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Jun 24 2014

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High-Power Audio Amplifier Construction Manual (Revised)

{{ UPDATE 2014-06-24 :  Not all is what it seems.  The book is a good read indeed, but there is a small flaw embedded within.  There is a serious problem associated with the schematic on Fig. 11.14 schematic, a flaw in the design. That bias current of the Voltage Amplifier Stage transistors is subject to LARGE variations and is essentially uncontrolled.  This is due to the fact that the voltage on the output of the differential output stage, taken from underneath the current mirrors, is effectively undefined. There is a whole bunch of threads on the diyaudio.com forum that deal with this issue, starting with these: 




If you happen to come up with an idea to build this specific design, i.e. the “ultimate” fully mirrored design, as in Fig. 11.14, then you are in for a bumpy ride, requiring corrections and additional re-engineering of the schematic, so as to provide stable operation. 

Having said the above, I still believe that the rest of the book is a good read.  As the Polish saying goes: 

When you chop wood, the chips start flying everywhere



High-Power Audio Amplifier Construction Manual.

High-Power Audio Amplifier Construction Manual by G. Randy Slone (cover)

Yes, this is a book.  A very good book.  Written by Mr. G. Randy Slone.

Not a new one, by any means, but the ideas and concepts that are presented herein still supercede by a fair margin the “typical” go-with-the-flow solutions that are implemented within present day commercial products.

The book: My highest recommendations. It is one worth reading. Especially, if you have some general experience with simple electronic circuits, but till now you have not yet built your own personal high power “beast”.

This is one of those books that you shall want to read TWICE.  And this is being said, by a vacuum-freak, such as myself.  I am currently doing a second pass through it, and I enjoy it very much.   Needless to say, the second time you read it, the greater the overall benefit.  It is a book that provides you with a magnitude of valuable information as to the specifics of the construction and build of amplifiers. Not any amplifiers. Not commercial amplifiers. But your OWN, personal, DIY amplifiers.  And to be absolutely clear on this:  not “crappy” DIY go with the flow stuff.  We are talking here about absolute hiend audio performance.  Highest quality, such that one seldom finds even in commercial products (IMHO).

Actually, the book is a cummulation of both theory, but also, or even more so, a cookbook, with ready recipes on how to build your own, personal, high power, high quality silicon based amplifier.

But not only does Mr. Slone provide you with complete example schematics of the devices that he has personally built, tested, and vouches for their correct function.  He also provides you with such recipes in a “building block”, or “LEGO” fashion.   You get recipes for individual stages, single functional units, that can be used in a wide context of whatever you have in mind. You are not “limited” to the few “whole device” schematics that one would expect to be presented.  You rather get the independent “building blocks”, which you can use individually, separately, in various contexts or combinations. You get these building blocks, sort of like the “LEGO” stuff, and then you go on and build out of them whatever you think fit for your purposes.

I ** HATE ** the sound of “typical” silicon, but I ** LOVE ** the way that this book is written.

Mr. Slone suggests that there is injustice affecting silicon.  Just as there are bad topologies and bad constructions of silicon based amplifiers, just as easily it is possible to construct a bad sounding tube amp { supposedly :) }. Anyways, the author purports that it IS possible to obtain outstanding specs and outstanding sound from silicon based amplifiers, provided that you are aware of the various limitations inherent to silicon, and take means so as to circumvent such limitations, or even more: convert silicon’s weaknesses into strengths.

The book is concise. No nonsense. To the point. Simple representation of complex issues, so even a not-so-deep-in-the-subject person, with only but basic electronic skills and knowledge, has a fair chance of understanding the big picture, as well as the details.

No piece of circuit remains uncommented.  There will not be a single piece of resistor, capacitor, diode or transistor, the function of which would remain uncommented or explained.

My highest regards, Mr. Slone.

This is one of those books that it is a pleasure to have as a hard copy on your personal bookshelf. And therefore I shall ** NOT ** make your life easy by providing you with a link to the pdf version on the web !  {{ … of course such links do exist }}.
Do Yourself a favour and simply purchase it !

That’s it for now.  Need to run off.   And continue reading – my second pass through it.

As I said, I hate silicon, but after reading this book, I just ** might ** be inclined towards a conversion. Especially after reading about all those tricks that allow you to get the absolute top notch highest quality parameters from transistor circuits.  I just ** might ** be inclined to give that silicon a second chance.  Maybe.

Bye now.




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