How is speaker power output rated?


Oct 16, 2014
About a year back, I purchased this 5.1 channel speaker system from Panasonic. The label on the box, and the manuals, and the Panasonic store, said power output: 7000 Watts.

It got kinda dusty, so I removed the access panel on the back of the sub-woofer unit to clean it up. There's a huge magnet on the back of the speaker, and it's clearly written "60W RMS" on this magnet.

So, did they sell me a 60W speaker system with 7000W labeled on the box? How exactly is the "power output" of a speaker "rated"?

In your case since it all came together the amp power and speaker power handling are OK with each other.
There are no measurement standards for that type of system so they make up insane numbers. Car stereo and subwoofers are also like this.
Receivers, integrated and basic amps for home use should comply with a complicated FTC power measurement standard so have to be more honest. This standard is pretty old and does leave something to be desired but it still way better than the outright bull that some makers get away with.
Obviously the tiny thin power cord of the unit would melt like a fuse if it tried draw that much power from the wall and your electric bill would go be huge. The actual power is probably around 100 watts total. 60 watts of which is to drive the subwoofer only.
The spec of how much power a speaker will handle is also kind of iffy. They don't tell you for instance how long the speaker will handle a given amount of power. The longer you apply the power the more heat builds up so a speaker might be able to handle X amount of power for a few seconds but not a minute. Most speaker manufacturers give you a suggested range of power to use. If you stay within that you are usually OK. They don't want you blowing the speakers up and fixing them under warranty so they don't make up power handling specs that would cost them money.
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