Home Resources RMS Power vs. Peak Power In Headphone Amplifiers

RMS Power vs. Peak Power In Headphone Amplifiers

by Stuart Charles Black
FiiO K7 Review

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What is RMS Power vs. Peak Power? How does it affect an amplifier’ true power output numbers?

All of these answers and more, comin’ up…

Greetings friend-0 bass head, Stuart Charles here, HomeStudioBasics.com helping YOU make sound decisions leading to a beautiful audio experience that will make you fall in love with music (NOT gear), all over again, so…

What is RMS Power?

RMS (Root Mean Square), is the amount of power that can be used by your Amplifier continuously; that is, it’s the power it can provide while you’re listening to music at normal volumes.

Peak Power

Peak power specifies how much power the Amplifier can provide to the headphone in short bursts, or the absolute highest amount of power without experiencing distortion; or, before something explodes.

Wow, that escalated quickly!

It makes no sense to run an Amplifier at these levels for more than a couple of seconds, but companies still advertise peak power to make it look like the Amp is capable of delivering way more power than you’d actually ever utilize.

A good example of this is looking at power numbers on the Topping L30 Amplifier.

Topping E30/L30 Review

The L30 (on top) boasts a really impressive 3,500mW into 16 Ohms, 2,300mW into 32 Ohms, and 280mW into 300 Ohms.

The problem?

Those aren’t RMS numbers, they specify Peak Power, aka power you’ll never actually use.

Cut those numbers essentially in half and you’ve got a true sense of how much power the Amp will provide to your headphones.

Still a lot, but nowhere close to what was advertised.

It’s important to keep in mind that some companies will list out both RMS and Peak, and some won’t.

Also, some companies may list both for certain products, but only Peak numbers for others.

The L30 is an example of that.

Final Word

Be wary whenever you see power output specs on an amp; give it a closer look so as to make sure the Amp in question can actually power your headphones.

Most of the time you’ll be fine, but it’s always better to know beforehand.

If you’re interested in a company that’s honest when it comes to their specs, I like FiiO.

Learn More:


Well, that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this RMS Power vs. Peak Power Discussion, and came away with some valuable insight.

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Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!

Are you a little bit more skeptical now? I would love to hear from you. Until next time…

All the best and God bless,





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