Unless you're specifically building an audio amplifier, most of the time it's easier to just go with a drop-in solution so you can focus on the rest of project. There's quite a few
modules on the market, with all the components
assembled and ready to provide that much-needed boost in power to your project's audio
output. Just supply an audio signal and go!
Parts Express provided a selection of low to
mid power amplifier modules to evaluate for this
article, which are perfect for including in a larger
design (Photo 1). These three modules are
available at Parts-Express.com, and all run from a
12V DC power supply. There’s a Diodes
Sound is important! If it's working well, it fades into the background, but
noisy (or quiet) audio can spoil nearly any project that's supposed to make
sounds. From custom boomboxes to special effects and robotics, what good
is your project if nobody can hear it? It's easy to throw in an LM386 while
working on the bench, but to take your project out of the lab you're going
to need more than the little chip's one watt or so of output power.
46 March 2015
Give Your Sound a Boost —
Amplifier Modules to
Power Your Project’s Audio
PHOTO 1. The three modules and their
accessories. Top left, the PAM8610. Top right, the
model TA2024 board. Everything else: the DTA- 2
digital audio amplifier module.