The main requirement was to power the circuit by means of a common, PP3 transistor radio alkaline battery.So, implementing a low current drawing circuit was absolutely necessary, though preserving a High Quality performance.
The appearance of the 5534 low-noise op-amp at a reasonable price was much appreciated by audio designers. It is now difficult or impossible to design a discrete stage that has the performance of the 5534 without quite unacceptable complexity. 5534 op-amps are now available from several sources, in a conventional 8-pin d.i.l. format. This version is internally compensated for gains of three or more, but requires a small external capacitor (5-15pF) for unity-gain stability. The 5532 is a very convenient package of two 5534s in one 8-pin device with internal unity-gain compensation, as there are no spare pins. The 5534/2 is a low-distortion, low-noise device, having also the ability to drive low-impedance loads to a full voltage swing while maintaining low distortion. Furthermore, it is fully output short-circuit proof.
Therefore, this circuit was implemented with a single 5532 chip forming a pair of stereo, inverting amplifiers, having an ac gain of about 3.5 and capable of delivering up to 3.6V peak-to-peak into a 32 Ohm load (corresponding to 50mW RMS) at less than 0.025% total harmonic distortion (1kHz & 10kHz). If we consider that the mean current drawing at a power output of 15mW per channel is around 12-13mA (both channels driven), this Headphone Amplifier will become a ‘must’ for many DIY enthusiasts needing a High Quality, High Performance portable device.
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