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Old 26th July 2004, 07:17 AM   #1
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Default Amplifier - Instructional Material

Hi all. Long time lurker here. As of late I have become intensely interested in becoming proficient with solid state amplification basics (wow I put that elegantly, it sounds so wonderful). I've been DIYing speakers (and crossovers, passive and active) for a few years now and have always loved electronics. In fact I am studying to be a CompE but am at a point where I think I would like to switch to EE.


Recently I built a P101 based amp on Rod Elliot's PCB and plans and am very satisfied with the results. I was however a bit disappointed that I did not understand thoroughly what I was doing when building the amp besides soldering and ordering components. I do have a basic knowledge of electronics, understand filter design to a degree, am proficient with circuit elements such as op amps, caps, resistors, inductors and the like, and have a lesser but somewhat familiar knowledge of transistors. To give you an idea of my knowledge level, understanding and designing a simple mains to DC power supply is a piece of cake, I understand what monoblock means, impedance, resistance, phasor notation, phase, imaginary numbers, and the frequency and time domain are not greek to me. Also, fourier transforms are in my vocab and a super hyter. am receiver is a neat little device. I'm not trying to impress anyone by any means with this list, for I know there are much more knowledgeable people on this board. I just wanted to provide some info so someone can gauge my knowledge level and what my vocab consists of.

The reason for this is I would like to get my hands on an amplifier design book or a book that contains a section on amplifiers, specifically tailored to audio if possible (although I have the parts and a year prior was attempting to create a 2.4GHz wifi amp until I realized not having surface mount soldering capability was a real hurdle and the FCC may come knocking on my door). I understand that there are many posts on this board with a wealth of knowledge, but its not all focused and usually isn't presented in a step by step manor with all the background information or theories. Some things that someone already understands could be left out, or in all honesty, some people may not be knowledgeable enough and myself, being less knowledgeable, could learn poor practices. Anyway, to make things short, I'd like a book, textbook or different, that would from the ground up explain and guide me through the design of an amp (examples are very welcome), from the basics such as the ideas and methods behind different classes of amps to examples of discrete amps, even a section on transistors and the mathematics used in the book would be welcomed. By the time I finish the book I'd like to have a solid foundation where I could attempt to design my own amplifier, from scratch or expand on a design presented in the text, so long as I am no longer blindly soldering but creating, experimenting, and understanding, something completely satisfying. A true DIY experience if you will. Something Id sink $100 into a nice looking aluminum case for instead of a wood bottom and plexi for the P101 that I built =P (which still looks good to me)

Thanks guys. Please post any and all suggestions.
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Old 26th July 2004, 08:31 AM   #2
lubbie is offline lubbie  Canada
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I think this is an easy one.. Most people will agree..

1: G. Randy Slone "High Power Audio Amplifier Construction Manual".. easy reading and a good place to start.

2: Douglas Self's "Audio Power Amplifier Design Handbook" ... when you really want to get dirty and tear the circuits apart.


I've been working through both and have learned a great deal but realized that i've still got a long way too go....
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Old 26th July 2004, 09:08 AM   #3
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Hi

Sorry, but I cann't agree on your 'Randy Slone' recommandation. It is not a good book. Save your money for something better. BTW I think Rod Elliots www.sound.au.com should be all you need to understand the basic and a bit more... Offcourse Douglas Self book is a must have!


Goodluck,
Thijs
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Old 26th July 2004, 10:27 PM   #4
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Thanks for the responses guys! Douglas Self's "Audio Power Amplifier Design Handbook" looks like a goodie, and G. Randy Slone's "High Power Audio Amplifier Construction Manual" also looks good but had much more torn reviews on Amazon.com. If anyone else has some good suggestions, let me know.

I am not only hoping that I not only gain the ability to create an amp, but that I learn valuable engineering practice and become more comfortable with a general knowledge of electronics. Maybe after going through the book and after my digital circuits lab a DAC or digital decoder will be on the chopping block. . .
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Old 27th July 2004, 08:49 AM   #5
Steven is offline Steven  Netherlands
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Default Another book...

Ben Duncan - High Performance Audio Power Amplifiers

It is a bit more directed to pro audio use, but is very complete.

Steven
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The Analog Art shows no sign of yielding to the Dodo's fate. The emergence and maturation of monolithic processing finesse has perhaps lagged a bit behind the growth of the Binary Business. But whereas digital precision is forever bounded by bits, there is no limit excepting Universal Hiss to the ultimate accuracy and functional variety of simple analog circuits. - Barry Gilbert, 1973
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Old 27th July 2004, 11:16 AM   #6
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You stike me as a person who has the capability and critical thinking required to understand a complex subject. I think your comment about picking up bad practice is spot on, and developing a way of critiquing the info in this forum and in the books cited in order to avoid blind alleys and spot suspect reasoning is crucial.

If you want to get expert at this...

To really understand the subject, like in all engineering, you need to understand what the system is supposed to do. The definition of a wire with voltage gain is exact but unhelpfully impractical. Trade-offs must be made and so you must figure out what compromises are ok and what are not ok and why. To do this you need to gain an understanding of what music is and how the brain/ear interprets it. Only then will you be able to make informed choices of circuit design. I don't know of any books on this subject.

Then you need to understand what trade-offs come with analogue components and laws of physics. You need to learn analogue electronics properly. If you are a degree student or recent graduate from a top university I can say with 80% likelyhood that you know much, much less than you need to. A great book for the fundamentals and practical implementation issues, but nothing to do with hifi as such, is the ARRL Handbook. This is a proper book on electronics by very experienced people. Look it up on Amazon.

I'd trawl semiconductor mfr's sites and look very closely at datasheets to see for yourself how semiconductors actually behave. How do they differ from the idealized models which we are taught about? Decide what parameters need to be what to meet your design goals. Don't ignore anything.

And probably most important of all and certainly most neglected: what actually happens in a non-linear system?

After all this, when you read stuff in this forum or the books cited you'll be easily able to sort the wheat from the chaff.
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