FTC may end amplifier rule! ACTION NEEDED

Sharing an important issue you all may or may not already be aware of. Gene from audioholics did a full video on this linked below. The FTC may end the amplifier rule so that companies can go back to making misleading claims on power output of their amplifiers. We should all get on the govt website and comment to try to stop this from happening!


Because as we all know the only reason anything works is government regulation. He said with the most extreme imaginable sarcasm.

@millercarbon if that is your opinion could you please explain why it would not be good to have the amplifier rule in place? Or conversely, the positives if the rule was terminated? I'm asking earnestly as I'm not seeing how the rule hurts the industry or doesn't help the industry. 

@winoguy17 same
 Not referencing the rule in particular, just government incompetence in general....
@winoguy17 yes. Point taken. Was hoping for a discussion about the rule and not so much a blanket statement that the government is incompetent. While that is a completely different topic I am more interested in what the FCC is going to do with the amplifier act. 

@ebm why does this not matter to a community that obsesses over specs and manufacturer claims? We argue about amp tech and wpc and distortion etc but a policy that can change all that is not important? Could you explain any further why you do not care about this and think this post is laughable?
@jwl244  - The responses you are getting are related to people's skepticism that the government can effectively communicate, monitor, or enforce something like how power output is reported by manufacturers.
While I generally don't trust the government to be effective, I am old enough to remember how things were prior to the regulation and how much BS there was between manufacturer's claims and what you would hear from audio salesmen.
Fast forward to today, and I believe that regulation or not, it would be harder for a manufacturer to bamboozle buyers for any length of time because of the information available from reviewers and owners on the internet. 
It seems like a legitimate concern.

Is there such a rule for speakers? Sensitivities/efficiencies are rumored to be inaccurate with some manufacturers who inflate those number in their promotional material.
@mitch2 yes that us exactly the concern that if the regulations did actually do what they were intended to do, ie hold companies accountable for publishing more accurate specs... then removing the amplifier rule would allow those faulty claims to return. Some audiophiles will argue that specs aren't that important but this is audiogon. Specs are what everyone talks about. I think perhaps the audiophiles here may also have the mentality that they are experienced and already know what companies are good or bad? If one ascribes to this then it completely leaves out the beginners or even intermediate level listeners.

@glupson I honestly do not know the answer to that question but I do think it's equally important. 
"...Or conversely, the positives if the rule was terminated?..."

Well the manufacturers do the testing and make their power claims. The FTC only has the ability to enforce the rule but not sure they ever have used this particular rule. Responsible manufactures do the testing per the FTC rules and that costs time and money for very dubious results. Even with the current rule I've had 100 watt amps that seem weak and 25 watt amps that had plenty of power. It is a useless specification that is no help to the consumer.    
@russ69 thank you I appreciate your response. I domt disagree with you. I do think it matters more in the realm of home theater than it does in 2 channel stereo. In 2 channel the reputable players are all fairly reliable. In multichannel home theater however it is a different story. I had a denon x6500h for example that is rated 140 wpc 2 channels driven. Gene tested it with 7 channels driven and the wattage was only 64 wpc or so. I have a 25 wpc naim atom that drives my martin logan speakers just fine. That 25 wpc does not reflect its abilities. 
"I had a Denon X6500H for example that is rated 140 wpc,  2 CHANNELS DRIVEN.   Gene tested it with 7 CHANNELS DRIVEN and the wattage was only 64 wpc or so."        That’s EXACTLY what’s to be expected, with a component of more than two channels.      ESPECIALLY: comparing TWO channels driven, to SEVEN.      What’s your point?
@rodman99999 first, the statement about my experience with denon was to give an example of what russ was bringing up. It’s an understanding of what he brought up. Denon does not publish their power ratings for 7 channels driven is the "point". They publish it at 140 wpc for 2 channels driven. So without an amplifier rating policy in place (whether or not this would be actually enforced) they could presumably publish their rating as 140 wpc for 7 channels driven. This would be completely false by any count of course. They could also publish distortion at 120db across the whole frequency spectrum if they wanted. Isn’t that point enough for an audiophile to care?
The way that Denon is rated and what it outputs, driving seven channels, isn't an, "example" of anything.        It's capable of 11.2 channels.      You expect every HT receiver company to list the output of their components, into every conceivable system/channel configuration and impedance/load?     Positing/assuming (everyone's crooked) = HILARIOUS (HEP ME, Big Brother, HEP ME)!
@rodman99999 why not expect truth in specs? Specs are supposed to tell you the technical aspects of components. An average consumer may assume the denon to produce 140 watts per channel 11 channels driven. The only reason I can quote the 64 wpc is because someone bothered to measure it.
"... The only reason I can quote the 64 wpc is because someone bothered to measure it..."

