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1986 Edition, May 1986

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Car Audio Standard

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1974 the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published a Trade Regulation Rule (TRR) covering the advertising of power output claims for amplifiers utilized in home entertainment products. The purpose of the Rule was to establish a common standardized method of amplifier power output measurement along with the requirement that advertised power output should be derived from the standardized measurement procedure. Prior to this FTC TRR, different manufacturers were using methods of power output measurement and advertisement of resulting power output that caused a certain amount of consumer confusion. The FTC 1974 TRR did not cover equipment intended for the car because at that time the auto sound business was not of significant size. The recent rapid growth of car stereo resulted in many of the same practices that prompted the FTC 1974 TRR. The FTC, however, was not receptive to mending the Rule to cover equipment intended for the car.

Taking the initiative in 1979, the Ad Hoc Committee of Car Stereo Manufacturers was formed to write and publish their own format for advertising amplifier power output as well as other important performance specifications of the car stereo equipment based on widely accepted methods of measurement as embodied, in the following standards:

EIA-490 (1981), Standard Test Methods of Measurement for Audio Amplifiers

ANSI/IEEE Std. 185-1975, Standard Test Methods of Testing Frequency Modulation Broadcast Receivers

The document was published as EIA Interim Standard No.1 (March 1981) and then expanded to include specification for players with the publication of:

EIA-518 (1986), Tape Recorder Measurement Standard