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Announcements made to site readers

HI FI Meetup Dec 6, 2016

Join us for our first meetup. Meet Roger, Meserve and Matt and others interested in High End Audio. DIY welcome.

San Pablo HiFi Meetup

San Pablo, CA
9 Members

Lets get together and talk about audio equipment, how to buy, how to build your own, how to improve your system. I have been building audio equipment all my life. I started be…

Next Meetup

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Thursday, Dec 8, 2016, 6:00 PM
3 Attending

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Basic Electronics Class Starting Sunday, November 29


We have space for a few drop-ins. If you want to attend the first class come to 11161 San Pablo Ave, El Cerrito at 12:30 to register. Plenty of parking in front or behind the building.  Only 5 blocks from Del Norte BART.  Take this class as a taster for $40.  You will leave understanding such concepts as internal resistance, ohms law and how voltage, current and resistance determine everything in electronic circuits and your home.


Roger is offering a basic electronics class covering general topics in an easy-to-understand format. The class includes hands-on instructions with test equipment, soldering, etc.

•Class #1. Volts, ohms, amps, AC and DC circuits. Get a handle on these important concepts at an intuitive level. Ohm’s Law explained in simple forms anyone can understand.
•Class #2. What resistors, capacitors, inductors, transformers, tubes and transistors do in the electronic devices you use every day. From your Microwave oven to your music system.
•Class #3 Audio amplifiers. These power the speakers in everything you listen to. We will discuss Home HIFI amplifiers, guitar amplifiers, headphone amplifiers and preamplifiers.
•Class #4 Understanding Schematics. Learn how to read schematics and appreciate the design efforts that go into making electronic circuits.
•Class#5 Together we will determine what to study based on our previous discussions and interests.

Meets 5 times for 3 hours per class. 1-4 PM Sundays Nov 29, Dec 6, 13, 20, 27. Something good to do over the holiday vacation. Interested students can stay till 5pm for listening to our vacuum tube driven Electrostatic Speaker System with their own music on CD or iPod type device. Location 11161 San Pablo Ave, El Cerrito. Within 0.5 miles (10 min) from Del Norte BART Station.
•Tuition: $200 pre-registration for all 4 classes or $40 per class at the door.
•Recommended reading Analog Electronics by Gerald E. Williams ISBN 0-314-04553-8
•Available at several libraries or used at very low prices, 621.3815 or TK7867.W53
•Check your library shelf 621.38 for books on basic electronics.

Report from BurningAmp 2015

Thanks to Mark for a well organized event in an excellent venue.  We were in an open floor plan office which also has many small rooms for demonstrations. His staff was well organized, friendly and very helpful. We had great food and interesting conversations. I highly recommend this event.

Here is the video of my talk. Thanks to Mike for doing a great job shooting the presentations and providing great sound. Here is the link to my talk which starts at 11.20 minutes on the time scale and goes into the beginning of Nelsons video. It looses sound near the end but I was pretty much done . Roger’s Talk

And here is Nelson Pass doing his thing  Nelson’s talk  Nelson talks a bit about Schade Feedback which I had read about in the 1938 paper from RCA when they announced the first beam tube, the 6L6.  He cast a new light upon that information for me. He is using the concept in the amplifier he presented at the talk.  As always, Nelson is discovering new devices and circuits.

Here is a link to Shade’s  landmark paper of 1938, the invention of the Beam Power Tube (6L6, 6550, 6V6 and the KT series). See page 360 for the feedback. The earlier part of the paper is the design of the tube with the classic drawing of the beam forming on page 346. It’s a very technical paper so don’t let it bury you.  Schade 1938 RCA

Explore Mike’s youTube for other video of the event.

At the sale I picked up a really clean SoundTech distortion analyzer for the school lab.

Now in the Bay Area

Hello Bay Area Audio Enthusiasts,

We are finally out of Santa Barbara and located in lovely El Cerrito. I am available for helping tune your system in your home or for repairs at the shop. You can also buy tubes in person. Write me at to arrange a mail order or pick-up. Intern positions are available for both the business and school.

