Microphone Pre-Amplifier with Variable Compression and Noise Gating Project Using SSM2166

The SSM2166 integrates a complete and flexible solution for conditioning microphone inputs in computer audio systems. It is also excellent for improving vocal clarity in communications and public address systems. A low noise, voltage-controlled amplifier (VCA) provides a gain that is dynamically adjusted by a control loop to maintain a set compression characteristic. The compression ratio is set by a single resistor and can be varied from 1:1 to over 15:1 relative to a user-defined rotation point; signals above the rotation point are limited to prevent overload and to eliminate popping. In the 1:1 compression setting, the SSM2166 can be programmed with a fixed gain of up to 20 dB; this gain is in addition to the variable gain in other compression settings. The input buffer can also be configured for front-end gains of 0 dB to 20 dB. A downward expander (noise gate) prevents amplification of noise or hum. This results in optimized signal levels prior to digitization, thereby eliminating the need for additional gain or attenuation in the digital domain that may add noise or impair accuracy of speech recognition algorithms. The compression ratio and time constants are set externally. A high degree of flexibility is provided by the VCA gain, rotation point, and noise gate adjustment pins.