Be careful of misleading specs, use your ears!

This week I was reading some home theatre receiver reviews and I noticed a couple of graphs which quite nicely demonstrate why you should trust your ears and not compare the specs between brands.

First here is the power ratings for a popular “130W” Home Theatre receiver priced around the $600 mark (Note: this is advertised as 5 x130W by some retailers, but the actual RMS power is only 80W which is what we would quote):







So would you be disappointed or surprised to see your 5x 130W Receiver only deliver 5x 28W using proper industry standard measurements?

As a comparison, here’s a graph from a “100W” receiver priced at $1799:







It’s a strikingly different picture isn’t it? My conclusions from these two graphs alone are as follows:

  • Comparing power ratings between brands is meaningless
  • Some brands understate their power ratings, others overrate them
  • Significant power drop off when driving all channels suggests a lower quality power supply unit or perhaps this is due to design, either way I would rather have an amplifier that can do what it advertisers when all channels are pumping my favourite movie
  • You get what you pay for

We get asked about the power of an amplifier more than any other question, “why is this so-called high quality stereo amp only 50W when my current Home Theatre amp is 150W” etc… well the answer most of the time is how its measured so if you want to find out more on this checkout an older blog we wrote on power ratings.

So in summary, don’t rely on the spec sheet, buy reputable brands and rely on your ears!