LEDs give the best reading, meters are too slow to capture peaks. To get a general idea get a Radio Shack sound meter and check the sound level in DBs at one meter. Take the sensitivity of the speakers and see how many watts would be required to drive them to that level. For example. if your speakers are rated at 86 DB for one watt and you are playing at 92 DB then you are using 4 watts. The sensitivity of the speakers will always be given as a single number ranging from the low 80s to over 100. This is the output level of the speaker at one meter with one watt input. To raise the level 3 DB requires twice the power so in this case you get 1 x2 x2 =4. In most cases you will be using a surprisingly small amount of power but peaks will call for much greater output. There is absolutely no agreement about how much power is optimum, there are 3 watt SETs and mini power stations that really need wheels. Enough to drive the speakers you are using is about the only standard.
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