Designing An Opamp Headphone Amplifier


In a multi-stage opamp system (such as a voltage gain stage followed by a current buffer see the section on output stages for more information), if the input stage opamp has a bipolar input stage and narrow open-loop bandwidth, it may exhibit nonlinearities when fed high level, high frequency signals. The system in figure 5d has an input stage opamp, which has had its open-loop bandwidth effectively extended under local feedback. The overall gain of the system is 5, but the local gain of the input stage is about 100 for an effective open-loop bandwidth of 100kHz. The bandwidth extension should go well beyond the audio range.

Non-inverting Voltage follower.
 Figure 6

If the opamp is configured for a gain of 1 (R = Rf), it becomes a voltage follower. Most solid state opamps will also function as non-inverting followers with a straight wire in place of the feedback resistor (figure 6). Non-inverting voltage followers have the input impedance and a low output impedance. The input impedance of an inverting follower is the resistance of the input resistor. Voltage followers are often used as buffers which could drive headphones, but voltage gain opamps have modest current capability. A high current buffer opamp is specially designed to provide large amounts of current perfect for driving headphones. For more information, see the section on output stages below. 

Handling Balanced Inputs:

Schematic for balanced-to-single input converter.
Figure 7

Pro audio equipment may have balanced inputs and outputs where the ground is separate from the signal ground for more effective noise shielding. Thus, each channel has a total of 3 connections: signal, signal ground and ground. The circuit in figure 7 converts a balanced input into a single-ended signal with unity gain (the input resistors are split to implement a RF filter see below). The resistors must be matched to within 0.1% or the CMRR will degrade (e.g., an 80dB CMRR can d r o p to 60dB due to input resistor mismatch). The converter can also be configured with gain determined by the ratio of Rf / R, but keeping all Rs that same value makes matching the resistor array easier.

AC Coupling and RF Input Filters

Bandwidth-limiting the signal input can block DC voltages or filter out RF noise. DC protection is not necessary if the audio source already has 0 DC output, but some designers prefer extra insurance. With values of 1uF and 100K, the high-pass input filter in figure 5a has a corner frequency of about 1.6Hz and will minimally affect bass response or overall sound quality if a high quality parts are used (e.g., film capacitors and metal film resistors). Instead of the resistor, an audio taper potentiometer could be substituted to serve as a volume control. If the signal has RF noise, it can be cleaned up with a low-pass filter at the inputs. The low-pass network in figure 7a has a corner frequency of about 200kHz. An alternative RF network is shown in figure 7b. Frequencies above the corner frequency are mixed together, so that they are canceled out by the opamp´s CMRR. As with the resistor array, the RF capacitors should also be matched as closely as possible. Also use shielded cable when wiring the inputs to further reduce noise pickup.

Bandwidth limiting in the feedback loop.
Figure 8

Keywords : Opamp, Operational Amplifier, Headphone, P-amp, Configuring, Opamps, For, Voltage, Gain
Writer : delon  |
27 Feb 2011 Mon   
No Comments