Amplifier Rule

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The Federal Trade Commission is seeking public comments on whether to repeal, modify or expand its Amplifier Rule, which standardizes the measurement and disclosure of power, distortion and other performance characteristics of amplifiers in stereos and other home entertainment equipment. In announcing the rule review, the FTC noted that it has tentatively determined that the rule applies to self-powered speakers for use with home computers and home sound systems, as well as other amplification equipment for home computers, but the agency said it would like comments on whether such products should be outside the rule’s scope.

The FTC is conducting a review of the Amplifier Rule, promulgated in 1974, as part of its overall effort to update all agency rules and regulations and eliminate those that are no longer useful or necessary. Since the regulatory reform effort began, the FTC has repealed 27 rules and guides and streamlined or updated several more. A notice published in today’s Federal Register describes the Amplifier Rule in further detail, lists specific questions on which the FTC is seeking public comments, and states that comments are due June 6.

Among the questions on which the FTC is seeking comments are whether there is a continued need for the rule, its benefits and costs, what if any changes should be made to the rule and the benefits and costs of such changes, whether there are updated test protocols that should be considered, whether specific advertising disclosure requirements are still needed, and whether and why power output claims for self-powered speakers should be outside the scope of the rule. The FTC seeks comment on whether the inflated power claims and consumer confusion that led to promulgation of the original rule now exist with regard to automobile sound systems and whether existing testing and disclosure requirements need to be modified for use with automotive sound amplification.

The Commission vote to publish the Federal Register notice was 5-0. Comments should be directed to the Secretary, FTC, Room H-159, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580, and identified as "16 CFR Part 432 Comment."

Copies of the Federal Register notice are available from the FTC’s web site at and also from the FTC’s Public Reference Branch, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-326-2222; TTY for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710.

(FTC Matter No. P974222)

Contact Information

Media Contact:
Bonnie Jansen
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2161 or 202-326-2180
Staff Contact:
Mary K. Engle or Robert Easton
Bureau of Consumer Protection
202-326-3161 or 202-326-3029