What Does RMS Stand For? What Does It Mean?

When it comes to purchasing electronic products, you might come across new technical terms like RMS. But what does RMS stand for? And what does it mean? New buyers might face these confusions, but we got it all answered for you. 

By definition, the RMS (Root Mean Square) value is the square root of a mean square value, i.e., an arithmetic mean of square values from a group of numbers. When it comes to speakers, a higher RMS power rating means lower distortion of audio playback at full volume.

Some manufacturers often seem to skim out on enlightening the buyers regarding RMS, but doing a bit of homework before purchasing can increase the lifetime of your system. Without further ado, let’s get to it! 

What Does RMS Stand for? 

To be specific, the term RMS represents the safe amount of audio output over a long period of time. It is the power output that your speaker or amplifier can produce without facing any technical difficulties.

RMS is a familiar statistical term used to express the calculated average from a certain set of data.

Don’t panic; we won’t get into any complicated maths today. Let’s stick to the audio system for now. 

How to Calculate RMS? 

If you like tinkering around with electronics, knowing the RMS values of your appliances will provide you with useful insights.

To calculate the RMS value of an appliance, you’ll have to multiply its ‘peak wattage’ by ‘0.707’. For example, if a speaker’s peak wattage is 150 watts, its RMS value will be: 150 x 0.707 = 106.05

However, do keep in mind that this is only for one speaker or amplifier. Therefore, if you own 4-channel amplifiers, you will have to multiply the voltage by the current for each of them. This will get your total RMS sorted out. 

What Does It Mean? 

Let’s break it into a much more digestible form. It means producing a specific amount of sound energy over a prolonged time that will not wear out your device. You will find this widely used in the sound industry. 

Whatsoever, it isn’t absolutely precise. Like any other calculations related to voltage or current, this also is not totally accurate.

Nevertheless, it does work as a great indicator of the power output of the speakers.

For instance, you brought a speaker tagged with a 60w RMS. This speaker will be able to handle up to 150w of sound produced for a specific length of time.

But, if this high RMS continues for a very long period, it will damage your sound system.

Therefore, it is important to stick to the 60w RMS while using the speaker continuously. 

Unfortunately, many people end up confusing this 60w with the 150w power output. They tend to buy speakers based on the highest power rating. As a result, end up damaging their sound system. 

So, to avoid such circumstances, recognizing the difference between RMS and peak watts is a must. We will get to that part soon but first, let’s have a real quick look at what peak watts mean. 

What Is Peak Watts? 

As the name suggests, peak watts determines the highest power sound output for your speakers and amplifiers. When running at peak wattage, the sound system will not reach distortion while producing this high burst of power. 

You will be able to set up the speakers at peak watts for a certain length of time. This time span is uncertain and not very predictable. But quite soon, the wiring system will start to overheat, which ultimately results in damaged voice coils. 

The Connection Between RMS and Peak Watts

While purchasing a speaker, you will notice two important points in the product labeling: RMS and Peak watts. Some products have the RMS at the top with the peak watts in the latter and vice versa.

You might get impressed by looking at the big digits, and that’s when you end up making a wrong decision. In reality, you are getting impressed over the peak watts, not the RMS.

Side Note: Most of the time, the peak watts are double in amount to that of RMS. Suppose the RMS of the product is 50 watts; then, as per our information, the peak should be 100 watts. 

Sometimes manufacturers end up only representing the 100 watts on the labels. This makes the marketing of the product easier and, to be honest, it does seem quite tempting.

However, this ends up producing sound pollution and calls for regular system changes. 

When you are looking forward to a long-lasting and efficient sound system, the perfect harmonization between the capacity of your amplifier and speaker is a must. 

The RMS of the speaker doesn’t limit the sound produced, as it can only support the amplifier’s power output. So, don’t end up buying a speaker that has a lower RMS than your amplifier. 

Why Is RMS Not in the Spotlight? 

Manufacturers tend to knell heavily towards the peak power output instead of the RMS. Consumers find big digits much more pleasing, so it’s basically a win-win situation. 

However, the peak power output isn’t the optimum potential of the speaker. It’s just a number that represents the end limit of your product.

But it’s not enough to stretch the importance of the peak power output. It allows the user to match the capacity of the speaker to that of the output of the speakers accurately. 

But it isn’t as effective as the root mean square. However, it doesn’t receive any importance in the metric system as most consumers are unknown of it.

Plus, the manufacturers don’t stretch the difference between RMS and peak power output enough. 

It’s not like they provide bad products or anything; they just don’t provide you with an easy explanation of what RMS actually is.

Yet now that you are familiar with the fact that more peak power output doesn’t mean more powerful speakers, you are all good to go! 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are speakers with higher RMS better?

More RMS delivers more power due to the increase in the strength of the electric current. So, when a speaker has a higher RMS, it will produce clean, not distorted, and full audio without facing any difficulties over a prolonged period of time. 

2. When it comes to subwoofers, what does the RMS stand for? 

The RMS in subwoofers means the safe power on which the subwoofer can run for a long period of time without facing any difficulties or causing any damage to the system. The RMS ensures the long life functioning life of the subwoofer. 

3. What is the recommended RMS for a subwoofer?

The recommended RMS varies depending on the type of subwoofer. Amplified speakers consisting of 50 watts of RMS needed per channel should work well with 250 to 500 watts of RMS. 

When it comes to factory radio, the sound quality should be good, between 50 to 200 watts RMS. Lastly, aftermarket receivers work perfectly in the range between 200 to 300 root mean square or RMS powers.

4. Is higher RMS equal to deeper bass? 

As higher RMS increases the potential capacity of the speaker, therefore it does produce deeper or more bass.

Wrapping Up

Now that you have your answers to the question of what does RMS stand for, we hope you will not face any troubles with the quality of sound produced or the lifetime of your sound system. 

You just need to align the power output of your amplifier to that of the RMS of the speaker. Also, don’t fall for the manufacturers and dig more into the labels. Doing so should keep you from worrying about the efficiency of your sound system. 

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