LM386: Overview,Specifications,Main uses,Features,application fields,working principle and alternative models

LM386 Overview:

The LM386 is a popular audio power amplifier integrated circuit known for its simplicity and reliability. It is widely used in audio applications due to its ease of use and low component count. Here is an overview, specifications, main uses, features, application fields, working principle, and alternative models of the LM386:



  • Manufacturer: Texas Instruments, ON Semiconductor, STMicroelectronics, etc.
  • IC Type: Audio Power Amplifier
  • Package: DIP, SOIC, MSOP
  • Operating Voltage: Typically 4V to 12V
  • Output Power: Up to 700 mW
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR): Typically 86 dB
  • Input Impedance: 50 kΩ
  • Features: Internal gain set to 20, adjustable gain, low quiescent current.
  • DataSheet LM386N-1 PDF

Main Uses:

  • Audio Amplification: Used in portable audio devices, guitar amplifiers, intercoms, and other audio applications.
  • Speaker Driver: Directly drives small speakers or headphones.
  • Signal Amplification: Amplifies audio signals from microphones or line-level inputs.
  • Voltage Gain Stage: Functions as a voltage amplifier in various circuits.


  • Low Distortion: Provides good audio fidelity for low-power applications.
  • Simple Design: Minimal external components required for operation.
  • Adjustable Gain: Gain can be easily modified for different applications.
  • Internal Biasing: Internal biasing circuitry simplifies external connections.
  • Low Quiescent Current: Suitable for battery-powered applications.

Application Fields:

  • Portable Audio: Used in portable speakers, headphone amplifiers, and audio players.
  • Intercom Systems: Employed in intercoms and communication devices for audio amplification.
  • Guitar Amplifiers: Found in DIY guitar amplifier projects and small practice amps.
  • DIY Electronics: Popular in hobbyist projects due to its simplicity and effectiveness.

Working Principle:

  • The LM386 is designed as a power amplifier with internal gain set to 20 by default.
  • It amplifies small audio signals from a microphone, line input, or other sources and drives a speaker or headphones.
  • External components like resistors and capacitors can be used to adjust gain and other characteristics of the amplifier.

Alternative Models:

  • LM384: Higher-power version of the LM386 amplifier.
  • LM380: General-purpose audio power amplifier with different pin configurations.
  • TDA7052: Audio power amplifier with different features and specifications.


  • The LM386 is a versatile and widely used audio amplifier IC suitable for various low-power audio applications.
  • Ensure proper decoupling and input/output impedance matching for optimal performance in audio circuits.

The LM386 amplifier provides a cost-effective and straightforward solution for amplifying audio signals in a variety of applications, making it a go-to choice for hobbyists, students, and designers working on audio projects.

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