I can't remember the requirements of the FTC method exactly but the FTC measurement only requires two driven channels. So multi channel amps are exempt from testing that might be more telling. So there is another reason the FTC requirement is obsolete and doesn't help the consumer. Frankly, I go by weight. Big iron and big toroid transformers weigh a lot and tell you more about power capabilities. So I say the weight per channel measurement is what consumers need to know. Perhaps with a class D correction factor, LOL. 
The FTC rule leveled the playing field between amp manufacturers! This was introduced in the 1970s because there were some pretty outrageous claims being made- get an early 1970s Radio Shack catalog and look at the power claims they were making. It was not uncommon for a 5 watt amp to be rated at 10 watts per channel- or higher, since there was no requirement for both channels to be driven.
The FTC rule is a very good thing.
All good manufacturers take pride in their products and would not start publishing misleading specs even if allowed. I believe that would include all of the brand names that audiophiles love.
If one did decide to cheat, the multiple great minds in the DIY community would test their product and let the results be known soon enough.
Please read the Stereophile article on the issue which is less sensational. AFAIK, they are not doing away with measurements altogether, just the preconditioning requirement which has caused amp makers to overbuild and overspend on heat sinks with little practical value. It also unfairly stigmatizes Class A in favor of Class D.
Kind of curious that I’ve been looking at one specific case of this. The Luxman 590axII integrated amplifier is a great example. Luxman has to list it as a 30W/ch amp due entirely to the preconditioning rule, otherwise it would be a solid 100 Watts.

In order to meet the FTC specs for 100 Watts they would have to build a chassis twice the size with proportionately larger heat sinks.

Personally, I'd love to see amps get lighter and cheaper from all makers. :)
I have an idea, why doesn't the IEEE or UL write up a voluntary standard and let manufactures voluntarily agree or not agree to advertise their compliance.   
Russ. I think we both can agree on this. There's something special about heavy amp. You bitch and complain as you get it into place but a part of you knows it's the real deal. I love 5 channel amps with two toroids. I auditioned the NAD c298 and it was sp clean and pristine. Class D purifi tech at 180 wpc. It was ultimately too neutral for my liking but I'm sure most would love it. 

@eric_squires yes. This is a fair question and I'm not trying to stir any pots... but do you think the future is well made class D amps? I feel like class AB has hit its peak and class A can't get any better. That leaves room for improvement in class D and H. 
Less government the better.

I have never purchased any piece of equipment or a machine based on a spec sheet.

actually, i find the FTC requirements arbitrary. Music is not a 100% duty cycle into an 8 ohm resistive load. Having short term current and power capability is far more important than being able to, say drive a 75 watt signal into an 8 ohm resistor for an hour.

Well recorded music has a peak:average ratio of over ten. This means that, to avoid clipping, an amplifier ought to put out less than 10% of its maximum voltage swing on average. OTOH it is VERY useful for it to have the ability to drive nearly zero load momentarily, given the very reactive properties of most cone speakers (with the voice coil flying in the reverse direction its theoretically possible to be negative in fact).
The simplistic requirement is a bane, IMO. I realize it is nearly impossible to make anything simple meaningful, but this really does not bother me one bit. Not one’s allowing them to lie, simply to stop measuring "20-20k, both channels driven, for an hour, into a 8 ohm resistive load". Of course, I’m one of those misleading designers intent on selling you something that sounds good, but is really a pile of crap :-)

Note the biggest hurdle is the most fallacious: its heat dissipation.
note2: for any class-A amp this is all irrelevant and for hgih bias AB far less relevant.
note3: read specs at 8, 4 and 2 ohms to get a good idea of real capability.

