Do you have an extra pair of speakers lying around? Or are you looking for a way to improve your sound quality while on a budget?
If any of these scenarios apply to you, then you would be excited to know that you can spruce things up a little even with a 2-channel amplifier.
You can connect up to four speakers to 2 channel amplifiers. In this way, you get an improved audio experience and improved output, and you get to use your extra bookshelf speakers.
Sounds good for staying within your budget right? Even if your sets of speakers are mediocre, you can improve the quality of your sound by connecting 4 speakers to a 2 channel amplifier.
To know exactly how to connect 4 speakers to a 2 channel amplifier, we look at the three best ways you can achieve that and the things you should avoid if you ever find yourself in this situation.
How To Connect 4 Speakers To A 2 Channel Amplifier: Things to Consider
Before connecting your 4 speakers to a 2 channel amp, you should consider things like speaker impedance and power, as well as the amplifier impedance rating as well.
Understanding how power and impedance relate is very crucial, so let’s get all the details straight.
Speaker Impedance and Power
The impedance of speakers refers to the resistance your speaker presents to an electric current. Most speakers usually have an impedance rating from 4 ohms upwards, depending on the amount of power rated to flow through it.
The power rating of the speaker on the other hand refers to the amount of power the speaker can handle without damage. In other words, it’s the maximum allowable energy it can transmit.
Power levels partially determine how loud you can set your speakers and how much power they can handle per time.
Amplifier Impedance and Power
On your two-channel amp, the impedance and power output are related. On your amplifier, the impedance will roughly determine the amount of continuous power the two-channel amp can supply.
To get the best out of your speakers and to determine if you can connect them to the amplifier, take a look at the speaker rating and impedance. This can be inscribed on the speaker itself, displayed on a sticker, or can also be found on the speaker manual.
Whatever the speaker impedances turn out to be, you need to make sure your amplifier can supply the right amount of power to your set of speakers.
Firstly, add the impedance of the first pair of speakers you will connect to the first channel. If it falls below or equals the impedance of the amplifier, you can safely connect them.
If it is above, multiply the impedance of the first two speakers instead of adding them and divide the result by the sum of the impedance.
If it falls within the impedance of the amplifier, it means you can also safely connect using a different type of configuration.
3 Ideas That Work for Connecting 4 Speakers To A 2 Channel Amplifier
There are 3 safe configurations you can use to connect 4 speakers to a 2-channel amplifier:
- Series Connection
- Parallel Connection
- Speaker Selector Switch
Let’s quickly explore each configuration in detail.
Connecting Your Speakers In Series
Series connection is encouraged when the sum of the impedance adds up to the amplifier’s nominal impedance.
Because this adds more resistance to the power of the amplifier it can partially cap the output of the speaker, making the sound feel dull. The configuration increases the efficiency of the setup.
Steps to Wire Speakers In Series
- Locate the positive and negative terminal of both the amplifier and speaker
- Connect the positive terminal of the first (left) channel of the stereo amplifier to the positive terminal of the first speaker
- Connect a wire from the negative terminal of the first speaker to the positive terminal of the second speaker
- Close the circuit for the first channel, by connecting the negative terminal of the second speaker to the negative terminal of the first channel of the amplifier
- That’s two speakers connected to the first channel. Repeat the process for the second channel of the amplifier with the third and fourth speakers
Connecting Your Speaker In Parallel
Parallel connection is encouraged when the first pair of speaker impedance falls above the amplifier’s impedance.
Multiplying and dividing get the impedance to fall within the amplifier range. In this way, you get a higher sound output at lower resistance levels. Although it is not as efficient as connecting in series, you get anincreased sound profile on the speaker volume controls.
Steps to Wire Speaker in Parallel
- Using a speaker cable, connect the positive terminal of the 2-channel amplifier to the positive terminal of the first (right) speaker
- Continue the connection from the positive terminal of the first speaker to the positive terminal of the second (left) speaker
- Connect the negative terminal of the 2-channel amplifier to the negative terminal of the first speaker
- Continue the connection from the negative terminal of the first speaker to the negative terminal of the second speaker, closing the circuit
- Repeat the connection for the second channel of the amplifier and the third and fourth speakers to connect all four speakers in parallel to the amplifier
Using a Speaker Selector Switch
When all else fails and you can’t pair your speakers to your 2 channel amp because the speaker impedance does not fall into a range, there is still one last option you can try: a speaker selector switch.
The only drawback of this configuration is purchasing the extra equipment, which can quickly put you off if you are on a budget. But when you weigh the option of buying a new set of amplifiers and speakers with the cost of getting a speaker selector switch, you will see that the latter is cheaper and would still allow you to use your existing speakers safely.
Steps to Wire to a Speaker Selector Switch
- Locate and connect the positive and negative terminal of the 2-channel amplifier to the speaker selector
- Connect each speaker to the speaker selector switch
- Locate the positive terminal and negative terminal of each speaker and connect them individually to the separate positive and negative terminals of the speaker selector
Our general advice here is to buy a high-quality speaker selector switch that you can connect to any type of speaker, rear speakers, and subwoofers.
Keep in mind that cheap selectors with separate volume control can affect the audio quality of your speakers.
3 Things to Avoid When Connecting 4 Speakers To A 2 Channel Amplifier
Do Not Use an Underpowered 2-Channel Amplifier
Always ensure you check your amplifier’s power rating and nominal impedance level before connecting to any pair of speakers. If you end up using an underpowered amplifier, the power supplied to the speaker will fall short, causing your speaker to malfunction or permanent damage.
Avoid Impedance Mismatch
If the speaker impedance is outside the range of the 2-channel amplifier it can cause an Impedance Mismatch.
Sometimes the impedance is too low, driving a signal that is far too weak to the speakers, whereas a high impedance may let the signal fall outside the range of the amplifier.
In either case, this can cause the circuit of the amplifier to overheat, “frying” the entire system altogether.
Avoid Speaker Short-Circuiting
Short-circuiting can cause fire outbreaks, fry your speaker setup, or damage your equipment permanently.
Ensuring that the speaker wires are in good condition, tightly, and properly connected is one of the ways to avoid short-circuiting. Even when disconnecting speaker wires or reconnecting them, keep everything tight and secure and replace any unsafe components.
How To Connect 4 Speakers To A 2 Channel Amplifier: Tips and Recommendations
- Keep the speaker setup to 4 speakers – do not try to overload with more
- If you need more power, consider upgrading to more powerful equipment instead of adding more speakers. You can only increase the volume levels to a certain level, but any extra addition will just increase the load on the amplifier
- Always check nominal impedance before connecting 4 speakers to a 2 channel amplifier
- Use the configuration that works best for your needs
Thanks to this step-by-step guide, now you know exactly how to connect 4 speakers to a 2 channel amplifier. You also learned what to look out for and the things to avoid.
Whether you should use a series configuration, connect in parallel, or perhaps use a speaker selector switch will depend on your needs and the equipment you are working with.
For the best audio experience, they all get the job done and make good use of those extra speakers you’ve got lying around.
For more ways to get the best sound quality see related guides for picking the best amplifiers.