By Seth Wilde – Product Specialist
The CEA-2006 Standard is an official testing and measurement method for amplifiers established by the Consumer Electronics Association. In order to standardize the power ratings of mobile amplifiers, the CEA-2006 compliancy ratings where established to inform the customer that they are getting the wattage that they paid for. In defining this standard, CEA tests and rates the ”performance of amplifiers designed for use in mobile (vehicle) applications”. This statement found on the CEA website continues to define the types of amplifiers that they will test. It is applicable for single channel and multi channel amplifiers that rely on the vehicle’s primary electrical system and have a power output of greater than 5 watts. When an amplifier is tested, CEA uses the following method to ensure that the ratings are consistent.
For RMS Power Handling of Amplifiers
1. Tested at 14.4 Volts
2. 4-ohm Impedance load
3. <1% THD (Total Harmonic Distortion)
When looking for an amplifier, it is important to see if the manufacturer has received a CEA-2006 compliancy for the amplifier. If so, then the ratings can be trusted at the advertised wattage. If they are not CEA certified, it could mean one of two things. First, the manufacturer has not submitted the amp for testing and it may or may not perform as advertised. Second, the specifications of the amp are not considered to be CEA-2006 compliant.
Recently, Hifonics has submitted their Brutus and Zeus series amplifiers to CEA to be tested for the amplifier power standard. The wattage that they advertise and have listed in their manual under the CEA-2006 compliancy section are true ratings that have been tested. This means that when one of these amplifiers is purchased and installed, the installer can be confident that the amplifier will produce the power that Hifonics says it will. The knowledge of this rating system is helpful when putting together a car audio system correctly. Matching the power handling of speakers to an amplifier becomes easier when considering CEA compliant amplifiers. Some of the trusted companies that have compliant amplifiers include: Kicker, MTX, Rockford Fosgate, Kenwood, Hifonics, and others.