The Speaker Wiring Diagram And Connection Guide – The Basics You Need To Know

We all enjoy music and speakers make that possible – but it’s confusing if you’re not sure how to connect them the right way.

In this post, you’ll find clear and detailed speaker wiring diagrams that to help (and that you can print out if you like, too!).

I’ll go into detail about the right and wrong way to wire speakers and connect them properly to your stereo or amplifier. It’s actually pretty simple once you learn the basics.

Printable speaker wiring diagram

Click on the image to enlarge it or click here for the Adobe .pdf version you can download and print.

Image of illustrated speaker wiring diagram

Speaker basics and speaker wiring explained

1.  What is speaker impedance? (the “Ohms” rating)

Speakers, much like other electromechanical devices, all have an electrical resistance to the flow of electrical current, much like a standard resistor, a light bulb, or many common items you’re familiar with.

The difference is how they behave when music is present when they’re connected to a musical amplifier of some sort.

The resistance value comes from a long coil of wire inside each speaker called a voice coil. A voice coil is a coil of wire that, when placed inside a magnetic field, makes the speaker move and produce sound when driven by an amplifier.

Example of a speaker voice coil close up

Speakers contain a long wound loop of wire called a voice coil. Loops of wire have a property called inductance which affects a speaker’s resistance value depending on the frequency (sound range) being played.

As they have electrical properties that include inductance and capacitance, their “total resistance” can actually change with the music slightly. Because of this, there’s some extra math needed to figure out the total resistance.

The word used to describe this is called impedance.

Speaker impedance is just a more advanced way of finding the total resistance, and by tradition is measured in units called “Ohms.”

The good news is that you don’t have to worry too much about the details – it doesn’t matter for basic speaker use, and long as you understand the basic rules you’ll be fine!

2. Stereo and amplifier minimum impedance ratings

All amplifiers of any type – where it’s a car stereo amplifier, home stereo receiver, home theater amplifier, and so on, have a minimum Ohms (impedance) rating. It’s important that you pay attention and don’t exceed the minimum speaker impedance rating.

This is because as the impedance is lowered, the electrical current increases and the stereo has to do more work. This increases the amount of stress and heat it has to handle.

If your stereo is labeled by the manufacturer as being “8 ohm speaker compatible” or similar, that means connecting lower impedance speakers can cause excessive heat and possible damage very quickly.

For example, connecting a 4 ohm speaker to an amplifier that is labeled as working with 8 ohm speakers would mean it would have to produce double the electrical current to the speaker!

Image of the rear of a stereo receiver and speaker impedance terminals

Image of the rear of a home stereo receiver/amplifier. The recommended speaker impedance ratings are usually listed above the speaker wire posts. A home stereo, for example, may often list 6-16 ohms as being ok for use.

Also, attempting to wire two 8 ohm speakers in parallel to an 8 ohm stereo would have the same effect. (Two 8 ohm speakers in parallel is equal to 4 ohms total that the amp will see)

I’ve seen many attempts by people who had friends who claimed they could “boost the power” or “get more power” by some claimed trick, but it doesn’t work. They ended up with a burned-out amplifier.

An amplifier can only handle so much heat and stress before it fails, so be sure to observe these rules. Be sure you wire speakers to meet the minimum Ohm rating you need.

Remember: don’t use a speaker impedance below the rating given by the manufacturer. Overheating or permanent damage can result. I’ve seen it happen!

3. What is speaker polarity?

Speakers are different than other devices in that they work using alternating current (AC) instead of direct current (DC). This is good news! It means you can’t harm your speakers in most cases by having the positive (“+”) and negative (“-“) wiring reversed.

Unfortunately, it gets just a little bit more complicated when we use more than 1 speaker.

Speak polarity and why you should match speaker connections

As I mentioned, speakers work by moving a cone back and forth in order to produce sound. If you wire 2 speakers in a stereo with different polarities (for example, one has positive and negative wired as labeled, and the 2nd speaker has the opposite) an interesting thing occurs: they’re out of phase and some sound cancels out.

The result is a strange and poor sounding stereo. In most cases, you’ll notice a lack of bass sound and it won’t sound pleasing to the ear as expected.

Diagram showing speakers in and out of phase

When speakers are wired the opposite of each other sound waves cancel out. When wired the same, sound waves add together for more sound.

Speakers that are wired differently sound poor because much of the sound is canceled out. Basically, it’s simply because sound waves from one speaker are moving in the opposite direction of the other speaker – and if they’re close to the same time and frequency range, often they cancel out.

This is why when 2 woofers are placed in a box and are wired in parallel but with opposite connections to each other, they are “out of phase” and have almost no bass! It’s because they are doing the opposite work rather than working together to produce more sound.

While one is moving up, the other is moving the opposite direction, and so on.

So the most important thing here to remember is to wire speakers consistently the same way as each other.

4. Wiring 2-way and 3-way speakers

2-way speakers, such as home stereo or car audio component speakers, are those which come as a pre-designed speaker set and use a crossover. The job of a crossover (also called a passive crossover, because it use basic capacitors and inductors rather than electronics) is to restrict the music production each speaker tries to produce.

