<![CDATA[Electric Perfection - Blog]]>Sun, 24 Dec 2017 19:23:31 -0600Weebly<![CDATA[An Inspiration]]>Thu, 30 Nov 2017 20:56:17 GMThttp://electricperfection.com/blog/an-inspirationYears ago, I witnessed a symphony concert with a violin concerto staring Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg. I do not remember the particular music piece performed, but I will never forget the effect of that performance. The piece started out with a calm, soothing and subtleness that slowly, but progressively grew into wild passion. As the music grew in intensity, Nadja’s movements grew wilder and wilder in obvious effort to make every note; her face drawn in extreme determination. Her efforts to move her fingers and bow in exact step and time to make each note started to seem impossible, but it just kept getting more and more intense. I kept thinking the complexity and energy can’t get any more, but it just kept growing. It grew and grew until it became completely surreal; dream-like. I felt nervous in my seat and looked around trying to ensure reality… but the music just kept intensifying. Then I was struck – shuddering at the shocking realization that Nadja was no longer playing her violin; she was no longer playing the music. Instead the music was playing her. As if Nadja was caught in the works of a giant iron machine forcing her through every impossible movement, every impossible note with impossibly perfect timing. Every note was perfect because the music was playing itself and Nadja was just caught in the unyielding works of the music. There was no option or choice but to be perfect. Since that time, I have always pursued electronic design in that spirit.

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<![CDATA[Quality Standards]]>Sat, 25 Mar 2017 21:32:04 GMThttp://electricperfection.com/blog/quality-standardsElectronic equipment manufactures strive to meet established state-of-the-art industry quality standards.  These standards are defined by the ANSI (American National Standards Institute) and IPC (Institute for Printed Circuits).  These quality standards are globally recognized and is the most widely used quality acceptability standards in the electronics industry.
 
Throughout my previous electronic design career, these standards were a major design criteria. However, in many instances, I had found design and construction methods that out-perform and/or are more reliable than the industry standards.  Such designs, however, are disallowed because it is not listed in the industry standards and/or may be unfamiliar to manufacturing.
 
Many aspects of designing to standards is to ensure manufacturability; allowing products to be mass produced from a set of standardized documents. Taking this further; many design firms are increasingly relying on cut-and-paste reference designs to produce a product.
 
I came to realize that traditional designs following industry standards are, in reality, generic; where the engineer designs like an artist painting on a paint-by-numbers canvas. This has been a career wide frustration for me. My heart has longed to design without constraints of a pre-conceived template - where the electrical and mechanical design and construction is not restricted or guided by established tradition, where the devices are hand-built, not by a factory worker or skilled assembler, but by the original designer him or herself. This pursuit of artistic design freedom is the embodiment of Electric Perfection. 

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<![CDATA[How I got here]]>Fri, 23 Sep 2016 14:40:05 GMThttp://electricperfection.com/blog/how-i-got-herePicture
I don’t really know when my passion for electronics began.  I feel that I was just born with it, however, it hit a major spark about the age of 8 (1960) when I was very curious how a radio made sound.  With some observational experimenting, I discovered that the paper cone of a speaker vibrated with the sound.  I scavenged an old speaker out of a junk pile and hypothesized that all it needed was some electricity.  I then scavenged a power cord, stripped the ends and tied it to the speaker terminals.  Upon plugging it into the wall outlet, the speaker exploded, launching the voice coil across the room, through the door and into the hallway.  I was astounded and desperate to learn why it did that instead of playing music. 
 
I began seeking and studying every piece of literature on electronics design I could get my hands on.  The study material for a vintage (even for the early 1960’s) electronics technology correspondence course was given to me, as a gift, along with a 1947 copy of the American Radio Relay League handbook.  I fell in love with vacuum tube technology and spent most of my time deep in my own little world sitting at my school desk doodling schematics… which was not report card friendly.  I designed and built many circuits for the thrill of understanding the physics and seeing it work.  Among many others, I built UHF oscillators complete with a highly polished copper tubing transmission-line tank circuit, audio amplifiers, a guitar amplifier and even a ham radio.  Everything built from salvaged parts out of old TV’s and radios.  Everything was my own design.  I didn’t see any point in copying an existing design – it had already been done.
 
Fast forward to 1972 where I worked as a repair technician at a high-end audio shop before being drafted into the army.  During my Army tour, I spent most of my spare time pondering amplifier design and eventually came up with a design with zero overall negative feedback, but with very tight speaker damping.  After leaving the army in 1975 at the age of 23, I built the "Prototype One" amplifier which outperformed expectations.  I attempted to file a patent on the design, but did not have the funds to follow through.  The amplifier has been in daily use for all 42 years to date and continues to perform just as it did in 1975.
 
In 1980, I left the audio business for jobs in communications and general contract engineering.  The Hi-Fi audio shop went out of business as I witnessed the audio masters being overtaken by big business and deceptive marketing.  Since then, for all these years, my heart has yearned for those classic audiophile days, where the circuit designs within the equipment was literally a work of art.  I felt that the “true” audiophile industry had become a fairytale relic of the past.  A time where audio equipment makers were passionate artists, such as Jack Frazier and Paul Klipsch who were competitors, and yet personal friends, both viewing the other with great admiration.  A lost era of magical innocence, but I still dreamed and doodled even more novel amplifier designs.  Resolved that the true audiophile world had faded away - succumbed by big business, I had not taken the time or money to build my new designs – there wasn’t anyone to appreciate or experience it. 
 
Then, decades later, a very curious LinkedIn post caught my attention.  First, I noticed it was written by Steve Barcik Amstel, a very talented professional that I had the pleasure of working with on a design project.  Second, I noticed the puzzling and intriguing title, “My deep dark secret, I am an Audiophile…”.  Wow, I puzzled, what is this?  “No… can’t be, the audiophile world dissipated years ago.”  Then, I Googled “Audiogon” as mentioned in his article.  My heart stopped as I viewed the Audiogon pages.  What?? How did this happen?!!, How have I missed this?!!  I was struck - desperately homesick as I discovered amplifiers like Sovereign and Dan D’Agostino, the artists who designed them and the audiophiles who treasure them.  I then realized that the audiophile world did not drift away – I did!  It should be noted, however, that I never drifted away from my life’s passion of electronic design and engineering (especially analog), it was just practiced in a different industry.
 
With that, I quit my day-job to build my dream amplifier.  With my passion revived and now in full overdrive, I have created “Electric Perfection” to do just that.


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