[JN] 5534 who designed it?

bear bear at bearlabsusa.com
Tue Feb 16 14:56:08 CST 2021

Found this on the R/E/P site:


          Re: Crossover distortion in audio IC's / Rupert Neve Interview

« *Reply #8 on:* August 30, 2010, 01:45:45 pm »
*John Roberts  {JR} wrote*

*ssltech wrote*

I doubt that Rupert would appreciate it.

After all, he FATHERED the TDA1034/NE5534.

If he was the father, Phillips was the mother. Very Happy

Rupert Neve had -by that time- lost control of the  company he founded, 
and it had come under the control of Mullard, which was -at that time- a 
division of Philips, I think.

ARN was then charged with leading a team within the company to develop a 
building-block op-amp specifically for audio purposes; something based 
on a 741 type pinout, but with vast improvements.

He didn't design the IC himself; he formed and led the team, I 
understand. Noteworthy is that he was against the project at its 
inception; seeing it as investing lots of money on a technology which 
would level the playing field for competitors.

*John Roberts  {JR} wrote*

If he possessed the skill set to design ICs he was wasting his talents 
on mere audio circuitry. The 5534 used some clever internal compensation 
schemes to deliver the good gain bandwidth/slew rate that it did for 
it's time, using bipolar IC processes.The 553x was the go to bipolar 
part for years.

I don't doubt he was consulted with by Phillips as a potential large 
volume customer for the part. If they listened to him, all the better. 
In my experience involving IC makers they mostly asked questions about 
your needs/desires to get their foot in the door  then try to sell you 
other finished designs (arghh). Depending where they were in the design 
cycle he could have influenced the final result, or not.

Rather more than merely being consulted, he was essentially the person 
who steered its development.

I'm not entirely certain that he was still at the company by the time it 
finally emerged, but I'm sure I could find out more.

As ever, corporate politics and power-struggles influence the tale, but 
it certainly remains true that Rupert played more than a 'consulting' 
role in the IC's development.

I wasn't around when all this happened, but it was vouchsafed to me by 
Graham Langley. -I asked Rupert about it a few years later (around 2000, 
I think) and he fleshed out the tale, adding his thoughts.

he still considers the 553x to be a very capable IC, though nowadays he 
places biasing and load to pull the crossover point away from low-level 

Whatever it is, I have to marvel at the results. His new 'Portico II' 
channel strips seem to be populated with plenty of 5534's, yet they 
sound impressively good.

Keith "

-- bearlabs.com --
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