Our story

 

In 2009 Belleson' s founder, an engineer by education, career, curiosity and attitude, invented and patented a new and unique high performance voltage regulator. At the time he was working on (maybe you can guess) a phonograph preamp.

Belleson established a reputation as a world leader in voltage regulator performance, with specifications better than those from leading firms like Analog Devices and Texas Instruments. Meanwhile we continued to design a better phonograph amplifier as a pastime. Ultimately we developed a circuit that, like our voltage regulators, exceeds the performance of established and revered brands. We have put that circuit into a new product and made it available to you as our Brilliance Phono Stage.

Belleson History

Our founder Brian Lowe is a serial entrepreneur who has created multiple commercial products for other companies and his own. He was naturally one of the kids who took stuff apart and shoved hair pins into electrical sockets. if you’re reading this you were probably one of those kids too. His audio circuit design experience dates to 1971, when he designed his first reverb unit with a ceramic phono cartridge, 4 ball point pen springs, a model car hub cap, a small transistor amplifier kit and a speaker.

He also got inspiration from his high school friend Robert, who repaired a 12 inch woofer by removing its molten voice coil with a razor blade, formed a new coil by gluing it onto a piece of paper wrapped around a broom handle, and reattached it with little strips of paper soaked in glue. The speaker was never “as good as new” but it played very well in the back of a 1965 Corvair.

The other half of that story, “how did the voice coil get melted?”, is another learning experience. if you have an electric bass guitar and no guitar amp, you plug the guitar into your Bogen stereo receiver. if you want it to sound like it’s played through a fuzz box, you turn the volume all the way clockwise. What you may not yet know as a teenager is that the amplifier’s output transistors are now clipping, essentially delivering very high DC current at its power supply voltage. So if you twang the bass strings loud enough, you put enough current through the speaker coil to melt the copper.

Turns out this high power also destroys the output transistors in the receiver, so once the speaker is fixed, it’s time to fix the receiver too. with no diagnostic equipment, the way to find the bad parts was to open the case and, with headphones, start listening at the output transistors, slowly move the headphone connector back from there along the signal chain until the signal sounds ok. then replace everything between there and the output. That actually worked and the amp was repaired. The headphones, by the way, were Sennheiser HD414, the first "open air" headphones, and the year was 1972.

So the founder’s early history with audio electronics was a series of mishaps that taught lessons. in the 1980s, he was author of a somewhat controversial article in issue 1 of Glass Audio called A Self-Bias Servo for Push Pull Amps

 

 

    

He has designed circuits as varied as a cascode tube preamp with totem pole output (which involved another mishap of cross-connecting the B + and the filaments and resulted in vaporized filaments and resistors in flames), a high speed (for the time) CMOS digital character generator IC, one of the first "fly-by-wire" MIL-1553B ICs, monolithic op amps and voltage regulators, chip-and-wire 18 bit D/A converters and 16 bit A/D converters, and even a diamond tester controller. He also spent a portion of the 1980s designing test equipment for op amps, data converters, micro-machined sensors and other analog and mixed signal devices.

In the 1990s he started and sold a commercial software company, started a company making caller ID systems and software components. Later that decade he wrote a book The Fundamentals of Mixed Signal Testing which covers analog and DSP techniques for measuring and testing analog and mixed signal devices, and its accompanying training software.

The Company

Belleson was first incorporated in 2000 in the Chicago IL area. with a long-time ambition to create audio electronics, the name Belleson is a concatenation of two French words for “beautiful sound.” Oddly, our first product was a software application for editing web pages. A cool product, its market was dominated by large companies such as Microsoft and Adobe, with dynamic web content becoming the next wave, it didn’t get any traction.

Fast forward to 2009, when Brian returned to his true love, audio electronics, and began version 3 of a phono preamp design that had roots back to a 1983 tube-based phono amp. During the search for a better power supply, he studied existing super regulator designs, including a Walt Jung design, its Andrew Weekes variation, one by John Roberts in his “Preeminent Preamp” article in Audio Amateur  3/85, and others. He built a Weekes equivalent and used a JFET as a level translator instead of a zener diode. This is the basis for his U.S. patent 8,294,440.

In 2010 we introduced our first Superpower™ voltage regulators—SP17, SP78, SP79. Christina built the first 128 units using a hand held hypodermic to apply SMD solder paste, and the rest is history! Brian is still chief inventor and customer support engineer, while Christina handles marketing, manufacturing, burn-in, packaging and shipping. They have shipped thousands of high performance regulators since January 2010, including standard products and custom designs for equipment manufacturers. The versatile design has been morphed into multiple variations from a 1.2V, 2A regulator to a 400V 500mA version. Also, continuous research and development has allowed performance enhancements and product improvements to be consistently introduced

  • 2010: SP 500mA, 5 to 30V
  • 2012: SPJ 2A, 3.3 to 30V
  • 2013: SPHV 1A, 400V
  • 2014: SPLV Low voltage 1.2V to 2V output
  • 2014: Lower noise SPJ <1µV / V
  • 2015: SPHP 1000W, 10A, 100V
  • 2016: SPZ 3A 30V TO-220 footprint
  • 2018: SPX 3A Max performance ultra high PSRR, ultra low Zout
  • 2022: SPHV TO-220 footprint, 450V, 500mA
  • 2023 Brilliance Phono Stage, with novel Top Amp and Octal Opto circuits