An audio power amplifier design technique is presented which has the property of minimizing the nonlinear distortion that is generated in class A and class AB output stages. A modified feedback technique has been identified that is particularly suited to the design of near-unity gain stages. The technique can linearize the transfer characteristic and minimize the output resistance of the output stage. Consequently it is possible to design a power amplifier that uses fairly modest overall negative feedback, yet attains minimal crossover distortion together with an adequate damping factor. A generalized feedforward-feedback structure is presented from which a system model is derived that can compensate for both nonlinear voltage and nonlinear current transfer characteristics. From this theoretical model, several circuit examples are presented which illustrate that only circuits of modest complexity are needed to implement the distortion correction technique. In conclusion a design philosophy is described for an audio powr amplifier which is appropriate for both bipolar and FET devices, whereby only modest overall negative feedback is necessary.
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