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408 Wireless World November, 1947

Push-pull Balance
ONE of the more important By W. T. COCKING, MI.E.E.
reasons for adopting push -
pull amplification,
especially in an output stage, lies push -pull, therefore, it usually valves are not exactly in opposite
in the fact that under ideal con- pays to work with an effective phase can be considered ; e, on
ditions all even -order harmonics, load on each which is much less the one hand and e, and e, on
introduced by curvature of the than the optimum for the non - the other are respectively µ and
valve characteristics, are balanced push -pull case. The third -har- 4, times the actual input voltages
out and do not appear in the out- monic distortion is reduced and r.,, E. and E,.
put. In addition to this, the mean the second -harmonic distortion is First of all, e3 will be taken as
anode currents of balanced out by zero. It can be seen from the
the valves act in tine push -pull equations in the Appendix that
opposition in the Effect o f Minor connection. both the fundamental and third -
output trans- While there is harmonic components are the
former and the no doubt at all same whether the valves are in
core consequently
Imperf ections about the value parallel or in push -pull. With the
works under bet- of push -pull in latter circuit both the out -of-
ter conditions. Because of this both theory and practice, many balance direct current in the out-
transformer distortion is also re- people realize that the ideal con- put transformer and the second -
duced. ditions which are usually assumed harmonic distortion can be re-
It is important to notice that in theoretical discussions do not duced to zero by the adjustment
the push-pull connection only re-
duces even -order harmonics.
exist in practice. They realize,
for instance, that the two valves
of the relative values of
e, and e_.
v v_,

Consequently, its use is of value of a push -pull stage are never If the two valves are exactly
only if the distortion introduced exactly alike, and they wonder alike the requirement for perfect
by the valves is predominantly of how much the performance is balance is v, = v, and e, = e_ ; that
this kind. This is so with triodes affected by this. Then, again, is, the two valves must have the
and for long no other valves were they know that various balancing same grid bias and their inputs
used in push-pull. schemes are sometimes recom- must have the same amplitude,
When operated under optimum mended and they wonder if they and be in opposite phase.
conditions for a single output are necessary when other ampli- In this case the fundamental -
valve, a pentode or tetrode fiers perform satisfactorily with- frequency current in the H.T.
usually introduces more third out them. lead is also zero. It is given by
than second harmonic. The use It is not easy to find answers Equ. (4) by writing minus signs
of a pair of stich valves in push - to questions such as these and instead of + between the pairs
pull then gives relatively little very little definite information on of terms in brackets. Because of
advantage over a pair in parallel, the subject has been published. this a favourite way of balancing
but there is still some advantage, The simplest method of attacking a push-pull amplifier is to insert
largely because of the improved the problem is to express the a resistance shunted by a pair of
conditions in the output trans- characteristics of the valves by 'phones in the H.T. lead, as
former brought about by the re- power series, but even if only a shown dotted in Fig. r, and to
moval of the direct polarizing few terms are taken the expres- adjust the relative values of the
current. sions become very cumbersome, input voltages E, and E2 for zero
The distortion introduced by a and it is not easy to take the load fundamental tone in the 'phones.
tetrode or pentode depends very impedance into account. Of course, in this particular
much upon the magnitude of its The equations in the Appendix case, since the output stage is
load resistance, however. With show the second- and third -har- assumed itself to be perfectly
a low value of load the distortion monic distortion produced by balanced, all that is done is to
is predominantly second har- valves having characteristics equalize E, and E, and so to cor-
monic, just as with a triode, and which can be represented by cubic rect for imperfections in the pre
this distortion tends to decrease equations, ignoring the effect of ceding stage.
as the load is increased, again just the load. The distortion for a pair
as with a triode. Unlike the of valves in either parallel or Balancing Adjustment
triode, however, third harmonic push-pull is given. The signal When the valves are not
distortion grows rapidly as the voltages are represented- by e, for identical, second- harmonic dis-
load resistance is increased. one valve and e2 + e for the tortion in the output and the out-
Although small when this re- other e, and e, are in opposite
; of- balance mean current can both
sistance is small it greatly exceeds phase for push -pull and e is in be brought to zero by adjusting
the second harmonic when it phase quadrature. This last term the values of e,/ e_ and v, / v.,.
becomes high. is included so that the case when With no signal the out -of- balance
When pentodes are used in the input voltages to the two current depends only on vi/ v,,
November, 1947 Wireless World 409

