|How many watts is that stereo?? No one really knows!!|
|Many people don't even know what the word "stereo" means, much less the difference between a watt, an ohm, or a volt. But that doesn't mean they should be mislead or ripped-off when buying a stereo receiver, whether for the home or the car.
There have always been "standards" that apply to measurments. When you buy a gallon of milk, you expect it will have 128 ounces of milk in it, because that is what a gallon IS. The word "standard" as discussed here, describes a common method used by everyone to provide a known starting point for some form of measurment. You know that if one store is selling a gallon of milk for $3, and another store is selling a gallon of milk for $2.50, you will getting the same amount of milk at either store. If they are both of similar quality, you're getting a better deal buying the $2.50 gallon.
But slowly, thanks to clever marketing tactics, and virtually NO oversite by the government, these standards are being eroded away, turning the market into an anything-goes mentality. False advertising, and more specifically outright lies, are commonplace now.
An amplifier is the part of a stereo receiver, or other sound equipment, that increases, or amplifies, the power of the music. The more power the amplifier can send to your speakers, the louder they will play. The unit of power involved here is called watts, just like a light bulb. As a matter of fact, if your stereo is putting out 100 watts, that means it is putting out the same amount of power that a 100 watt light bulb would use. Of course music is constantly varying in volume, so instead of the amplifier actually putting out 100 watts all the time, it may be putting out 50 watts half the time, and 150 watts the other half the time. To accurately describe this, you have to average it out. In the case above, we could call it 100 watts average power. A more technical term for this is "RMS".
For decades, that was the standard we used, "average power". And it was assumed that this power could be delivered from the amplifier for a hours at a time, so it was properly called "continuous average power". Just like the milk example above, if one store had a 100 watt stereo system for $300, and another store had a 100 watt system for $250, you could be confident that they both would be equally powerful, and that you could save $50 buying the cheaper one.
But that was in the "old economy". In the "new economy" we don't care about standards anymore. Lies are the way to go. All that matters is the almighty dollar. Rip 'em off as much as you can. There's probably even awards given out based on how many people got ripped off today!
So now our 100 watt stereo we were discussing , has become a 1000 watt stereo! Same machine it always was, just a new sticker on it.
That's because the new, improved "standard"-??? we're using is called Peak Maximum Power Output, or PMPO. Here's the details on this new standard: It means NOTHING at all about how good or loud the stereo will be. All it means is that theoretically, in other words "not really", this is the absolute maximum amount of power that can flow through the amplifier for an "instant" (whatever that is) before it self-destructs. Totally meaningless to the purchaser.
So it's pretty much like buying a balloon filled with milk. Although it only comes with a half a cup or so of milk in it, tests have proven that a whole gallon of milk could fit in that balloon before it pops, so we're going to call that a gallon from now on! Gimme my 3 bucks.
I first noticed this trend starting in cheap car stereo "power boosters" many years ago. They got away with it, so then it advanced to the car stereos themselves. Still no one complaining, so home stereos caught it too. Selling like hotcakes! Now even the professional equipment that bands and DJ's use is catching it. No doubt, the country is going to pot!
As a matter of fact, I recently purchased a name-brand professional "powered mixer" for an aquaintance to use for a karaoke show. This unit claims to be rated "600 watts RMS per channel" or 2 times 600 watts output. This means it would have to draw more than 1200 watts from the wall outlet, but the input rating by the power cord says "500 watts nominal" Gotta be the answer to global warming, this thing puts out more than twice as much power than it uses! And it makes no pollution! Nominal, man!
By the way, THERE IS REALLY NO SUCH THING AS A STEREO! The word "Stereo" basically means "two different". When you have a song playing on your stereo sound system, there are really 2 seperate recordings playing at once, one coming from the right speaker, and one from the left speaker. In most cases, the 2 recordings are slightly different from each other. Certain instruments or vocals may only be playing from one of the speakers. This gives an added sense of "depth" to the music. On the other hand, the word "MONO" means "one", and in the case of sound, is short for "monaural". This means all the sound is coming from one source, and even though you may have several speakers playing, they are all playing exactly the same thing, and you won't sense any "depth".
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