For example, tweeters can’t reproduce bass frequencies (and can in fact be damaged by them) so a 2-way speaker crossover is used to prevent this. Similarly, a woofer can’t produce high pitch sounds well and is prevented from doing so.

Unlike standard separate speakers, 2-way and 3-way speakers that have a crossover can only be used in parallel and not in series.

This is because unlike separate speakers with no crossovers, in this case, many sounds will be filtered out. What this means is that little to no sound would be produced if another 2-way speaker is connected in series.

Image for 2-way speaker diagram examples

Therefore if you have a home stereo or car stereo in which 2-way speakers are used, you’ll have to add more 2-way speakers (if the total impedance can be supported by the amplifier) or add more amplifier channels for more sound.

5. Doubling the number of speakers or amount of power does not double the volume

In some cases, more speakers can be added to increase the amount of volume you can get or to place speakers in more rooms, more locations in your vehicle, and so on. You also may have wondered what would happen if you bought an amplifier with twice the power of your present one.

There’s one important thing to understand, however: having 2 or 3 speakers instead of one does not double or triple the sound. It increases a few decibels (dB) for each speaker added.

Doubling the power does not double the volume either.

This is because of how the human ear works and the physics of sound, along with how speakers work and how much volume they can produce for a given amount of power.

Generally speaking, the human ear will hear a very small amount of volume increase for each doubling of acoustic power: about 3 decibels (dB). For most people, the small amount of volume increase you notice when turning up a volume knob 1 notch is somewhere around 3dB.

Example volume produced by a typical speaker at different power levels:

  • 1W = 89 dB
  • 2W = 92 dB
  • 4W = 95 dB
  • 8W = 98 dB
  • 16W = 101 dB
  • 32W = 104 dB
  • 64W = 107 dB
  • 128W = 110 dB

So as you can see, doubling the amount of power you can drive a speaker at does not mean you’ll double the volume. It increases it a very small amount (as far as your ears are concerned).

You can also see from above that really cranking the volume takes a lot of power!

How to get more volume from speakers

The best ways to get more volume  in most cases are:

  • Use more efficient speakers (speakers that produce a higher dB volume at 1W of power – higher is better)
  • Add more speakers if you have an amplifier that can support it
  • Use higher-power rated speakers and a larger power amplifier if a lot more volume is your goal

Most people need an amplifier that can produce enough volume to fill a room or vehicle and turn up the volume from time to time. I like to use 50W or higher per channel as a good rule of thumb when buying an amplifier.

How to read speaker positive and negative labels (+ and -)

Home stereo and car speakers normally often use a red or plus sign “+” to indicate the polarity for the speaker wiring terminals which you connect your wiring to.

Here are a few things to know there as well:

  • In some cases, a black dot or a red or black stripe is used to mark the positive terminal
  • If a speaker has terminals of 2 different sizes, the larger of the 2 is normally the positive one
  • For speakers with wire already attached, typically the brass or golden-colored wire is the positive one
  • For speakers with wire attached but the same colored wires, most have some small printing on the positive wire – be sure to check closely


Here I’ve provided you with a speaker diagram showing basic connections, I explained several important things you need to know about speakers and speaker wiring. Hopefully I’ve given you more understanding about how to connect speakers and get the most enjoyment out of your system.

Have questions, comments, or suggestions? Be sure to leave a comment below or send me a message.

Confused about tweeters? Here’s a helpful guide explaining what tweeters are and what they’re used for.

Interested in bridging your car amp?  Find out how to bridge a car amp in this post.

Your comments are welcome!

  1. Thanks very much Marty you as an expert explained yourself clearly so as even a 73 year old I could replace the wiring correctly on my home stereo system.
    bob Sydney Aust.

    • 1. I have 2 Rockford Punch subs in a band pass box. There is a wire connecting the two, then another wire leads from each subwoofer speaker and connects to only one positive and negative square on the side of the box. Why is that?

      2. How to tell if my 12″ subs are bridged inside the box? It on has one +- connection on the side of the box.

      • Hello Eddie. Yes, some boxes were made to run 2 subwoofers in parallel for a 4,2, or 1 ohm load to the amp. It sounds like you have one of those boxes.

        So you’ll just need to do the same with the ones you have or add a 2nd speaker terminal and wire the 2nd subwoofer to it separately.

        Well, actually speakers are bridged at the amp, not in the box. They’re either connected in parallel (like for running at 1 or 2 Ohms) or separately inside a box. If both speakers share the same positive (+) wire connection, they’re in parallel. You need to match them correctly for whatever Ohms rating your amp has.

      • That’s a bit of a vague question so I’ll need more information before I can answer it. Car or home? 4 or 8 ohm? What type of speakers? Etc.

        • Hi Marty,
          Can you give me your recommended wiring solution for Nad C368 with 2x different amplifiers (Nad C268 and C272)?
          The speakers are 2x Cerwin Vega XLS215.
          Thanks in advance.

          Best regards,

          • Hello, Inge. Well, the question is a bit open-ended as I don’t know what your goals were, if you had any.

