Simple question for the gurus

Thread Starter


Joined Apr 19, 2011
I'm in the midst of learning circuit design, and trying to get some practical experience, taking a simple circuit and walking through what each piece does to understand it.

So I picked up the Velleman MK136 Super ear kit. Schematic here:

I'm trying to understand what purpose R5/R6 (Top near opamp) perform. Looks like a voltage divider circuit, but the sine wave from the mic side is also passing through it.

Is this effectively adding 2.25v to the mic circuit (Assuming a 4.5v supply)? Is there a name for this type of circuit?


Joined Mar 24, 2008
OK, here is the schematic, cleaned up a bit...

This is called bias. It allows the op amp to operate in the middle of the power supply voltage. The AC signal rides on the DC. This concept is used on transistors too, as well as many other types of linear circuits.


Last edited:


Joined Apr 30, 2011
It is a voltage divider and it is adding 2.25V (nominal) to the AC coupled signal. You were right on those points. Bill called it bias which is also correct.

Put this all together and you get "voltage divider bias". The All About Circuits ebook has a section on biasing but it's incomplete so you might look at the Wikipedia article:

Ron H

Joined Apr 14, 2005
That's what I thought but On Semiconductor shows theirs operating <3V single supply. and Velleman's been getting away with it. It'd be tempting to try the circuit on 9V with a few component values changed of course.
I couldn't find that in the datasheet. What page is it on?
The only similar thing I could find was that it is spec'ed down to ±3V power supplies.


Joined Feb 28, 2009
Also, title page states, "
• Small-Signal Bandwidth: 10 MHz
• Output Drive Capability: 600 , 10 VRMS
• Input Noise Voltage: 5.0 nV Hz (Typical)
• DC Voltage Gain: 50000
• AC Voltage Gain: 2200 at 10 kHz
• Power Bandwidth: 140 kHz
• Slew Rate: 9.0 V/s
Large Supply Voltage Range: +/- 3.0 to +/-20 V
• Compensated for Unity Gain
• Pb−Free Packages are Available


Joined Apr 30, 2011
I'm not recommending that anyone attempt to power the NE5532 with a below specification supply, just trying to explain how Velleman has gotten away with it. As I said before, I'd be tempted to rework the board for 9V.