31 AM by rjm

Back at the dawn of time one of the first audio circuits I worked on was the Gainclone, followed closely by The Dac of the Klones (Oh my, the nostalgia!) and of course the Phonoclone.

The VSPS was a side-project that grew out of the Phonoclone, and actually ended up first out of the gate as a working circuit.

Apart from the general design philosophy (low parts count, simplicity, careful layout and grounding) it has no particular link to 47 Labs. While the concept of a non-inverting op amp active phonostage is nothing original the circuit is mine, particularly the configuration and values of the RIAA filter which I calculated and simulated myself. The rest is an amalgam from a dozen or so different sources, textbooks, datasheets and application notes &c. All the values are quite carefully chosen.

That said I've always put the circuits and everything else on the internet, with source attribution as I felt necessary. The boards and kits came...
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Old

MUSES premium audio semiconductors from NJR

Posted 14th January 2015 at 11:29 AM by rjm (RJM Audio Blog)

Have I just been living under a rock or why the hell haven't I heard about this before now!?

http://www.njr.com/MUSES/index.html
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Old

How Beats Conquered The World (via The Verge)

Posted 13th June 2014 at 12:04 AM by rjm (RJM Audio Blog)
Updated 13th June 2014 at 12:44 PM by rjm

Original article, by Ben Popper

~ my spin ~

There was the iPod. It was cool, and the distinctive while earbuds that came with it showed people you had an iPod, so they were cool, too. A few audiophiles invested in better IEMs, but they tended to be expensive and discreet and anyway were only ever a niche thing.

Meanwhile the Japanese headphone makers - JVC-Kenwood, Sony, Audio Technica - tried competing with the iPod, and they came up with a spectrum of earbuds and headphones of every shape, price, and color. They sold as commodities, but none developed any real kind of identity or reputation. Certainly there was little effort at building a brand.

On the other side, Grado, AKG, and Sennheiser continued doing pretty much what they always did, making nice, expensive headphones for home/studio/DJ use.

Neither group addressed the obvious hole in the market: non-audiophiles wanting "good" sounding over-ear...
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Old

A "music cafe", Kyoto.

Posted 13th January 2014 at 09:45 PM by rjm (RJM Audio Blog)

A small corner of audio heaven, for anyone willing to pay the 500 yen cover charge.
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Hi-end audio, as seen from outside the bubble.

Posted 3rd June 2013 at 11:28 PM by rjm (RJM Audio Blog)
Updated 3rd June 2013 at 11:32 PM by rjm

In early May Trent Wolbe traveled to the High End trade show in Munich, Germany. This is part one of a two part series exploring the cutting edge of audiophile technology.

By Trent Wolbe, writing for The Verge. A feature on high end audio part 1 and part 2.

Quote:
It was halfway through the next selection, a quietly seductive 24 / 192 recording of “Cielito Lindo,” that I realized I was enjoying the music quite a lot, not because I particularly enjoy bossanova versions of Mexican classics, but because the Evolution One speakers were recreating one of my favorite things about eating psychedelic mushrooms.
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Old

A poll. Basic electronics and DIY audio.

Posted 2nd April 2013 at 01:46 AM by rjm (RJM Audio Blog)
Updated 4th May 2013 at 10:54 PM by rjm

It came up at the help desk, but I want to put this before diyaudio.com members generally:

I feel strongly that people who build audio equipment as a hobby should take it upon themselves to obtain a basic understanding of both the practical and theoretical aspects of electronics. Take a trip to the library and read through the first couple of chapters of electronics textbooks, that kind of thing.

It's more than just the safety aspect, I think of it as a basic necessity...

So, how many people here are familiar with the following statement?

The impedance of a capacitor is -j/([omega]C)

Familiar as dirt? Never heard of it before?
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