            After looking everything over, here are my thoughts:

            – Unless you have a particular reason for bi-amping the Cerwin Vega speakers, using them with the default configuration (jumper straps in place) is fine.
            – I don’t know what your volume & power needs are, but if you aren’t going to be happy with the 80W x 2 with the NAD C368, then you could just go from the RCA outputs of it and then into the C272 for a lot more power if you like.

            That’s what I personally would do. Additionally the noise level is likely to be lower since you’re not going to be reaching anywhere near the limits of the C272 unless you’re really cranking it up.

            As you didn’t mention bi-amping, I’ll assume that’s not a concern for you, so I’ll stick with what I mentioned above first. Hopefully this helps and have a good day!

  2. I’ve a pioneer vs8 hifi system which requires 16 ohm & 16 ohm+ rear speakers..I’m ignoring to
    Match power for those speakers…on the other hand the stereo spekears separately requires rms 60 watt. I wish solving the rear speaker matching troubles.

    • Hello Shibli. I’m not quite clear on your comment. You don’t mention which speakers you’re trying to use when you are discussing “matching troubles.”

      Basically, just use speakers with the correct impedance rating. If you can’t, you may be able to add additional speakers.

      For example, if you have 16 ohm speakers and the stereo is rated for 8ohms, adding a 2nd pair in parallel would give 8 ohms.


    • Great article Marty.
      I have a question for you. My Harley has a factory radio with 4 – 2ohm front and rear speakers. I am looking to add two more front lower fairing speakers.
      Without getting into an amp would it make since to change out the front speakers with high sensitivity 4 ohms then parallel my two add speakers that’s would be high sensitivity 4 ohms.
      That way my stereo would see 2 ohm resistance for the front and back speakers…
      any advice would be greatly appreciated….
      PS – I am ultimately looking for better sound not necessarily louder…

      • Hi Michael. I’m glad you like the article!

        If the front and rear speakers are all on separate left/right and front/rear channels from the factory radio, then yes you can use two 4 ohm speakers (in parallel) in the place of each original 2 ohm speaker.

        That depends on one thing, though: Whether or not each original speaker right now has its own channel. If not it’s possible that each pair of speakers are wired in series for a total of 4 ohms to the left & right channels (if the factory radio only has 2 channels and not 4, that is).

        If the factory radio has a fader (front/rear) control it should be 4 channels and your idea should work. I would definitely get the most efficient speakers you can find in that case as they’ll use a bit less power for the same volume.

        90dB/1 watt sensitivity is a good start but if you search a while you can probably find some good 92dB/1W speakers.

        My advice would be to try it and see how you like it and if the volume is enough. If you don’t get enough volume you can add a tiny but good amp like the Alpine KTP-445U for better sound on the road.

        I hope this helps!

          • Hi, I’ll need more information to help you as you don’t mention the particular product type & brand so I can find out more.

            If there are only 2 wires visible I suspect there’s another connector or connection points for the rest. That depends on what kind of product you have also.

    • Hi Marty. Glad I stumbled upon this informative article. I have a Monoprice 60w subwoofer box. Unfortunately my foster dog chewed the subwoofer speaker apart. I ordered a new speaker but here is the problem: the original speaker had two terminals but the new speaker has just one. Why do some speakers have one terminal and others have multiple terminals? Can I attach both sets of wires (from inside the box) to the one speaker terminal?

      • Hi Darrin. I assume you mean that the original had four terminals (two pair) and that the replacement has one pair. In that case, that’s because the original was likely a dual voice coil subwoofer which has 2 separate speaker coils/Ohms ratings and is driven differently than a single voice coil model.

        Well, you need to know the impedance (Ohms rating) of one of the voice coils on the original subwoofer, which you can find by measuring it with a test meter set to the Ohms scale. As long as your new subwoofer is the same or higher Ohms rating, you can connect it to one set of wires in the subwoofer box. I wouldn’t connect both pairs, but I would tape off & insulate the 2nd unused pair.

        You may notice some different performance depending on what kind of subwoofer you bought and how it performs in that particular sized enclosure.

        I hope this helps! :)

  3. hi,i have some ar 9ls speakers i took the mids out many years ago and cant remember which wires are which,one is green and one is white,could you tell me or anyone tell me please which one is positive and which is negative,thankyou,regards Matt

    • Hi Matt. Unfortunately I don’t have any way to know going by the wiring color in this case without a schematic.

      I did some searching and I found a diagram where green = positive, white = negative here:

      However, be sure to verify it looks right according to your speaker’s design & the other wire colors or part values. I don’t have any way to verify it’s the same without the speakers in front of me.

      I hope this helps. Thanks for dropping by!

    • I bought a set of Klipsch RF towers. They have 4 speaker terminals on each speaker. I am not running an amp and have a Denon 7.2 125w per channel receiver. Should I bi- wire these or no? I am running 2 klipsch reference 12 inch subwoofers as well. I honestly want to get all i can out of them. But I personally dont think bi wiring them will make any difference, but i could be wrong. I plan on setting the crossover around 80hz and see what happens. Any advice is welcome

      • Hi Ronnie. If you’re very particular about things like crossover phase impact on the speakers/sound or want the ability to use your own crossover settings (inside an amp or receiver, instead of the ones inside the speaker enclosure), bi-amping lets you have that.

