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What is CEA-2006 Compliant? 

What is CEA-2006 Compliant? 

CEA-2006 is the new standard for measuring amplifier performance. This document describes how CEA-2006 works and what products are compliant.

What's wrong with older standards?

Amplifier measurements made under the two previous standards (CEA-490 and S/N+DBA) were sometimes flawed, often difficult to determine. The CEA-2006 standard corrects these flaws using a different measurement technique than prior standards.

When was CEA-2006 first defined?

The initial draft of this specification was published in April 2005. Final revisions were completed in October 2006; it became an official standard on October 1, 2007.

What do I need to know about CEA-2006 compliance?

CEA-2006 compliant products are marked as such on the product’s packaging. They are also marked with a unique serial number, which can verify that the amplifier is indeed compliant.


How does CEA-2006 work?

Virtually all sound measurements were performed using an Audio Precision APx525 Audio Analyzer, connected to the amplifier‘s speaker terminals under test.

This results in distortion measurements more accurate than many systems, including THX. Furthermore, this procedure considers differences between the loudness perceived by different listeners (based on age and gender) and room reflections.

Features of CEA-2006: 

CEA" refers to the Consumer Electronics Association responsible for this standard. 

CEA-2006 specifications are voluntary, manufacturers may use them on products they wish to highlight as being unique in some way.

The basic idea behind CEA-2006 measurements

The performance of an amplifier is measurable and predictable. A mathematical model can demonstrate this predictability, which calculates expected performance based on some output power measurements. These measurements are quickly taken, with the analyzer connected to the amplifier’s speaker terminals. To measure THD+N vs. Frequency:


1) Set up the analyzer to generate pink noise from each channel at a fixed level (labeled Measure).

2) set up the analyzer to generate white noise from each channel at a fixed level (labeled “Reference”).

3) set the analyzer to generate white noise from each channel at full-scale (labeled “Max Out”).

4) Connect the analyzer to the amplifier’s speaker terminals.

5) Measure THD+N vs. Frequency, with the analyzer connected as depicted.

CEA-2006 states minimum performance, meaning that any individual test within CEA-2006 may be less stringent than its related specification in earlier standards.

CEA-2006 specifies some additional optional tests beyond those required of all amplifiers under prior standards (e.g., S/N+DBA). These include:

Output Power Test – Specifies voltage and power levels applied at 8 ohms and 4 ohms, from 20 Hz to 20 kHz

Full-Power Bandwidth Test – Specifies power levels from 20 Hz to 20 kHz at 8 and 4 ohms. 

Intermodulation Distortion (IMD) test: Measured between 9 different frequencies: 40/80/120/160/200/240/280/360 Hz and 1KHz. The results are reported as an intermodulation ratio (average IMD over each band).

Burst Envelope Power (BEP): Measures envelope power during a short, burst signal that includes full-scale sine waves at 5 frequencies: 30/50/70/100/140 Hz. This is similar to the modulation method used for THX measurements.

What if a manufacturer deviates from CEA-2006?

The Audio Precision cannot be used for this measurement. Manufacturers that deviate in any way from these guidelines may not call their product “CEA-2006 compliant”. And they must describe how their product differs in the owner’s manual or other literature accompanying it.


CEA-2006 compliant products are marked as such on the product’s packaging. As a result, the performance of an amplifier is measurable and predictable. 

We hope you liked the information. Stay tuned for more knowledge related to speakers.

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