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Class acts

Designing with Class D Amplifier ics. By Eric Haber.

Class D audio amplification is becoming the solution of choice in consumer audio, enabling longer battery life and smaller devices. However, designers must take care to avoid complexity elsewhere in the system, including the power supply, output filtering and input signal conditioning.
The switching – or class D – amplifier has risen quickly to prominence in a range of consumer audio applications, based on is its superior efficiency, which can be as high as 90%. A linear class AB implementation will normally achieve around 25% efficiency at typical listening levels.
In handheld applications, the low power dissipation of class D allows designers to combine high audio performance with longer time between battery recharges – key for all personal communication and audio devices. For mains powered equipment, class D’s high power efficiency brings reduced heat dissipation, which means smaller heatsinks, lower profiles, lower bills of materials and lower assembly costs.

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Eric Haber

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