Recent audio amplifiers exist in all shapes and sizes. Finding the ideal type for your application may frequently be difficult . There is a flood of different names and terms describing stereo amps, like “Class D” or “T-amp”. Also, every maker shows a great number of specifications, including “SNR”, “dynamic distortion” etc. In this editorial, I will have a closer look at one of the most basic of these terms: “amplifier output power”. This term is also often called “wattage”.

Amp specifications are at times awkward to interpret as they are not fully standardized. As such it may be hard to figure out the true performance of the amp merely by investigating the specifications. A decent technique however is to do a listening trial before paying for your power amplifier. Through this test you ideally wish to set up the amp in a comparable environment as your use. Now I will give some details in relation to “amplifier power”. This term is frequently misunderstood. It is essential to look quite closely at how the maker publishes this parameter. “Output power” describes how loud your amplifier may drive your speakers. Based on your application, you may go with a miniature amplifier offering just several watts or a larger one delivering several hundred watts. Many home stereos only have amps which have several watts power which usually is enough for a small space. If you intend to shake your walls then you clearly want to opt for an amplifier that has up to a few hundred watts. Many amplifiers will show rising audio distortion as output power increases. Therefore, you wish to go with an amp that offers more output power than you will actually require. This is going to guarantee that you will never drive the amp into areas of big distortion.

Several specs are going to present the wattage in “Watts peak” while others will display “Watts rms”. “Peak” means that the amp is able to deliver the wattage for a short amount of time only while “Watts rms” means that the amp is going to constantly deliver that amount of power. The peak output power rating in the past habitually led to producers listing huge wattage specs for a small amp sold by Amphony. However, in reality those amps would not be able to sustain larger levels of output power for larger periods of time.

Music and voice is not constant regarding volume. Thus the peak power rating is nonetheless essential, though not as significant as the rms power spec. Ideally the audio amplifier will show both the rms and peak power rating. Having a large peak power spec is going to make sure enough headroom for power peaks which are widespread in music signals. This is since at specific moments the signal will have peaks of power that by far exceed the average output power of the signal. Typically the impedance of the loudspeakers which you connect to the amp is going to determine how much power the amp can provide. Speaker impedance is measured in Ohms. Normally speakers have an impedance between 4 and 8 Ohms. An audio amplifier that has a fixed internal supply voltage is going to have a maximum output voltage swing which is limited by that supply voltage. If you are driving an 8-Ohm speaker then the amp must provide two times the output voltage than while driving a 4-Ohm speaker to be able to deliver the same level of output power. If the highest output power is not referenced to a loudspeaker impedance, you ought to get in touch with the producer. Typically a 4-Ohm loudspeaker is utilized as a reference.

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