How To Reduce Tweeter Volume – Everything You Need To Know!

Trying to get those tweeters under control? It can be a frustrating mess full of complicated math and wasted time & money.

Not to worry, though! I’ve designed & built my own tweeter volume circuits many times and I’ll show you how too.

In this article, I’ll show you how to reduce tweeter volume with clear info and easy-to-follow steps.

Here’s what I’ll cover:

  • How tweeter attenuation works & what options you have
  • How to properly reduce tweeter volume without affecting speaker crossover operation & sound
  • Tweeter resistor volume diagrams & resistor value table – no math needed!
  • Choosing the right resistor types, power ratings, and values

What is tweeter attenuation?

What is tweeter attentuation diagram

Diagram showing how tweeter attenuation (tweeter volume reduction) works to bring the tweeter volume down to a level better matching other speakers like midrange speakers. A tweeter resistor network, sometimes called an L-pad, can be used to reduce the volume & power a tweeter receives.

Tweeter attenuation is the reduction of voltage & power to a tweeter to decrease its volume output. This is usually done with a resistor network with values chosen to match the expected load of a stereo, amplifier, or speaker crossover.

Tweeter resistor volume reduction circuit diagram

In this simple example, we use a single series resistor to drop the voltage seen by a tweeter. Once we figure out the resistor value needed for a given volume reduction in decibels (dB), we can add it in series to reduce the power and consequently the power the tweeter receives. This causes the volume to be lower.

For speaker systems, tweeters often are more efficient (have a higher decibel output) than other speakers. In this case, there’s a mismatch often described as being “too bright.” For example, tweeters that are mismatched to midrange or woofer full-range speakers may seem very harsh & the music will sound unnatural.

Because tweeters are smaller and work slightly differently than larger speakers like midrange or woofers, it’s not unusual for them to be too “bright” sounding.

Speaker sensitivity explained

Speakers are usually given an efficiency rating by the manufacturer which is described in decibels (dB) of volume at 1 watt of power for comparison purposes.

For example, a midrange speaker may typically be about 87dB/W while it’s not unusual to see a tweeter with 92dB/W efficiency. That’s a difference of 5 dB, and enough that your ears can hear the difference.

This means the treble frequencies (upper range of sound frequencies) in music can be overbearing and annoying, causing listener fatigue – not just sounding bad!

To correct this, we can use a tweeter attenuation circuit with resistors to reduce the decibel output of the tweeters, matching them to the other speakers and improving the sound.

To calculate speaker power, you can use the formula (Volts x Volts)/(Speaker Ohms), or (V)^2/Rspeaker as I’ve done above.

This is from Ohm’s Law for power, voltage, and resistance.

Can’t you just use an equalizer or treble setting?

EQ and treble adjustment examples diagram

Tweeter output can be really hard to adjust with some equalizers and nearly impossible to correct with most treble levels in amps or stereos. For that reason, a better way is to use a tweeter attenuation solution.

To make matters worse, while a good equalizer (EQ) can help by letting you reduce tweeter volume across its output range, many treble controls in car or home stereos can only adjust a very limited range of sound and won’t fix the entire range of tweeter volume.

Not only that but if there’s a really big difference in sound levels between the speakers, the EQ or treble control might not have enough adjustment anyway and you’ll never get it quite right.

Good equalizers aren’t cheap and they take time to set up properly

While it’s true that a very good 31 band equalizer gives you a lot of adjustment range, not many have those handy and they can be expensive to buy. It also takes a lot of time to adjust a complex equalizer.

You’ll also need a lot of time & effort for trial and error if you’re really adjusting your sound the right way. Some people use a calibrated microphone & measurement software to tune a sound system for best results – and none of that is cheap.

It’s much easier to just reduce the tweeter volume across its entire sound range instead.

Series resistors vs L-pads for tweeter volume

Series vs L pad tweeter resistor networks explained diagrams

Resistor diagrams shown: Total resistance values for 8 & 4 ohm car & home stereos with a -3dB tweeter attenuation example. Series resistors are more simple but can’t be used in as many applications, while L-pad (series-parallel) networks work in any situation.

It’s easy enough to use a single resistor in series with a car or home audio tweeter for getting your tweeter volume levels under control. The problem is that without using an L-pad circuit, your amplifier or stereo will see a different value of speaker load for the tweeter side.

That’s not a problem if you’re directly driving a speaker with no inline speaker crossover, as there’s nothing to be affected by a higher speaker impedance (Ohms load). The problem comes when you add a speaker crossover – and that’s almost always the case when using tweeters and 2-way speaker systems.

