Push-Pull Amp: Does the new Shuffle have it?

The first-generation iPod Shuffle was roundly praised for its excellent sound quality. The notable quality came from a "push-pull" amplifier design, similar in concept to those in audiophile-quality tube amps. Apple did not advertise or even acknowledge the presence of the unique design--perhaps because other iPods didn't have it--and it was PC Magazine's Bill Machrone who proved its existence empirically, using a software oscilloscope. (You can read his excellent article on it here.)

To understand how a push-pull amplifier works, picture the amplifier as a tiny see-saw and transistors as cute little field mice. In a push-pull amplifier, the see-saw has a mouse on either side, pushing it up and down. With each mouse carrying the other's weight, the wave motion of the see-saw is nice and smooth, no matter how fast or high they go.

In a conventional single-ended amplifier, there's a mouse on one side and a big piece of cheese on the other. The mouse pushes up on the see saw and then gravity takes it back down. This works OK with everyday use, but at slow-moving, high-jumping levels, the mouse gets lonely and has to eat some cheese to cheer up. Hence, you get a distorted wave.

We're eager to find out if Apple kept this excellent design for the new 2G Shuffle.

3 Comments:

At 1:49 AM, Anonymous John said...

Any news on the 2G Shuffle's amp section? :)

 
At 3:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the new one is 1Gb.

 
At 1:40 PM, Anonymous Carlos said...

He meant 2G as "2nd generation" not as "2 gigabytes". I also would like to know if this new Shuffle "has got a secret" too, but I fear it doesn't.

 

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