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Binary logarithmic ladder network

Binary logarithmic ladder network: The network provides an attenuation between 0 dB and 78.75 dB that is presettable in 64 steps with the aid of a 6-bit code.

Six independent, relay-switched attenuator sections may be connected in series in accordance with the input code. Since the sections have identical 1 kΩ impedances, they do not affect each other and can, therefore. be interchanged without any problem. The only requirement is that the network is terminated correctly. hereby R20. The fairly low characteristic resistance of 1 kf2 was chosen to keep the noise generated by the attenuator low.

Buffering of the attenuator is effected by a Type NE5532, an IC that operates effortlessly with a 1 Ic.Q input impedance. The use of relays in the various sections ensures that there are no linearity problems with switching elements.

Furthermore, relays make it possible for the control circuits and the attenuator to be electrically isolated.
The relays are driven by a transistor so that the control inputs require relatively little energy: even a simple logic circuit (TTL or CMOS) can switch the relays in this

The signal-to-noise ratio of the attenuator, with component values as shown in the diagram, is 92 dB (A-weighted even 107 dB), provided the input signal is not smaller than 1 V r.m.s. The maximum input voltage is 7 V r.m.s. Total harmonic distortion at frequencies up to 20 kHz is not greater than 0.003%. The current drawn by the circuit depends primarily on the relays: in the prototype, it was about 120 mA.

Binary logarithmic ladder network Schematic diagram

The 5532 is a dual high-performance low-noise operational amplifier. Compared to most of the standard operational amplifiers, such as 1458, it shows better noise performance, improved output drive capability, and considerably higher small-signal and power bandwidths.

NE5532 Specifications


  • Equivalent Input Noise Voltage: 5 nV/√Hz Typ at 1 kHz
  • Unity-Gain Bandwidth: 10 MHz Typ
  • Common-Mode Rejection Ratio: 100 dB Typ
  • High DC Voltage Gain: 100 V/mV Typ
  • Peak-to-Peak Output Voltage Swing 26 V Typ with VCC± = ±15 V and RL =600Ω
  • High Slew Rate: 9 V/µs Typ

NE5532 Applications:

  • AV Receivers
  • DVD Recorders and Players
  • Pro Audio Mixers
  • Netbooks
  • Embedded PCs



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