This is an interesting little board we pulled from one of our Neve 1865 echo return modules. The function of these emitter follower boards is interesting and I have attached an excerpt to explain how they work below.
How they work…
The circuit can be explained by viewing the transistor as being under the control of negative feedback. From this viewpoint, a common collector stage is an amplifier with full series negative feedback. In this configuration, the entire output voltage VOUT is placed contrary and in series with the input voltage VIN. Thus the two voltages are subtracted according to KVL (the subtractor from the function block diagram is implemented just by the input loop) and their extraordinary difference Vdiff = VIN – VOUT is applied to the base-emitter junction. The transistor continuously monitors Vdiff and adjusts its emitter voltage almost equal (less VBEO) to the input voltage by passing the according collector current through the emitter resistor RE. As a result, the output voltage follows the input voltage variations from VBEO up to V+; hence the name, emitter follower.
Intuitively, this behavior can be also understood by realizing that the base-emitter voltage in the bipolar transistor is very insensitive to bias changes, so any change in base voltage is transmitted (to good approximation) directly to the emitter. It depends slightly on various disturbances (transistor tolerances, temperature variations, load resistance, collector resistor if it is added, etc.) since the transistor reacts to these disturbances and restores the equilibrium. It never saturates even if the input voltage reaches the positive rail.