Do-it-yourself amplifiers: a new approach
This month we have taken quite a different approach to the
construction of a high-performance amplifier, starting on page 16. As indicated
in the March 2000 issue, we have housed the amplifier in a computer case rather
than a conventional amplifier chassis. We have taken this approach for two
reasons. First, custom metalwork for large projects like stereo amplifiers is
now quite expensive and is the major cost in a kit for a project like this.
Second, there are tens of thousands of computer cases going begging as people
upgrade to ever faster machines. These computer cases are often beautifully made
and I hate the thought of them being wasted, as so many of them are.
Admittedly, we did not actually recycle a case for this project
because we decided that the case we had in mind was a bit tatty and might not
photograph all that well. But I hope you will agree that the finished project
really does look the part and shows what can be done. Of course, if you don’t
like the idea of a beige computer case, you can always check the spray paint
shelves at your local auto accessory shop – fancy a metallic gold finish?
By the way, I apologise to all those readers who were
disappointed about the article not appearing in April but the sheer size of the
article and the number of detailed diagrams prevented it happening in time. I
hope you find that the wait was worthwhile. If you have comments on the
presentation, don’t hesitate to drop us a line, by email or conventional
The Dolby Headphone story
Another unusual story in this month’s issue is the feature on
Dolby Headphone. When I first read about Dolby Headphone it sounded like an
April Fool story, except that it wasn’t April. Until you hear the simulation of
five channels of surround sound on headphones it is just not possible to
conceive that it works but it certainly does.
The really gratifying aspect of this story is that the whole
process was developed by a small Australian company, Lake Technology Ltd, based
in Sydney. And not only have they licensed the concept to Dolby but they have
taken it to the airlines as well and if you travel overseas on Qantas or
Singapore Airlines you will experience recent release movies with Dolby
Headphone surround sound – a big feather in their caps.
In fact, this story gives the lie to the recent softness in the
Australian dollar which has been ascribed to overseas currency dealers regarding
Australia as an "old economy" not strong in new technology. What rubbish! These
people wouldn’t know where to look when it comes to old or new technology and
they are just not aware of how Australian companies are "punching well above
their weight" on world markets.
And when it comes to companies adopting new technology to
obtain productivity benefits, Australian companies are generally far ahead of
their counterparts in the USA or Europe – but the currency dealers wouldn’t know