Watts vs. current

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Watts vs. current
I am so often asked to explain the difference between high current and high wattage that I am convinced these are confusing terms. Most audiophiles understand wattage and current are connected, but how many actually understand the idea they are forever entwined like thunder and lightning? Wattage is an expression of current and voltage. Think of it as a hurdeler. The voltage is the height of the hurdle while current is the power needed to clear it. Lots of power is useless if there's no high hurdle to jump in the same way a hurdler won't clear the obstacle if there's not enough power from which to spring. The higher the jump the more wattage is needed. Wattage is the term we use to describe two interlocking events. A preamplifier produces voltage but almost no current which is why we don't rate preamplifiers in watts. A power amplifier has two jobs: raising to a higher level the input voltage from the preamplifier and then providing the horsepower to keep that voltage high in the face of opposition from the loudspeaker. That opposition is called impedance. Oddly enough the lower the impedance number the more horsepower required to overcome that obstacle. Hope that helps.
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Paul McGowan

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