2 Ways of Connecting Multiple Speakers to an Amplifier
Connecting multiple speakers to a single amplifier may appear to be a daunting task if you are new to audio systems. As a newbie, you may think this is not possible. However, it is possible to connect several speakers to an amplifier and listen to a single song on all of them at the same time. In this article, I will guide you on how to do that so read on and learn how to connect the speakers to an amp.
You can connect multiple speakers to an amplifier using either a series or parallel connection for your speaker system. Connect the positive terminals of the amplifier to the positive terminals of the first speakers. For series connections, only close the circuit by connecting the amplifier’s negative terminal to the negative terminal of the last speaker. For a parallel connection, wire the negative terminal of the amplifier to the negative terminal of the first speaker and then connect the negative terminal of the first speaker to the second speaker’s negative terminal until the last speaker is connected.
When it comes to connecting multiple speakers to an amp, the amp’s specifications need to match the overall impedance of your speaker system in order not to damage the amp and the audio system as a whole. To learn more about series and parallel connections, continue reading this guide for tricks and tips on how to connect multiple speakers when to connect, and which connection type you should use for your speakers.
When Should I Connect Multiple Speakers to an Amp?
You should consider connecting multiple speakers when you have a large audience. A single speaker may not produce sounds that are loud enough for your listeners in almost every corner of the hall.
Usually, four speakers can be sufficient when you place them at vantage points in a large room.
Also, it is better to use multiple speakers in your house when your hall spans a large area. You can place the speakers on your ceilings and listen to them all at once.
If you do not want to turn your speakers on or off individually, then connecting a number of them to a single amplifier will be the best way to go. Oftentimes, controlling the volumes on the speakers separately may be time-wasting.
To save yourself some time and stress, chain all the speakers and connect them to a single amplifier, from which you control their volumes at go.
How Many Speakers Can Be Connected to an Amplifier?
The number of speakers that you can connect to an amplifier largely depends on the capacity of the amplifier.
Since the amplifier is what will be powering the passive speakers, you shouldn’t overload it with tasks beyond its threshold. This will prevent it from breaking down prematurely or creating distortions in the sounds that the audio system produces.
Usually, for an amp that has one channel, you should connect two speakers to it. If you have a stereo amplifier, that is an amplifier with two channels, connecting four speakers to it may be enough.
However, if four speakers do not suffice your needs, you can add extra speakers.
You should only be careful to get your overall speaker impedance within the specified range of the amplifier that you are using.
Can I Connect 4 Speakers to 2 Channel Amp?
You can connect 4 passive speakers to an amp with 2 channels or just a channel.
If the amp has two channels, like the stereo amp, it will have a channel for the left and right speakers.
You can connect two speakers to the left channel and connect the other two to the right channel.
You should however be conversant with the positive and negative terminals of both channels.
Additionally, you should ensure that the amp can handle all four speakers without any complications.
Also, make sure that the speakers have the same or similar impedance, otherwise, the power output from the amp to the speakers will differ.
Should I Wire My Speakers in Series or Parallel?
This is a question you definitely have to answer before you begin to connect multiple speakers to your amp. Unfortunately, there is no specific answer to this question but don’t worry since I’ll be giving you some tips with which you can make the right decision when it comes to connecting speakers in series or parallel.
Generally, parallel connections give the best audio sounds. You can only get these quality sounds only after you have wired your speakers correctly, otherwise, you may be left disappointed.
Parallel connections however involve a lot of wire connections which you may find cumbersome if you are just getting introduced to them.
The numerous wire connections eventually pay off in the quality of sounds that it produces in your speakers.
Wire Speakers Based on Impedance
Here’s the trick, you should consider the overall impedance of your speakers first before you attempt to connect it to any amplifier.
Amplifiers are designed not to work with just any speaker or speaker. Therefore you should ensure that the amplifier is able to handle the overall impedance of your speakers before you connect them to the amp.
Most amplifiers can handle an overall impedance of 4 Ohms and above.
The worst case is for the overall speaker impedance to be lower than the designed impedance of the amp which is normally 4 Ohms. This could be disastrous for your amp’s life.
