The authors encountered anecdotal evidence suggesting that field failures of existing line driver and microphone preamplifier integrated circuits (ICs) were correlated with accidental connections between line outputs and microphone inputs with phantom power applied. Analysis showed that the most probable mechanism was large currents flowing as a result of rapid discharge of the high-valued ac-coupling capacitors. Commonly used protection schemes are measured, analyzed, and shown to be lacking. More robust schemes that address these shortcomings are presented. It is concluded that the small additional cost of these more robust protection schemes is likely outweighed by the reduction in field failures and their associated repair cost.
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