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Designing Tube Amplifiers: Concept, implementation and assessment Paperback – 2013

2.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1907920226
  • ISBN-13: 978-1907920226
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 17 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,092,346 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Even now tube amplifiers still sound great; perhaps better than ever before. In part that is because we now have access to modern components such as toroidal output transformers, extremely high-quality resistors and capacitors, and many sorts of wire with good acoustic properties. Modern audio sources, such as CD players, and the latest top-end loudspeakers also enable us to appreciate how well tube amplifiers reproduce music even better than before.

This new book from Menno van der Veen looks at tube amplifiers from more than just a theoretical perspective. It focuses primarily on the design phase, where decisions must be taken with regard to the purpose and requirements of the amplifier, and it addresses the following questions: How do these aspects relate to subjective and objective criteria? Which circuits sound the best, and why? If you want to develop and market an amplifier, what problems should you expect? What are the significance and meaning of measurements? Are they still meaningful, or have they lost their relevance?

Thanks to the enormous processing power of computers, we can now measure more details than ever before. How can these new methods be applied to tube amplifiers? Previously it was sufficient to measure the frequency range, power and distortion of an amplifier in order to characterize the amplifier. Are these measurements still sufficient, or should we start measuring according to how we hear, using real music signals instead of waveforms from signal generators? The author sketches a future where amplifier measurements that conform to our sense of hearing enable us to arrive at new insights.

This book focuses more on practical aspects than on theory, and it has an contemplative nature, as though the author were viewing amplifiers from above. Knowledge elements are integrated and placed in the context of a broad overview.

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Directs you to buy his other books for details in various places. If I had browsed it in a book shop I would not have bought it. For the price, it is quite skinny.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 1.0 out of 5 stars 1 review
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Another totally unnecessary book 10 Jan. 2014
By MythBuster DownUnder - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Just when I thought there'd be no more new releases of books on tube amps that serve no particular purpose, so I wouldn't feel compelled to offer constructive criticism again, here comes this one. Actually, this book has a purpose but in my opinion the author fails to achieve it.

1. The declared premise of the book is very important: what is the relationship between design features of an amp, its measured parameters and its sound quality. There may or there may not be a correlation. Mr van der Veen, arguably one of the most prominent contemporary amp designers, decided to investigate. In my opinion, most of what he says in the book (but not ALL, there are many instances where I disagreed with his conclusions) is true, but most, if not ALL of what he says in the book is NOT new. As for the correlation, after reading this book, I'm no wiser. Perhaps I missed something, but I'm not going back to this book, no way!

2. Secondly, the link between the 3 issues as he presented them are very weak, and this is the main reason I consider this book superficial and totally unnecessary!

3. The level of the book is actually very pedestrian. The measurements are OK but basic, the conclusions anecdotal and often flippant (Page 140: "The distortion of the preamplifier is negligible in this situation.") From my extensive experience in designing, building and selling tube amps and preamps, preamp distortion or "tonal character" is NEVER negligible, it always adds something to or subtracts from the performance of the whole system!

4. Almost once on every page he says things like " A virtually complete overview of the options is given in my second book and on my website. Here I discuss the key significant features." This started to irritate me very quickly. So, my advice to you is just buy his 2nd book and forget about this one!

5. Chapter 8, titled "The Business Approach" is a silly attempt (silly because it is so pedestrian and only 5 pages long) to give advice to designers who are considering making and selling tube amps for profit. A sample of what I mean: SUBTITLE: 8.1 Time investment Text: You will have to invest a lot of time in developing the design into a product and launching the product. Do you have the necessary time?" This is all about time investment the author has to or wants to say! No comment needed. No examples, nothing from his personal experience, a total miss!

6. Chapter 9, which is only 4.5 pages long (!!) talks about cabbalistic approach to design (honest!). This is total nonsense, so perhaps it's good there is only 4.5 pages of that rubbish!

7. Some advice is dangerous: "... it's very important to use AC mains plugs without earth contacts for the power cables of your test equipment." I know what he's aiming at and why he's suggesting that, but in a case of a fault in one of those apparata, you may get electrocuted (if the live mains connection is short circuited to the metal chassis)! There are proper ways of achieving the same aim (so that test equipment whose one end is grounded, such as oscilloscopes, does not create a short circuit during tests) and avoiding this situation, and making such equipment dangerous and illegal certainly isn't one of them!

8. There are quiet a few errors, possibly typing errors, but uncorrected by neither the author nor the editors (I doubt there were any expert reviewers of this book, otherwise the book would be much better or it wouldn't exist at all) For instance, on page 87: ... I use an 8 ohm resistor in parallel with a 1-F capacitor to simulate an electrostatic speaker." What 1-F means I have no clue, I'm sure it doesn't mean 1 Farad (!!)

9. There are designs mentioned without a declared purpose, for instance ether is an amp with a variable damping factor (DF), but the author says nothing about it, what benefits would a listener get if the DF was adjustable between 0 and 3? Even 3 is very low for DF and going lower does not make sense to many audiophiles. I had a pair of vintage Bogen monoblocks with variable damping and spent hours playing around with it and could not for the life of me identify one single advantage!

10. Some off the drawings are irrelevant to the discussion, others are of poor quality, some are too small, so it's hard to read the details.

11. For a 184 page book with 19 totally blank or almost blank pages (more than 10%) this thin paperback is waaay too expensive. I'm surprised a supposedly reputable publishing house such as Elector would release such a weak title, perhaps making money is their main criterion!

12. I have bought mr van der Veen's second book as well but it hasn't arrived yet. I believe and really hope that it's better, more practical and more purposeful than this one. Despite what some readers of my reviews think, it gives me no pleasure to lambast authors and their work, but when I feel let down by my investments (and I invested $60 and 7 hours of my time here) I just can't help it!
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