Robert A. (Bob) Smith is the Founder, Chief Engineer and President of TDSS. Bob is and has been a well-respected, innovative designer and engineer of audio products for well over a decade. Having also been former president and chief designer at SP Technology Loudspeakers, Inc., standing president of Aether Audio, former Technical Support & Marketing Manager of NuForce, Inc. and recent contract Electro-acoustic Design Engineer and Technical Writer for Optoma NuForce, Bob has proven himself to be one of those rare engineering-types that can actually think “outside of the box” to produce products of exceptional performance and value.
Bob’s track record includes having developed a number of well received designs including: SP Technology “Timepiece,” Timepiece Mini," "Continuum" & “Revelation” loudspeakers, Aether Audio “Spirit-1” loudspeakers, Aether Audio “Vortex Filter” and its NuForce counterpart, the “Magic Cube,” NuForce “S-1, S-X,” "S-8" & “S-9” loudspeakers, NuForce Primo 8 headphones and Optoma NuForce HEM Series headphones.
Before any of the above though, Bob’s experience in switching amplifier technology/Class-D amplifiers, SOTA Tracking Power Converters and Power Supplies was a bit of a “rarity” in its day, and is what our equipment modifications heavily rely upon. You see, his experience harkens to back in the 90’s when Bob worked in the prestigious Techron Division of Crown International. While many are aware of Crown Audio’s almost indestructible audio power amplifiers that are used every day in touring sound and commercial installations spanning the globe, few know of their significant contributions to the Medical MRI industry. The fact is, under contract and in collaboration with several major MRI manufacturers, Techron developed the world’s first 40,000-Watt “Gradient Amplifiers” that lie at the heart of every MRI diagnostic system.
Specifically, Techron was the primary contractor for such amplifiers to GE Medical Systems, and it was during those years that they developed a true “state-of-the-art” tracking power supply based on the latest switching technology. This device had an effective operating frequency of 2MHz and delivered 40kW of high-efficiency power to the system’s linear amplifier stages. Known as the “Polyphase Buck Supply,” the thing was scarcely bigger than a shoebox and yet it could fully power the equivalent of four average homes - each with a 100-amp AC power service entrance. Needless to say, the audio world has yet to see anything like this, and it was working directly under Crown’s world-renowned engineer and Chief of R&D Gerald Stanley that Bob came to learn the many intricacies and idiosyncrasies of modern switching technology. Bob will tell you that he thinks the world of Gerald as he owes much of what he knows as a result of Gerald's mentoring and will forever be in debt to him.
God bless you Gerald for "going the extra mile" to explain such complex matters to someone so undeserving of your valuable time. Bob is honored to have worked under your direction and You will never be forgotten.
Therefore, in addition to his design work Bob is now our “go to” man when it comes to what can be done and/or how to go about improving the performance of a given piece of audio equipment. As a result of his great respect for the engineering that goes into much of today's modern audio gear (re: his years working with Gerald and team at Crown), his approach is “gentle” in that he will seldom recommend changing any circuit components. Rather, Bob understands that in the vast majority of cases simply eliminating (or at least minimizing as much as possible) any UHF noise and RF radiation (common byproducts of Class-D design) as well as micro-phonic mechanical vibrations (ever-present in all circuitry) is the key to “safe” modifications that in no-way alter the manufacturer’s original circuit design (and thus, the product’s acoustic “signature”), yet almost universally yield astonishing improvements in sound quality.
Often, these techniques also result in significantly improved long-term product reliability as well. Once you hear the sonic improvements offered by these relatively simple and non-invasive-yet-transformative modifications, you’ll realize just how often modern equipment designers and engineers seem to overlook this crucial area of performance. You're also likely to be amazed by discovering the latent potential within your amplifier that was simply waiting to be revealed all along.