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Old 27th September 2013, 02:29 AM   #1
cjv998 is offline cjv998  United States
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Default Electrical engineering courses related to audio?

Hi everyone. I'm wondering what particular electrical engineering courses would be beneficial to someone interested in learning about DIY audio equipment (especially crossovers and amplifier design).

A little background: I've got a BS in physics, but I'm pretty fuzzy when it comes to serious electrical engineering stuff. For example, I more-or-less understand how capacitors and inductors work, but I'm a little fuzzy on how exactly the various LRC filters in crossovers work. And I'm vaguely familiar with diodes and transistors, but looking at even basic amplifier schematics is Greek to me - I don't understand why the circuit does what it does. I'm just looking for a more fundamental understanding of how/why the stuff works the way it does, and thanks to my technical background, I'm comfortable with teaching myself some undergrad EE courses.

It sounds like a basic Circuits class would cover the LRC filters, but what about learning about the amplifiers? I know there are whole textbooks dedicated to audio amplifier design. Also, I wouldn't mind learning more about DSP, or anything else remotely related to audio/video electronics equipment.

(In fact, I've actually considered going back to school for a EE degree, either a BS or MS. Seems like the employment possibilities are a bit more promising for EE than they are for physics in my area, and it turns out some of this EE stuff is actually interesting after all. )

Well, thanks for the replies!

Last edited by cjv998; 27th September 2013 at 02:35 AM.
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Old 27th September 2013, 02:48 AM   #2
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HI, electronics plays a little role in audio reproduction. Mostly is done by mechanics.
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Old 27th September 2013, 02:57 AM   #3
Johno is offline Johno  Australia
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Start with circuit principles and analysis, Ohm's law, Kirchoff et al leading to the math tools in LaPlace et al that support AC circuit analysis.

Then you will have the means to get into semiconductor theory. In the structured EE environment I seem to recall that active components were introduced at the tail end of simple DC circuit analysis.
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Old 27th September 2013, 09:29 AM   #4
DF96 is offline DF96  England
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Start by revising your electromagnetic theory. Circuit theory is just a low frequency approximation of EM. Then read Horowitz and Hill. Look for the basic building blocks of a circuit: emitter follower, long tail pair, low pass filter etc.

I have a physics degree. If you understand physics then much of EE is quite easy. You could end up understanding EE better than some EEs!
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Old 27th September 2013, 10:31 AM   #5
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I did my HND in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, we skidded over simple transistor amplifiers towards the end of the course, most of it was electrical engineering.

Working with a spread of indentured apprentices, many of whom have completed their appreticeships from various sources, the best bet may be to undertake an appreticeship with an electronics company. Every appreticeship is, to some degree, tailored towards the employer who is sponsoring it.
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Old 28th September 2013, 02:04 AM   #6
cjv998 is offline cjv998  United States
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Thanks for the replies so far; it sounds like a Circuits class would be a good start on what I'm looking for.
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Old 28th September 2013, 03:41 AM   #7
RFDave is offline RFDave  United States
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Sign up for this edX course and learn some basics

https://www.edx.org/course/mit/6-002...ectronics/1130
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Old 9th January 2014, 11:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RFDave View Post
Sign up for this edX course and learn some basics

https://www.edx.org/course/mit/6-002...ectronics/1130
A big +1 for RFDave's recommendation. I'm taking this course now (6.002X), currently on week 11. I take the final in February. It is a very well designed course and I've learned a great deal. The on-line learning is just perfect for my way of learning. The lectures can be paused and reviewed as many times as needed to sink in and note taking is never a distraction. The labs are pretty cool too. The Professor is Dr. Anant Agarwal who not only prepared the lectures for the course but is president of the entire Edx organization. He has a wonderful sense of humor and an infectious enthusiasm that permeates the lectures. A recent WSJ article cited this and a similar course through Georgia Tech as leaders in what may well become the new normal method of technical learning.

One may take this course for credit of sorts. They issue a certificate that can transfer as credit under common circumstances.

There is a great deal that is applicable to the DIY audio hobby. We are studying filter circiuts this week. We did KCL, KVL, node method, superposition in the first few lectures. Then it was digital circuits, boolean logic and MOSFETS. Plenty of time was spent on analog amplification and small signal circuit analysis applicable to the audio hobby.

There is a significant amount of DEs (differential equations)and complex algebra (imaginary numbers). I'm a chemical engineer and I use DEs and complex algebra professionally about as much as a shoe salesman would. It was a challenge to spool up fast enough and I offer that one hurdle as the only caveat.

The course is only a $100 and you can audit it for free. If you don't have the math background, you might still consider auditing. I still think you'll get 80% of it. Most of the DEs lead to algebraic solutions anyway and that takeaway is most often enough to solve the assignment.

Did I mention that there was even a vacuum tube problem?

Check it out.

Last edited by Captn Dave; 9th January 2014 at 11:13 PM.
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Old 10th January 2014, 01:29 AM   #9
bimo is offline bimo  Indonesia
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If you want to make some practical circuit you must learn how to use software simulator like LTspice which is free. If you learn how electronic devices work in complex mathematical models, it is time consuming. You must search a book that explain electronic devices work in simple mathematical models. Then you have a picture how this things work.

I suggest you to read books from D. Self and Bob Cordell.

But to implement schematic diagram from simulator is difficult thing. You must learn how to make a good layout (components layout and PCB track layout). Sometime you become understand from your experience. Bad layout make the circuit performance much worse than the simulator result.

And then you must learn how to make trade-off. Usually, you find if you make improvement here then there are degrade performance in other thing. You decide where is the balance.

Many great engineer can be found in this forum. You can ask them if you have some trouble in your design.
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Old 10th January 2014, 03:37 AM   #10
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Start at a place where you have both enthusiasm and a comfortable "fit" to what is being taught. For some, that might be a university or community college course in electronic circuits, from the engineering or physics department - or a course in electronic music production from the music or art department. Or a guided hands-on hobby experience like the "Amp Camp". Or a thoroughly documented published project or commercial kit.

For me it was watching my dad assemble a Heath Crystal Radio for me about age 8, followed by playing with some flashlight batteries and bulbs, then figuring out how to hack into a table radio and add an extension speaker, then building a 3-transistor amplifier from a book (about age 10) and installing it in a broken 78 RPM record player . . . and so it goes. The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.

Dale
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