Fun Visit with Tommy

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Fun Visit with Tommy
« on: 21 May 2010, 07:47 pm »
I was in Tommy’s area on business this week and arranged to stop by. I had a great visit. We played some tunes through a variety of front ends and speakers (Apogee Centaur and a Madisound DIY MTM model). Good overlap with some of my favorite groups, but got to hear some new ones, too. It was great fun for me since I never get to do the RAVE thing.

Definitely a different sound than my Merlin VSM-based sound, but the room was much different than mine, as was everything else except for the amp.

Mfsoa, guess what I got to hear? Can you fill in the missing blanks: m_n_b_ock? Tommy didn't say whether you had, too, so maybe I shouldn't gloat too soon.

Besides being a gracious host, Tommy impressed me as a passionate music lover, serious businessman who understands that customers come first, and an experienced, talented switching amp designer. Anybody considering a Digital Amplifier Company amp should not worry about being well taken care of.

Tommy has been at switching amp design a long time and has seen all the variations, even if he has not done them all himself. His historical overview and museum were educational. In my opinion, he is a top notch designer. I’m an engineer, but not a EE, so have no personal design expertise there. However, I am the CEO of a high-tech company, with heavy EE emphasis. So, I know good practices and talent when I see it.

One special thing about Tommy is that while he understands the critical importance of design, specs and measurements, he also understands how pushing specs too far can start making things worse sound-wise. In other words, he listens. For one example, he described to me how after a certain point, adding negative feedback around the output filter introduces delays that can be heard (and measured, by the way). So, after you have good enough SNR, stop. Up to the good enough point, NFB doesn’t introduce enough delay to be heard. Good thing :D.Then he showed me how headroom could be added at the expense of increased noise. He had decided that the headroom was already more than sufficient and that lower noise should prevail. Note, this is the farthest thing from saying that only what you hear matters. This is all about understanding what makes a great sounding amp in all its aspects.

Finally, he is one dynamic guy. Probably don't need to tell that to the RAVE guys. Glad I don’t have to keep up with him on the hockey rink!

Thanks, Tommy, for a fun visit!