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Small Signal Audio Design [Paperback]

Douglas Self
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
RRP: 48.99
Price: 44.09 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

26 Jan 2010

Small Signal Audio Design is a unique guide to the design of high-quality circuitry for preamplifiers, mixing consoles, and a host of other signal-processing devices. Learn to use inexpensive and readily available parts to obtain state-of-the-art performance in all the vital parameters of noise, distortion, crosstalk and so on. Focusing mainly on preamplifiers and mixers this practical handbook gives you an extensive repertoire of circuits that can be put together to make almost any type of audio system.

A resource packed full of valuable information, with virtually every page revealing nuggets of specialized knowledge never before published. Essential points of theory that bear on practical performance are lucidly and thoroughly explained, with the mathematics kept to an essential minimum. Douglas' background in design for manufacture ensures he keeps a wary eye on the cost of things. Includes a chapter on power-supplies, full of practical ways to keep both the ripple and the cost down, showing how to power everything.

Douglas wears his learning lightly, and this book features the engaging prose style familiar to readers of his other books The Audio Power Amplifier Design Handbook and Self on Audio. You will learn why mercury cables are not a good idea, the pitfalls of plating gold on copper, and what quotes from Star Trek have to do with PCB design.

*Provides an enormous amount of knowledge in one unique volume, making it an essential guide to design principles and practice in the wide are of small-signal audio

*Includes numerous circuit blocks with all component values given so you can build on them and easily adapt them to your own requirements

*Lavishly illustrated with diagrams and graphs, and full of practical measurements on real circuitry so you can be sure just how well it will perform


Learn how to:

  • make amplifiers with apparently impossibly low noise
  • design discrete circuitry that can handle enormous signals with vanishingly low distortion
  • use humble low-gain transistors to make an amplifier with an input impedance of more than 50 Megohms
  • transform the performance of low-cost-opamps, how to make filters with very low noise and distortion
  • make incredibly accurate volume controls
  • make a huge variety of audio equalisers
  • make magnetic cartridge preamplifiers that have noise so low it is limited by basic physics
  • sum, switch, clip, compress, and route audio signals

Frequently Bought Together

Small Signal Audio Design + Audio Power Amplifier Design + Audio Engineering Explained
Price For All Three: 114.55

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Product details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Focal Press (26 Jan 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0240521773
  • ISBN-13: 978-0240521770
  • Product Dimensions: 3 x 18.5 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 135,143 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

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Product Description


"Douglas Self, who has been designing both pro and consumer audio products for more than 20 years gave an excellent tutorial on designing balanced interconnections. This talk was part of the Product Design track, so the goal, it seemed, was to expose product designers to the advantages of providing balanced connections (whether the user uses them at not) and that it can be done for very little added cost. He went through several evolutions of the differential amplifier and how to greatly improve common mode rejection for very little parts cost."

About the Author

Douglas Self has dedicated himself to demystifying amplifier design and establishing empirical design techniques based on electronic design principles and experimental data. His rigorous and thoroughly practical approach has established him as a leading authority on amplifier design, especially through the pages of Electronics World where he is a regular contributor.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This review is for the Kindle edition which is infuriatingly unreadable in parts. I am assuming the print version is better. My recommendation is that unless you carry a magnifying glass and powerful light around with you at all times, get the print version.

For a product of this cost it is outrageous.

OK, I'll calm down, the content has a depth and breadth that will be useful and informative for any audio engineer even seasoned circuit hackers will find stuff which is new to them. It is not written like a text book and is thoroughly readable. My guess is that most readers will buy it to dip into when they have a need to bone up on a particular topic, but having picked it up they will read it from cover to cover because it is so interesting.

So - a great review so far, well that is not counting on a large proportion of the diagrams, equations and tables which are unreadably small. I first thought is was a feature of my Kindle touch which prevented zooming in on this type of inserts - ie normal text is scalable but not these poor things. So I tried it in the PC and Android Kindle apps. They are just the same and the offending graphics remain at the fixed unreadable size.

Some of them are even unreadable using a magnifying glass. The graphic is in a paler tone which makes it worse, and it is so indistinct and blurred possibly from being digitised. How this can have been allowed to go through quality control I don't know. These are important equations, diagrams and tables of figures and results of tests and are the lifeblood of informative and academic texts.

I paid over 30 for this and feel cheated. I've missed the 7 day deadline otherwise it would have been returned.

Please, please get this fixed!

In the meantime I'd say don't buy it in Kindle
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am a highly experienced analogue circuit designer, and yet I learned a lot from this book. However, I have to disagree with a few things that he says. For instance, some versions of his Baxendall tone control have very undesirable bass/treble interaction when simulated correctly, stepping bass and treble settings independently through their range. Perhaps his simulator was not able to do that, I use Microcap 8 which does.

Also, I would think that everyone has been using integrated balanced line drivers and receivers for years, not contriving them with op-amps.

I don't propose to go through the book page by page, picking out every minor discrepancy, because that would be unfair, it is clearly the best book of its kind in the field, and firmly puts the subjectivists in their place. The emphasis is on proper engineering, not pretentious nonsense, and I think that if he had another 200 pages at his disposal, my objections would have been covered fully, so I do hope that he is planning a new, enlarged and modernised edition.

I think one of the problems is that the cycle of writing, or updating, a book is far longer than the rate of introduction of new electronic components suitable for audio use, such as the aforementioned balanced line drivers, VCAs, compressor/expanders, etc, so no book is ever going to be fully up to date. His choice of op-amp still stands, after many years.

Nevertheless, an experienced designer, using this book, and with recourse to data on the most up to date components, will find excellent guidance here. Strongly recommended for professional designers! But his power amplifier book is even better, also strongly recommended. Beware of the 99% of nonsense published on the web in this field, get the books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliiant 15 April 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An engineer working at Neve designs recommended this book.
It's a valuable resource and you will learn quite bit.
There is some very fine detail in the world of op amps that can be attained from this publication.
Don't be a fool. Buy it now!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real "Ronseal" book 9 Oct 2011
By Marc
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Yes, it does what it says on the tin. I've been away from electronics dabbling for 30 years. Back then (as a teenager) I did it because I couldn't afford to buy any of the kit I wanted. Now I'm back doing it because I want to learn and to create and to have fun. And reading this book from cover to cover is a great way to get back up to speed very quickly. It's very readable and very informative. Now off to design and build some new kit that I could now very easily afford to buy off the shelf a hundred times over. But where would be the fun in that?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning reference book 9 April 2010
By Wurgle
In terms of material I could not perhaps find elsewhere I think the book scores less well than the power amp book. However in terms of a reference guide to small signal audio electronics it is very very good. It does contain new information and the section on components is excellent.

I think the problem Mr. Self has given himself is that the benchmark he has set with the power amp book is so high that almost any sequel is going to get a hard time from his fans :-) Of which I am one so expect a well biased review.

However put it like this. In the past I designed professional audio electronics (for over 3 years) developing circuits for many of the areas discussed in this book and within 5 minutes of opening it I learn something new, about the LT1028 op-amp as it happens.

While writing this review I've just flopped open the book at "distortion in Sallen-and-Key filters" and read about something I had to find out the hard way.

I too wish some areas had more depth -
I'd like to know more on non-linear circuits, discrete VCA design... Mr. Self - take a look at a MAT-04 datasheet for ideas for me.

Volume I is money well spent. I look forward to volume II.
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