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Efficiency Optimization of Class G Amplifiers: Impact of the Input Signals

Class G amplifiers are an effective solution to increase the audio efficiency for headphone applications, but realistic operating conditions have to be taken into account to predict and optimize power efficiency. In fact, power supply tracking, which is a key factor for high efficiency, is poorly optimized with the classical design method because the stimulus used is very different from a real audio signal. Here, a methodology has been proposed to find class G nominal conditions. By using relevant stimuli and nominal output power, the simulation and test of the class G amplifier are closer to the real conditions. Moreover, a novel simulator is used to quickly evaluate the efficiency with these long duration stimuli, i.e., ten seconds instead of a few milliseconds. This allows longer transient simulation for an accurate efficiency and audio quality evaluation by averaging the class G behavior. Based on this simulator, this paper indicates the limitations of the well-established test setup. Real efficiencies vary up to ±50% from the classical methods. Finally, the study underlines the need to use real audio signals to optimize the supply voltage tracking of class G amplifiers in order to achieve a maximal efficiency in nominal operation.

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