How to Calculate the Impedance of Your Speakers
The impedance of a speaker can be found at the back of the speaker. You should calculate the overall impedance of the speakers that you intend to use for an amp.
As a general rule, if the impedance of each speaker is 8 Ohms or more high, you can connect them in parallel. If it’s less than 8 Ohms, consider using a series connection.
For example, if you have two 8 Ohms speakers and you are wondering how to connect them, first consider a parallel connection.
Just divide the 8 Ohms by 2 and you will get 4 Ohms. This 4 Ohms is the overall impedance of your speaker system.
It is most likely that your amplifier’s specified impedance is 4 Ohms or above which makes it a perfect fit for the speaker system above. Therefore you can connect the two speakers in parallel without any reason to fear.
However, if you have two 6 Ohms speakers in the speaker system, dividing the 6 Ohms by 2 will result in 3 Ohms, meaning the overall impedance of your speakers is 3 Ohms. This falls below your amps minimum impedance of 4 Ohms, hence you can not connect it in parallel.
If you consider a series connection for those two speakers, the overall impedance will be the sum of the speakers which is 6 Ohms. Now, this 6 Ohms is above the amp’s minimum impedance, so you need to connect the speakers in series.
How to Connect Multiple Speakers in a Series to an Amp
Now that you’ve settled to connect your speakers in series, let’s know how that’s done.
First of all, get your amp in place. Your amp can have just a channel, 2 channels, or even 4 channels. However, I’ll be concentrating on connecting two speakers to only one channel in this article.
You can apply the same steps in all of the other channels to get more speakers hooked up to the channels.
Here are the steps:
- Determine the positive and negative terminals of the amp’s channel and the speakers. The signals plus and minus are usually written beside the ports.
- Pick up your first speaker and connect the positive terminal of the amp to the positive terminal of the speaker using speaker wires.
- Connect the negative terminal of the first speaker to the positive terminal of the second speaker.
- If you wish to add more speakers, connect the negative terminal of the second speaker to the positive terminal of the third speaker.
- Continue your connections in this order until the last speaker. You may just connect two speakers so stopping at the second speaker may be enough.
- Connect the negative terminal of the amplifier to the negative terminal of the last speaker and this would have the circuit, completing the series connection.
You can also go to the other channels on the amp and use the same steps.
How to Connect Multiple Speakers in Parallel to an Amp
Follow the steps below to connect the speakers in parallel:
- Locate the positive and negative terminals of the amp and the speakers.
- Take your first speaker and connect the positive terminal of the amp to the positive terminal of the speaker.
- Use speaker wires again to connect the positive terminal of the first to the positive terminal of the second speaker.
- For more speakers, connect the positive terminal of the second speaker to the third speaker until you are through with your speakers.
- Now, complete the circuit by connecting the negative terminal of the amp to the negative terminal of the first speaker.
- Connect the negative terminal of the first speaker to the second speaker using another wire.
- Connect the negative terminal of the second speaker to the negative terminal of the third speaker and so on.
When you are done, turn on your amp and test your speakers to see if they are working. You can use the steps on the other channels of your amp.
Can I Connect Multiple Speakers to Amp Using Switch Box?
For audiophiles who love to have separate control over each and every speaker that has been connected to an amp, a switch box is a way to go.
A switch is a selector device that you can use to control the sound levels that get into each speaker from the amp.
It is very useful in regulating the impedance of the speaker system by handling some of the impedance of the speakers so that the amplifier is not pushed to its limits when delivering power to the speakers.
To use the switch box effectively, you will need to connect the switch to the amp’s output and then connect the speakers to it separately.
You also have to connect the positives and terminals of your speakers to the switch box in the right way before it can work perfectly for you.
Only one speaker may not be loud enough for your audience when you hold outdoor events. Even in your house, you may need to set up more than one speaker in order to get the music to every corner of the house.
In such cases, connecting multiple speakers to an amp becomes very necessary.
You can connect as many speakers to your amp using series or parallel connections. However, you should ensure that the amp is able to handle the speaker load they want it to. Always get your impedance calculation on point to decide whether you’ll have to connect the speakers in series or parallel for attempting to connect them with wires.