"...   but do you think the future is well made class D amps?..."

The advantages of low heat and low power consumption will always be in demand. For most applications that might make it the dominant design but I'm not ready to write off the other class amps quite yet.  
You mean the 1,000,000 watts RMS per channel they told me my amp had wasn't true?
@russ69 yes. Class AB is the boss but it has hit a ceiling I feel. Innovation is harder to come by in class AB. Mind you I currently run a 5 channel parasound in my HT and love it. On the other hand class D has room to grow. I can say the NAD amp I referenced was cool to the touch but capable of reference levels with a very clean and neutral presentation. I would up returning it because it was almost too neutral and a little dry for my tastes. 
@itsjustme  - I agree with you 100% that the current regulations aren't particularly relevant for the kind of amps that most audiogon contributors would care about. But these regulations were originally developed for less sophisticated customers and are probably still somewhat relevant for the class of product that would be sold at Best Buy or Walmart. 

I think the most valuable part of the regulations were to come up with a standard definition of measuring power. But I agree that it makes more sense to talk about sustained RMS power and peak RMS power (maybe 5 or 10% duty cycle) separately, and perhaps also peak RMS power into a more reactive, lower impedance load. 

But I think that most more-sophisticated customers are going to do the research to understand if the amp is going to work with their particular speakers, room, and listening preferences, and are going to pay less attention to the FTC-approved ratings.
This is a fair question and I'm not trying to stir any pots... but do you think the future is well made class D amps?

I think we are currently in the time of well made, good sounding class D amplifiers.

I think we have to realize that music lovers don't necessarily want a big room with 1/3rd of their floor space taken up by big gear.  Lots of music lovers are looking for small and simple.  It's now the early part of the 21st century and there are getting to be some great examples of this.

Take a look at the Anthem STR integrateds and HT receivers for instance. I don't own one, but imagine it.  Class D, built in bass management, DSP, Streaming, DAC all in one.

What is my real justification for having right now:

  • Streamer
  • DAC
  • Integrated
I mean, to stay with separates, and stay with linear I have to really really love the sound.  Class D, along with full functional integrateds or receivers are the bulk of equipment sales to music lovers.

What will I personally do?  I am not sure.  I'll have to wait and see after my new room gets fully set up.  Perhaps I'll begin auditioning gear in earnest to see how well a full function integrated with Class D can do.

I was fully Class D in the past.  It was the equal of my previous A/B amps.  However my current A/B amp beats that, and I don't want to give that up.

I think the current rules are too lax. The consumer deserves a truth in advertising code that actually helps with purchase of an amp for a given loudspeaker.
@jaytor yes I think the hard-core audiophiles will be just fine but the fledgling and intermediate audiophiles will be lost trying to figure out what amp is best for them when the listed specs do not match with what they can actually get out of their system and what they think they purchased. Imagine the confusion of trying to select the best amp, which is difficult enough as it is, when the specs you are seeing are not even close to truth.

@itsjustme I agree. Part of this call to action is that we can request and demand amendments to the policy. Ie gene has suggested that multi channel amps list their power ratings based on 3 channels driven. I do think peak contious power is important given the transients that come up in both music and HT.

@unsound yes! Please comment in the link I posted. Hopefully it will make a difference in keeping the rule alive.

@erik_squires thank you for your candor. Most audiophiles in this forum are all about what’s "best". The truth is we are all trying to make it work within our environments and our budgets. A retiree who saves up has a chance of spending whatever they want on their system. A go getter who’s trying to make it might be living in an apartment with a tiny listening area. Not suggesting you are one or the other but the point is we are all audiophiles striving for a great sounding system. That is the definition of audiophile. There are no right or wrong answers. I’m not saying specs are the end all... but they are a great start to inform consumers what they are purchasing.

Sad to note how many discussions are quickly taken off the rail by the lunatic Libertarian faction here.  Would be nice to focus on the audio. I certainly immediately no longer trust the opinion of those folks. Reflects poorly on the brands they are oddly passionate about. 

That said, I love the idea of government rules about amplifier output. Experienced audiophiles know that this measure is only the beginning of the conversation, and that manufacturers regularly fudge their estimates.  Not unlike other industries.  But keeping some regulatory attention does seem like a good idea, especially for consumer goods.
@gone..."lunatic Libertarian faction here."...Are you talking to me?

