Back in the ’90s, car audio magazines would refer to amplifiers branded with outlandish and seemingly impossible power production capabilities as having an ILS rating. The acronym ILS stands for If Lightning Struck, which implies that the amp would need to be supplied with a LOT more than the standard car voltage of 12 to 14 volts to justify its power production claims. The staff here at Mobile Edge in Lehighton cares about the quality and performance of the products we sell. We’ve chosen the brands we offer only after putting them through rigorous testing in our vehicles. In short, if we say an amplifier we offer will produce 800 watts to your subwoofers, it will.
The Standard for Amplifier Power Ratings
If you look at the Hertz and Audison amplifiers we offer, they include power production specifications that comply with the CEA-2006 standard for car audio amplifiers. This standard outlines specific criteria that are crucial to ensuring that ratings are comparable across different brands. First, CEA-2006 (recently updated to ANSI/CTA-2006-C) requires that the manufacturer define the amplifier’s test voltage. The standard is 14.4 volts, but manufacturers may choose to include ratings at a secondary voltage, so long as they make that choice clear.
The amount of distortion and noise contained in the signal may not exceed 1%. This requirement prevents manufacturers from driving the amp into clipping. Essentially, below 1% is where the usable power exists. Next, the load impedance must be specified, as most amplifiers produce more power as the load impedance drops. All channels of the amplifier must be driven to their 1% distortion level, and the amplifier must maintain this output for at least one minute.
Why Advertise So-Called ILS Power Ratings
Sadly, most car audio enthusiasts associate power production with quality. A Ford Mustang that makes 460 horsepower has to be better than one that produces 310 horsepower, right? If you’re drag racing, the answer is yes. If you’re driving in the snow, maybe not. Suppose you choose an amplifier for a set of speakers. In that case, the amplifier’s distortion and noise characteristics play a much more significant role in determining your music’s accuracy than the power the amp can produce.
Nevertheless, car audio companies continue to focus on power ratings, and as such, they emblazon their products with “Max Power” numbers in bright lettering to attract your attention.
Shop with Confidence at Mobile Edge
If you’re in the market for a car audio amplifier that sounds outstanding, functions seamlessly and can reproduce your music with accuracy and detail, drop by Mobile Edge in Lehighton and speak to a member of our team. If you can’t visit the store, give us a call or send us an e-mail by clicking the red button below.