        However, if not, for nearly everyone I wouldn’t recommend bothering with it. The standard setup should sound just fine.


  4. Hey Marty…… Brother I have a serious question for you and I pray you will reply sometime before I get off work today….. cause I need to do this when I get home this evening…

    Ok…. I’ve already got a 4 channel amp installed and it performs beautifully…. But it only runs my 2 subs and 2 6x9s in the rear of the car….. I just got a 2 channel amplifier for the door speakers and the dash tweeters…. But I have no more rca outs on the back of the head unit…
    Since the 4 rca outs are currently running the rear only…. Can I use the speaker wire from the head unit or from the wiring harness of the vehicle and wire it to the high end of the new amp for the doors and dash…. ?????

    • Hi David! So I’ll answer your question:

      1. YES, if the 2-channel amp you bought has high-level (speaker-level) inputs you can run the speaker wiring signal to the 2 ch. amp for front channel use. RCA (line-level) connections are preferred, but this should be fine also. There’s absolutely no problem doing this.

      2. You don’t say how many RCA jacks you have on your head unit, but if you have 4 here’s how I would do it:

      – Front RCA outputs to the 2 ch. amp for front speakers
      – Rear RCA outputs to the 4 ch. amp, using either 2 x female-to-male Y adapters right at the amp. (Or if the 4 ch. amp has a 2/4 channel input switch, set it to 4 and use it that way.)

      If you do need to use speaker-level connections, the great news is that you won’t need large gauge wire, so don’t waste money on that. You can use a much smaller gauge for speaker-level inputs if you like.

      I hope this helps! :)

    • I have a 400 watt rockford fosgate 4 channel amp that will put out 75w×4@4Ω/100w×4@2Ω or 200w×2@4Ω bridged. Im trying to install a componet speaker kit that includes a pair of 6 1/2″, tweeters, and crossovers rated at 210 watt peak and 70 watt rms @ 2.3Ω. A pair of 4×6″ rated at 120 watt peak and 40 watt rms @ 2.3Ω and a pair of 4″ rated at 105 watt peak and 35 watt rms @ 2.3Ω. My question is what would the most effective way to hook this up. I greatly appreciate any advise given.

      • Hi there Kevin.

        I would say it partly depends on the setup you want to use. For example, are the extra speakers going to be used in the front or rear?

        In your case I would run the 6.5″ component speakers off of the front channel and the remaining 4 speakers (6×9″ & 4″) in parallel for 2 ohms on the rear channels. You should be able to do that with your amp without any problems.

        This way you’ll have full power to the front components with the front channels and be able to do a front/rear fade control as well. (The rear speakers will share the available power on the rear channels, by the way).

        • Thanks Marty! The hu has a mono sub output but I am going to be installing an equalizer which has a stereo output for the subs.
          I will try to run the 2 ohm load at 200 a sub. Since the rms is 175 it should be enough to not damage the subs. Otherwise I will just throw the prime back in.
          Thank you once again for your opinion and I’ll be sure to let you know what I have done and how it sounds! Have yourself a great day!

  5. Hi Marty liked your article!

    Hoping you can help me with some application.

    I have a stereo passive speakers model PDWR40W and i would like to purchase PFMRA450BW amplifier to connect to it.I have not purchased the amplifier yet.Will this work well?I noted the amp is 4channel, but since speakers are 400w and the amp is 400w then i am assuming it will work, please advise.

    Also help on how to do the connection to achieve full capacity.if this will not work, could you please advise what amp can support this? i wrote to pyle, the manufacturer but they advised me any amp that has 400w will work(i am not av expert).I am looking for something(amp) that has usb,bluetooth and jack/rca input.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Hello Kevin and I’m sorry I somehow missed your comment. The comment system doesn’t always work right, unfortunately. :( I’ll reply in case you haven’t found an answer to your question yet.

      Those Pyle amplifiers like that aren’t a good choice for your money. I would look into marine amps like those from Rockville and others, for example, if you’re looking for a budget amp with good power. The Pyle amps like the one you mentioned use misleading power specs. It’s not really 400W – likely closer to 10-12W per channel, in fact!

      You can have a look at the Kenwood 1177524 (below $200) and also the Velex VX-502 (under $100).


  6. Hey Marty! Thanks for the article. I am currently building a system… actually been working on this project for quite some time now.

    Currently in my Ram 1500 I am running an aftermarket hu in which I have front preamp outputs and rear/sub outputs with a setting to switch between the rear and sub. I have RCA running from both front outputs to an RFp400.2. On this amp I am running a pair of Phoenix Gold 6.5 components with tweeters at 4 ohm 100w per channel. Next I have RFprime1200.1d running 2 Diamond TM310D4. These DVC subs are 175w RMS but are underrated in my opinion. This amp has 4 speaker terminals 1 ohm stable. (I realized after some research that the terminals were parallel)(also side note: everything I have I bought used with no owner’s manual and very little knowledge of the product.)

