You are previewing High Performance Audio Power Amplifiers.
O'Reilly logo
High Performance Audio Power Amplifiers

Book Description

Power amplifiers and their performance lie at the heart of audio engineering and provide some challenging problems for the engineer. Ben Duncan's experience, as an audio consultant, analog electronics designer and author, give him an unique insight into this difficult but rewarding field.


Linking analog electronics, acoustics, heat and music technology; high-end hi-fi and professional PA and recording studio use; theory, modelling and real-world practice; design and repair; the old and the new, the mainstream and the specialised, this comprehensive guide to power amps is a core reference for anyone in the industry, and any interested onlookers.

Ben Duncan is well known to many users of audio power amplifiers around the world, both professional and domestic, through his articles, reviews and research papers on music technology in the UK and US press, and through his part in creating several notable professional power amplifiers. Since 1977, he has been involved in the design of over 70 innovative, high-end audio products used by recording and broadcast studios, on stages, in clubs and by the most critical domestic listeners - as well as creating bespoke equipment for top musicians. Born in London, he has travelled widely but has lived mainly in Lincolnshire, home of his family for over 150 years. He is twice co-author of the book Rock Hardware in which he has chronicled the history of rock'n'roll PA.

Reprinted with corrections September 1997


Comprehensive and colourful real-life guide
Based on wide experience of audio and music technology
Well-known and prolific author in the hi-fi and pro-audio press

Table of Contents

  1. Cover image
  2. Title page
  3. Table of Contents
  4. Copyright
  5. Foreword
  6. Preface
  7. Dedication
  8. Acknowledgments
  9. System of presentation
  10. Chapter 1: Introduction and fundamentals
    1. 1.0 What are audio power amplifiers for?
    2. 1.1 What is the problem?
    3. 1.2 What is audio?
    4. 1.3 What’s special about audio?
    5. 1.4 The ramifications of quality on audio
    6. 1.5 Some different aims of sound reproduction
    7. 1.6 About people and their hearing
    8. 1.7 Limits of ‘objectivity’. Why listen?
    9. 1.8 Why are power amplifiers needed for audio?
    10. 1.9 Music fundamentals
    11. 1.10 Adjectives that describe sound
    12. 1.11 Nature and range of music (alias programme)
    13. 1.12 Bass and subsonic* content
    14. 1.13 HF dynamics and ultrasonic content
  11. Chapter 2: Overview of Global Requirements
    1. 2.1 Common formats for power amps
    2. 2.2 Loudspeakers
    3. 2.3 The interrelation of components
    4. 2.4 Behaviour of power amps as voltage sources
    5. 2.5 Current delivery requirements
  12. Chapter 3: The input port – Interfacing and processing
    1. 3.1 The Input
    2. 3.2 RF filtration
    3. 3.3 The balanced input
    4. 3.4 Sub-sonic protection and high-pass filtering
    5. 3.5 Damage protection
    6. 3.6 What are process functions?
    7. 3.7 Computer control
  13. Chapter 4: Topologies, classes and modes
    1. 4.1 Introduction
    2. 4.2 Germanium and early junctions
    3. 4.3 Silicon transistors (Si)
    4. 4.4 True symmetry: the sequel
    5. 4.5 Introducing bridging
    6. 4.6 Class-ification
    7. 4.7 Introducing higher classes
    8. 4.8 Beyond analogue
    9. 4.9 Class summary
    10. 4.10 Introducing modes of control
    11. 4.11 Conclusions
  14. Chapter 5: Features of the power stage
    1. 5.1 Overview
    2. 5.2 Power devices
    3. 5.3 Recognising large signals
    4. 5.4 RF stability
    5. 5.5 V&l limits on output, the context
    6. 5.6 Clip indication – external relations
    7. 5.7 DC offset, at output
    8. 5.8 The output interface
    9. 5.9 Output stage, cooling requirements
    10. 5.10 Logical systems
    11. 5.11 Output transformers
  15. Chapter 6: The power supply
    1. 6.1 Mains frequency (50/60Hz) supplies
    2. 6.2 Supply amongst channels
    3. 6.3 Pulse-width power (PWM PSU)
    4. 6.4 Power supply (PSU) efficiency round-up
    5. 6.5 Power supply fusing
  16. Chapter 7: Specifications and testing
    1. 7.1 Why specifications?
    2. 7.2 Why test things?
    3. 7.3 Physical environment
    4. 7.4 Frequency response (Bandwidth, BW)
    5. 7.5 Introducing noise
    6. 7.6 Input impedance (Zin)
    7. 7.7 Introducing harmonic distortion
    8. 7.8 Power output (Po)
    9. 7.9 Dynamic tests
  17. Chapter 8: Real world testing – Rationale and procedures
    1. 8.1 Scope and why essential
    2. 8.2 Listening
    3. 8.3 Operable mains range
    4. 8.4 Signal present indication and metering
    5. 8.5 DC at the input
    6. 8.6 Output DC offset (output offset, Voos)
    7. 8.7 Thermal protection and monitoring
    8. 8.8 Muting behaviour
    9. 8.9 EMI and EMC
  18. Chapter 9: Choice, application installation and set-up
    1. 9.1 Manufactured goods, a résumé
    2. 9.2 Howlers
    3. 9.3 AC mains voltage
    4. 9.4 Input connections
    5. 9.5 Output connections
    6. 9.6 Placement and fitment
    7. 9.7 The 1 to 5 of prudent amplifier use
  19. Chapter 10: Maintenance and surgery
    1. 10.1 Classifying failures
    2. 10.2 Problem solving procedures
    3. 10.3 Universal repair procedures
    4. 10.4 Repair tools and equipment
    5. 10.5 Testing components
    6. 10.6 Oscilloscope traces
  20. Appendices
    1. History
    2. Makers’ listings
    3. Active devices
    4. Power amplifier terminology
  21. Index
    1. Index