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Why are British watts louder than American watts ?

6/17/1997 12:38 AM
Dave Harris
Why are British watts louder than American watts ?
I was looking in Guitarist magazine the other day and there was this ad. by Laney for a little 15W amp but this was no ordinary amp this amp could kick the ass of any other 15W amp out there because, wait for it ! The output was "15 REAL BRITISH WATTS" none of those little ol’ American watts for this baby.  
Surly a watts a watt so what’s what ? (Sorry) so the question is - Just how do amp makers rate the output power of their amps ? Is there an international standard ? If not what should the standard be ?  
That’s three questions. Once I find out what it is I am going to argue for the big butch British watt out of a sense of national pride. If you disagree, let me have it !
6/17/1997 12:58 AM
John Martin
Re: Why are British watts louder than American wat
James Watt was actually Scottish, but I guess thats close enough to lay claim to the true definition of "Watts". That means that they also have thier own definition of the "joule" (watt = 1 joule per second), etc,etc.  
Just give me the American watts, our wires are thicker. Grunt. Grunt.  
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6/17/1997 12:29 AM
Dave Harris

The bit of our tiny islands which is often referred to as Britain by our friends across the pond is in fact England. Britain is the union of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland so I had Scotland covered. The Scots, Welsh and the IRA in Ireland may not think much of the union but they didn’t get much choice in the matter.  
Keep the insults coming. I asked for ‘em but what I am actually looking for is how amp makers rate their amps because I don’t want us to be conned by misleading ads.  
eg. A 25W amp could be rated at 25W continuous average power into the rated load for 1% distortion or it could be rated 25W peak music power at 10% distortion. I just want to know what I am getting. Makers of car music systems seem to be able to get 100W on the front of what I would call a 10W amp.
6/17/1997 12:54 AM
John Martin

I believe most amp makers now use the RMS rating. (root mean square). This is a good estimate for power but, of course, can not take into account speaker efficiency, frequency equalization, other psychoacoustic properties, or psycho amp marketing people. All these things need to be taken into consideration. It seems the consumer electronics industry still make use of the "peak" or "music power" ratings. Most of the muscicians I know are wise to this stuff.  
6/17/1997 2:02 PM
Guy Matricciani
First...Some 100 watt Marshalls were measured at  
well over 100 Watts. My 2210 measured in at 105  
Watts, however my 30TH anniversary only 85 Watts.  
The real perceived difference is basically that the frequencies that Marshalls put out ( the upper  
midrange to high end) sound louder to most people  
than say a lower midrange tone.  
My 5150 is 120 watts measured, but doesn't sound as loud as the 2210. The 5150 has much more low end punch which also robs power.
6/26/1997 6:21 AM
How does one go about measuring  
wattage in guitar amps? I'd like  
to try it with my Marshalls and  
Fenders. Thanks in advance.
6/26/1997 11:40 PM

OK I'll give it a go....  
NOT DEADLY ACCURATE....but theoritical.  
8 ohm speaker... or what ever the ohms.  
Measured AC votage in RMS accross the speaker.  
Divide the voltage by the speaker Z=ohms.  
That is the amperage through the load.  
Current times voltage = power in watts.  
Now the glitch!  
1. You better have an RMS reading meter.  
2. Speaker is not the rated OHMS at every freq.  
I have done this test quite a few times to show  
my customers that their amp is putting out  
plenty... (if not more) power then the  
amp is rated!  
This is fairly accurate for most situations  
since the average person can't hear the  
difference of plus or minus 20% power anyhow.  
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