but the condition for zero second- They occur chiefly in the phase - second -harmonic distortion will
harmonic distortion depends on splitting circuits. They can be usually be zero, but this does not
both e,1 e2 and v, / v_. The out - represented by a voltage E, which matter provided that the result-
of- balance current with a signal is 90 deg out of phase with the ing distortion is small enough.
depends also on both e, / e2 and input E_ to one of the valves, E, An output stage might, for in-
v, / v2, so that the zero signal itself being exactly in opposite stance, be designed for 2 per cent
balance is not necessarily main- phase to E,. third -harmonic distortion at full
tained when a signal is applied. output. The second-harmonic
When e, =o, Equ. (3) shows Phase Unba!ance
distortion might vary from the
that the out -of-balance current ideal zero to, perhaps, 1 per cent
can be brought to zero even when The effect of E., is to produce according to the degree of balance
the valves are not alike by ad- output currents in quadrature to achieved. The addition of i per
justing v, / v2 with no applied sig- those caused by E, and E2, but cent second harmonic to a stage
nal. Equ. (5) shows that the through interaction between them already giving 2 per cent third -
second harmonic in the output it does also produce currents harmonic distortion is not likely
can also be brought to zero even additive to the main ones. Be- to be noticeable to the ear. The
although the valves are not alike cause of the quadrature currents total distortion is increased to
by adjusting e, / e2. When this is it becomes impossible to balance roo [0.o22 + 0.012] = 2.25 p e r
done the signal- dependent terms second -harmonic distortion to zero cent, little over rdb. Moreover,
in Equ. (3) are also zero, so that and equality of mean anode cur- the ear is more tolerant of second -
just as in the case of identical rents cannot be maintained at all than of third -harmonic distortion.
valves the second- harmonic and signal levels. It is, therefore, almost certain
out -of- balance currents can be However, these effects are very that the extra distortion would
made zero for all amplitudes of small in practice because it is not not be aurally detectable.
nput. difficult to keep the phase errors However, this may be, it is
However, the fundamental-fre - small. It is by no means easy to certain that there is some degree
quency component in the H.T. make them zero but in a common of second -harmonic distortion
lead (Equ. (4) with - signs be- type of phase -splitter they can relative to the third harmonic
fore each group of terms with be such that E, does not exceed which cannot be detected in any
subscripts 2) is no longer neces- about 3 per cent of E,. listening test. Provided that the
sarily zero. This is also obvious There are so many possible second har-
on physical grounds, for if the causes of unbalance in a push - monic can be
valves are unlike they introduce pull stage that it might be kept below this
different percentages of second thought that a balancing ad- figure, there-
harmonic. When adjusted for justment would fore, its pres-
zero total second harmonic in the be essential. ence is im-
output each valve must be giving This is not so, material, and if
the same amplitude of second - however, for a an amplifier can
harmonic output. But if the per- surprisingly be designed
centages are different the funda- large amount of which is inher-
mental outputs must also be unbalance can ently well -

