Guitar Amplifier System Design Book
Fundamentals of Guitar Amplifier

System Design

Richard Kuehnel
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Published November 6, 2019!

Book Description

Books about guitar amplifier electronics usually focus on individual circuits: preamp stages, tone stacks, phase inverters, the power amp, and power supply. The design of a guitar amplifier as a complete system, however, is more than the natural consequence of putting these pieces together. Fundamentals of Guitar Amplifier System Design presents a structured, top-down approach to crafting a complete guitar amplifier, including

  • formulating the concept for a new amp,
  • evaluating possible features,
  • setting audio interface signal levels,
  • laying out a basic architecture,
  • developing a system-level audio model,
  • designing individual stages to match the model,
  • shaping the system's frequency-response profile,
  • facilitating the evolutionary development of future designs, and
  • executing a post-design checklist to identify mistakes.

It has been said that the process of guitar amplifier design is like a cooking recipe, like flavors that you are mixing. This book is about mixing these flavors to achieve rewarding sonic results.

Author

Richard Kuehnel is a member of the Circuits and Systems Society of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.

ISBN/EAN 978-0-9996742-3-9
Price $29.95
Format paperback
Page Count 184
Publication Date November 6, 2019
Trim Size 7x9 inches
Carton Quantity 17
Subject(s) ARTS & PHOTOGRAPHY : Music : Instruments & Performers

Contents

Introduction

Warning: High Voltage!...1
The Importance of a System-Level Perspective...1
Acknowledgements...4

Chapter 1: Best Practices for Guitar Amplifier System Design

Use a Hierarchical, Top-Down Methodology...6
Create Unidirectional Dependencies...10
Prioritize a List of Functional Requirements...11
Design the Interfaces...12
Work on High-Risk Items First...13
Maintain an Updated Model of the System...13
Use Evolutionary Development...16
Build in Preparation for Buying...19
Design for Testability...20
A Glossary of Relevant Terms...20
A New Tool for System Design...22

Chapter 2: The Fuzzy Front End

Develop the Concept for a New Design...24
A Mid-20th Century Example...24
A Modern Example...28
Series Effects Loop...32
Preamplifier...33
Power Amplifier...33
Impressive Tone...40
Cascading Gain...41
Design the Interfaces...44
Guitar Input Jack Interface...44
Effects Send Interface...46
DC Plate Supply Interface...48
Effects Return Interface...48
Develop a Basic Architecture...50
Power Amplifier Subsystem...51
Preamplifier Subsystem...54

Chapter 3: Circuit Implementation

Power Amplifier Subsystem...62
Power Amp...62
Power Supply...67
Power Amp Driver...73
Negative Feedback...75
Effects Recovery and Master Volume...82
Preamplifier Subsystem...86
Preamp Distortion Stage and Effects Send Attenuator...86
Cascading Gain and Attenuator...91
Second Voltage Amplifier and Tone Stack...95
First Voltage Amplifier and Gain Control...97
Ripple Filters and Plate Circuit Decoupling...100
Basic Concepts...102
Design Examples...106
Setting RC Resistor Values...110
Setting RC Capacitor Values...111
Heater Supply Requirements...113

Chapter 4: Voicing

Set the Attenuation Budget...116
Unintentional Grid Stoppers...118
Appropriate the Attenuation Budget...120
Execute the Attenuation Budget...121
First Stage Grid Stopper...121
First Stage Coupling Capacitor...122
Second Stage Cathode Bypass Capacitor...123
Cascading Gain Cathode Bypass Capacitor...125
Cascading Gain Coupling Capacitor...126
Preamp Distortion Cathode Bypass Capacitor...127
Preamp Distortion Coupling Capacitor...128
Effects Recovery Grid Stopper...129
Effects Recovery Coupling Capacitor...130
PA Driver Coupling Capacitor...131

Chapter 5: Design Review

Design Review Checklist...135
Signal Levels...139
Voicing...144

Chapter 6: Evolutionary Development

The Fuzzy Front End...147
Develop a Concept for a New Design...148
Design the Interfaces...158
Develop a Basic Architecture...158
Circuit Implementation...159
Power Amp...159
Power Supply...161
Power Amp Driver and Negative Feedback...163
Effects Recovery...166
Finalizing the Power Supply and Ripple Filters...167
Voicing...169
Design Review...171
Conclusions...173

Some Final Words on Guitar Amplifier System Design

Index