The mention of one-hundred sixty thousand watts, holy cow, that’s huge! actually breaks down this way: Every doubling of power is represented as 3 dB, but it takes 10 dB difference to make something sound (to most humans) “twice as loud” or “twice as quiet”.
So 160,000 watts sounds only about twice as loud as 20,000 watts (that’s about 9dB difference, which is almost 10dB difference, which “sounds twice as loud”).
20,000 watts sounds only about twice as loud as 2,500 watts.
2,500 watts sounds only about twice as loud as 312 watts.
So that’s a total of only 3 doublings, or “sounding twice as louds” — so 300 watts sounds only about 8 times less loud compared to 160,000 watts.
Because the Fletcher-Munson curves of hearing response further affect perception of loudness, it is apparent that the seemingly whopping 160,000 is really not all that much, when you figure in distance from speaker to listener, figure in absorption of sound pressure energy by bodies, clothing, water-heavy exhalation of tens of thousands of listeners, and the high probability that the speakers are by design “heavy-duty”, and therefore, inescapably, “low-efficiency” so as to preclude being damaged easily.
The fact that you can hear all of your nearby neighbors, whilst at any position in the arena, at least somewhat compared to the 160,000 watt powered stacks proves how important distance is to sound pressure level, i.e., how quickly the energy dissipates (at square of distance, theoretically).
When comparing the wattage of audio amplifiers, it’s important to note that wattage alone doesn’t directly correlate to loudness. The perceived loudness of sound depends on various factors, including the efficiency of the speakers, the sensitivity of the human ear at different frequencies, and the acoustic environment.
However, as a rough estimate, let’s consider the difference in power output between these amplifiers:
– A 300-watt amplifier is capable of producing sound at a certain volume level.
– A 30-watt amplifier is significantly less powerful than the 300-watt amplifier.
– A 160,000-watt amplifier, like the “RUSH” you mentioned, is much more powerful than both.
While it’s true that the 160,000-watt amplifier has substantially more power than the 300 and 30-watt amplifiers, the perceived increase in loudness may not be as dramatic as one might expect. This is due to the logarithmic nature of human hearing, where each doubling of power results in roughly a 3 dB increase in perceived loudness. Therefore, even though the 160,000-watt amplifier is much more powerful, it may not sound 16 times louder than the 30-watt amplifier.
Additionally, the practical limitations of speakers, room acoustics, and human hearing may further moderate the perceived difference in loudness between these amplifiers.