Speaker crossovers are designed to work with a fixed speaker resistance. Change that, and you’ll mess up the crossover frequencies and the sound, too. Not what we want at all!

L-pads let you keep your sound AND control your tweeters

But how can we add resistors to drop tweeter volume but still keep the crossover working right? The answer is using an L-pad resistor network.

L-pad resistor networks are preferred over just using a series resistor because the total speaker impedance (Ohms) will be the same as what the amplifier, stereo, or crossover expects to sees. These networks use a series and parallel resistor design that add up to a total resistance that’s the same as the tweeter.

They’re a bit more complicated, though. You have to do more advanced math & algebra to figure out the resistors needed based on the decibel amount you’d like to reduce the tweeter by. For example, an L-pad resistor calculator like this can let you do it if you don’t mind the complicated stuff.

Keep reading, however, as I’ll show you an easier way.

Using an L-pad for tweeter volume

What is a tweeter L-pad explained diagram

And L-pad is a ready-made part that lets you easily reduce tweeter volume. With it you can tailor the tweeter level to your liking instead of using fixed decibel levels like with a resistor network.

L-pads are an affordable and really simple way to reduce tweeter volume. An adjustable speaker L-pad is simply an adjustable resistor network version like the fixed value ones I’ll explain later.

Unlike fixed resistors, they’re designed to let you adjust the tweeter level over a range as they use potentiometers which are simply adjustable resistors. As the output is adjusted the total resistance (impedance, as it’s called for speakers) that the stereo or amplifiers see are kept the same. That’s nearly always 8 ohms.

That way if you’re using speaker crossovers, which are designed for a specific speaker Ohms load, the sound won’t be affected – only the volume. As you decrease the tweeter volume output the internal resistance is increased and less voltage reaches the tweeter, causing the volume to drop.

Things to know before buying an L-pad

Some models are single-channel and you’ll need one for each tweeter while stereo models let you control 2 tweeters at once. They’re also available in different power ratings as well. 

However, while they’re a great solution, L-pads are nearly always only available for 8 ohm home stereo tweeters, not 4 ohm car tweeters.

How to wire a tweeter L pad

How to wire a tweeter L-pad diagram

Tweeter L-pads are almost always connected the same way but always double-check your instructions & labels if provided. To connect a tweeter to an L-pad you’ll do the following:

  • Connect the tweeter positive wire to the L-pad tweeter output (+) terminal
  • Connect the tweeter negative wire to the L-pad common ground (-) terminal
  • Connect the amp/crossover positive output to the L-pad positive input terminal
  • Connect the L-pad ground terminal to the negative amp or crossover terminal

The reason why it’s nearly always connected the same way is that most L-pads are designed the same. The details (like wiring pins or terminals) may be a little different, but normally that’s the only difference.

Some models require soldering while others offer a screw terminal that makes the work easier. In either case, always be sure to use an L-pad that has enough power rating for the speaker or tweeter you’re using it with.

A good rule of thumb is to pick one with at least 1/2 of the power ratings (Watts) of the tweeter you’re using. Always use the RMS power rating, not the “peak” or “maximum” as those are misleading and not what you need.

How to reduce tweeter volume with resistors (steps & diagram)

How to make a tweeter L-pad diagram instructions

It’s pretty easy to reduce tweeter volume with resistors. To do so, use the instructions in the diagram I’ve provided above. There are only a few steps you’ll need:

  1. Find the resistors you need based on the tweeter impedance (Ohms) and the tweeter volume, in decibels, you want to decrease. Use my provided chart (easy) to look up the series & parallel or calculate them yourself (much harder!)
  2. Buy power resistors needed. Resistors can be combined using different values in order to help you make the best of limited options. I recommend using 25W minimum resistors, although you can get by with 15W each if you’re using multiple resistors.
  3. Connect the resistors using a reliable connection as shown in the diagram. I recommend using crimp connectors or solder. To prevent short circuits, wrap exposed resistor leads with electrical or use heat shrink tubing.

How big of a resistor do you need with a tweeter?

Audio power resistor examples

Examples of power resistors that work fine for tweeter attenuation use. You’ll usually find the wire-wound type but also sometimes the metal chassis form, too. Both work great and can handle much more power than standard electronic use resistors.

Tweeters need resistors with sufficient power ratings in order to handle the heat they’ll build up since they reduce volume by “blocking” (reducing) power sent to the tweeter.

As a general rule, if using a single resistor for the series or parallel part of an L-pad circuit, use one at least 1/2 the power rating of the tweeter or power output of your amp you plan to use. For average use, a 25W resistor works well.

