The History of the Controversy

Update: 25 August 2008

There have been some accusations thrown at me on a public message board in relation to the presented design. Certain individuals claim that I have stolen the design from Mr. John Curl, an American audio designer. The stolen design in question would be his Blowtorch preamplifier. The fact is that I have never seen his design on paper or in reality and I do not know anyone who has.

The fact is that I have read the Blowtorch thread on the said public message board and that this is my rendering of some basic design principles discussed there not only by the likes of John Curl, Nelson Pass or Charles Hansen but also some of the talented (and largely anonymous) DIYers that invested their knowledge, time and effort to sift the chaff from the wheat and go beyond a purely theoretical (and at times grossly misleading and tiresome) discussion.

However, it is absolutely impossible to reverse engineer anything based on a few cursory descriptions (that may or may not be true) of the product. Those who are insisting that this is a reverse engineered Blowtorch are flattering me but, more importantly, they are revealing their atrocious ignorance by endorsing such false charges.

The same design principles that I used to come up with this design can be found in the work of Nelson Pass, Erno Borbely and Shinichi Kamijo, to name but a few. To all those griping about my lousy power supply, well, the power supply section was largely inspired by Mr. Pass. The idea for the topology of the preamplifier itself comes from the genius of Shinichi Kamijo (see the links section on this website). As I said in the Croatian text, my design was inspired by a number of well-known topologies from various designers all over the world and Mr. John Curl, with all due respect, does not hold a patent or copyright on any of them. All credits have been duly acknowledged.

It took a lot of my time, effort, engineering knowledge and experiments to integrate all these various concepts into a coherent and reliable whole. I did all the legwork myself. My design choices and the resulting measurements are no accident or dumb luck. Nothing on this website is. 

Sadly, I was never allowed to defend myself in the mud slinging that took place on the said message board because I had been banned for my disagreements with the moderation policy of the board's management (I used to be a moderator there). For some reason, they never put up the "banned" notice in my profile (like they always do) so most members and visitors would not be aware of this fact. Instead, they chose to make a site announcement falsely accusing me of threats, behind the scenes manipulation and spreading false information.

Finally, I wish to thank my known and unknown friends for all the support they have so generously given me. I truly appreciate it.

P.S. It is quite amusing to see how all of a sudden "minor" things like the layout design or the choice of transistors, resistors, attenuator, power supply, servo etc. do not matter a zilch anymore to the same accusatory crowd who used to swear by huge and undeniable audible differences of a single silver fuse.

Update: 17 January 2009

Apparently, there are quite a lot of people who do not have the time or the energy or the expertise to follow the confused online discussion on the Blowtorch preamplifier referenced above and sift fact from fiction, truth from hype, competent criticism from malicious backbiting and hidden agenda. As a result, I have been getting quite a lot of inquiries these last few months from the victims of this sad saga, literally throwing their money at me gullibly believing that my Uskok really is a reverse engineered Blowtorch (as suggested by some ill-informed contributors of the online discussion in question).

Finally, I have grown tired of writing email rebuttals over and over again. So, to save myself (and others) time and grief, let me spell things out clearly and set the record straight once and for all – this is not a reverse engineered Blowtorch. Even the gain stage, which was extensively discussed in the Blowtorch thread, is not an exact copy of the CTC Blowtorch. Everything else – the servo, power supply, attenuator, etc. – bears no resemblance whatsoever to the Blowtorch preamplifier (as described in the thread). John Curl knows that very well.

My solution for the servo (shown below) thus yields much better results in this design than the one that was discussed in the BT thread. My power supply is more adequate for my purposes and far less elaborate than the Blowtorch one appears to be because I was able to achieve great performance with some clever circuit engineering and layout design. The attenuator I invented does not make any crackling noises like the Blowtorch one reportedly does. The list goes on.

Those interested in building/purchasing the Blowtorch preamplifier would be better advised to contact John Curl or the Blowtorch thread contributors who claim to have reversed engineered the CTC preamplifier and are familiar with all the details of the design. I have never seen or heard the Blowtorch preamplifier myself and do not know anyone who has so I cannot be of much help to you in this regard. Also, I do not have any PCBs for my design to sell to you. The Uskok preamplifier project was never intended for DIY novices so potential builders are expected to be able to DIY their own boards, based on the published schematics.

