September 22, 2023

How does an Audio Amplifier Work?

An audio amplifier is a common electronic device used in the music industry and marketplace. It basically takes a weak electronic signal or current and increases its strength. For instance, if you wanted to amplify the weak sounds coming out of your home speakers, you could connect an audio amplifier to your speakers to create the volume of the sound. The amplifier basically boosts the signal that is sent to the speakers while keeping the content of the sounds the same.

Audio amplifiers don’t even need to be entire devices. Sometimes they’re electronic components built into other devices. Did you know there are amplifiers built into portable CD players, computers, televisions, smartphones, and any electronic device which has a speaker integrated into it? Of course, these are smaller amplifiers which are meant for projecting sound to a smaller enclosed area. If you want to amplify sound to a bigger room of people or an outdoor environment, then you can purchase separate amplifiers for that.

As you can see, amplifiers can be big or small. A perfect example of this is with hearing aids. Inside of each hearing aid is a tiny microphone and amplifying component. The microphone absorbs the sounds and noises coming from the environment and turns them into an electric signal. The strength of the signal consistently fluctuates as it is boosted several times higher. The signal finally ends up in a micro loudspeaker which faces your inner ear canal. That is how hearing aids increase the volume of the sounds around you.

How Amplifiers Work

To understand how audio amplifiers work, you must understand sound from a natural perspective. Whenever sound is produced, it causes vibrations to travel through the environment. Small particles of air surround these vibrations, pushing other air particles out of their way. The vibrating pulse continues to be carried through the air until it reaches our ear canal. The air pressure fluctuations that we receive are converted into electrical signals that get processed by the brain. That is how we understand sound for what it is.

Now let’s consider how electronic sound equipment works. It basically takes one electric signal and turns it into another electric signal. The end result is a physical sound wave based on the original electric signal. The difference is the sound waves have slightly altered air pressure fluctuations. You see this when you record your voice with a microphone and play it back through your speakers. Your music player takes the electrical signal from the microphone and reinterprets it for the speaker. That way, the speaker will play a version of your recorded voice that is louder than the original.

Do not confuse music players with amplifiers because they’re two different things. Music players are basically transformers that take a constant electric charge and give it a modest size boost. Amplifiers, on the other hand, are like extreme versions of this. They take an electrical signal from an audio source and magnify it extensively. Sometimes amplifiers are small devices while other times they are big devices. It all depends on where you need to install the amplifiers, especially if you are worried about narrow spaces like in a car.

Sometimes there are two amplifiers used in audio equipment. First you have the pre-amplifier which boosts the original electrical signal up to a minimum input level in which the main amplifier is able to tolerate. From there, the main amplifier gives the signal another boost in order to make it come out of the loudspeakers clearly and loudly.

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A lot of basic audio devices, such as MP3 players and laptops, will at least have a pre-amplifiers so that you can connect them to other stereo equipment. But people who want to play their music even louder should purchase a separate amplifier unit.

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