@jwl244 BTW, I disagree with Gene re: 2/3 channels. While I understand his why, it fails to consider that the other channels might have different load demands. I'd rather bring the base line back to actual capabilities for each channel. 
@unsound yes ideally a manufacturer lists power per channel with all channels driven. The "standard" is 2 channels driven with THD. This would be ideal but I dont think would be enforced any time soon. I would love to see that though. I think Gene is more so thinking to power the LCR and what ratings that might look like. It makes sense if you are running an external power amp or just plain separates. Thanks for your input. 

@gone please click the link and comment if you feel that the rule is important. We have until Feb 16th 
Are we talking about the same FTC, that used for 25 years erroneous terms "rms power" and "rms watts" ? (corrected it in 2000).

  It's very simple, it's better than nothing.

We need independent tested specs, to keep all manufacturers honest about their published specs.

Cheers George
The answer surely is for the FTC not to remove the existing rule until it has devised a new one, suitable for multi-channel equipment.  Then people will be able to make reliable power output comparisons without having to buy the wrong equipment countless times through trial and error because specifications are not reliable or properly comparable. 
The answer surely is for the FTC not to remove the existing rule until it has devised a new one, suitable for multi-channel equipment.  Then people will be able to make reliable power output comparisons without having to buy the wrong equipment countless times through trial and error because specifications are not reliable or properly comparable. 
Most people on this forum know what to look for. It is the less informed consumers that are duped by inflated specs. Many manufacturers now get their advertised wattage with 1 channel driven into 6 ohms. Then salesmen tell them they are getting 140 watts per channel. Most consumers get lost if you try to explain power ratings in too much detail.
If the rule does get changed it would be suicide for a quality company to start putting our false claims. Back in the “old” days there was no internet or independent resources that would call out the BS they put out. The only sources to hold the accountable were magazine reviews that could be easily bought off with kickbacks an advertising $$$. I feel that eliminating the regulation will weed out the quality honest companies from the snake oil salesmen. Just on this forum alone their false claims would be exposed and called out with proved documented independent tests.
 No need to get your panties in a bundle just because some large manufacture has bought them self a politician not the first not the last and this community we have formed will destroy them!
"Frankly, I go by weight. Big iron and big toroid transformers weigh a lot and tell you more about power capabilities."

I've done this simple test on many occasions and it seems to upset sales people.

Anyone that lived thru the 70s can relate to this when there were no regulations. Trying to compare amplifier and receiver output was futile Ie. IHF, RMS, whatever. It was a joke. 
Right. With all the other serious issues our reps need to hear our voices about, this one is right up there with systemic racism, national infrastructure, and jobs creation
I think this is just a case of audiophiles getting what they deserve so I say remove this rule for everything over $2k and leave it for anything under. If audiophiles are going to shun measurements then let's have at it. 120V rated .. meh that's just an estimate.
@sgreg1 I hope you are right and agree there is now am online community that can hold these companies accountable for bs claims. Frankly seeing the lack of care or maybe just trolls sheds light that many audiophiles feel great about what they know but may not have much sympathy for newbies and the general consumer. 

@barts would be hilarious to see someone go into a store and basically lift test a few amps and just walk out with the heaviest one... its really not a bad place to start. 

@simao this involves the FTC and not your local reps. By all means I hope you are taking the time to speak up for any of those causes that you listed and actually care about. If this one doesn't strike your fancy you can choose not to comment at all or even comment against the cause and say the amp rule is not necessary (on the regulations.gov site I listed).
Realistically the FTC is not the organization for this. The rule is outdated and does not take into account actual audio usage, hence it could punish some and reward others.   The AES would be better publishing a suite of measurements and then the public chastising / pushing companies to test to that standard. You would end up with more realistic / real world ratings.

randym86067 posts02-13-2021 5:23amMost people on this forum know what to look for.

Most people on this forum have no clue what the frequency response is of their speakers let alone their room.

@audio2design I agree with everything you said. If the rule was removed due to lack of action from the community I don't want to hear a single complaint against faulty and misleading specs.