May 8, 2016

Amp 101: How Amplifiers Work

An amplifier, sometimes called an amp, is an electronic component which is used to boost the currents of electricity. What it does is to make signal stronger, in terms of voltage, current or both by a loudspeaker.

An amplifier’s job is to turn a small electric current into a larger one, and there are various different ways to achieve this depending on exactly what you’re trying to do.

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Types of Amplification

To fully understand how amplifiers work, you must first know the three types of amplification. First, there’s the voltage amplifier which boosts the voltage of an input signal to get a louder output. A current amplifier boosts the current of the signal to achieve the same result while power amplifier combines both current and voltage to get a better volume for your audio.

Amplifiers in boosting voltage

If you aim to give a boost to the electric voltage, then you can simply use a transformer, a devise that is used to turn large voltage into smaller ones. You may see them in your computers, MP3 players, power outlets, etc. Though meant for something different, you can use the devise to do the exact opposite and turn low voltage into something large. In such case, it’ll be called a step-up device.

Amplifiers in boosting signal

If you want to boost the volume of your audio, then you only have to amplify its signal. To do this, you need a transistor-based amplifier. Usually, the transistor comes with an emitter, a base, and a collector. If there is small current between the emitter and base, then you can use it to transfer a larger output towards the emitter and collector.

Since there can be a limit to the amount of signal an amplifier can boost, some people use two or more amplifiers. They are called multistage amplifiers.

To make them, you need at least two different amplifiers. Make sure that one of them will boost signal to the minimum input level while the other will boost the signal from the previous amplifier to give enough power to the speaker. Record players usually employ this same strategy.

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Amplification Feedback

So an amplifier can boost voltage or signal. However, it can do so much more than that. Amplifiers are also used to reproduce the quality of the input despite the fact that its frequency and volume could be distorted.

If you wish to boost signal with sound frequencies, then an audio amplifier will work better. It works better with bandwidth and produces satisfactory flat sound from varied input signals. However this can pose a problem called feedback. A feedback happens when the microphone is place to near to the loudspeaker, in which case it picks up the amplified sound of vocals causing it to re-amplify which is amplified by the speaker again and back and forth. This gives off the loud screeching noise. However, there some singers who would use this feedback to add some effect to their audio.

Inversion of signal

When you use active devices as voltage amplifiers, then they can invert signal. However, it may work slightly different. If you get a positive signal as input, you can get a larger but negative signal. If you get an negative signal as input, you can get a larger positive signal as output. If you wish to make the amplifier non-inverting, then you must use two transformers and stage the same thing you did in boosting the signal.

These are the basic guidelines you can follow when you’re working with amplifiers. However, if you just read it, then you’ll never achieve the desired result. Therefore, you should try to get your way around making amplifiers complement your audio. Only so many have made the mistake of taking loudspeakers for granted when creating music so when they present it live, they get a completely different sound from their demo. To avoid such mistake, take amplifiers into account use them the right way.

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