Friday, January 13, 2023

High Precision Composite Op-Amps, Part 4 - A Practical Composite Chipamp with LM1875

This post is a part of the series on audio amplifier feedback. The contents of the series can be found here.

In my previous post on this topic, I discussed the role of the voltage divider in John D. Yewen's composite op-amps (see his article in Electronics & Wireless World, February 1987) and improving the composite's loop gain at audio frequencies by making the divider frequency dependent.

Towards the end of the previous post, I promised that this approach works in hardware, too, so here are two practical examples.

The first is a plain Yewen composite with two dissimilar opamps - an OPA134 and an LM1875:

The divider (R4R5) attenuates the output of the OPA134 by 33/(2200+33)≅-36dB, which together with the opamp's GBW of 8MHz places the zero (see my previous post for an explanation) at about 130kHz. It is kind of low, but in testing, placing the zero at a higher frequency made for poor clipping performance. With such a divider, the OPA134 adds about 16dB of loop gain at 20kHz (more at lower frequencies), and this composite produces 0.003% THD at 1kHz, 20W into 8ohm, or about 1/6 of the distortion of a standalone LM1875.

The second example is a composite with the same opamps and a frequency dependent voltage divider C4C5R10:

The improved divider adds a pole at 2kHz and a zero at 150kHz, increasing the loop gain by another 16dB at 20kHz while maintaining stability and clipping similar to that of the first composite. With a careful PCB layout, this composite should be able to deliver 0.001% of THD at 1kHz, 20W into 8ohm.

Note that for both versions, the Zobel network (R6C2 and R11C6, respectively) with the values shown is required for stability.

Can we make the composite still better? Yes we can! Stay tuned...