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Is a higher mW rating for portable audio devices better?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Company X's portable CD player (or MD player or cassette player) has a headphone output rated at 5mW (nominal), while Company Y's player is rated at 15mW (maximum). Which one is the better-sounding player?
post #2 of 10
the milliwatt output doesn't have a whole lot to do with the actual sound, but more power definitely means that a player will be able to power more headphones better...
post #3 of 10
I don't think you can give a definitive YES or No based solely on the mw output of the player. If player A has 5mw per channel of clean, undistorted power, and it is used with very efficient headphones, I believe it would sound better than Player B with 15 mw of crap.
The 15mw amp will drive the headphones to a louder level, but remember that a doubling of power will yield only a 3dB increase in sound level. And that 15 mw may be, as I said before, crap (ie. distorted, noisy, etc.). Just my thoughts.
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
I forgot a fifth choice in the poll...
post #5 of 10
Had a 10mw Panasonic SL-S200 and it sounded crappy. My Sony D-E446 with 15mw beat it easily. Panasonic SL-CT470 with 9mw beats the SL-S200. The 15mw Sony beats the 9mw Panasonic. A 5mw Sony D-EJ915 possibly sounded better than the 9mw Panasonic. Conclusion: no output doesn't make a difference to sound quality if you use the right headphones.
post #6 of 10
Portable amps are just not powerful IMO... at least for what I am using... with my EX70s driving them on a 5mw x2 pcdp I have to put then on distorting levels to attain satisfying listening levels (and this is on isolating earphones too!)... not sure about more powerful players but I wouldn't expect much of difference... though it is probably due to the fact that I am, like all of us, gradually losing our hearing (*coughAphearedcough*) and need to crank the volume up higher and higher... I went to full isolating gear to slow it down and it helps some (ex70s and beyer 831s are my main portable/home cans...)
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Yep, here we have a PCDP with 5mW of crap...

What's next? 2.5mW of "reasonably good" sound, and then (choke,choke) 0.000001mW of crap!
post #8 of 10
several MP3 players claim to have 100mW of power... However, i doubt that the sound quality can compare with any CD or MD player, some of which have only 5mWx2 of power...

My 15mW x2 amp in my SOny cdp is worse than the 10mW x2 amp of my MD, which is worse than the 15mW x2 amp of my old sony... point being? there's no relationship between power and soundquality...

And neruda, even with more power, it doesn't mean that it will power headphones better. Many headphone amps spec their outputs at 16 ohms, which means they can only deliver lots of current but very low voltage. Somthing like that won't be able to power senns very well....
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Well, to make it less offensive, I have just changed the word "crap" to the word "garbage" in the poll.

Thomas, those 100mW ratings of those MP3 players you discussed are those dreaded PMPO ratings - even more exaggerated than "peak" ratings! (That is, those MP3 player manufacturers take all of those peak power measurements and then add them all up! No wonder those "100mW" MP3 players ARE really weak in terms of their TRUE continuous power output! ) The "peak" power rating is the maximum output of one single peak in the power curve.

In the first post in this thread, "nominal" means the continuous RMS "distortion-free" power output rating, while "maximum" refers to the maximum usable RMS output (that is, on the edge of audible "clipping").
post #10 of 10
Chych, I have the EX70's too and sometimes (depending on the cd and if I'm in the mood for really loud music) the Panasonic 470 with 9mw/ch won't play loud enough at max volume (but with no distortion at least). The Sony doesn't distort at max level either but plays them to the highest volume I could stand.

I can imagine how bad they'd be with 5mw/ch.
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