During the past few years a number of excellent designs have been published for domestic audio amplifiers. However, some of these designs are now rendered obsolescent by changes in the availability of components, and others intended to provide levels of power output which are in excess of the requirements of a normal living room. Also, most designs have tended to be rather complex.
Output power and distortion
In view of the enormous popularity of the Mullard “5-10” valve amplifier, it appeared that a 10-watt output would be adequate for normal use; indeed when two such amplifiers are used as a stereo pair, the total sound output at full power can be quite astonishing using reasonably sensitive speakers.
* For today’s speakers and expectations, this is clearly not the case. 10 Watts is likely to be sufficient for tweeters in a tri-amped system however, and this is the reason for publication of this circuit.
The original harmonic distortion standards for audio were laid down by D. T. Williamson in a series of articles published in Wireless World in 1947 and 1949; and the standard, proposed by him, for less than 0.1% total harmonic distortion at full rated power output, has been generally accepted as the target figure for high-quality audio power amplifiers. Since the main problem in the design of valve audio amplifiers lies in the difficulty in obtaining adequate performance from the output transformer, and since modern transistor circuit techniques allow the design of power amplifiers without output transformers, it seemed feasible to aim at a somewhat higher standard, 0.05% total harmonic distortion at full output power over the range 30Hz-20kHz. This also implies that the output power will be constant over this frequency range.
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