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Balanced Microphone Amplifier

T. Giesberts phantom supply +48V


A number of years ago

(November 1997), we R3 C4
R1 R2 +15V C3

published a design for

a stereo microphone 63V IC1 V+ C7
preamplifier with bal- D3 D1 7

K1 1 VIN INA217 100n

anced inputs and a 2 6k 6k
C1 R6 A1
phantom power sup- 3
82 1
RG1 5k
ply. The heart of this 47
2 XLR 4x
circuit was a special 1N4148 A3 6
C2 P1
Analog Devices IC, the RG2 5k
8 R7
SSM2017. Unfortu- 47 R4 R5 1k6 A2

63V D4 D2 3 6k 6k

nately, this IC has been VIN +

4 5 C6
discontinued. In its V REF 100n
place, the company
recommends using the IC2
-15V 100n
pin-compatible AMP02 7 2
from its current product 137 3
line. However, and 4

again unfortunately, the specifications of this opamp make it

considerably less suitable for use as a microphone amplifier.
By contrast, Texas Instruments (in their Burr Brown product 100n

line) offer an integrated instrumentation amplifier (type

-15V 034054 - 11
1NA217) that has better specifications for this purpose. Inci-
dentally, this IC is also recommended as a replacement for the
SSM2017. It features internal current feedback, which ensures taper audio potentiometer is recommended for P1 to allow the
low distortion (THD + noise is 0.004 % at a gain of 100), low volume adjustment to follow a linear dB scale.
input-stage noise (1.3 nV/Hz) and wide bandwidth (800 kHz The input bias currents (12 A maximum!) produce an offset
at a gain of 100). The supply voltage range is 4.5 V to 18 V. voltage across the input resistors (R4 and R5). Depending on
The maximum current consumption of the 1NA217 is 12 mA. the gain, this can lead to a rather large offset voltage at the
The gain is determined by only one resistance, which is the output (several volts). If you want to avoid using a decoupling
resistance between pins 1 and 8 of the IC. capacitor at the output, an active offset compensation circuit
The circuit shown here is a standard application circuit for this provides a solution. In this circuit, a FET-input opamp with a
instrumentation amplifier. R1 and R2 provide a separate phan- low input offset (an OPA137) is used for this purpose. It acts
tom supply for the microphone connected to the amplifier (this as an integrator that provides reverse feedback to pin 5, so the
is primarily used with professional equipment). This supply can DC output level is always held to 0 V. This opamp is not in the
be enabled or disabled using S1. C1 and C2 prevent the phan- audio signal path, so it does not affect signal quality. Naturally,
tom voltage from appearing at the inputs of the amplifier. If a other types of low-offset opamps could also be used for this
phantom supply is not used, R1 and R2 can be omitted, and it purpose.
is then better to use MKT types for C1 and C2. Diodes D1D4 The current consumption of the circuit is primarily determined
are included to protect the inputs of the 1NA217 against high by the quiescent current of IC1, since the OPA137 consumes
input voltages (such as may occur when the phantom supply only 0.22 mA.
is switched on). R4 and R5 hold the bias voltage of the input (034054-1)

stage at ground potential. The gain is made variable by includ-

ing potentiometer P1 in series with R6. A special reverse log- (from a Texas Instruments application note)

2 Elektor Electronics 7-8/2003