Connecting Multiple Speakers to an Amplifier

Are you having trouble connecting your speakers to your amplifier? Here are some issues that you may have encountered and few facts to be mindful of a working quality sound system.

Connecting multiple speakers to an amplifier makes the amplifier handle more load than using a single speaker. This makes it possible to overload an amplifier. However, it may manage to play at a low volume.

Connecting more powerful, loud, or too many speakers to the amplifier will make it automatically stop, or make the fuse to blow, or damage other components of the gadget.

The maximum output of the amplifier depends on the sum of speakers’ impedance or the current load put to the amplifier by the speakers. Impedance is the minimum resistance in the speakers’ circuit. It is measured in ohms; the omega symbol is used Ω.

Check the specifications at the back of the speaker box to look for the number of ohms noted.If the sum of speakers’ impedance is within the range of the amplifier, then they can be connected. However, the power the speaker’s outputs measured in wattage is affected by the powering amplifier.

The lower the speaker impedance, the greater the current that can be drawn from the amplifier, which means the greater the power. Higher wattage normally means lower distortion hence good quality sound but not always since the speakers’ quality also vary and again,low impedance issues may cause damages to the amplifier.

Connecting Multiple Speakers to an Amplifier

Methods of connecting multiple speakers to an amplifier

There are four ways of connecting multiple speakers to an amplifier;

Series

Connecting speakers in this method simply involve adding the speakers’ impedances together. It technically involves connecting one speaker to the next; if one connection is disconnected, then all speakers will stop working.

Steps to connecting speakers to an amplifier in series:

  1. Plug the negative terminal (-) of the amplifier into the negative terminal of speaker A.
  2. Plug the positive terminal (+) of speaker A to the negative terminal of speaker B and that of C to D for as many as your speakers as they are.
  3. Connect the positive terminal of the last speaker in the series to the positive terminal of the amplifier.
See also  How to attach speakers to stands

Examples:

If you have two 8 ohm speakers, you want to connect to an amplifier with an output impedance of 16 ohms. In this case, you want to put your speakers in series, so the total impedance of the speakers will be 8+8=16 ohms, matching the capacity load of the amplifier

More Examples:

Two 4 ohm speakers wired in series; 4 Ω + 4 Ω = 8 Ω

Three 4 ohm speakers wired in series; 4 Ω + 4 Ω + 4 Ω = 12 Ω

Three 8 ohm speakers wired in series; 8 Ω + 8 Ω + 8 Ω = 24 Ω

When connecting speakers in series, you will simply add the resistance of all the speakers to know what the load will be at the amplifier. The speakers do not need to be the same impedance, but it will affect how much power each speaker receives from the amplifier.

Series type of connection is not convenient for multiple speakers since in case one speaker fails, there will be no output since it will be an open circuit. Again the speakers are not identical. Consider a series connection if you are working with two speakers, and your amplifier is not specified for 4 ohms.

Parallel

Connecting speakers in parallel reduce the resistance of the speakers. Simply connect all the positive terminals of speakers to the amplifier’s positive terminal and connect all of the negative ends of speaker connections to the negative amplifier terminal.

In steps:

  1. Combine all Speakers positive (+) Speaker terminals together
  2. Connect all the negative (-) terminal of the speaker to the negative terminal of the other speaker
  3. Then now connect the positive terminal of the last speaker in the parallel to the positive terminal of the amplifier
  4. Connect the negative terminal of the last speaker in the parallel to the negative terminal of the amplifier

Example:

If you have all speakers with the same impedance, it is very easy to calculate the final load on the amplifier. You will take the impedance of the speakers and divide them by the number of speakers. It is again matching the amplifier.

See also  Can you use violin bow on guitar

Example:

Two 4 Ω speakers in parallel; 4 Ω / 2 speakers = 2 Ω

Two 8 Ω speakers in parallel; 8 Ω / 2 speakers = 4 Ω

Four 4 Ω speakers in parallel; 4 Ω / 4 speakers = 1 Ω

Four 8 Ω speakers in parallel; 8 Ω / 4 speakers = 2 Ω

In a case where the speakers are of different impedance, the following mathematical formula is used

Formula:

1/S1Ω + 1/S2 Ω + 1/S3 Ω = 1/Stotal Ω

Where S1, S2, and S3 are the different speaker impedances and Stotal is the final load at the amplifier.

Example:

You have two 4 Ω speakers and an 8 Ω speaker

That is:

1/4 Ω + 1/4 Ω + 1/8 Ω = 1/Stotal

=1/16

= 1.6 Ω

To balance the final load in this case, a combination of series and parallel to get a 4 Ω final on the amplifier.

Combination of series and parallel

Simply this is combining sets of Seriesconnected speakers in parallel with the other group of speakersto attain desired impedance.

If all speakers have the same impedance, with a series-parallel connection, the final impedance will be the same as the impedance of a single speaker. Consideringthechange of the total load impedance of an amplifier will increase or decrease the power output of the amplifier. Connections in parallel usually increase the power output, while a series connection usually decreases the power output of an amplifier.

This is the best wayto maintain a consistent load with multiple speakers. Although the amplifier volume control controls all speakers at the same time,there is no control over any one speaker in case you want to concentrate on music to one part of your house.

How to connect speakers in a combination of series and parallel

  1. Hook positive terminal of Speaker A to positive terminal of Speaker C
  2. carefully hook negative terminal of Speaker A to positive terminal of Speaker B
  3. Hook negative terminal of Speaker C to positive terminal of Speaker D
  4. Hook negative terminal of Speaker B to negative terminal of Speaker D
  5. Connect the positive terminals of the speakers to the positive terminal of the amplifier
  6. Connect the negative terminals of the speaker to the negative terminal of the amplifier
See also  How to cut guitar pickguard

How to calculate the final impedance load at the amplifier;

Example:

Four 4 Ω speakers in a series-parallel combination.

4 Ω + 4 Ω // 4 Ω + 4 Ω = 4 Ω

Speaker selector switch

The most convenient, satisfying, easiest, and safest way to connect multiple speakers to a single amplifier is to use a speaker selector switch if you want the same music sound around the whole house. The speaker selector switch balances the load going to the amplifier.

How to use a selector switch;

  1. Hookthe selector switch input terminals to the positive or negativeterminal’s output of your amplifier.
  2. Hook the speakers to the output terminals of the switch, and that’s it, you can now enjoy your music.

The Selector switchprotects the amplifier from low impedance issues that may cause damage to the amplifier.

There are two types of speaker selector switch; those with volume control and those without. The difference between speaker selector switch with control and those without is that; the ones with volume control someone can control the volume level of each speaker, unlike those without which are limited to the sound produced by the amplifier. For the ones with no control, you have to set all speakers at the maximum volume and have to control the volume level with the amplifier.

Related Article: How to Connect a Bluetooth Speaker to your Phone

In conclusion

Understanding speaker impedances is key before connecting multiple speakers to an amplifier to prevent the fuse from blowing up or damaging the gadget and for quality and louder sound. Besides, it’s good to note that quality cables also matter in your connectionsand understanding the proper way to make the connections.

This article helps in proper planning to take your sound system to another level.

I have highlighted practical ways and considerations to help you connect multiple speakers to one amplifier for the best sounds and that which is cheaper and safer.