What is a tuned amplifier?

Tuned amplifiers can be found in aircraft autopilot systems.

A tuned amplifier is a type of electronic device designed to amplify specific ranges of electrical signals while ignoring or blocking others. It has common use in devices that work with radio frequency signals, such as radios, televisions and other types of communication equipment; however, it can also be useful in many other applications. Tuned amplifiers can be found in aircraft autopilot systems, audio systems, scientific instruments, spacecraft, or anywhere else when there is a need to select and amplify specific electronic signals, ignoring others.

An FM radio has a tuned amplifier that allows you to listen to only one radio station at a time.

The most common tuned amplifiers that an average person interacts with can be found in home or portable entertainment equipment such as FM stereo receivers. An FM radio has a tuned amplifier that allows you to listen to only one radio station at a time. When the knob is turned to change the station, it adjusts a variable capacitor, inductor, or similar device within the radio, which changes the inductive load of the tuned amplifier circuit. This retunes the amplifier to allow a different specific radio frequency to be amplified so that a different radio station can be heard.

Tuned amplifiers can be found in cell phones.

All radio-based communication devices, including stereos, televisions, and cell phones, simultaneously receive all signals present in a given area. The tuned amplifier inside the device is what allows only a certain frequency to be amplified, through a process called bandpass filtering. In bandpass filtering, the electronics are configured to allow only a specific band of frequencies to pass through the filter. On some devices, such as FM radios, the filter is adjustable. In others, such as cell phones or WiFi computer networks, the filter is fixed to a single specific frequency range.

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Tuned amplifiers can be found in televisions.

Fixed-frequency tuned amplifiers can also be found in audio processing equipment, such as graphic equalizers. For example, on a five-band graphic equalizer, there are five separate controls. Each of these controls manipulates an individual tuned amplifier. In this case, each of the bandpass filters on the tuned amplifiers is fixed, allowing a distinct range of sound frequencies to pass through each of the controls. Adjusting the control of one of these sound frequency bands adjusts the amount of amplification of the band, not the actual frequency range of the band itself.

Tuned amplifiers can have adjustable bandpass filters, adjustable amplifiers, both, or neither. The function that identifies a tuned amplifier is that the amplified signals are limited, or tuned, to a specific band or frequency band. The ability to be configured in so many variations for so many different purposes has made the tuned amplifier a mainstay in almost every sophisticated electronic device out there.

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