The Berkeley Hi Fi School will be offering classes in the late fall/early winter. We are working on a text book to accompany the classes. Every modern book I pick up has incorrect information about amplifiers and how they work. The internet is of course worse.

I am finding that many listeners do not know how to identify large amounts of simple distortion. They tend to think it’s something else like bloated bass or poor imaging. There isn’t much talk about distortion in the magazines and forums and most of what I read is not correctly stated. I have personally observed cases where a group of listeners were not able to identify distortion that was in excess of 20%.They were good listeners, just not trained in what distortion sounds like.

At the Hi Fi school we will listen to various levels of distortion from various sources. We will hear that second harmonic distortion is not benign and that small amounts of crossover distortion are very obvious. This whole story of high order harmonics is horribly misstated. When amplifiers create distortion they do it in specific ways. Speakers do it in entirely different ways. The way distortion is created is more important than its order or percentage.

Anyone who has time and interest to get involved with the school please contact me at the above email. We need some help in everything from organizing the space, updating the website, enrollments and special events. I am here to share my years of experience in audio but I can’t do everything. I have several new designs that I would like to see go into production. Help with producing and marketing those would be appreciated. Helpers will receive free classes and discounts on equipment.

I am also teaching Kinetics and Electronics at The Crucible in Oakland and an afterschool basic electronics and magnetism at Madera and Harding elementary schools in EL Cerrito. Let your friends in the area know about these classes.

Help Wanted: Enrollment Manager

We have a position available for a class enrollment manager who will coordinate enrollment activities including:

  • Enrollment inquiries
  • Requests for new classes
  • Individual instruction/tutoring on anything electronic
  • Coordinating in-house education for industry
  • Managing the course calendars and locations

Compensation is free tuition toward any course offered and the opportunity to create a course of your own interest.

DIY Amplifier Lab Class

I am offering a small class of 2 or 3 students to teach to understand, make and fix amplifiers. Tuition is $50 per hour for 2 students or $40 per hour for 3 students. We will get a lot done in a small time. This will be customized to the students needs. You can bring amplifiers to repair or modify. I have two benches fully equipped.

We are having the first class on Sunday Feb 21 starting 10am-1pm for the lecture part of the class. That part will cover amplifier basics, reading schematics, learning typical voltages for troubleshooting. After Lunch break we will have the hands on class limited to 3 students working on the bench with my assistance.

Later in the spring we will be working on the amplifier described below. We are still waiting on delivery from China.

One of the students has ordered a Chinese amplifier kit that we can measure and improve in the class.  This one will run $314 with shipping.

In my opinion this one is is a better deal at $200 with shipping. The output tube is similar a 6L6 and can use any 6L6 or 6V6. In the class you will learn about these tubes.  This amp may be lighter hence the lower shipping cost.

Here is more information on the 6P3p amplifier including schematic. Being handwired this is an easy amp to modify and improve.

Here is the data for the input tube which is similar to a 6BQ7 and a close sub would be a 6922.

Here is the data for the output tube which appears to be close to a 6L6 and we can use a 6L6.

New Classes for Winter 2015

Interesting article about the joy of fixing things.

We are looking for students for a Saturday morning (9-12) and afternoon (1-4) class (6 hours with 1 hour lunch break) to learn hands on repair of guitar and HiFi amplifiers. Students will learn how to analyze circuits, make measurements, substitute components. Tentative start date February 28, but negotiable once the students apply. Cost is $40 per hour. You can bring something to fix and do it yourself for less than having someone else do it.  Space is limited to 4 students. This is a very special opportunity to learn from a EE with over 45 years of continuous experience in all areas of electronic and electric appliance repair. Roger taught this course in Santa Barbara to a larger class for 5 years with great success. The class is intentionally small so that your specific needs and interests can be addressed.

For the Audiophile there will be an 8 week class, Saturday 9-12,write for start date. Each class will take an in depth look at each part of the system from source to speakers. Students will have an opportunity to take test equipment home to check their system response. Cost $240

The Forums Are Open

The Berkeley Hi Fi School and Music Reference forums are now open. Please feel free to share your ideas, comments and start new discussions related to school’s classes, Music Reference products and or anything else related to high end audio. Simply register and join in the discussions.