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Less Equals more? Differing Volume Levels on Receivers

by August 30, 2004

Q: I've been wondering about this for a while and have an idea, but no solid explanation. I own an RX-V800 receiver which as you know is rated at 100wpc. I was given a Sony STR-DB940 (110wpc) and decided to do a little comparison for the fun of it. So what I'm wondering is why does the Yamaha receiver sound louder than the Sony at the same volume level? Essentially, how does less equal more? Thanks for your time.

Audioholics: Rich, you are comparing sensitivity of volume controls between the receivers, not overall gain. Position of the volume knob is irrelevant. In addition, power ratings are not always telling the truth because each company rates power differently. Make sure when you compare power that it is for full bandwidth (20-20KHz) into 8 ohms with both channels driven.

Assuming power is rated the same between both receivers and you realize their maximum output without distortion, the difference in volume between 100 watts and 110 watts is only 0.41dB. You would need double the power to gain an extra 3dB!

Please review our previous "Equal Power or Not" FAQ.

Keep listening (safely!)


About the author:
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Gene manages this organization, establishes relations with manufacturers and keeps Audioholics a well oiled machine. His goal is to educate about home theater and develop more standards in the industry to eliminate consumer confusion clouded by industry snake oil.

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