# How much power do I need? Find out using this method...

I've been hanging out on diyaudio and ran across this simple technique to measure the power used by your speakers.  So many discussions here revolve around this question that I thought I'd post the method...

If you have a multi meter, you can use the test tone & technique provided here to calculate how many watts your speakers actually use: https://www.diyaudio.com/forums/multi-way/204857-test-voltage-power-speakers.html

It’s super informative & useful: all you do is set your volume at the max listening level you use, then play the -12db 120hz test tone while measuring voltage at the speaker terminals. Square that value and you’ve got the maximum watts needed. Plenty to read at the link...
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•  10 posts total
 07-11-2019 8:16amNot really. If you calculate the power consumed at that particular volume knob setting you can double that power value and there will be only a 3 dB increase in volume. Even though it’s twice as loud it is almost imperceptible to our ears -- at least 6 dB increase in SPL will make it noticeably louder, which would be quadrupling that calculated power.A slightly more accurate way of determining how much power is enough is to use the speaker’s sensitivity vs listening distance with an SPL meter. For example, if you sit 4 meters away and you tolerate a maximum of 90 dB peaks, that calculates to 102 dB at a distance of 1 meter from the speaker (halving the distance is a 6dB gain). If the speaker has a sensitivity of 90 dB at one meter, then the power required to raise it 12 dB at one meter is 16 watts (90 dB/1w, 93 dB/2w, 96 dB/4w... ).However, that would be in a theoretical room. Real rooms have things in it with absorbing and reflecting surfaces that throws a wrench in those calculations. Best go by the speaker mfr’s power rating limits. 07-11-2019 1:13pmMost stereo systems are played too loud in an attempt to approximate live levels.This only leads to listening fatigue. I like average levels around 70 - 80 db, with peak levels about 90 + Beyond that my ears start to shut down! 07-11-2019 1:17pmA peak level 10 db above average requires 10 x the power in watts, approximately. 07-11-2019 9:01pmFor a speaker rated at 90db:1 watt should produce 90db2 watts 93 db4 watts 96 db8 watts 99 db and so on...Keep doubling the power to gain 3db.Every 10 db should double the "perceived" volume.
•  10 posts total