Lastly, commercial use of my design is forbidden, however laughable this statement may seem to some of you. As an aside note, my idea of laughable is when, for instance, a certain expert goes to an audio DIY site trying to re-invent the wheel and take credit for the famous Neumann microphone technology that has been known and used for ages in the pro audio field. To make things even more comical, this fact had to be pointed out to the expert by a mere hobbyist. Beam me up, Scottie!

Update: 28 June 2009

So, the story goes on... Scott Wurcer has apparently recognized himself in the funny little story (see below) about a certain expert trying to rip off famous Neumann technology on a DIY website. As it wasn't my intention to smear this expert's reputation, I named no names and was happy to leave things at that. But, guess what, the guy WANTED the world to know I was referring to him and went on to wreak havoc about it on the incriminated DIY website. So, I guess I now have to link to the thread where our infamous expert was apparently trying to re-invent the wheel until someone called "moamps" (that would be yours truly) politely prevented him from making an ignorant fool of himself: ...anyone tried this?

Our Scott the Expert was so upset when he recognized his own face in the mirror that he went into a frenzy and publicly called me a DIY parasite, said that he credited the Neumann from the very onset of the discussion and then added something about me needing to get a life. As can be seen from the above link, he did not post any Neumann schematics or credits. Rather, he presented the project as his own brainchild.

On the subject of parasites, I find it quite hilarious that a guy goes to a DIY website and calls people parasites for building themselves copies of other people's designs. Well, duh! The essence of DIY is basically building copies of other people's designs for personal use only. Advanced DIYers, like myself, will even develop their own designs from time to time and publish them to the public for other DIYers to build for their personal use and enjoyment. My DIY website clearly distinguishes clones from my original work. It is not only irony but also hypocrisy at its very worst to come to a DIY website fishing for fresh ideas and self-promotion and call DIYers parasites.

Furthermore, Scott seems to be particularly annoyed by my copyright notice (which can be found at the bottom of this page). It has "no teeth", he says. It is legally invalid. For some reason, it bothers him that I do not allow commercial use (non-profit only) of my schematics and pictures so he repeatedly tries to ridicule my copyright notice in order to play down its importance. What is it to him? I don't know but I believe such behavior is quite expected from someone on a constant prowl for expired patents.

Which brings me to another thing... psychological projection. You know, when someone ascribes their personal attributes to someone else. Thus a thief would see thieves and disingenuous mercenaries everywhere around him/her, with no evidence whatsoever. A couple of individuals, Scott being among them, thus accuse me of making Blowtorch clones (probably for financial gain), i.e. thievery. It doesn't matter that they obviously have no idea of the internal circuitry of John Curl's Blowtorch. It doesn't matter that John Curl himself never said the Uskok was a copy of the CTC Blowtorch. It doesn't matter that they cannot PROVE, say, 60-70% similarity. It doesn't matter that I don't have anything to sell. No, they simply KNOW I am a thief because they SAY SO. And all this coming from people mostly inferior to me in audio-related electronics education and/or working experience. So it goes.

As for me getting a life, this takes the cake coming from a guy spending his every waking moment hunting John Curl down on internet fora. Or picking on me, recently. That's really rich, Scott. Don't you really have anything better to do?

Yaniger, thank you for complimenting me in public. Wish I could say the same for you. For the record, you're correct about me not being happy (that is, with you in the "backroom" back then). Cronyism your style has never been my thing. To all moderators: I think it is high time you finally put the "banned" notice in my profile and/or disable private messaging. I do not wish (never have) to receive unsolicited messages from your site anymore. I also believe that by allowing people to attack other people who have no means of defending themselves on your site you have truly hit a new moral bottom.

To innocent bystanders: I apologize for my abrasiveness. However, I believe that gratuitous personal attacks must not be tolerated and will respond to them in kind. Yes, I reported the abusive posts to the moderators of the site several hours prior to resorting to this action, but to no avail (expectedly).

Most likely will be continued...

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