Welcome, stranger! You’ve arrived at my
second third web presence.
It’s only audio is a simple blog about various topics in the world of DIY audio, written from the perspective of an engineer (and not an audiophile).
Audio, especially high-end (eugh, even the word makes me cringe) is full of both dogma and snobbery, enough to make beginners rethink their new found hobby entirely. Which is a shame, because audio is not hard! An old and wise engineer (he even had a beard, so he must be very wise indeed) once told me the following
In Sony, newly recruited engineers would start their career in the video department, gradually passing onto other divisions. However, those that did not prove themselves worth their salt in the video department were sent to the audio department.
I honestly don’t know if that story was true. It was the same engineer who sent me to the warehouse to ask for a p-type vacuum tube. However, the morale of the story is true. Audio is not hard. From the viewpoint of RF engineers, we meddle around with almost DC. There are no magic tricks and no magic components. Stick to a few basic principles and use some logical thinking and you will come a very long way indeed.
The other reason for calling this website it’s only audio is that it is really only audio. As indicated above, I’m probably too dumb for any other disciplin. But at the same time I do love audio and that is what makes me good at it, or at least better then at other things.
So here we are. Too dumb for video, but at least we’re in it together. Let’s have some fun!
About the author
I am a recovering audiophile. The bug bit me almost two decades ago, and spiraled quite badly out of control. At the time I was studying electrical engineering and having access to my university’s basements full of vacuum tubes was not helping either. I ended up spending the better part of the first decade building loudspeakers, DACs, amplifiers and turntables, writing websites and even running a part time audiophile modification and DIY shop.
Funnily enough that actually brought me back from the brink, being able to buy the right measurement equipment and doing lots of learning through listening and measuring yielded the much needed insight that it’s not about the golden plugs and silver wires, but about choosing the right concept and thinking before doing.
The last decade I have spent in the employment of others in the electronic industry, working for audio and automotive companies. Needless to say I sometimes get very biased towards ICs and systems that I helped design or know intimately. That does however not mean that what I write here represents those companies’ views. It just means you can not trust me to be truly impartial 🙂 As always, check not only the opinion, but the writer’s motive as well.
If you want to use my experience or services, I will gladly consider that, so feel free to get in touch.
Nice to see a audio blog where the author actually knows what he is talking about
hi Dude! nice that you are again in the air. So still in audio? Old habits dont easily fade dont they :). greetings.
It’s the only thing I know how to do…
Nice to stumble over your page. I see that you have purchased an Audio Precision System 2. That is a device I have been dreaming of and wonder if you could give me a hint about what would be a bargain price for an used unit? Being myself an audiophile and still lacking a good analyzer is as being a carpenter without a chisel…
Difficult to answer succinctly. I’ve switched to APX shortly after going ‘pro’. Reason: software and hardware are currently supported, if my lab burns down I can buy another, use all the test files, interface and utility/automation software I’ve written and get back to work. Time is money here.
If you want the cheapest way to get into audio testing, get a good System One (yes, One), buy the USB interface from Udo and a set of filters (AWT/B20K minimum) and you’re playing with the big boys. Runs on win10 and service manual is available freely from AP themselves.
A System Two will cost more but have more modern and non-custom hardware, but no service support and no manuals available. That may change in the future and then I will remcomend a Sys2 over a Sys1. Unless you can, as I did, buy 2 identical units (one of which working), servicing is really a pain.
Thank you for your long and insightful reply. Highly appreciated! APX units cost a fortune, you can get a decent car for that price… aarghhh… (***envy***)
Seriously speaking, I think I opt for the AP System One. I have a HP8903B but I need slightly better performance and automated functions. The System One seems to be a good next step. A good one is a unity that passes all self-tests – or is there a better definition for a good one?
Thanks again for your vise and kind advice,
Well that’s why I don’t have a decent car…
Automated functions are waaaay underrated. The things you can do with APBasic are essentially limitless.
You’re right, the first one you buy should be hassle free. Don’t pay lots of $$$ for options – most are useless. Spend the money on the USB interface instead.
Enjoyed listening to your talk on the AmpHour 🙂
Quite interesting, cheers.
Thank you Peter. I’m honestly blown away by the positive responses to TAH. I love this community.
Hi I just listened to your interview on AmpHour, I’m usually late to the party. I enjoyed it thoroughly interesting that you can have the same views as a 66 year old fat man. I’ve been rebuilding/restoring some old Dynaco solid state gear and using it in my systems and passing on to my kids too. So my experience is just analog with some raspberry pi dac’s thrown in. I’ve been thinking of a good quality integrated amp with quality components but no jewelry. Anyway not sure why I felt a need to share, just old and nobody listens anymore 😃. Looking forward to seeing more information from you.
I hear you Kyle 🙂 Thanks for the kind words.
what a nice work on the DSS930s you did. I’ve 4 pairs DSS930 and after some reverse engineering I managed to “hang” them on a Meridian 568.2 to make a surround system. Was quite tricky to get all that volume control DSS link stuff through but finally with help of RasPi2 and LIRC and some homebrew I/F it works. I did a DSS Link encoder/simulator on Excel (my be still has bugs but..) if you want I can share with you.
That’s great! Please stick the XLS on github or somesuch for the whole world to find. These things get thrown away by those who don’t understand what they are or what they can do with them.
I’ve built an arduino shield PCB that controls DSS waiting for free time to be tested. Then it will also be open sourced.
You said in the YouTube your files are downloadable too but I did not catch where!
Pls. give me a hint.
I’ve updated the blog post.
BTW; Do you know what the EBU_Disable signal is for on the DSS930.
It seems killing the EBU from being output down stream so only the contol signals are on the DSS out then but what is the purpose to blank it?
No idea tbh. Could it be the same circuit is used in the DSC950 and there it would be how the mute is implemented? I don’t have one to verify.
It does make it easy to splice in a second audio source somewhere in the daisy chain (e.g. before speakers B or C). Maybe the architects were thinking ahead for more than 2CH audio (I do know there is a prototype set out there somewhere that does Dolby 5.1 with adapted firmware).