Amplified Ear

Amplified Ear

Circuit Description

This circuit, connected to 32 Ohm impedance mini-earphones, can
detect very remote sounds. Useful for theatre, cinema and lecture goers:
every word will be clearly heard. You can also listen to your
television set at a very low volume, avoiding to bother relatives and
neighbors. Even if you have a faultless hearing, you may discover
unexpected sounds using this device: a remote bird twittering will seem
very close to you.

Circuit Diagram:

Circuit

Parts:

  • P1 = 22K
  • R1 = 10K
  • R2 = 1M
  • R3 = 4K7
  • R4 = 100K
  • R5 = 3K9
  • R6 = 1K5
  • R7 = 100K
  • R8 = 100R
  • R9 = 10K
  • C1 = 100nF 63V
  • C2 = 100nF 63V
  • C3 = 1µF 63V
  • C4 = 10µF 25V
  • C5 = 470µF 25V
  • C6 = 1µF 63V
  • D1 = 1N4148
  • Q1 = BC547
  • Q2 = BC547
  • Q3 = BC547
  • Q4 = BC337
  • J1 = Stereo 3mm. Jack socket
  • B1 = 1.5V Battery (AA or AAA cell etc.)
  • SW1 = SPST Switch (Ganged with P1)
  • MIC1 = Miniature electret microphone

Circuit Operation :

The heart of the circuit is a constant-volume control amplifier. All
the signals picked-up by the microphone are amplified at a constant
level of about 1 Volt peak to peak. In this manner very low amplitude
audio signals are highly amplified and high amplitude ones are limited.
This operation is accomplished by Q3, modifying the bias of Q1 (hence
its AC gain) by means of R2.
A noteworthy feature of this circuit is 1.5V battery operation. Typical
current drawing: 7.5mA.

Notes:

  1. Due to the constant-volume control, some users may consider P1
    volume control unnecessary. In most cases it can be omitted, connecting
    C6 to C3. In this case use a SPST slider or toggle switch as SW1.
  2. Please note the stereo output Jack socket (J1) connections:
    only the two inner connections are used, leaving open the external one.
    In this way the two earpieces are wired in series, allowing mono
    operation and optimum load impedance to Q4 (64 Ohm).
  3. Using suitable miniature components, this circuit can be
    enclosed in a very small box, provided by a clip and hanged on one’s
    clothes or slipped into a pocket.
  4. Gary Pechon from Canada reported that the Amplified Ear is so sensitive that he can hear a whisper 7 meters across the room.
  5. He hooked a small relay coil to the input and was able to
    locate power lines in his wall. He was also able to hear the neighbor’s
    stereo perfectly: he could pick up the signals sent to the speaker voice
    coil through a plaster wall.
  6. Gary suggests that this circuit could make also a good electronic stethoscope.

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