Small Signal Audio Design  book cover
2nd Edition

Small Signal Audio Design

ISBN 9780415709736
Published August 22, 2014 by Routledge
770 Pages

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Book Description

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. With ample coverage of preamplifiers and mixers and a new chapter on headphone amplifiers, this practical handbook provides 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 not found elsewhere. Essential points of theory that bear on practical performance are lucidly and thoroughly explained, with the mathematics kept to a relative 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. 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.

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

The second edition is expanded throughout (with added information on new ADCs and DACs, microcontrollers, more coverage of discrete op amp design, and many other topics), and includes a completely new chapter on headphone amplifiers.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Basics 2. Components 3. Designing with Discrete Transistors 4. Opamps and Their Properties 5. Filters 6. Preamplifier Architectures 7. Moving-Magnet Disc Inputs 8. Moving-Coil Disc Inputs 9. Volume-Control and Balance 10. Tone Controls and Equalisers 11. A Complete Preamplifier 12. Mixer Architectures 13. Microphone Input Amplifiers 14. Line Inputs 15. Line Outputs 16. Signal Switching 17. Mixer Subsystems 18. Level Indication and Metering 19. Level Control and Special Circuits 20. Power Supplies 21. Interfacing with the Digital Domain 22. Headphone Amplifiers

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Douglas Self studied engineering at Cambridge University, then psychoacoustics at Sussex University. He has spent many years working at the top level of design in both the professional audio and hifi industries, and has taken out a number of patents in the field of audio technology. He currently acts as a consultant engineer in the field of audio design.


"Self provides solid, well-explained technical information throughout the book, all gained from years of experience and a thorough understanding of the entire topic, and all verified by measurement and practical applications in the field. His book exudes skilful engineering on every page, and I found it a very refreshing, enjoyable, and inspirational read. Self writes in his preface that he dares to hope that he has moved analogue audio design a bit further forward. He certainly has for me, and if you have the slightest interest in audio circuit design this book has to be considered an essential reference. Very highly recommended." - Hugh Robjohns, Sound on Sound Magazine