different, and so they cannot often be toler- enough b al -

balance in the H.T. lead. ated. anced to keep
It is thus clear that in the In general, the distortion
general case the popular method balancing ad- below this
of balancing an amplifier for zero justments are figure its per -
fundamental component in the undesirable if formance is as
H.T. lead will not necessarily their use can be good as one
give zero second harmonic in the avoided, fo r more perfectly
output. It will only do so, in fact, their correct use balanced. It is
if the output valves are identical. demands some also much more
Strictly speaking, therefore, degree of skill. satisfactory in
Fig. r. The basic push -pull cir- practice.
the right way of adjusting e2 / e, It is, therefore, cuit. The dotted components in
is directly for minimum second - the usual com- the H.T. lead are often inserted In order to
harmonic distortion in the output. mercial practice when balancing a stage determine how
This is very inconvenient, how- to dispense with much unbalance
ever, for it demands the connec- them. This is done by determin- is permissible in an amplifier it
tion of a filter in the output to ing a permissible degree of un- is necessary to know how much
suppress the strong fundamental balance which affects the perform- second -harmonic distortion can
component. ance negligibly, and then design- be allowed. This can only be
It has been assumed so far that ing the equipment so that this settled by elaborate listening tests
the input voltages to the two degree of unbalance is not ex- with large numbers of observers.
values are precisely in opposite ceeded with any normal variations For present purposes it will be
phase; i.e., e, =o. In practice, of components and valves. assumed that an amount of
phase errors occur towards the Under such conditions neither second harmonic equal to the
two ends of the frequency range. the out-of- balance current nor the third harmonic is unimportant.
i rc Ic s World November, 1947
Push -pull Balance correspond to a fictitious valve input voltages is permissible.
This is a 3 -db increase in distor- having 3ooV H.T., -4oV grid Curve B shows the effect, with
tion from an " ideal " level of bias, µ =3 and a signal input of e2 =ed2 =d, of varying c2 /c,
-34db, assuming that 2per cent 4oV peak. A single valve, or a and curve C illustrates the effect
third harmonic is the target. The
distortion level thus rises from the 2
" ideal " -34db to -3rdb and
this in itself would not be readily
detected by ear. When the
greater tolerance of the ear to
second-harmonic distortion is
taken into account, it seems
certain that its presence in this
degree is unimportant.
At present this must be largely
a matter of opinion, and it is pos- g13,1
sible to work out the permissible
unbalances for any desired ratio o
of znd / 3rd harmonic distortion.
In the following examples, how- 00
2 4 6 e 10 12 14 16 IB 20
ever, a figure of unity for this
ratio is taken as the maximum PERCENTAGE UNBALANCE IN E, /E2
For the present assume that
Fig. 3. The effect of varying e2 /e, is shown here for the case when v2 /v,
c, /c, = d /d = 1.2, and ea /e2 = 0.03.
- r,
there is no phase unbalance
(es =o). Then Equ. (9) in the pair in parallel, produce 2 per cent of varying d2 /d, with c2 =c,.
Appendix gives the ratio of znd / third- harmonic distortion and ro Even with zo per cent difference
3rd harmonic distortion. The per cent second harmonic. It is between either of these valve con-
ratio does not depend only on the required to determine how the stants the second harmonic does
ratios e21 e /dv c
but also on c,
v21 c21 d2 / d,,
e, and v,. It
second -harmonic distortion of a
pair in push-pull varies with the
not exceed 0.4 of the third.
The effect of varying v2 / v, is
is not, therefore, possible to derive various out-of- balance elements. shown in curve D. This, however,
a general solution applicable to all This is done by taking the above is not a grid -bias variation but one
valves, but it is necessary to work values for the valves and calculat- of total voltage. It can be con-
out the permissible unbalances f iir ing the znd / 3rd harmonic ratios verted to one of grid -bias varia-
each case. with the aid of Equ. (9). The re- tion in this instance by multiply-
The best that can be done, sults are shown in Fig. 2; curve A ing the " Percentage Unbalance "
therefore, is to pick a typical case shows how the harmonic ratio scale in Fig. I by 1.5. By using
equation (13) the effect of vary-
ing es / e2 can be computed and
is shown in curve E.
In a practical case these varia-
tions may all occur together but it
is clear from Fig. 2 that in order
of importance the various causes
of unbalance are e, / e2, v21 v,,
e2 /e,, c2 /c (121 di. This is
rather a fortunate order, for the
valve variations are of least im-
B portance and it is these which are
least under the control of the
a amplifier designer. It is well to
2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 ¿Cl
allow a maximum variation here
and it is not unreasonable to take
PERCENTAGE UNBALANCE AND PERCENTAGE Ey /E2 c2 /c,= d2 /di =1.2; that is, 20 per
Fig. 2. The effect on the ratio of 2nd /3rd harmonic distortion of various cent unbalance between valves.
kinds of balance is shown here. If the valves are operated in the
Curve A c2 /c, = d2/d, = v2 /v, = r, e, = o, e2 /e, varying. usual way with a common bias
B e2 /e1 = d2 1d, = v2 /v, = 1, ea = o, c2 /c, varying. resistor v2 / v, = 1. The out-of-
C e2 /e, = e2 /c, = v2/vi= i, e3 = o, d2 /d, varying.
D e3 /ei = ex /c, = d,/d, = r, e3 = o, v2 /v, varying.
balance current in the output
E e, /e, = c, /c, = d2 /d, = v2 /v, = 1, e2 /e2 varying. transformer rarely exceeds IomA,
in practice, and this causes negli-
and the following values will be varies as e2/e1 varies for the case gible distortion when a well-
assumed : b,=2 x ro-4, c, = when the valves are identical and designed transformer having a
-3 x ro-7, d1= 1.25 X I0-9, e,= v, = v2. For unity distortion ratio silicon-steel core is used.
izoV, v, =18oV. These values over zo per cent unbalance of the The phase unbalance between
November, 1947 Wireless World Ozi

