A new and stricter standard for rating amplifiers has been approved by the Vehicle Technology Division of the Consumer Technology Association.
The new CTA 2006-C standard requires that suppliers testing their amplifiers, maintain a power level of a minute or more in achieving their power output. With the earlier CEA 2006-B standard, they could hit the power level for only a few seconds, as long as they reached it. The newer standard reflects more true-to-life usage, said John Ivey, Vehicle Technology Div. Chairman, and CEO of Mitek, maker of MTX Audio.
What remains now is to determine whether the standard should allow self-testing or require outside, third party testing, he said.
An industry working group is expected to be convened to help answer this question. Settling the question could take months to a year or more, said Ivey.
Self-certification would allow manufacturers to run their own tests to rate an amplifier. Third-party testing would require testing by an independent lab.
“In my opinion having outside labs verify 2006-C would make sense. That’s my personal belief,” said Ivey.
Outside testing is more costly to manufacturers and it takes more time, but it has the benefit that all manufacturers would use the same testing procedure for truer results.
“Either way, it’s great for the industry,” said Ivey.
Currently, you might see a 1,000 watt amplifier costing as little as $69 or as much as $1,000. Ivey said that is not true of other industries. “In the automotive industry there’s only one way to rate horsepower,” he noted.
“Everyone knows this is a problem…Now that 2006-C has been adopted and once we figure out how it’s going to test–self or outside lab–the real important part is that retailers support it and we get the information out to the consumer so they can make an educated purchase. We need manufacturers and retailers to get behind it, showing that our industry is serious about relaying the proper information to consumers in an apples to apples comparison of what you’re buying. Right now the way the companies rate their watts is all over the place. Our company bought product off Amazon and tested it. Some companies were [rating amps at] many multiples of what the product actually did. We have to fix it.”
He said that dealers could choose to support manufacturers that use the program and help educate consumers on why a 500 watt CTA 2006-C amplifier would be superior to a non CTA rated 2,000 watt amplifier.
Currently only about 11 companies participate in CTA 2006 amplifier ratings, while there are as many as 100 amplifier suppliers in the marketplace, said Ivey.