Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Christopher McQuillan 

BSc [Hons] Creative Media Technologies

I have completed the honours BSc in Creative Media Technologies at IADT. My interests are problem solving and being creative with my hands. I like to work with tools and have something to show for it at the end. As a result of doing this course I gained an interest in working with electronic circuits and acquiring new skills in the electrical industry. This has shaped my desire to pursue a career in this area.

Project Description

The project is a power amplifier and a modern take on a classic. It brings together digital elements of a temperature sensor and microcontroller, and the analogue elements of an amplifier with the aim of delivering pristine sound quality.

Thesis Title: Power Amplifier

A power amp or an audio power amp is one of the main parts of an amplification system. It is
placed between the preamp and the speakers. A power amplifier is a piece of equipment that
that amplifies low-power electronic audio signals such as electric guitars, microphones etc.
that are inputs to the preamp. The audio signals are boosted to a level of power which is
measured in watts that is high enough to drive headphones and loudspeakers.
The first power amplifier was built in 1912 by Lee De Forest (Audio power amplifier 2020).
He used an electrical component called the triode vacuum tube or valve that he too invented.
This device had three terminals with a control grid that could modulate the flow of electrons.
This design was used to make the first AM radio.
Today these valve amps are not as widespread and have been replaced with cheaper more
readily available amps made with electronic components. However, many musicians and
audio engineers prefer tube-based amplifiers as they tend to have a warmer sound.
The aim of this project was to build a power amplifier by hand with the use of components,
soldering and software to simulate the circuits, using a collection of skills I have acquired over
the last four years at IADT.