Nobody with a real engineering background and strong belief in the scientific process could actively participate in that community and maintain a healthy state of mind. Lots of people simply cannot let go of the possibility that maybe they cannot actually hear they things they claim they can, and there is a severe psychological bias to supporting people's fancies, spending, and quests for "perfection."
NwAvGuy is unique in that he tried to educate (and was very adamant about this) the community and designed a superior and relatively inexpensive DAC/Amp to show people that many other people building eqiupment were full of crap. And because of this I think somebody would have tried to harm him if he ever revealed his identity - I'm not exaggerating.
There were/are a lot of people who tried to help on that forum by presenting general engineering principles and sensible methodologies (e.g. volume matching) for testing. And eventually they all stopped participating because any push towards a scientific methodology was responded to with vitriol and hate.
So I'm not surprised he just vanished. I used to get attacked for asking the most basic questions (e.g. did you try to volume match when comparing two amps). I can't imagine the hell he went through. Why would you tolerate that hostility for a hobby?
"Perfboard DIY – Don’t try this! While a basic Cmoy might work cobbled together on perfboard or protoboard the O2 is different. The higher performance and greater complexity mean you’ll almost certainly have problems without using a proper PC board."
Does anyone have any insight into the nature of the problems that might result from a quick lash up on Veroboard?
PS: the comment made in the OA about the verbosity of NwAvGuy certainly struck a chord!
And the entire article at:
Its easy to make something that amplifies, but he's trying to make something that provides specs maybe 10x to 10000x better than human hearing can detect, which is much harder. You can build something that outputs 0.1% THD and you won't be able to hear it, but he wants (wanted?) to build to 0.001% THD and he's got the rather expensive test equipment required to prove it.
JDS labs sells a PCB for less than the cost of shipping (you'll spend more on UPS than on the board) or a full parts kit for $60. This has been around for years and I've been tempted but haven't built one. I just checked JDS and its still in production and in stock. Being CC- licensed there are probably other places to get PCBs and kits.
OK, I'll do the reading (verbose-ness!).
The quote above makes a degree of sense - I can remember valve based consumer electronics and having fun with the microphonics. Dad used a piece of dowling with a grommet on the end to check for valves that 'rang' so he could replace them.
Domain Name: NWAVGUY.COM
Registrar: 1 & 1 INTERNET AG
Sponsoring Registrar IANA ID: 83
Whois Server: whois.1and1.com
Referral URL: http://1and1.com
Name Server: NS57.1AND1.COM
Name Server: NS58.1AND1.COM
Status: ok https://www.icann.org/epp#OK
Updated Date: 10-mar-2015
Creation Date: 09-mar-2007
Expiration Date: 09-mar-2016
Some things exist purely so they can have their purchase price shared and in the instance of high end audio, I can only imagine the margins involved.
If this guy made the waves the article implies then someone in the industry tracked him down and incentivized him to go away.
The audiophile community is full of fanatics as extreme as religious fanatics, and probably he valued his sanity and mental health over dealing with those types of people.
No it's not.
10 years ago I would have never believed I would write the statement above. But after being on that forum and interacting with people in that community (e.g. at meets) for years there are most definitely people like that.
Nelson Pass has designed a series of innovative amplifiers that he sells as commercial products. He also releases circuit diagrams and build instructions his amplifiers, and helps out DIYers on public forums.
In contrast, it is great that NwAvGuy has designed a budget headphone amplifier, and released the design with a no derivative works allowed Creative Commons license. But that falls a long way short of what Nelson Pass has produced over the years in my opinion.
I think if you asked Nelson Pass whether or not all 'decently made' amplifiers sound the same, he would suggest you need do a bit of listening to different high quality designs.
We agree though about speakers and the quick win they represent. They're like your car's tires, the primary interface between you and the medium, and an upgrade is the lowest hanging fruit.
Your car example is perfect. If performance was the only metric the buyer of a Pagani cared about, he'd have bought a ZR-1 Corvette. But because anyone with a six figure income and a 730+ FICO can buy a Vette, the gazillionaire buys the Pagani, something that exists (in part) because it projects the buying capability of it's owner.
I'm betting not.
EDIT - I guess people don't understand why they see articles like this when they do.
Definitely beats another hiring thread on HN :-)