The Systematic Approach – By Steve Elford

The Systematic Approach Blogs by Steve Elford – Part 5 'Microphony in Electronic Devices'

In my last blog I talked about the propagation of vibration through different materials and what happens at the boundaries of different materials. But this is of no interest if there is no consequence to it all. There is of course – almost all components in an electronic circuit are to some degree 'microphonic' - that is, if they are vibrated, they will turn some of that vibration into a small unwanted electrical signal, which is literally added to the actual signal we want to process. If we allow increasing levels of vibration to pass into our circuit components we...

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The Systematic Approach Blogs by Steve Elford – Part 4 'The Mechanics of Vibration in Materials'

The world of hifi is full of discussion about the effects of acoustic pollution, both airborne and through materials. And when it comes to the hardware, we casually use terms such as mechanical vibration, resonance, coupling, grounding, damping, isolation and so-on without really understanding how it all works. The truth is at the basic level it’s a very simple subject – nothing more difficult than a high school physics lesson. But why bother about it? Because it’s a fundamental of the Systematic Approach and it becomes relevant when the time comes to really push the boundaries of system performance. So here...

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The Systematic Approach Blogs by Steve Elford – Part 3 'The Sound of Systematic Faults'

In my Systematic Approach blogs parts one and two, I covered the basics of the causes of systematic faults – RFI and vibration in essence. But it's also important to understand what damage these things do sonically. A simple description might be: With gross Systematic Faults a system will sound bright, flat and two-dimensional. Heavier music will be fatiguing (limiting programme choice), bass will be lumpy and untuneful and tonal detail will be limited. Treble will be spitty with no subtlety. Timing will be poor, with different rhythmic elements of music seemingly disjointed. The system will not be transparent, so...

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The Systematic Approach Blogs by Steve Elford – Part 2 'Damaging Effects'

In Systematic Approach part 1, I introduced the idea of the two root causes of 'hidden' sound quality faults. I call them hidden, although they are far from hidden in terms of the bad sound they cause, but hidden because simple hi-fi thinking that only considers traditional circuit design, the format of recordings or the size of your speakers, largely overlooks these problems. The two causes are, of course, Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) and Vibration. But now we need to look at the way they damage sound quality. RFI induced distortion: Unwanted RFI in analogue circuits raises the noise floor which masks fine detail and...

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The Systematic Approach Blogs by Steve Elford – Part 1 'An Introduction'

Now we have moved over all are marketing to Quiescent, it’s about time we started to re-introduce the core concepts of sound quality problems, system building and equipment design that we work to. So I now plan to use a series of blogs to go right from first principles and then slowly develop all the logic and practical solutions on the topic, which we call The Systematic Approach. Systematic Approach The Systematic Approach is a unified way of thinking. It means we consider all the influences on hi-fi performance in an integrated and balanced way, and we need to have all...

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