CTA Tightens Rules Again on 12V Amplifiers

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New car audio amplifier standard

After passing a new stricter standard for 12 volt amplifier power ratings, now the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) is putting some additional muscle behind the standard.

Under new rules, suppliers who wish to use a CTA power rating logo, must test their products’ power ratings at a third-party facility.  Self-testing will not be allowed if a vendor wishes to use the CTA power rating logo.

There’s another requirement for using the logo, as well.  If a supplier claims a maximum power rating, it must also report the distortion at that level. “It’s giving an accurate reading of the power when the volume is all the way up, but also the distortion,” said Dave Wilson VP Technology & Standards at the CTA.

As we reported a year ago, the CTA is officially ending use of the old CTA-2006-B standard and moving to the stricter CTA-2006-C.  The old standard officially ends December 31, 2022.  Under the new standard, suppliers testing their amplifiers must maintain a power level at 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.

The CTA is now working on a list of approved third party testing labs.  Once that is issued, suppliers can start the process of product certification.

The hope is that enough suppliers will adhere to the new standard and use the new CTA-2006-C logo, so that the logo gains consumer recognition.   Then other suppliers may be pressured to follow the guidelines, said Wilson.

This would end some of the wide disparity in amplifier power claims. Ratings on amplifiers vary so greatly that consumers are left wondering why a 1,000 watt amplifier can cost as little as $69 or as much as $1,000.


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  1. At some point, all this will have to stop! The vast majority of online shoppers will only grasp the largest number of watts for the lowest price. And internet marketed brands will play into this. Brick and mortar retailers and the brands we sell fight this battle daily. I never try to design a system based on watts. To me, it’s all about application and budget. Watts is the last conservation we have if at all.

  2. As long as MAX power is still the calling card, there is no parity. Level the playing field by using ONLY RMS.

  3. Bout’ damn time we had some legit ‘regulation’ in this realm, to stifle the gratuitous bogus power ratings, that have allowed ‘third-world’ 12V brands to continue to ‘prey upon’ consumer trust and ignorance. Our Industry can’t be allowed to perceived by end-users as being largely untrustworthy.

  4. Will they back it up with enforcement? By that I mean purchasing amps at retail for re-testing. This would be to avoid manufacturers from getting a CTA rating on a “ringer” or specially built amp to pass the test – then actually manufacturing product to a lower (cheaper) standard.

  5. I do like tightening the regulations, but I suspect some manufacturers will just stop using the logo and rely on their brand image at some point, just as customers do. The VAST majority of customers have no idea what the CTA2006 logo is or what it means. So why pay to have a 3rd party test your gear for you? Is anybody questioning if a VXi1000/1 actually outputs rated power? So why would JL pay someone for the logo, especially when under 1% of customers recognize/care about it? Just an example.

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