From Valve Amplifiers, Third Edition

Classic Power Amplifiers

Now that we can recognize and analyse individual stages, we can investigate the design of some classic amplifiers such as the Williamson, the Mullard 5 20 and the Quad II.

The Williamson

The design of this amplifier was published in Wireless World6 in 1947, and set a standard of performance that was years ahead of its time.

The input stage is the standard common cathode triode with 20 dB of global negative feedback applied from the loudspeaker output to the cathode. The phase splitter is a concertina circuit direct coupled from the input stage, and feeds a differential pair using both halves of a 6SN7. See Fig. 6.23.


Fig. 6.23: Williamson amplifier (by kind permission of Electronics World)

The output stage is a push pull pair of KT66 beam tetrodes operated as triodes that provide 15 W output in Class AB1, operating mostly in Class A. RV1 adjusts the DC balance of the output valves in order to minimize distortion due to the transformer core, whilst RV2 sets the quiescent current to 125 mA for the entire stage.

The linearity and headroom of each stage is excellent due to the careful positioning of operating points and choice of valves, but because this amplifier has four stages enclosed by the feedback loop, stability needs to be taken very seriously.

The input stage initially has an output resistance of ?7.5 k ?, but this is raised by the feedback to ?47 k ?. In...

Copyright Morgan Jones 2003 under license agreement with Books24x7

Products & Services
Power Operational Amplifiers
Power operational amplifiers (POA) are used to increase the power of low-level signals in applications that drive low impedances or reactive loads. They dissipate excess energy as heat, deliver extensive current, and can sustain relatively high supply voltages.
Operational Amplifiers
Operational amplifiers (op amps, op-amps) are general-purpose, closed-loop devices that are used to implement linear functions.
Servo Valves
Servo valves provide closed loop flow or pressure response to an electrical or electronic control signal. They are used in air, gas, and liquid applications.
Operational Transconductance Amplifiers (OTA)
Operational transconductance amplifiers (OTA) are devices that convert an input voltage to an output current. They are primarily voltage-to-current amplifiers.
Audio Amplifiers and Preamplifiers
Audio amplifiers and audio preamplifiers are used to increase the amplitude of sound signals.  Preamplifiers or preamps are designed to amplify low-level signal from a high-impedance device such as a microphone or instrument pick-up. After pre-amplification, the signal is sent to a power amplifier or amp, which provides the higher current necessary to drive the speakers.

Topics of Interest

New Designs We have investigated individual stages, we have looked at functional blocks, and we have seen how classic designs were configured. Rather than merely observing, it is now time to put that...

The Entire Amplifier Having looked at the problems of the output stage, we can now consider the support circuitry in detail. The output stage is insufficiently sensitive to be driven directly from a...

The Input Stage The input stage is where global negative feedback is applied, so it must provide an inverting and a non-inverting input, both with low noise. The triode differential pair is an...

Output Transformer-Less (OTL) Amplifiers Almost all of the different output stage configurations were devised in an effort to reduce the adverse effect of the output transformer, so it is not...

Vacuum tubes are used for nearly all high-power transmitter systems including power grid tubes, klystrons, helix-type TWTs, CCTWTs, crossed-field amplifiers (CFAs), magnetrons, gyrotrons oscillators,...