The Physics
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Power of a Car Stereo

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Hecht, Eugene. Physics: Calculus Second Edition. Brooks/ Cole Thomson Learning, 2000: 726. "A stereo tuner with a maximum power output of 50W per channel (that is, 50W to each of two speakers)has its right channel connected as shown in Fig. P84." 50 W
"Sound Recording and Reproduction. " Microsoft Encarta 96 Encyclopedia, CD-ROM. 1993-95. "The amount of power that an amplifier can produce is rated in watts. Depending on the requirements of the speaker system, an amplifier may deliver from 10 to125 watts of electrical power." 10–125 W
Automotive Sound - Rampage Amplifiers. Audiovox, June 2003. AMP602 - 120 Watt 2-Channel Hi-Fi Power Amplifier
AMP604 - 240 Watt 4-Channel Hi-Fi Power Amplifier
AMP610 - 500 Watt 4-Channel Mosfet Hi-Performance Bridgeable Amplifier
AXT120 - 120 Watt 2 Channel Amplifier
AXT1200 - 1200 Watt 2 Channel MOSFET Bridgeable Amplifier Amplifier
AXT240 - 240 Watt 4 Channel Amplifer
AXT500 - 500 Watt 4 Channel MOSFET Bridgeable Amplifier
AXT550 - 500 Watt 2 Channel MOSFET Bridgeable Amplifier
AXT800 - 800 Watt 2 Channel MOSFET Bridgeable Amplifer
AXTM600 - 600 Watt Mono Block MOSFET Amplifier
120–600 W
Gibbs, Steve. Mobile Entertainment Magazine, Car Stereo Review. Feb. -Mar. 2000. "The car of the future… a traditional 12volt system will be hard pressed to supply enough juice to run all of these gadgets. For that reason, automotive engineers are looking at new types of electrical systems that may supply up to 50volts of power." 50 V [sic]
Berger, Ivan. "Driving; Body by Fisher, Sound by Bose." New York Times. 25 April 2003. "Typically they have more and better speakers than factory-installed car systems have customarily had and are driven by more, and more powerful, amplifiers (up to 1,100 watts in the Linn system in the Vanquish from Aston Martin)." < 1,100 W

Many people have stereos in their cars but don't know a lot about them. A stereo, short for stereophonic sound system, is an audio reproduction system where independent tracks from each of two speakers. Signals produced by the system have a specific level and phase relationship so that when the sound is played back it will sound as much like the original as possible.

In a stereo system the sound waves make the microphone diaphragm move back and forth and this causes the sound waves to become an electrical signal. A recorder then encodes the electrical signal on a magnetic tape or optical disc as a pattern. The pattern is reinterpreted by the player as an electrical signal that makes the speaker cone move back and forth, converting the electrical signal back into a sound wave. In order for the speaker cone to move the amplifier produces a more powerful signal than the player alone produces.

Power is the amount of energy used by a device in a certain amount of time. Power is measured in watts = joule/second. There are a few formulas to measure the power, P = VI (multiply voltage and current), P = I2R (multiply current squared and resistance), P = V2/R (divide voltage squared by resistance). The power of a car stereo varies with different amplifiers and speaker systems. A car stereo amplifier can produce from 10 to 1000 watts of electrical power.

Zhanna Mikhaylova -- 2003