Stereotype solutions

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Stereotype solutions

In 1798 a French printer, Firmin Didot, invented a new technology that might be second only to Gutenberg's original invention of the printing press in 1450. Before Didot's stroke of brilliance, printing was an arduous process that used movable type—individually molded metal pieces, one per letter, that had to be arranged by hand. This heavy and fragile collection of thousands of pieces could then be used to print one page at a time on only a single press. Didot invented the metal printing plate—a sheet of metal that duplicated the movable type without all the pieces—and used the process extensively on multiple presses, revolutionizing the book trade by his cheap editions. His Paris manufactory was a place of pilgrimage for the printers of the world.

He called his invention the Stereotype.

Society has discouraged the use of stereotyping (the popular term, not the printing method) because it leads to prejudice. There's no room for prejudice when it comes to people but I would argue it can be of great value in circuit designs. Just think about the hundreds of amplifier circuits available as design choices and you begin to see why a bit of prejudice in one direction or another can be a benefit. No designer has enough time to wade through a lifetime of circuit building to settle on a design.

Some stereotypical design choices in analog circuits might be: FET input op-amps are warmer and less etched sounding than BJTs; direct coupling always sounds better than cap coupling; film caps sound better than electrolytics in the signal path; higher voltage rails delivers greater linear range; single ended output stages are more musical than push pull; current sourced stages trump resistor based; the more open loop stable a circuit the better it will sound.

I could go on for hours, but I am probably crossing the eyes of some and raising the hair on the backs of others.

The point is when faced with a complex set of variables a bit of prejudice can go a long way towards sorting out the wheat from the chaff.

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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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