    So I have each individual sub paralleled in the box and each one ran to its own set of terminals for a final impedance of 1ohm. So 600w to each. My wife for my birthday picked me up an external equalizer and I went and bought a Phoenix Gold sx800.4 amp. (There’s the back story…lol)

    Before I install the new amp and the eq. I would like to get an opinion from a professional.
    The amp is 2 ohm stable in stereo 200w/ch. The 2 components and 2 subs are the only speakers I have and all I really want. The amp bridged over 2 ch. Is 400w at 4ohm. First I am under the impression that I could run 4ohm on the front and 2 ohm on the rear without that being and issue.

    Should I cut down to just running the one 4 channel amp? The fronts will be at 4ohm 125w/ch. And here’s where I’m stumped. In your opinion how should run the subs?, if I do decide to drop to one amp. What I think is that I could leave the subs paralleled and run them to their own individual channels for a 2ohm final load with 200w per sub.

    Is that possible? Is this enough power?,as I don’t want them underpowered. And would I want the subs in stereo? Bridged on 2ch. 4ohm 400w is my other option but with 400w on the rear and 250w on the front (both rms) I’m afraid of under powering all speakers. If you think the latter is an option. How would you recommend wiring the subs for that 4ohm final?

    Thank you in advance

    • Hi Anthony.

      Really, yes, you don’t have good options in this case considering the dual voice coil Diamond subwoofers make it a bit hard, plus the Phoenix Gold not being bridgeable to 2 ohms unfortunately.

      So yes, in this case I would run one sub, wired to be a 2 ohm load, on each of the rear channels. Otherwise, you’ll want to drive them with separate amp stable to 1 ohm if you like. Sadly if you wire the Diamond subs in other ways they either will be too low of a load for the amp (1, 2 ohm) or can’t develop full power (wired as 2 8 ohm speakers).

      Regarding the power, I would say try it and see what you think, as how it sounds & etc will depend on your subwoofer box, too. So just try it out and see if you’re happy with it. My initial thought is yes it would be enough, but what works for one person may not work for another.

      I’m not sure if your head unit has a mono subwoofer output or stereo, but it probably won’t matter in this case. Since class D subwoofer amps are so small these days (and many can drive 1 or 2 ohm loads) you might consider using one of those in case you’re not happy driving the subs with the Phoenix Gold.

      I hope this helps!

      • Thanks Marty! The hu has a mono sub output but I am going to be installing an equalizer which has a stereo output for the subs.
        I will try to run the 2 ohm load at 200 a sub. Since the rms is 175 it should be enough to not damage the subs. Otherwise I will just throw the prime back in.
        Thank you once again for your opinion and I’ll be sure to let you know what I have done and how it sounds! Have yourself a great day!

        • Sounds great, Anthony! Yes, mainly it’s ideal to have enough power to drive the subs – it’s when someone doesn’t have enough that it can be a big problem.

          It sounds like you’ll be ok as far as that goes, though.

          I’d love to hear how it turns out if you do follow up later. Have a nice Sunday, too! :)

  7. Hi Marty

    Thank you for a very informative and well written article. I found myself here after thinking about using some old Celestion Ditton 15’s to make an extension speaker for my guitar amp – just an experiment really, not sure how well this would work (if at all!)

    One question I do have is that the Dittons are rated at 4-8 ohms. The plan was to join them together to make one large 30W cabinet but I’m a little in the dark about how to connect them together so that the impedance is correct (the guitar amp extension speaker must be 8 ohms. I would really welcome your advice…

    Many thanks again


    • Hi Mick and I’m glad you liked my article. :)

      From what I understand, the Ditton 15s are 8 ohms each and as they’re 2-way speakers you’ll have to use them in parallel. That means if the guitar amp can’t handle 4 ohms you’ll have no choice but to add an inline power resistor to make it work.

      So you’ll want to add a 4 ohm power resistor before the Ditton speakers and then connect them to it in parallel. The problem is you’ll lose 1/2 the guitar amp’s power output across the resistor, but if you’re not needing really high volume it may work for you.

      An inexpensive 25W or higher power resistor from eBay will work fine (I’ve bought some for around $5 or so, in packs of 2+).

  8. Marty – thank you so much for the reply. If that is the case, I’m thinking I would be better off putting them on that well known auction site and letting someone else put them to good use!

    All the best

    Mick :)

  9. I’m trying to figure out how to connect an old set of Cambridge Soundworks Ensemble speakers. There are two bookshelf speakers and two passive bass modules (not really subs). These are to be hooked in parallel with a small speaker and a bass speaker for each side. The bass speakers only have two binding posts (one pos. and one neg.). I no longer have the connection instructions. Not sure how to proceed.

    • Hi Rob. There’s a bit of information not in your comment that would be very helpful: (1) how many channels & watts per channel your amplifier has, (2) the min. Ohms rating for the amp, and (3) the impedance (Ohms) of the passive bass modules.

      I realize you might not have some information, so here’s what I’ll say for now: If it’s a typical home stereo if it can’t handle a 4 ohm load, then I would say you’re better off using the bass modules on some of the additional channels.

      Otherwise, if your amplifier doesn’t have enough channels you could get a fairly inexpensive second amp and use that to drive them or the Cambridge speakers to get enough power.

      If you can provide me with the information above (and model number on the passive bass modules, too) I’ll try to help as much as I can. Thanks!

