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Cascade Operation

Author: Leonard Krugman


Fig. 5-23. A direct-coupled symmetrical cascade.

One type of symmetrical circuit that proves very practical is the cascaded arrangement illustrated in Fig. 5-23. This tandem circuit represents the simplest possible cascade, since the only components of the system are the transistors and the battery supply. The gain per stage is low compared to the maximum available gain because of the mismatch existing between the stages. However, the reduced number of components and the simplicity of the design often outweighs this disadvantage.


Fig. 5-24. Two-stage symmetrical push-pull amplifier.

A circuit which incorporates the major features of both push-pull and cascaded symmetrical configurations is shown in Fig. 5-24. This arrangement can serve as a single-ended power amplifier to feed a low impedance speaker from a relatively high resistance source. The two transistors in the output circuit are operated in the grounded emitter connection. Therefore, the phase of the input signal is reversed in going from base to collector. The base of the last stage is connected directly to the collector output circuit of the input stage. Since the signal also undergoes phase reversal in the first stage, the output of the transistors on each side of the load are in phase. The stability of this circuit is very high because it incorporates 100 percent degenerative feedback. The large amount of feedback keeps the distortion very low, and also allows the load to be very small. Since the circuit is in effect a two-stage Class B push-pull amplifier, the standby collector dissipation is negligible. The amplifier is capable of delivering a constant a-c output of about 400 milliwatts using transistors rated at 100 milliwatts. In intermittent short term operation, the same amplifier can deliver about a watt without damage to the transistors.

It is apparent that complementary-symmetry circuits offer considerable promise for further investigation. Their use in the field of high quality, low-cost portable audio systems is particularly attractive because the output can be fed directly into a voice coil, thus eliminating the expensive and often troublesome output transformer.

Last Update: 2010-11-17