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Understanding Audio Specifications

Do you know what you're doing when you buy equipment? Or do you take a shot in the dark and hope for the best? If you don't truly understand audio specifications, you could waste a lot of your hard-earned money.


Did you know that an amplifier specified at 120 watts 'Peak Music Power Output' may only be truly capable of 10 watts RMS?

An RMS measurement gives the true 'heating power' of the output. An honest manufacturer will rate their amplifier in terms of the number of RMS watts it can supply on a continuous basis. A less scrupulous manufacturer or retailer will quote a figure that is little better than a figment of someone's imagination.

But how can you tell?

And what about frequency response, signal-to-noise ratio and distortion? What about microphone specifications? Microphone preamplifier specifications? Loudspeakers too?

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And what should you expect your equipment to do? What capabilities should it have? Does it matter whether a digital audio workstation has twenty-four faders, or will sixteen mono faders and four stereo faders (total twenty) do?

Impedance... does it matter whether a loudspeaker has 4 ohms or 8 ohms impedance? Does one sound better than the other, and can your amplifier cope? Would 2 ohms be more or less stressful for your amp?

All of these questions and more are answered in 'Understanding Audio Specifications' - the new e-Learning Module from Audio Masterclass, available to download today only from Audio Masterclass

With 'Understanding Audio Specifications' you will finally be able to judge and compare equipment, and know what to expect before you buy.

Note added July 27, 2013 - This item is not currently available from the website. It may however be available on request. Send us an e-mail to enquire.

By David Mellor Thursday November 30, 2006