  10. What is your thought on using bass blockers. When using a four channel amp on a eight speaker seat up. I have component speakers in the front doors and the rear deck has two 6×9 3 way and two 4″ 2 way. A separate golden phoenix amp pushing two 10″ JL audio subs. Trying to get more mid and high range.

    • Hi Eldred. Those can help, although they’re not as good as using an electronic high-pass crossovers like those offered in most amps today. They do work, though.

      I would get one no higher than 100Hz or even a bit lower to be sure you don’t cut off the lower end of midrange.

  11. You need to add this : how to identify which is left and right from a users point of view, How do we determine left/right, when stand in front of the amplifier or behind it. ?

  12. I have two Bose model 161 speakers. Each has two wires per speaker. One positive and one negative. My receiver only has one plug in for the right speaker and one for the left. How would you connect these to the receiver? Do you join the positive and negative together and plug them into the receiver?

    • Hi Richard it sounds like you might have a receiver with RCA style jack speaker connectors instead of speaker terminals. If that’s the case, you’ll need to get some RCA plug to speaker wire adapters and use those to connect it.

      I’d recommend looking up the owner’s manual for that receiver to be sure, as I don’t know the model etc.

  13. HI Marty,

    I have two 6ohm speakers (wharfedale 9.1). From what i’ve read i should be wiring these in series as parallel will make it 3ohm (too little?).

    Now i have speaker wire but what i don’t understand is how i can connect the two speakers together? Every series diagram seems to suggest connecting one speaker with + to the other speaker with -. But surely this isn’t possible because a wire will be one or the other?! Please help?

    • Hi there Nick. In this case, it’s best not to connect those speakers in series. That’s because there’s a speaker crossover inside each enclosure.

      Connecting these types of speakers in series will change the total speaker resistance they see and will affect the sound – they won’t sound right. (You can connect single-cone and some other speakers in series without a problem, but not in this case).

      If your receiver or amplifier can handle 3 ohms per channel load (most home stereos cannot) then you can wire them in parallel. Otherwise, you’ll need more amp channels by adding another amp and use one per channel for the best results.

      If you have no other options and the sound doesn’t matter as much, then yes you can connect them in series to at least get them working. Thanks for dropping by. :)

  14. Hi Marty, and thanks a lot for your reply.
    My main goal is basicly to get the most out of the speakers, and
    I am pretty pleased with the bridge mode between the c268 and c368.
    I have bi-amped these two just for testing, and I experienced a better
    sound in these mode, compared to bridge mode.
    But after getting my hands on this c272, I imagine that I can get
    more power out the xls215 speaker, and find an interesting article
    about passive horizontal bi-amping, but are a little unsure, since the
    c272 have more power than the 80w from the c268, and maybe that will unstable
    the system?

    • Hi there, yes you would have different volume levels if you’re planning to bi-amp the speakers and use 2 amplifiers with different power ratings. You’ll need to match the power amps used with the speakers in that case.

  15. Hi Marty,

    Thanks for the great information. I’m trying to retrofit an old 60s/70s console stereo with all new components. I’m getting close to having the receiver/amp and turntable picked out, also planning on including a power conditioner, but I’m not sure about the speakers. The original system had three different speaker components per side for hi mid and low I’m assuming, with some capacitors etc wired in for crossover (again assuming). The speaker wires from the amp was wired to the woofer and then other wires went to the mid and high from the woofer. Fast forward 50 years or so and what would you recommend to replace? I can figure out how to make any speakers fit (although something that fits on the existing 10” woofer mounting pegs would be nice. Point is should I try to find individual tweeter/mid/woofer setup like original or are there now decent-sounding all-in-one speakers for a home system so that I don’t have to try to figure out how to do the crossover filtering etc myself, or at least a 3-component system that comes pre-wired from woofer to mid to tweeter so I only have to tie in the amp to one of the components? Any advice appreciated thanks in advance.

  16. I have infinity speakers with two 10″ woofers in each box. The woofers are 4ohm and I get almost no volume from them. When I removed the speakers there is two positive wires, one from each speaker, going to the crossover and one wire connecting the negative terminals on the speakers to each other but there is no negative wire going to the crossover…. I’ve never seen this before. I was thinking about replacing the 4ohm speakers with 8ohm but was told the 4ohm speakers will work. Any idea how to wire the 40hm speakers and does there need to be a negative wire connected to the crossover?

    The speakers I’m referring to are infinity RS 4B speakers and I believe someone replaced the original woofers with the 4ohm speakers.

    • Hi Greg. If you’re getting no sound that’s an odd issue. Are they the original woofers? I would verify they’re working ok outside of the speaker enclosure (not connected to the internal crossover). If they’re ok, I would want to verify it’s not a problem with the crossover itself, which I wouldn’t expect but it could happen (like a bad capacitor for example).

      The ground wire for the speakers likely goes back directly to the speaker wire terminal which is normal. The negative connection for crossovers is usually a common connection and goes back to there also, so it’s the “same difference.”

      You definitely want to match the impedance (Ohms) of the speakers if you replace them. If you change them, the crososver’s behavior will change. For example, let’s say you have a 500Hz crossover output to a 4 ohm speaker. Changing the speaker to 8 ohms would change the crossover frequency to 250Hz, causing a big “gap” in the sound output.

