4th Edition

Small Signal Audio Design

By Douglas Self Copyright 2024
    846 Pages 565 B/W Illustrations
    by Focal Press

    846 Pages 565 B/W Illustrations
    by Focal Press

    Small Signal Audio Design is a highly practical handbook providing an extensive repertoire of circuits that can be assembled to make almost any type of audio system. This fully revised fourth edition offers wholly new content on internally balanced audio design, electret microphones, emitter-follower stability, microphony in capacitors, and much, much more.

    This book continues the engaging prose style familiar to readers as you learn why mercury-filled 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
    • transform the performance of low-cost opamps
    • build active filters with very low noise and distortion while saving money on expensive capacitors
    • make incredibly accurate volume controls
    • make a huge variety of audio equalisers
    • use load synthesis to make magnetic cartridge preamplifiers that have noise so low it is limited by basic physics
    • sum, switch, clip, compress, and route audio signals
    • build simple but ultra-low noise power supplies
    • be confident that phase perception is not an issue

    Including all the crucial theories, but with minimal mathematics, Small Signal Audio Design is the must-have companion for anyone studying, researching, or working in audio engineering and audio electronics.

    1. The basics; 2. Components; 3. Discrete transistor circuitry; 4. Opamps and their properties; 5. Opamps for low voltages; 6. Filters; 7. Preamp architecture; 8. Variable gain stages; 9. Moving-magnet inputs: levels and RIAA equalisation; 10. Moving-coil head amplifiers; 11. Tape replay; 12. Guitar preamplifiers; 13. Volume controls; 14. Balance controls; 15. Tone controls and equalisers; 16. Mixer architecture; 17. Microphone preamplifiers; 18. Line inputs; 19. Line outputs; 20. Headphone amplifiers; 21. Signal switching; 22. Mixer sub-systems; 23. Level indication and metering; 24. Gain-control elements; 25. Power supplies; 26. Interfacing with the digital domain; 27. Design and experimentation


    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 (...) His book exudes skilful engineering on every page, and I found it a very refreshing, enjoyable, and inspirational read (...) 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

    "This book presents a large body of knowledge and countless insider-tips from an award-winning commercial audio designer (...) Douglas Self dumps a lifetime's worth of thoroughly-tested audio circuit knowledge into one biblical tome."

    Joseph Lemmer, Tape Op