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How Many Watts Does A Sound System Use

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  • 15-04-2022
How Many Watts Does A Sound System Use

How Much Power Do I Need?

How many watts does a sound system use? This article looks at how to calculate the watts you need for a party or event where a sound system is required. 

We are sure that you have read a review of a loudspeaker at some point, this means that it is highly likely that you are familiar with a very common measurement term known as efficiency or sensitivity.

This measurement is usually expressed as the symbol dB. The d is always lowercase, whereas the B is always a capital letter.

The decibel, or dB, is named after Alexander Graham Bell. The man who is credited with being the inventor of the first telephone.

If the loudspeaker that you are using measures 90dB, what does that actually mean? Well, if you send a single Watt into your speaker and then place yourself around a metre away, then you will hear 90dB of sound.

Let's put that into perspective. A train whistle will usually produce around 90dB when you are hundreds of feet away. A booming rock show will be, on average, around 115db, and a jet engine will produce 140db.

If you sustain sound pressure levels of around 95db or higher for long periods of time, then they can end up causing hearing damage.

But there is no need to worry, as you are not subjected to this kind of sound pressure twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

How Many Watts Does A Sound System Use?

The issue with using wattage and dB as a guide for proper amplification power is full of difficulties. This is because, to make things more complicated, the scales are not linear. It will take twice the amount of power to get 3dB of amplifier power, but even more than that to get another 3dB out of the speaker.

Why is Wattage Important?

It is incredibly important to know the wattage of your gear before you buy it. You need your equipment at the correct wattage in order to ensure that you are saving money in the long term. 

Not only that, but the wattage is also vital for choosing the correct size for your generator. If the wattage of all your gear combined is greater than the power output of your generator, then, unfortunately, your generator could overload.

Your generator needs to be large enough, in terms of power output, to bear all the power requirements of all of your gear. In most cases, it is wiser to find yourself a generator with a larger output than is even necessary for your combined wattage. This way, you will have more options if in the future you wish to expand. In this situation, you will not need to change your generator.

How to Choose the Perfect Generator for DJ Gear

Choosing a generator for your DJ equipment can be a major headache. It can take some time to figure out wattages and outputs. If you need some help, then below is a guide to help you determine the size of your generator.

Firstly, you need to find out how much power is needed for all of the equipment you want to use. The best way to find this out is to check the labels of all of your equipment. Look for the amps or Watts input rating for each device. 

The ampere or the Wattage reading might not be mentioned on the equipment itself, or it may be completely indecipherable after years of use. In this case, we recommend checking the manufacturer's website for information. 

The majority of manufacturers will list the exact watts or amperes that the device needs to run efficiently.

If the device you are using is ampere rated, then you can convert it into Watts by the following easy formula:


Next, you need to add up the Wattage of all your equipment in order to determine the total input power necessary to make them all operate. For example, if you are using the products listed below, then this is how you would calculate the input power needed.

  • Mixer - 1 ampere
  • Turntables - 1 ampere
  • Speakers x 2 - 14 amperes
  • Subwoofers - 3 amperes
  • Laptop - 1 ampere

TOTAL - 20 amperes

TOTAL WATTAGE - 2400 watts

For this setup to work, you will need a generator that can easily output 2400 watts. We would recommend not pushing a generator to its absolute limit. 

If you need 2400 watt output, then you should go with a generator that can do 2800 or 3000 watts. This is for protection as power surges can occur, as well as having room for more equipment when you upgrade.

Now, you need to consider the physical dimensions of your generator. Since you are going to need to travel with your generator occasionally, you should try to find the smallest size generator with the highest power output possible. Indoor venues may not have room for your generator so having one that is small-sized is a huge help.

Some outdoor venues may not allow you to have a generator with you while you are performing, as the noise produced by the generator will be too high. 

They can also create a lot of smoke. Using a small generator will make it easier for transport, but also for carrying. If you have a lot of extremely demanding equipment, then a small generator will not be possible. In this situation, perhaps invest in a trolley for easy transportation of the generator and equipment.

One more vital factor to consider when looking at generators is the average runtime. Your generator may be able to support large amounts of wattage, but it may run out of power quickly due to the fuel within the generator running dry. 

You should ensure before using your generator to power a performance that the generator is capable of running for long periods of time. Check the tank size is sufficient.

As mentioned earlier, you don't want your generator to be heard over the music you are performing. This will ruin the audience member's experience. 

Aim to purchase a generator that isn't too loud. Other than this, you should also ensure that you purchase long cables. This way, the generator can be placed out of the way while you are performing.

How to Calculate the Watts You Need for a Party?

Number of Guests

This is a classic method that many people still use to this day. It isn't the most accurate or scientific method, but it can work great if you are organising an outdoor party.

Especially if there is no limit on how much space you will require, for example, in a location such as a beach, woods, or a large private property.

Size of the venue

This is the most important thing to think about when you are looking at how many watts will be necessary for a party. If it is a house party that you are organising, then you need to know the square feet, as well as how the walls are arranged.

This is important to know so that you can achieve the best quality acoustic sound quality. Some locations where you may want to consider this would be an apartment, rooftop, or basement.

Is the event indoors or outdoors?

If the event is outdoors, then we would recommend doubling the wattage. Even if it is the same number of guests attending the event, the wind or other natural factors could change the sound levels. In an outdoor space, you should go with 10 watts per guest.

How to Calculate the Watts You Need for a Party?

Do you need a sound system generator?

If you are looking for a generator to power a sound system? Call us today on 01172 541069 for help choosing the right generator for you. 

Get in contact to find the right generator for you.

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