Before the turn of the century many of the high end car audio brands had strict guidelines for rating power. They would rate with all channels driven at very low distortion figures using real world voltages. Unfortunately, marketers discovered that it was extremely easy to inflate the wattages on the products by simply altering the parameters.
If you rate your amplifier using a huge distortion figure through one channel whilst running a very narrow range of frequencies off a huge input voltage an amplifier that generates a true useable 20 watts per channel makes 200 watts! Since it’s say, 4 channel, you times that by four and you’ve just got yourself an 800 watt amp to advertise. And an 800 watt amp sells better than a “20x4” one! Is the power useable? No way. Is it helpful? Not at all.
When Bassface launched in 2012 we were a UK only manufacturer, selling mainly on the eBay platform. High wattages seemed essential to get our products on a level playing field with the competition who were doing exactly the same, and so we quoted the maximum peak figures along with everyone else. Six years later I’ve had enough and have taken the decision that since Bassface is a transparent and honest organisation the inclusion of unusable wattage figures does not sit well with our remit as we move forwards.
It's also got to the point where our online competitors have continued to enlarge their claimed figures to an extent that we just can’t continue to try and 'play the game' without it getting ridiculous. So, we’re 'out' and instead we now just offer you our honest, tested numbers and best efforts at producing high quality, affordable amplifiers.
To be clear – the products are the same as they always were. It’s just the way we are rating them that's changed. As of now you won’t need to read carefully the extended specification to find the true useable power – we just won’t bother quoting the absolute maximum that the amplifier can produce with a nail for a fuse at huge distortion just before it blows up and kills the lab technician...
Our standard power figures are now – 14.4 volts, all channels driven with 20Hz to 20Khz test noise and a distortion threshold of 1% maximum.
We hope that you prefer this approach and that it proves easier to match amplifiers to speakers when you can just look at the useable power.
With regard to speakers it is no easier to offer out a precise measurement for you as a consumer to make selections. Speaker power “handling” varies as a function of so many things – the level of distortion present in the signal, the physical installation of the speaker, the environment around the speaker and of course the crossover settings filtering the input to the speaker.
So that it is clear – our RMS ratings are designed to give an indication of the maximum “burp” value that we feel comfortable feeding through them in perfect conditions. By this, we mean that for the ratings to be valid the system crossovers and subsonic filtering need to be appropriate and the physical installation be such that the speaker baffle is working properly. We also assume that you are feeding clean power into the drivers – ie with a THD of 1% or less. Note that you’ll need to have a keen ear to hear much less than about 3% THD so that means to all intents and purposes we really do mean CLEAN power. DC wrecks speakers. Quickly. And without mercy. We see a lot. And it’s never YOUR fault apparently...
Also it is important to note that we are giving you a guideline to the maximum you will want to run for a demo track, or “contest” style speaker burp. Our speaker RMS ratings are NOT “play all day” continuous ratings. Heat management is the responsibility of the installer – ultimately a happy continuous rating would still adhere to all of the above caveats but would perhaps be 50% to 75% of the burp value depending on the exact speaker and exact circumstance.
There is a huge difference in the way that people use car audio. Some people want to compete in competitions that push the equipment upto and beyond its limits. Some people want their investment to last 10 years and simply use their system for personal enjoyment at modest volume levels. We ask you for some common sense – you cannot be one of the former users and expect the same longevity as the latter. Therefore, when we rate our products we are faced with an immediate compromise since there is infinite variation in circumstances.
We are working hard to produce spare parts for our speakers, so that our customers can service burned out speakers and keep hard working systems running for lower costs. We urge you to view the soft-parts of your speakers almost as a consumable. They will not last forever, and, depending on how hard you make them work you will enjoy a shorter or longer service life.
Team Bassface Worldwide