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About The Electronics Pages


Hi, I'm Graham Slee, retired — ex-director and electronics designer of HiFi System Components Limited.

There's a lot of truth in the saying "too busy making a living to get anything done". And when you consider how few years we have to do it in, it's a miracle anything happens at all!

There were a number of items I wanted to design which never happened because of the swamp of red tape imposed on small sole-director firms, not only by the UK government and the EU before BRINO (Brexit in name only), but also the awkwardness of many (often foreign owned) UK suppliers.

There were also the pressures of trying to compete with imported products, surprisingly not on price, but against their marketing. You could tell they were purely business orientated as they pushed out the UK enthusiast manufacturer with their web manipulation prowess — many of them claiming falsley to be British.

There was also customer apathy which was getting worse year on year. Somehow UK customers are quite happy to give up their country for false promise. Much of the marketing is bullsh*t, but you'd have to be an experienced electronics engineer to know it. Obviously, I would have been unable then to spout such truths about other manufacturers without them taking revenge, and if not, it could have been seen as sour grapes from me.

Ultimately, our only option was to hope there were sufficient numbers of would-be customers on the entire planet who would stumble on our website and buy, to make it viable. 70% of sales were export, which meant only a paltry one thousand products were bought in the UK each year. I know from the financial information gleaned through companies house that hifi customers in the UK must rank in the tens if not hundreds of thousands.

Being unable to bring new designs to market and age catching up with me, I decided my sub-contractors who relied on me for a good share of their income, should continue making my designs and making the best of it they could. Please support my ex-main subcontractor Cadman Enterprises Ltd.

So, this website is to feature all the designs I wanted to do, but simply couldn't, and aimed squarely at the DIY audio and electronics enthusiast. Copyright subsists in all my designs, and are only intended for single unit reproduction by the DIY constructor for their own use.

DIY construction is where I began, so let's keep the spirit of DIY audio and electronics alive!

This Site Is About DIY Electronics

Back in the day when you couldn't afford things, do it yourself was the only option, but this wasn't a coffee table or a table lamp — I wanted a stereo!

I had bought a cheap "stereo", aged 18, from Comet, but although it made a sound, it didn't do it well.

The only technical training I'd had was in mechanical engineering, with engineering education provided at college two days a week during term time. For those who remember, it was called "day release".

Then I saw a job advert in AV for the local education authority. I applied and got the job. Suddenly I had access to a "toy cupboard" of audio visual equipment, and also a library. The learning began, with extra resources in the form of Wireless World, Practical Wireless and other publications bought at the local newsagents.

Being the only one able to understand the abandoned twin-deck at a local hostelry, I was cajoled into bringing it back into use, which is where I got the idea of building a stereo disco system instead.

After the AV job I worked 5 years in printed circuit design, fabrication and assembly; 4 years as senior engineer in broadcast audio design and manufacture; another 4 years freelancing, and then 24 years in high fidelity audio design, retiring December 2022.

The World Before Tech

You'd have to be a certain age to remember the introduction of logic I.C.s (chips), and by the late 1960's CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) integrated circuits were the "coolest" thing in electronics. Computational chips were next, but many of the "hardware" jobs continued to be stand-alone logic circuits.

Today I'd be surprised to find many applications for them, and except for maintenance and perhaps some few educational uses, the available CD4000 I.C. range is getting slimmer and slimmer. But realise this: when it's gone it's gone. I hope to keep some of the uses alive in the "control" pages.

The Dearth of Analogue

Discrete circuitry is giving way to chips at an accelerating rate. Problems will come when the fab plants decide to discontinue those chips, or some part of globalisation decides not to play.

Analogue circuitry is in the main subordinate to digital and only required to serve the digital "master". Low noise op-amps have displaced discrete circuits, and we're seeing the loss of many bipolar junction transistors, and except for switching, field effect transistors are largely a thing of the past.

I'm not giving up on discretes and I'll show how the few transistors we have left can do incredible things in audio.

Contacting Me

I'm quite happy to discuss designs through the "filter" of the HiFi System Components forum in my "Graham Slee Blog". Please use the PM message system on the forum (you'll have to register as a member first).