by Denton J Dailey; Print book
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Technical but also readable   (2011-08-12)
Overall I really like this book. Readers with no technical background might find this book tough going in many places, but Dailey explains things in a pretty clear and concise way. If you aren't into the math and circuit analysis side of things the book has quite a few cool circuit examples that can be built if you like to tinker with hardware.
Unlike a lot of other guitar/amp books I've seen, Dailey doesn't present a lot of subjective opinions about how one manufacturer or tube is better or worse than another. That's fine with me. I can make my own determination of what sounds good or bad. Just give me the scientific facts.
I majored in engineering in college so most of the first few chapters (power supplies, filters, pickups, basic op amp circuits, etc) was review for me. The chapters that really caught my interest covered effects circuits and tube amps. I had a decent idea about how phasers and flangers worked, but now I really have a good handle on this stuff. I thought that the section coveing envelope followers was especially interesting and I can see where this circuit has applications in a lot of other non musical applications too. A lot of heavy concepts are presented but the applications make it all much easier to digest. The section on transistor thermal analysis wasn't too interesting to me, but I can see the value of it in some situations.
The chapter on tube amps was the most interesting to me. Vacuum tubes were never even mentioned when I was in college and I've wanted to learn more about them for a long time. Dailey goes through the design of a number of different tube amps from start to finish in a mostly step by step manner. I learned enough from the examples that I feel confident that I could design an amp from scratch but I will probably build one of the examples when I have the time.
One possible weakness of the book is the lack of a chapter that covers basic electricity. This would be useful for readers that have little or no background in electronics. The book is also rather expensive. Not that it wasn't a good investment, bit I think a cheaper paperback version would be perfect.
Summing it all up, if you are serious about understanding how effects circuits work and you would like to understand basic tube amp operation, or you'd like to build some amp or effect circuits to experiment with then you will probably really enjoy this book.
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