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LM386 Amplifier Working Design Explained

The IC LM386 is a 8-pin tiny power amplifier chip, specially made for operating under relatively low voltage parameters, yet provide considerable amplification.

IC LM386 amplifier circuit becomes suitable for applying in small low power audio gadgets like in FM radios, door bells, telephones etc.

Let's begin the IC LM386 amplifier explanation by studying its absolute maximum ratings first, meaning the parameters which should not be exceeded while using this IC in any circuit:

Technical Specifications of IC LM386

  1. Supply Voltage: Max. 15V (Typical)

  2. Input Voltage: +/- 0.4 volts

  3. Storage Temperature: -65 degrees to +150degrees Celsius

  4. Operating Temperature:  0 to 70 degrees Celsius

  5. Power Output: 1.25 watts

  6. IC manufactured by:

How to Control Gain for the IC LM386

In order to make the IC better with its response, its pin#1 and 8 have been attributed with a gain control facility which may be set externally.

Gain simply means the capacity or the amplifying level of the device up to which it is able to amplify the applied input low signal audio input.

When the above pin outs are kept unconnected to anything, the internal 1.35K resistor sets the gain of the IC to 20.

If a capacitor is joined across the above pin outs, the gain is suddenly lifted to 200.

The gain may be simply made adjustable by connecting a pot in series with the above explained capacitor across the pin 1 and 8.

Practical Application Amplifier Circuits Using the IC LM386

The following figure shows a typical IC LM386 amplifier circuit having the bare minimum number of components required to make the IC operate at its internally set level of gain 20.

The speaker used is a 2 watt, 8 Ohms type.

The input at Vin may be fed from any audio source such as a cell phone headphone socket, a CD/DVD player RCA L or R socket or any other similar source.

The pin Vs should be connected to +12V DC supply from an AC DC adapter or a home made transformer/bridge power supply unit.

Pin #4 should be connected to ground or the negative of the power supply.

The earth wire or the negative wire from the input audio source should also be connected to the above negative of the power supply.

The input pin#2 goes to a 10K pot which becomes the volume control, one of its end terminals is picked for receiving the input signal while the other end is connected to ground, the center one goes to the hot end of the IC.

The speaker is connected to in #8 via a high value blocking capacitor, the resistor/capacitor arrangement connected across pin #5 and ground has been included for frequency compensation and to provide greater stability to the circuit.

The next circuit shows a similar design as above, except that its pins 1 and 8 have been connected to a capacitor of 10uF, which as explained above helps to pull the gain of the amplifier to 200

IC LM386 Amplifier Circuit Explained

MIC amplifier circuit using LM386 IC

The following image shows how the above explained LM386 may be applied for achieving a simple yet powerful microphone amplifier circuit as shown below

simple mic amplifier circuit with 8 ohm speaker and LM386 IC

Need Help? Please leave a comment, I'll get back soon with a reply!


  1. sir..
    how much voltage(maximum) include in this ckt..?

  2. Can multiple num of 386 be conected in series to get greater power?

  3. i have no idea about it so can't suggest....

  4. Sir, i made the circuit with 5volt power from usb port. i had no 0.1uf capacitor i used 10uf capacitor. sound is very good, when i loud the sound, The speaker's voice was burst۔ what is the solution for this????? Sound should be clear on loudness.

  5. Irshad, if you force the IC to work above it's specified rating then the output will distort.

    so you will need to keep the input music only upto that level which does not exceed the amps max handling capacity.

  6. Hi bro, i want to increase the outpt of LM 386 to around 5W using either Transistors or Mosfets so do have any idea how to configure the driver stage using these ????

  7. sorry Bro, I tried but could not find any technically correct LM386 power booster circuit, most of the ideas are based on opamp instead of LM386...

  8. Hello Sir please provide the simple mic amplifier circuit diagram and how to connect it for la 4440 audio circuit board
    Thank you

  9. Hello Raghvendra, the MIC circuit is already shown at the end of the article, you can connect the output with your LA4440

  10. Thanks sir thanks very much and one more thing sir to ask you that please provide 250watt subwoofer audio circuit

  11. Hi Raghavendra,
    you can try the following design and add a low pass filter at the input to make it a subwoofer amp

  12. Good write up on the LM 386. One question. Can I use a transformer with the secondary connected to inputs 2 and 3 as an input device. If so could I use an 8 Ohm primary to 1300 Ohm secondary and get some extra gain?
    Thank you.

  13. Thanks Hans, I don't think that would work, because the input of the amp is already is too sensitive and set at high gain, therefore adding more voltage at the input side would result in distortion at the output side.

  14. I do not plan to connect pins 1 and 8 with a cap, I just wish to get rid of common mode noise. As alternative could I use a 600 Ohm:600 Ohm audio transformer connected with say 10 uF caps to 2 and 3?

  15. OK, so you intend to transfer only the differential value to the amp and eliminate common mode noise, in that case you can try using a trafo at the input

  16. Thank you. Would you know where to find actual schematics for a transformer input?

  17. sorry, I do not have much idea about it.

  18. I like this circuit, thank you. I was wondering what would be required to add headphones?


  19. Thank you, glad you liked it, you can simply replace the shown speaker with a headphone, just make sure to reduce the volume control suitably so that the input power does not exceed the headphone specs.

  20. Thank you for your reply, that is easy enough.

  21. Thanks much for the circuits, I have quite a supply of these chips right now, as I had plans to build some audio devices that sort of fell through when I became disabled in an accident. So now I am just looking at busy work and to use some of the parts that I have on hand from my former life. This appears to be a fine way to use up some of my excess and still make something useful for friends and family to use in passing.

  22. My pleasure Hunter! Building electronic circuits could be great way to have some fun and feel proud about yourself. Let me know if you need any help, I'll most happy.


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