If you’re combining resistors in order to get the resistance you need, you could also use 15W rated parts. Those are commonly found when shopping too. 

Example of standard electronic axial resistor

Standard resistors like this are used for electronics and aren’t ok for using with tweeters. They’re not available in power rating styles that can handle audio power levels. Most are only 1/8W to 1/2W at most.

Don’t use standard electronics resistors, however, as they’re not designed to handle the power seen from an amplifier for speaker systems. It’s possible for them to burn up due to the extreme heat they can build up.

Which wire does the resistor go to on a tweeter?

Resistors aren’t polarized – either wire (lead) can go towards the tweeter, so don’t worry. That’s different from components like diodes and LEDs which have a single direction of current flow and have to be wired a specific way.

Where to buy the parts + keeping costs low

Image showing online retailer selection of audio resistors

There are some great places to buy audio resistors online if you’re located in the United States. If you’re not, you should still be able to find suppliers of electronic components including audio power resistors. You’ll get the best deal and keep a budget spending limit if you shop carefully.

Unfortunately, the days of being able to go down to your local Radio Shack and buy parts are long gone, at least for most of us here in the USA. To make matters worse, Fry’s Electronics, an electronics retailer, seems to be in terrible business condition and closing stores, in fact.

(Note that you might be able to find enough resistors at Fry’s or another local retailer if you’re lucky). 

Normally, however, unless it’s urgent I buy muy tweeter resistors and resistors for building speaker crossovers from one of a few places:

  • – A great company with a nice selection of affordable parts, speakers, audio electronics, and much more. Recommended! (I’ve bought tweeter resistors there several times)
  • Ebay – Not always great, but for typical resistor values it’s possible to get a good deal on a multi-pack set of resistors from a USA supplier.
  • – Ok, depending on the supplier. Power resistors at Amazon are affordable and some but not all are USA-based sellers.

In all cases, I would recommend starting with’s resistor selection here.

One of my UK readers mentioned he found some for his project from

How much do tweeter resistors cost?

You can expect to pay anywhere from around $.80 each to about $1 each when priced affordably, or around $4-$5 for a pair or for 4 in some cases.

25W resistors do cost slightly more than their lower power counterparts, but not by too much. Usually, though, they’re either sold in singles or pairs while it can be easier to find smaller power rated ones in sets of 4 or 5.

Where to use tweeter volume resistors with crossovers

Where to use tweeter resistors with crossovers diagram

When using a resistor network to reduce tweeter volume & crossovers are used, it’s super-important to use them in the right place.

As I mentioned earlier, it’s very important to use tweeter resistor networks (L-pads) in the right place.

Crossovers are designed to work based off of the speaker load connected to them, and because of this, changing that amount can have a big impact on how they work (and how your speakers sound, too).

For example, if you’re using a car speaker crossover designed for 4 ohm speakers and insert a single resistor (let’s say a 4 ohm, for example) to reduce tweeter volume, the crossover frequency will change radically. It would go up 2x as high in fact in this example.

L-pads & L-pad resistor networks take this into account and create the same resistance so the crossover can work as expected. However, it’s also important to use it properly.

Remember that you should always use an L-pad or resistor network between the speaker crossover and the tweeter.

Additional reading + if you have questions

Want to learn more about speaker topics? Here are some other great articles I’ve created to help:

Have questions about tweeters and reducing their volume? Feel free to leave a comment below or send me a message.

Your comments are welcome!

  1. WOW! Lot of info there and I am a layman…I will briefly describe my set-up and I have one basic question. My idea may be misplaced.
    (I am not taking my new speakers apart! LOL!). I have a Marantz SR6015, with a pair of Monitor Audio Silver 100 Speakers as my fronts in a 5.1 set-up, that have the jumpers (removed) and 4 wire poles set up for bi-amping. They sound OK in most surround-sound situations, but if I listen to them in stereo mode (with or without sub on) playing hi-res streamed, stereo music the tweeters sound shrill more often than not.

    My amp allows me to assign a full signal from separate speaker channels to “bi-amp” the speakers and it is stated as such in the Marantz set-up info. (I know it is not the most desirable form…I read a lot about bi-amping…this may be the type that allows dealer to snicker as he sell you two sets of expensive speaker cables..LOL!). There is an equalizer in the amp which I plan on experimenting with this weekend….but my question is this:

    Is there any “in-line” treatment I can “attempt” in the speaker wires from the amp to the tweeters only (that of course, will not damage anything)? I will not embarrass you or myself by trying to talk in any kind of electrical terminology. :-) It was a thought I had as a possible remedy without having to get involved with the insides of the speaker, etc…
    Hope that that all makes sense.

