ESP Logo
 Elliott Sound Products Amplifier Basics - How Amps Work (Part 6) 

Amplifier Basics - How Amps Work (Part 6)

© 1999 - Rod Elliott (ESP)
Page Last Updated 06 Apr 2005

ArticlesArticles Index
IndexMain Index


Section 5 is the last of the technical pages in this series, and this page finalises the topic at this level - at least until such time as I find (or someone points out) a mistake or major omission that I will then have to fix, there will be no further updates.

The articles in this series describe the essential building blocks of nearly all circuits in common use today.  There are others (of course) but they are most often combinations of the above - for example, a LTP stage can be built using two cascode circuits, a current source and a current mirror.  The resulting circuit looks complex, but is simply a combination of common circuits such as those shown.

Other circuits are modification of the basic stages to exploit what might otherwise be seen as a deficiency - for example circuits that deliberately exploit the temperature dependency of a BJT can be used as high gain thermal sensors, or to stabilise the quiescent current in a power amplifier.

There are also some bizarre combinations possible.  A valve and BJT operating in cascode would be interesting, and would no doubt have some desirable characteristics (and I have seen this particular combination used in a power amplifier).  Likewise, a valve with a transistor current source instead of the load resistor has far better linearity and more gain than a simple resistor loaded version.

In many cases, ICs are available to accomplish many of the functions described.  Opamps are an obvious one, but there are also IC current sources, transistor arrays (ideal for current mirror applications because of the excellent thermal tracking), plus quite a few others.

I hope that I have shed some light on the subject, and that you get some benefit from the information presented.  Please be aware that this series is intended as a very basic introduction only, and (almost) every configuration discussed here is fully explained elsewhere on the ESP site.  There are whole articles on designing with opamps, current sources, sinks and mirrors, and there's even a section dedicated to valves (vacuum tubes).

  1. Philips 'Miniwatt' Technical Data, 7th Edition, 1972
  2. RCA Receiving Tube Manual, 1968
  3. Basic Electronics - Grob, McGraw Hill, 1971
  4. Radiotron Designer's Handbook - Langford-Smith, AWV Pty. Ltd, 1957
  5. Analysis and Design of Electronic Circuits - P.M. Chirlean, McGraw Hill, 1965
  6. Data Sheets, various

Previous (Part 5 - Building Blocks)


ArticlesArticles Index
Main IndexMain Index

Copyright Notice. This article, including but not limited to all text and diagrams, is the intellectual property of Rod Elliott, and is Copyright (c) 1999, 2005.  Reproduction or re-publication by any means whatsoever, whether electronic, mechanical or electro-mechanical, is strictly prohibited under International Copyright laws.  The author (Rod Elliott) grants the reader the right to use this information for personal use only, and further allows that one (1) copy may be made for reference.  Commercial use is prohibited without express written authorisation from Rod Elliott.
Page created and copyright (c) 20 Dec 1999./ Various updates up to 06 Apr 05./ Dec 2018 - minor format changes, additional info in various sections.