How Are RMS And PMPO Used To Represent The Power Of An Audio Amplifier?


RMS (Root-Mean Square)

It is the minimum continuous sinewave power output measured in watts that can be delivered by the amplifier into a rated load, over the specified bandwidth with maximum specified total harmonic distortion.

PMPO (Peak Music Power Output)

This is the capability of an amplifier either over a short duration during which there is no perceptible sag of the power supplies during the measurement, or when very high-quality power supplies are used with normal music input. It appears that some companies simply multiply RMS output by 8 or (2√2)2 . RMS power is a more relied upon method for comparison.

PMPO rating on the panel of a car audio amplifier
Fig. 1: An example of PMPO rating on the panel of a car audio amplifier

Even though PMPO is not a well-defined standard of measurement, it is often seen on the product packaging or on the panel of a car audio amplifier (Fig. 1). Different manufacturers use different definitions for this rating. PMPO is more of a marketing tool to attract customers who are looking for a higher power rating with lower cost audio amplifiers.




  1. Unfortunately, that’s a poor example of a PMPO rating. At 12-15v with a 20A fuse, you’ll be lucky for it to peak at 300w, let alone 1000w.

    • i was taught, if an 2 channel amp is 1000w P.M.P.O. it would be 500w M.P.O. so 250w RMS. split over 2 channels 125w RMS per channel.


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