Simulating reality

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Simulating reality

Back in "the day" when there were no computers, email, or cell phones, we had to try things out in real time.

I still wince at the memory of repeatedly blowing up an amplifier circuit board. I was trying to make a lightning fast amp circuit because I suspected it would sound better. That speed increase came at a price. The faster I made the amp the more likely it was to become unstable and detonate. Time and again I backed off the speed until it didn't light on fire and had to be rebuilt.

That was a long and arduous process.

Today, we have circuit simulation tools that completely eliminate what I and other designers at the time had to suffer through. Want a fast amplifier? Ok, design it on the video screen, put a "signal" into it, and see what happens. 

Does it oscillate? No worries. Instead of lighting on fire (as the amp's output flies back and forth between the power rails at full power), it simply looks bad on the screen.

Or, loudspeaker design. How many hours and years of soldering, clip leads, and lengthy measurement rituals did it used to take designing a crossover for a speaker? Today, Chris Brunhaver loads in his drivers, tries out idea after idea on the crossover until it looks perfect—all while sitting at his desk.

What's truly stunning is how close the simulated outcomes are to the actual measured performance.

And, while all this magic helps, it still won't tell you how it sounds.

We can't yet simulate our ear/brains. 

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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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