the inputs is usually negligible E, / E_ is thus likely to be tighter would seem desirable. It is sug-
over the major pr-t of the audio - for the avoidance of marked dis- gested that an input tolerance of
frequency spectrum. A very low parities in the grid -current over- ±5 per cent should be aimed at in
and very high frequencies it be- load points of the two valves than designing the preceding stages and
comes of appreciable magnitude for avoidance of second -harmonic that there should be not more
but with good design it is not distortion. If the bias is 4oV and than 3 per cent phase unbalance
large. It occurs chiefly in the the maximum input is 40V peak, at high and low frequencies.
phase -splitter and may amount to then with the 13 per cent toler- This permits rather greater toler-
about 3 per cent. The value of ance found earlier, the input to ances on valves than have been
e3/e, will, therefore, be taken as the other valve will be only 35.4V. considered in the foregoing.
0.03. As the power output is propor- No attempt at balancing second -
With these values as reasonable tional to the square of the input harmonic distortion to zero should
tolerances to allow for variations voltages it will be about (75.4 /80)2 normally be made and it is only
in values and for some phase un- =0.89 of that which would be ob- necessary to balance the mean
balance the ratio of 2nd to 3rd tained with equal input voltages anode currents in exceptional
harmonic distortion for various and identical valves. cases or when high -permeability
values of e2 /e, can now be calcu- The loss is not large, but a core material is used in the output
lated and the permissible input somewhat tighter input tolerance transformer.
unbalance so determined.
The result is shown by the curve APPENDIX.
of Fig. 3 and it will be seen that
for unity distortion ratio an in- Let the characteristics of valves I and 2 be expressed by
put unbalance of as much as 13 toi = a1 + b1V1 + c1V2 + d1V31
per cent can be allowed. This is ia2 = a2 + b2V2 + c2V22 + d2V23 .. .. (2)
for the worst case when the input where V1 = Val +µ1V21 + µ1E1 sin wt = y1 e1 sin wt
unbalance is in the same sense as
the others ; when it is opposing, a
= Vat + µ2V12
V2 - µ2E2 sin wt -
µ2E3 cos wt = v2
e2 sin wt -e3 cos wt -
much bigger tolerance is permissi- When the values are combined in push -pull the effective current is ia1
whereas when they are in parallel it is i11 + ia1 and V2 = v2 -1- e2 sin n I
is -
ble. Inserting the values of V, and V2 in (i) and (2) and expanding, we get :-
Grid -Current Effects Out-of-balance D.C. component = IDC =
It will be clear from all this (a1 - a2) + (Nei- 1)27;0 + (c1y12 -
+1(cle22- c2e22) +4(dle12v1- d2e22v2)- ic2e32- 4e32v2d2
c2v22) + (d,v13 - (12v23)
that a push -pull stage is very far (3'
from being critical and what at Fundamental frequency component = Il =
first appear to be quite large sin wt[( blet+ ó2e2) +2(c,e1vl +c2e2v2) +3(ó1e12 +d1e_v22)
amounts of unbalance have quite +I (d1e13 +d2eá) +£e32e2d2]
á small effect on the performance. +cos wt [ b2e3+2c2e3v2 +3e3v22d2 +£d,e22e3+ 3id2e33] (4)
This is in accord with practical Second -harmonic component = 12 =
experience. -cos 2wt[f(c1e12- c2e22)+ (d1e,2v1- d2e22v2) +ic2e32 +ßd2'321,21
In the foregoing it has been +sin 2w1[-c2e2ca- 3d2e2e3v2 +4d2e2e32] .. .. (5)
assumed that there is no limit to
the permissible value of E, /E, Third -harmonic component = I3 =
(e, /e2) other than that set by the -+ sin 3wt[f(die13+-d2e23)]
cos 3wt[fd2e33 +id2e22e3 +id2e2e32] .. .. ..
appearance of excessive second - (CO

harmonic distortion. This is not When e3 = o, for two values in parallel or push -pull, the fractional third
the case, in practice, however, for harmonic distortion is
if the two input voltages are dis- Edlei +d2e23)
.. (i)
similar then one valve will run ( blet + ó2e2) +2 (cell,'1 +c2e2v2) +3(dlelv12 +d2e2v22)+ (á1e13 +d23)
into grid current earlier than the When e3 = o, the fractional second harmonic is (+ signs for two valves in
other unless the valve with the parallel, - signs for push-pull)
larger input has a proportionately [(cie12 + c2e22) + 3(d,e12v1 d2e22v2)]
higher grid bias. Very serious +2 (c1e1v1 +c2e2v2) +3 (daelv12 +d2e2v22) +1(d1e13 +d2e23)
.. (8)
(blet +b2e2)
distortion usually occurs when grid Therefore, the ratio of 2nd /3rd harmonic distortion is
current starts, and if one valve
draws grid current before the rte- c12

+3- = dl
de 2

I ll
el l\
ó11( el
other the amplifier is overloading C1 C1 C1 e22 ve/
before the other valve is giving its 2 *
full output. I eeas
dl e,
Conditions in this respect are For zero second harmonic distortion the requirement is
likely to be at their worst when
¡e, c2 +3d2y2
an amplifier is carefully balanced 2
.. (rol
for zero second -harmonic and out- \ea/ c1 +3ó1v1

of-balance currents !The poorer For zero out of balance current it is necessary to have :-
valve of the two may need the
greater input and the smaller grid
a1 a2 +blv1- b2v2 +c1v12 -c2v22+d1v13- d,v.3
+i(c1e12- c2e22) +4(d1e12y,- d2e22v2) = o .

bias for balance. This can be zero for any values of e, and e2 only if the last two brackets
The tolerance permissible on are themselves zero. This is the case when Equ. (Io) is met.