Audio as a hobby
Although audio has had my lifelong interest, I must confess that I never worked in the audio industry in any shape or form. I did a short stint at Philips in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, developing TV high-voltage/flyback transformers and associated circuitry. After 4 years though, I went to work for the Netherlands Air Force until my retirement some years ago.
During my active career I worked in Air Defense, software development, enterprise resource planning and similar types of sports. I am a technical person and designing and building audio equipment is my way to focus my technical interests to produce well-sounding audio systems.
I've been doing audio design for many decades now and I was fortunate to find people interested in what I was doing, and willing to publish my designs. My first submission was an article on a tracking +/-50V-10A power supply, to Wireless World. It was rejected. That hurt, but I learned from the experience. I've had no more rejections. So far.
WW has since been renamed to Electronics World and has been transformed in an industry-type journal.
I had one design, the Spitsbergen power amp (see picture), reviewed by Jean Hiraga in the legendary French journal L'Audiophile. Quite favorable, I dare say. Unfortunately, I never succeeded to make it into a commercial product. I thought that its unusual artwork design would cause people to throw money at me for the privilege to own one, but not so. But it was (and is) a great amp. It's conceptual design is described in my AES preprint # 4597.
I must also admit that I have always been absolute devotee to AudioXpress and it's several precursors. As you may remember, it all started when Ed Dell published the first issue of The Audio Amateur in 1970 from his Swartmore, PA home. In the 80's and 90's, sister publications were launched like Glass Audio and Speaker Builder. When Ed retired at the age of 88 (!), the Elektor Group acquired the journal (now published as AudioXpress) and continue publishing it.
Almost all of my articles and interviews have been published by Ed Dell, a man who singlehandedly did more to further interest in serious audio diy than anyone else.
One of my articles (the stepper-motor driven remote volume control) was, with the gracious agreement of Ed, published not only in Audio Amateur but also in the German ELRAD and the French L'Audiophile (both of which, alas, no longer exist).
One interesting experience was the collaboration with Walt Jung on an article series about very low noise power supplies in the mid-90's. The article series is available on Walt's site, my contribution was the implementation and measurements.
Where I stand
An audio amplifier or speaker should take the music signal at its input and faithfully deliver it at the output. That output should be identical to the input except for a change in level or power or impedance. The device should be LINEAR. Thats my main goal when designing an audio component. To verify that my designs are as linear as I can make them, and to find out where I failed, I use a collection of test equipment. Of course I listen (critically) to my system, but only after I'm happy with the measurements.
I haven't had the urge to design SE tube equipment. I know that SE amps can sound great and very enjoyable. From a design point of view, SE amps pose an interesting challenge. But for me it is too much voicing the system rather than reproduce as faithfully as possible whats being offered.
We havent reached that goal of faithfully reproducing whats being offered, not by a long shot. Yet, reproduced music can sound very convincing, very enjoyable, very lifelike. Thats my goal.
It gives me great satisfaction to hear music coming from a newly-designed piece of equipment for the first time. That box of parts, mechanical construction, the board layout, the concept of the design, thats not just a piece of hardware. Thats ME!