Since I’ve been running this website, I have had numerous emails about past articles. These have increased of late, which is a good thing. One of the more interesting developments have been the “By Request” and the “Guest Contributions” categories. Here’s an excerpt of a recent email one from Vladislav Polur, which falls into both. I have made some minor edits, for clarity:
“I am sending you a link about a review of a preamplifier made based on your article about using video op amps in audio. I could not find the author of the preamplifier. The reason I am interested in this design is because I had a chance to listen to an amplifier based just on signal op amps, within my friend’s system. It was a great experience; it sounded better than any amplifier I had a chance to hear before, tube or solid state.”
I think Vladislav may have given me a bit too much credit for the entire preamp realization, even it was/is in part based on my work appearing within Gary Galo’s POOGE-5 article. That box insert did in fact use video op amps, and it was titled High Performance Audio Stages Using Transimpedance Amplifiers. That preliminary piece sets the stage for the highlight item of this post, as follows below.
The item that matches up best with Vladislav’s listening experience and his cited link was Grayson King’s preamp project. This work was from the 1994 series of The Audio Amateur, and was entitled Valkyrie: A Line-Stage Preamplifier. The preamp was Grayson’s senior project while at Clarkson University in pursuit of his EE degree. It was developed under the tutelage of Gary Galo, and it did indeed make not just a fun university project, but also a great example of a worthy project for others. Grayson did do a fine job with his preamp! After graduation he took a job with Analog Devices in Boston, working in the same department as I did then, applications engineering.
It is a pleasure to help Grayson’s preamp to find some new friends here, and I want thank him for helping to make it all available once more, as a “Guest Contribution”.
A final note for those pursuing line stage performance. Another such preamp was described in Klaus Noll’s Showcase: A Headphone Amp, in AudioXpress, May 2003.