      Crossovers are designed to work with a fixed speaker load so changing that affects the crossover frequency and therefore the sound.

  17. Hi Marty,

    Random question – hoping you can help. What the name of the zigzag’d piece of metal that connects the high and low frequency parts of the speaker – would you know?
    It’s in the main article image for this piece… I ask as I lost one moving house and I’m trying to replace it (for Eltax Monitor III) – help!


    • Hi Michael. I believe I know what you’re referring to. Cerwin Vega calls those “bar jumpers” in a speaker manual I saw (they’re basically just jumper bars). You could just use some speaker wire or other wire to make your own if you can’t find yours.

  18. Marty,

    Thanks for a lot of detailed info. However, I don’t seem to find my situation listed: two 15yr old Bose 8 ohm 201 Series IV speakers and a similar vintage Onkyo TX-8211 receiver with two connectors for each of the four speaker wires, ‘A’ & ‘B’ for each. The connection label states to use either ‘A’ or ‘B’ for 4 ohm speakers, and BOTH ‘A’ & ‘B’ for 8 ohm. The wire is stranded high-resolution copper with a ‘magnetic flux tube’.

    As a test, I hooked the four wires into their respective ‘B’ slots, and things sounded fine. However, do I need to split the wires and connect each to their respective ‘A’ and ‘B’ connectors to ensure correct impedance (or is that important when the impedance of the speaker is greater than that of the driving channel?)?

    Thanks, Hathaway

    • Happy Monday, Hathaway. I checked out the receiver and I believe I see what they meant regarding speaker connections (it could have been more clear, so I understand why you had questions):

      – You can use up to 4 speakers if they’re 8 ohms each. (i.e., “A + B”) These are connected on both the L,R A and B terminals if you’re using all 4. Or just the A or B channels if using just 2 speakers.
      – You can use TWO 4 ohm speakers, but only on channels A *or* B, not all 4.

      Just connect your Bose speakers normally (+,- standard connections) to the A or B channels. There’s no need to wire them any special way. I hope this helps!

  19. I built cabinets with 4×12 guitar cabinet look. All 4 speakers are 4ohm. My amp is a crown. 2502 and I want the 4 speakers to stay at a 4ohm per cabinet. How do I wire tjese so tjeynstay at 4ohm?? I tried I get very bad sound and now power to them bottom 2.are subwoofers and top 2 are midrange all about the samemrms wattage and ohm

    • Hi, I’m not 100% clear on what you meant in your comment. You have how many speaker cabinets and how many drivers per cabinet?

      I’m not quite understanding exactly. If you can be more specific I should be able to help. Thanks.

    • Hello, Gordon. I’m sorry but I’m not able to answer a question that unique with 100% certainly, but most likely it’s all or all except for the center speaker. AM radio is mono (monaural) unlike FM or CDs which are stereo, so it might be hard to tell.

      You might be able to ask for more info in one of the Lexus owner web forums as they’re very knowledgeable.

  20. That’s an informative article and thank you for it,

    I have a question.
    I have a Panasonic SA MAX 6000 audio system. I feel the trebles are not enough in this.
    Can I connect a external tweeter set? and how?
    Power rating given in the spec is 2800W RMS. There are 3 speaker units to each side.
    I looked at the back of both sound unit and existing speakers, but couldn’t find any impedance details.
    Your advice would be highly appreciated.

    • Hello Prebodha. Yes I can’t find the manual online or any specs related to the impedance, either. I think you maybe be able to do so, but you’ll most likely have to add a high value resistor in series with the tweeters, but without some specs I can’t help much.

      One option is to try adding some piezo tweeters in parallel with your current speakers. They have a very high impedance and should work fine with the stereo. Other than that, I think you might be better off using better 2-way speakers instead of your current ones. The type you have simply aren’t great for sound quality, unfortunately.

      • Thank you Marty for the advice.

        I found a service manual and the the following details are there
        RMS output power stereo mode
        Front (High) Ch
        350 W per channel (3 Ω), 1 kHz, 30% THD
        Front (Mid) Ch
        350 W per channel (3 Ω), 1 kHz, 30% THD
        Subwoofer Ch
        725 W per channel (6 Ω), 100 Hz, 30% THD
        Total RMS stereo mode power 2850 W

        Would you be able to help me further with following questions?
        What should be the impedance of the tweeter ?
        And the capacitor to be used in series (to filter 12KHz and above)?
        Hope wattage of the tweeter should be 350 W. (or above)

        The manual was available on

        • Hello Prebodha. I don’t think there’s a “great” solution in this case since you don’t have a normal amp or stereo receiver.

          So my thoughts are the following:
          – You can use an 8Ω tweeter if you add a 20Ω series tweeter to it, connected on the 3Ω tweeter output of the stereo in parallel with the current speaker. The series resistor will allow it to keep the total Ohms at about 3Ω so it won’t harm the amp speaker outputs. This comes at a price, however, as you’ll lose about 11dB of volume from the tweeter.
          – You are probably better off using a piezo type tweeter as I suggested earlier instead of a standard tweeter.