    • Good morning, Bob. Good questions you have. It sounds like you are describing “harsh” tweeters. Sometimes that’s due to peaks in certain ranges of sound frequencies and it sounds unpleasant. Unfortunately there’s not really a way to equalize or reduce that harshness inline.

      I would definitely try the EQ in your Marantz as when I checked it out, it appears to have pretty advanced EQ features. You may need to measure the response of your speakers with a test track (pink noise) with a real-time analyzer app (RTA) to see where/if there are some nasty areas in the treble that need reducing. You can do this with a smartphone app, but their microphones are usually pretty bad, so one like the Dayton Audio iMM-6 is recommended.

  2. WOW! Marty…I am looking into the mic you suggested…. I would like to calibrate my sound system using the equalizer and a 3rd-Party App as you say..(THANKS for this great advice), ….but I do not know that much about microphones…The Dayton Audio iMM-6 that you suggest is reasonably priced, but has a 3.5mm jack…my iPhone XR has only a USB-C port and my Ipad Pro (11inch) 2nd Generation has only a Lightning port. Is there some way around this???

  3. Hi Marty…ok…I have been looking into this. I did find an adapter for the mic that you suggest. All VERY reasonably priced….So I am good there. Do you recommend a particular real-time analyzer app? Also, I am not familiar with a (pink noise) test track for the analyzer to use. Is that something that the analyzer app would include or recommend? I have never done this before….so I need more basics info….. This all sounds quite interesting as a way to approach the issue that I am having with my tweeters.

    • Good morning, Bob. Yes actually I personally use is Audio Tool. You won’t need more than the 1/3 octave analyzer mode (31 bands), if even that much. If you get the iMM-6 you can get the calibration text file, put it on your smartphone, and let the analyzer adjust for the calibration file to make it a bit more accurate. (I wouldn’t lose sleep over that, though – the important thing is having a decent microphone mainly).

      Here’s the link for the AudioTool app on the Google Play Store. For pink noise, as I recall the app has that function or you can use a test file but don’t use an .MP3 as those are compressed and not high-fidelity. If you can, a high-quality sound file like .WAV or .FLAC (lossless) is better.

      If you don’t have any luck let me know and I have some pink noise test tracks I can get to you. :)

  4. Marty, thanks for your time in posting this! I’m a mechanical engineer and just getting into hobby speaker building so I can have something nice to listen to now that I work almost exclusively at home and really don’t want to wear my “cans” all the time. I picked up an old analog receiver and use a phone with 24-bit DAC to drive some new-oldstock infinity 3-way crossovers. I picked woofs and mids I really enjoy easily enough (dayton RSPs), but have been really struggling to get some tweets that: 1, I can afford without getting divorced 2, Enjoy the sound of 3, will to play nice with current x-overs and 4, not overpower the mids. I understand that I CANT have items all 1-4 satisfied simultaneously, something has to give, though it would seem item #3 is more-or-less fixed. So I started experimenting with some cheaper silk domes, but quickly realized that without spending a metric crap-ton, I’d be losing a lot of details. Then I tried AMT tweets, and loved the detail, but they seemed to lack the soundstage of the domes, as if they were “thin” or the sound wasn’t as viscous, even on-axis. I tried a couple metallic diaphragm, and they were harsh, so I gave up on those quickly. I finally found a good balance (to my ears and in my listening space) in some silk ring tweets for items 1-3, but I’m guessing they’re about 3db too loud. Given the struggle I had to find a sound I like, I’m not going to abandon them, but rather get my solder on and see what I can do about quieting them down a little. Given your excellent diagram, I suspect I’ll have success in a lot less time and trouble than completely soldering my own 3-way X-overs (though that may be a fun project someday). Thanks very much again!

      • Great article. Question? I’m getting ready to install components in an car.
        I have a tweeter at 4ohms 100db rated at 100watts rms and a midrange at 4ohms 92db rated at 150 watts rms. I will be wiring these down to 2ohms. They will be receiving 180 rms from the amplifier.
        I would like to reduce the tweeters volume -6db to match the midrange or close to it. I don’t want the tweeter to overrun the midrange.
        My question is would a 50watt 2ohm (Rseries)and a 50watt 4ohm (Rparallel) resistors be suitable for this application?
        Thanks Brian

        • HI there. Yes you should be ok with 50W resistors like you mentioned. In the case of a 2Ω in series with the 4Ω speaker 2/3 of the power will be to the tweeter so that should work out fine.


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