In amplifier design, we are interested in the peak voltage and current, since if theseare not met, then the required RMS values cannot be achieved. The ratio of RMS topeak (for a sine wave) is the square root of 2 (1.414), so RMS values must bemultiplied by this constant to derive the peak values of voltage and current. (Refer toFigure 1 to see the relationship between peak and RMS voltages.)This is how the values in the table were determined. The supply voltage needs to beslightly higher than the actual speaker peak voltage because the output devices(transistors) are not perfect, and some voltage will be lost even when they are turnedon fully. (If MOSFETs were to be used, the losses may be much greater, unless anadditional power supply is employed.)Ok. We have determined that the peak speaker current is 2.25 Amps, so in thesimplest of Class-A designs this will require a quiescent current of 2.25 Amps. Giventhat the voltage is +/- 20 Volts, this means that the power output stage will have todissipate 40 x 2.25 = 90 Watts (45 Watts per output device).
Figure 2 - Basic Class-A Amplifier
Figure 2 shows what a simple Class-A amp looks like. The current source is a simplecircuit, which will provide a current which remains constant regardless of the loadplaced at its output. The output transistor "dumps" any current which is not neededby the load (speaker), so when it is completely turned off, all the current sourceoutput flows through the speaker. Conversely, when it is turned on, the speakercurrent flows through the output transistor (as well as the current from the currentsource!), so its current will vary from almost 0 Amps, to a maximum of 4.5 Amps forour example. When there is no input signal, the output transistor's current mustexactly equal the output of the current source. If it does not, then the difference willflow through the speaker. It is allowable (generally speaking) for an absolutemaximum of 100 mV DC to be present across the speaker terminals - this equates to1.67 mW of DC for an 8 Ohm system, assuming a 6 Ohm DC resistance for thevoice coil. (Power = (V x V) / Impedance)This simple model is not really appropriate for general use, since it wastes far toomuch power, although many Class-A amps still use this principle. The next step is tooperate the current source at about 1/2 the speaker's peak current, and modulate itscurrent output to ensure that both current source and power amplifier output deviceconduct during the entire signal cycle, but are able to vary their current in an