Audio Power Amplifier Design Handbook Paperback – 31 Jul 2009
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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.
Top customer reviews
For a better idea of what this book offers, check out the reviews of the other editions. One thing I will say is that to get the best out of it, you need to already have a moderate to good grasp of analogue electronics. This book is not for the electronics novice.
In all these years, I have never had the desire to actually build any design of his because he has very narrow minded views of what is good, and cares not about sprinkling electrolytic capacitors in the signal path, for example.
It is significant that Self never had his own audio company like Nelson Pass and many others who take much care about optimizing the sound quality with the careful choice of components, a concept alien to Self.
In his usual arrogant manner, he will simply dismiss any such attempt as being unmeasurable, and therefore of no importance to the sound quality.
By all means if your aim is to simply learn how to reduce one amplifier parameter(THD) to a vanishingly low level, then this book is for you, but it is just one man's narrow view of what makes a good amplifier.
John Linsley Hood's designs are much better known for having a good sound quality, so if that is your aim, look elsewhere.
Thus, anything decent on this most hidden of subjects is worth devouring, there is precious little at all to tell someone how to design or let alone understand
an audio frequency amplifier.
This book thus given, is indespensible to that task, it is largely for an engineer, who generally can rarely write, well written, compare the late John linsley hood's, who, again whilst being totally essential, are totally scatty in their presentation, more like a collection of notes really.
Thus the subject to the outsider is like a jigsaw puzzle of finding parts and building up a big picture.
No book thus will tell you how to design an amplifier.
This book though tells you I think, best of all how to understand one, it is a mathematical thing, electronic circuit design, and you have to read for years, be 'into audio' to understand the lingo, its pretty inaccessible, I have been 'into audio' for 10-15 years, and I still have conceptual difficulties.
The book has best value, and I feel self deserves recognition for this, in isolating the sources and types of harmonic distortion in the classic 3 stage power amplifier.
The book does have an easily decipherable agenda, how to get harmonic distortion as low as is possible, and neglects just about every other measurement that can be made, and again, only covers one type of amplifier topology, balanced(push pull, mirrored, symmetrical) amplifiers are not considered in the input stages barely at all.
At times its long winded, but its largely non mathematical, keep its limitations into account and it will teach you an enormous amount about audio amplifiers, again, namely where harmonic distortion is produced and how to prevent it, culminating in self's 'blameless' amplifier, self is an unashamed objectivist, ie there are 2 camps, subjective....listening is all that matters, and objective, you design to spec and nothing else matters, you HAVE to design to spec that is how you design, but amplifiers Do sound different, too, these are sound lovers(audiophiles ) endless arguments, personally, I shun cables and snake oil, and sympathise with self, but I do like something to sound good, too. We do not REALLY know why audio sounds different, it just does...materials? vibrations(oscillations, resonance), that's probably why.
So to sum up if you are interested, it is a vital part of the TINY library, but it is very one dimensional indeed.
Do not expect to be taught it all, but it will add a significant insight. I want more from this book though, more on other distortions, eg. intermodulation, and slew type discussions ( transient distortions ) , how to specify a power supply size, how to choose devices, and opamps driving transistor amplfiers.
I simply wnat to know how and why things are done for what reason,
ie explanation. But I know a bit more thanks to reading this book. Randy Slone is similar, but again an agenda, all engineers and makers have agendas, makers profit, engineers, dogma.
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