You can use three discrete transistors to build an operational amplifier with an open-loop gain greater than 1 million (Figure 1). You bias the output at approximately one-half the supply voltage using the combined voltage drops across zener diode D1, the emitter-base voltage of input transistor Q1, and the 1V drop across 1-MΩ feedback resistor R2.
Resistor R3 and capacitor C1 form a compensation network that prevents the circuit from oscillating. The values in the figure still provide a good square-wave response. The ratio of R2 to R1 determines the inverting gain, which is −10 in this example.
You can configure this op amp as an active filter or as an oscillator. It drives a load of 1 kΩ. The square-wave response is good at 10 kHz, and the output reduces by 3 dB at 50 kHz. Set the 50-Hz low-frequency response with the values of the input and the output capacitors. You can raise the high-frequency response by using faster transistors and doing careful layout.
This is a three transistor single ended amp that has poor output resistance and no where near the gain that is being mentioned. Just the fact that 3904s and 3906s are being used is a testament that it is a poor design as those are common medium beta bjts that are widely used in academia because of availability and cost.
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