          For the capacitor, you can do that yourself with a crossover calculator like you see here [use the 1st order high-pass one] based on whatever tweeter you use, its impedance, and the crossover frequency.

          You will have to shop around for tweeters that will handle high power if you’re planning on driving it at super-high power like 350W.

  21. Great explanation of how a speaker operates.
    My problem is that I have a laser light show that was designed to receive audio signal via bluetooth, which is fine unless you want to use wired speakers along with it, you have to deal with what I call bluetooth lag, the difference in time that it takes the signal to travel through wires verses the time it takes to be transmitted over bluetooth, major echo. So now I am stuck trying to find a devise that combines left and right stereo to mono. I have tried the earphone combiner and the 3 inch speaker contained within the laser burned out the combiner. I have tried the 1K ohm resisters and it does not work. HELP!! By the way, this laser uses a speaker and a microphone to drive lasers so speaker cannot be removed.

    • Hi Lary. I understand part of the problem but I’m not 100% clear on everything you’re dealing with. I’ll be happy to try and help but it’s better in this case to contact me directly. You can find the contact info on my Contact page here.

      Basically, I need to know the product/model/specifically how and what you’re connect to…as much detail as you can share. Thanks.

  22. Marty, first I cannot believe that you are still online answering questions. But, I am going to try one. I am trying to re-hookup two Zone 2 speakers to a Yamaha RX-V665. Where to put the + and – wires are clearly marked on the back of this AV receiver. If I plug two speakers directly into the back of the receiver, they work just fine. The problem is that the house is pre-wired and the wire coming from the outdoor speakers has four colors, red, black, white and green. When I plug the pre-wires into the receiver and switch to zone 2 the receiver turns off. Obviously, the protective mechanism has kicked in. So, I used a multimeter to test the resistance of various pairs of the pre-wire with speakers attached to the ends outside (the ends coming out of the wall were clearly red and black for both speakers. So somewhere in the wall R, B, G & W changed to two pair of R, B.) I got ohm readings for the red, black pair and the white, green pair indicating to me that those were the two pair going to the two different speakers. Of course, I did not know which of each pair was positive and which was negative. So, I tried a standard approach. I put red into the positive and black into the negative side for the right speaker. Then white into the positive and green into the negative side for the left speaker. When I switch to zone 2 the receiver turns off. I also tried R +, B – in the left speaker and W +, G – in the right speaker (even though I didn’t think that it would make any difference. It did not. There was an indication on the back of the receiver that white had been in the positive side of the right speaker with red in the negative side. Black had been in the positive side of the left speaker and green in the negative side. That looked like some sort of mix-up, but I tried it. Protection kicked and turned off the receiver as soon as I tried zone 2. Now there are 21 other combinations that I could try. But, that would keep blowing off the receiver until I hit the right one (maybe eventually ruining the amplifier if the machine got tired of me doing it). My question now is: what is a sensible approach? Thanks, if you are still answering questions. If not, thanks anyway – you’ve answered enough.

    • Hi John. You mentioned that you measured ohms, but you didn’t say specifically how much. I would start by verifying that the outdoor speakers you’re having problems with are the right impedance for the receiver. I would also make sure there’s no cross-connection in the wiring which you can check between the wires on the receiver end as well.

      It sounds like perhaps either their impedance is too low or there’s a wiring issue causing something similar. You need to find out for 100% sure before connecting them to the receiver.

  23. Please help! I’m not a “newbie” iv had some moments back in the early 80s. My question is , I have 2 SVC 4 ohm sub’s in my shop. I still have a Pyle PT510 mono home amp in box. 4ohm to 8 ohm speaker out. If I run subs parallel ,2 ohm draw , in series 8 ohm draw. How do I wire sub’s to what ohm output so it will work the best? 2 sub’s are in one cabinet at present. Oh one more crazy thing , I was given old receivers and took audio in from a source on rec,1 and convert headphone jack out to rca in on receiver 2 I don’t know if that was healthy to do , it seems the two volume dials made more output ( does that make sense?)

    • Hi Paul. If you have two 4Ω subwoofers you’ll have to either use only one for the 4Ω connection or wire them in series for the 8Ω connection. I didn’t quite understand the volume dials thing you mentioned. Sometimes you can use a headphone jack output to connect to an audio input, but it’s hard to say what you’ll get.

      It’s not unusual for the signal/volume to be high if you use that type of signal source.

  24. hi, just curious if i can run 3 sets of klipsch 2.5 speakers and maintain a 8 ohm load or even a 4 ohm load? my amp is a carver pm 1.5 .

    • Hi Bob. Yes, it’s possible, if you use the right resistors in series with each one in order to maintain the speaker load (Ohms load) the amp expects to see. To use three 8Ω speakers in parallel and keep an 8Ω load, you’d need roughly a 16Ω resistor with a power rating of ~1/6W the power of the amp channel in series with each speaker.

      To use three 8Ω speakers and maintain a 4Ω total load, you’d need a 4Ω resistor in series with each speaker. Bear in mind that the trade if is that you’ll lose some power across each resistor in addition to the speakers splitting the available amp power for each channel.


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