What is RMS Power vs. Peak Power? How does it affect an Amplifiers’s 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 from your Amplifier continuously; that is, it’s the power it can provide while you’re listening to music at normal volumes.
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. How to Choose a Headphone Amp [Definitive Guide]
A good example of this is looking at power numbers on the Topping L30 Amplifier.
The L30 (on top) boasts a really impressive 3,500mW into 16 Ohm, 2,300mW into 32 Ohm, and 280mW into 300 Ohm.
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.
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.
While you’re at it:
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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All the best and God bless,