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Designing Audio Power Amplifiers 1st Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0071640244
ISBN-10: 007164024X
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Bob Cordell, an electrical engineer, is a prolific designer of amplifiers, audio test equipment, and other audio gear. He has published articles on power amplifier design in the Journal of the Audio Engineering Society (JAES) and other publications. Bob is a member of the JAES Review Board and he maintains an audiophile website at www.cordellaudio.com.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 640 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill/TAB Electronics; 1 edition (October 7, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 007164024X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071640244
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 1.3 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #148,838 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
[Adapted from the book review by Jean-Pierre Vanderreydt in Linear Audio Vol 1, April 2010, by kind permission of Linear Audio Publishing]
This book is exclusively about audio power amplifiers design and mainly about class AB power amplifiers except for detailed introduction to class D amplifiers. Bob Cordell, the author, is well known within the audio community. He is a member of the AES, and presented many important papers on power amplifier design and distortion analysis.
The objective of this book is, according to its author: « to address many advanced topics and important design subtleties and to allow at the same time designers relatively new to the field to absorb the material without being overwhelmed ».
Did he achieve his goal? Certainly yes, by more than 90%. It is definitely a design book and not a cookbook or a description more or less exhaustive of existing designs. When digested, this book will give to the reader all the background necessary to design state of the art and flawlessly performing amplifiers. The advanced reader will find topics not addressed in equivalent books and which would otherwise require reading of specialized literature.

The books' division in six parts is judicious and well chosen. It helps to keep an overall view of the field without being lost in details while gradually building up knowledge.
In part one the author covers the basic design principles of a power amplifiers. The voltage amplifying topology analyzed throughout the book is the two stages OTA (Operational Trans-conductance Amplifier). This topology is the most used in power amplifiers, because it is well known and well behaved. This part starts with a description of the basic building blocks used to design the stages of an OTA.
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About five years ago I got interested in what had happened in the field of audio amplifiers since my last brush with them some 30 years ago. I bought two books on the subject and read them through several times before beginning to build some prototype amplifiers. Just recently I noticed a brand new book hot off the press, "Designing Audio Power Amplifiers" by Bob Cordell.

I had purchased "High-Power Audio Amplifier Construction Manual" by G. Randy Slone. His is not a design manual but as it says, a construction manual. Much is covered in the area of how modern solid state amplifiers are designed and the history of them, however. This book is copyright 1999 so it is not the latest information.

Later I saw "Audio Power Amplifier Design Handbook" by Doug Self, fifth edition published 2009. This is a major update of the 4th edition which I had purchased earlier. It is a bit more technical, going into the mathematics involved to a greater extent. By this time I had built three audio amplifiers all of which have been working well for some time.

Most recently I saw the announcement of "Designing Audio Power Amplifiers" by Bob Cordell. None of these could be called casual reading nor are they absorbed in an evening. Cordell's book is over 600 pages (and the other two over 500 pages)! It goes into detail regarding the design of an amplifier but Cordell keeps the math quite simple and gives the reader a much better intuitive feeling for what is happening in a solid state amplifier circuit. He discusses some techniques not mentioned by the other two.

Slone discusses bipolar transistor output stages and MOSFET output stages.
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When I heard that Bob Cordell had written a book on audio power amp design, I advance-ordered it immediately. Everything I'd seen of his work over the years had been eminently coherent and elegantly conveyed. The book arrived today and is well worth the wait.

I'm going to have to be careful about how much time I spend with this, as it could easily keep me up into the wee hours and lead to an impractical day following. But everything I've sampled is accurate, concise, and a pleasure to read. Much like Floyd Toole's recent magisterial tome, Sound Reproduction, Cordell calmly but decisively demolishes flawed audio mythology at every turn. Part 5, toward the end, is itself well-worth the price of admission. The discussion on negative feedback in particular is recommended.

But the book is not all about skewering shibboleths, and dipping into to earlier chapters reveals a keen and compassionate ability to convey crucial insights into real design. The balance between the maths, simulation results, and real-world experience is well-wrought. Again, I've not read but a fraction, but the flavor comes through readily from all of the excerpts I've perused.

As well, the book appears to be astonishingly typo-free. There must be a few, but I haven't found any yet.

Having heard directly from Toole how arduous the production of his book was, the fights with incompetent editors and so forth, and the negligible compensation he's receiving, I am mightily impressed with this book, and thank Bob Cordell for expending the enormous effort it has doubtless required. And I sense a fundamental decency about the man, somehow.

Very highly recommended.
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