New Car Audio Amplifier Standard Approved

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New car audio amplifier standard

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.


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  1. I remember in old days AMP Ratings – WHS — When Lighting strikes —
    lets see where this will go –

  2. The only way this works is if there is a way to reign in the cheaters. Class action lawsuit comes to mind, false advertising, fraud, and similar infractions with a DA’s office would be a great start. Without this, the only way you can educate the consumer is in person, and that is becoming more and more scarce.
    In the words of Tommy Boy-
    “I can stamp a guarantee on the box but all that means is you have a guaranteed piece of $h..T”

  3. It would have been nice to list out the 11 manufacturers that are currently participating.

    1. That would be asking too much! 😂 I’m curious on how many companies will adopt this and what type of price increase we will see. More YouTube videos from Big D, Steve Meade, and the Budget guy may start to come out. I wonder to Sundown and others will pay a 3rd party like EMF or JP to test for them. The regulations on this 3rd party testing needs to be pretty strict or everyone is going to bullshit their way through it.

  4. Most consumers are ignorant. Especially, important characteristics pertaining to their purchased item. Most audio consumers purchase speaker types outside their musical listening preference. I’ve seen A lot of individuals build around a set of 10 or 12 inch subwoofers and 80% of the music they listen to isn’t for that desired application. Most people are the way about audio quality as they are everything else. They believe whatever someone tells them. I’ve heard complimentive comments regarding a passing by system with so much distortion, it made it almost impossible to identify the artist or song. Most people are sheep. Very few people exercise the ability to create an opinion and even less will voice it whenever it differs from the subject topic.

  5. The autosound industry as it relates to amplifiers is like the diamond industry. Shifty sellers (insert a brands like Pyle/Pyramid owned by Sound Around here) that prey on the unknowing consumer. Anyone that’s been selling into this market knows the culprits. They chase the $ in spite of having any integrity in the process. These standards, though ya gotta love standards, are a day late and a dollar short.

  6. Well Richard we do agree on a few points. It is not 1985 any longer and yes aftermarket car audio consumers are fewer and do shop differently than decades ago….or do they? We can do one of two things. We can all acknowledge defeat and try to match internet pricing because that is the only obvious value we see and believe our customers see it that way also or, we can try to create new customers by offering an experience, (yes a real demonstration in a real car that is not only enjoyable but somewhat educational), that is very engaging and actually gets people excited about an audio upgrade and builds value that makes price secondary. Ask Alpine about their X-Perience events. They work. A lot of heavy lifting and no short cuts but at the end of the day, we as an industry need to all pitch in to help raise the bar and create more excitement.
    The new standard for amplifier ratings is a good thing even if your sales team may not think their customers would care. In many cases, we as sales professionals need to believe in the products wholeheartedly before we can enthusiastically suggest a proper solution to a consumer. Having a higher standard of power rating adds value by helping justify why the amp may be a little more expensive and the value being offered is really about better and more reliable sound not a power rating….unless you are offering the brands that may not be as accurate with their ratings……

  7. Rick,

    When I take a little extra time to explain Alpine’s amp technology, I have almost a 100% closure rate on the Type X amps. There are people out there that like to read still, me included. Remember people have been seeking music out for more than six thousand years. I liked your response, they’re is a lot of truth in it. Set up a demo car and make them feel important by giving them a demo and you will be amazed with the closure rate. My manager tells me that our demo cars are better than my sound room. Which is very nice, but nothing compares to the real thing. Ride With The Music.

    1. I’d agree. It isn’t really that difficult or time consuming to even explain and certainly a demo is always best. That being said, this idea will be a lot more successful if all manufacturers get on board.

  8. It’s about time. I have been telling my customers for more than twenty years that our industry is not regulated like the home audio industry. I know that the word regulated can be a threatening word, but it this case I think it’s about time.

  9. The typical consumer has very little knowledge of all things scientific. For years, slick ad copy has been used to prey on this ignorance. Companies have built empires off of it. IMHO, you could tell them pretty much anything and they’d buy it – CCA is an acceptable alternative to heavy, expensive copper cable for example. Heck, you may even see them rush to defend such deceptive marketing practices when that position is challenged by those in the know.

    While I applaud efforts as this i theory, the reality is that it just isn’t 1985 anymore. Nowadays, people digest information in 10 character text messages with emojis – ain’t nobody got time to read a paragraph of technical speak that pertains to them not being ripped off. Streaming compressed files to switching amplifiers is the order of the day . . . does it really matter if the amplifiers can meet these new criteria?

    The consumer looking for high quality already knows where to find it.

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