How to Connect 2 Speakers to 1 Amplifier

In this article we look at how and when to connect 2 speakers in parallel or series. Both the theory and practical points on how to connect 2 speakers are discussed. Connecting 2 speakers in parallel or series to your amplifier is useful when:

  • you don’t need to turn each speaker on or off individually, or
  • you don’t need to have separate volume controls for each speaker.

If you need to turn each speaker on or off individually or have separate volume controls, you may need a speaker selector switch. In this case you should read the articles on connecting multiple speakers, wiring 4 speakers, and/or my summary of speaker selector switches.

Many people get confused when we talk about a stereo amplifier. A stereo amp simply has two amplifiers built into the one box. We are not talking about connecting two speakers to a stereo amp, as that simply involves connecting one speconenct 2 speakers to stereoaker to each amplifier (left and right). There are many cases when you want to connect four speakers to a stereo amp, that is, to connect 2 speakers to each amplifier – or four speakers in total. For the rest of this article, when we talk about an amplifier, we are talking about either the left or right amplifier only.

You may want to connect 2 speakers to one amplifier without individual switching or volume controls if you:

  • have a large living area with four ceiling speakers, or
  • want to cover a large backyard with four speakers, or
  • have any situation where two speakers are not enough.

The are two basic ways of connecting two speakers together – either in series or parallel.

Should 2 speakers be connected in Series or Parallel?

Whether 2 speakers connected to one amplifier should be in series or parallel mostly depends on the impedance of the speakers.

The impedance of the speakers should be written on the back of the speaker Connect 2 speakers 8 ohmsor speaker box. The impedance of a speaker is normally 4 ohms, 6 ohms or 8 ohms. If it isn’t written on the back of the speaker, check any paper work that might have come with the speaker, or look up the specifications on the web. The Ω symbol is often used instead of writing “ohms”.

If both speakers are 8 ohms or more, then the speakers can normally be wired in parallel.

If the speakers are less than 8 ohms, then to be safe, you should wire them in series.

Connect 2 Speakers in Parallel

To calculate the total load impedance of speakers in parallel, see my Speakers in Parallel Calculator.

If both speakers are 8 ohms or more, then it is normally safe to connect them in parallel. This is because two 8 ohm speakers in parallel makes the total load impedance 4 ohms. Most HiFi amps are designed to have a total load impedance of 4 ohms or higher, but not lower than 4 ohms. If your amp is not specified for 4 ohms (some are 6 ohms or 8 ohms minimum), then you should consider wiring your two speakers in series.

This diagram helps show why speakers connected this way are called “in parallel”

Connect 2 speakers in parallel

They are known as being in parallel because, well, they are wired in parallel. Admittedly, I’ve drawn them so they look like being in parallel. However, in practice, we wouldn’t use so many cables and connections. For practical ways of connecting 2 speakers in parallel, see the table below.

If your amplifier has an A and B speaker selector, you can use this for a simple way of connecting two sets of speakers in parallel.

Connect 2 Speakers in Series

To calculate the total load impedance of speakers in series, simply add the impedances together

If both speakers are less than 8 ohms, or the amplifier requires a total load impedance greater than 4 ohms, then it is best to connect the speakers in series. This is because two 4 ohm speakers in series makes the total load impedance 8 ohms. Two 6 ohm speakers in series makes the total load impedance 12 ohms. Most amps work fine with a load impedance of 6-16 ohms.

This diagram helps show why speakers connected this way are call “in series”

Connect 2 speakers in series

As you can see, the two speakers are in “series” with the each other.

How to Connect 2 speakers in Parallel and Series

Below is a table showing how to wire up two speakers in parallel and series for common scenarios. Keep in mind these diagrams are for one amp only (let’s say the left amp), you will need to duplicate this for the right amp also.

If you double click on a diagram you should see a slightly larger version for easier viewing.

Practical Ways to Connect 2 Speakers in Parallel and Series
When all cables are run back to the amplifier location
Connect 2 speakers in parallel
Parallel: Both speaker cables are connected directly to the amplifier
Connect 2 speakers in series
Series:Join two of the wires as shown separate to the connections on the amp.
When the second speaker needs to be connected off the first speaker
Connect 2 speakers in parallel
Parallel: Join the cables of the second speaker to the cables on the first speaker
Connect 2 speakers in series
Series: Cut one wire near the 2nd speaker, and connect the 2nd speaker "in series" with the cut wire.
When there is a (long) cable run to be split to go to both speakers
Connect 2 speakers in parallel
Parallel: Join the cables from both speakers to the cable from the amplifier
Connect 2 speakers in series
Series: Join the two speakers in series, then join this to the feed cable
When the cables from each speaker come back to a wall plate
Parallel: Simply join the terminal as shown
Parallel: Simply join the terminal as shown
Connect 2 speakers in series
Series: The series connection is made with one join

You may have noticed that no matter which scenario is used, all the parallel diagrams are technically wired the same as each other – if you doubt me, trace the connections with your fingers on any two of the parallel connection methods. You can do the same for the series connections below as they are also the same as each other.

Keep in mind that changing the total load impedance of an amplifier will increase or decrease the power output of the amplifier. Connecting in parallel normally increases the output power, while a series connection normally decreases the power output of an amplifier. See Multiple Speakers Change Amplifier Power for more details.

Each speaker may have a different sensitivity which may mean there will be a level difference between them. For more on this see Understanding Speaker Sensitivity.

Also if the speakers each have a different impedance, then there will be different power levels available to each speaker. For more detail see How Multiple Speakers Share Power. 

Summary of Connecting 2 speakers

There are only really two ways to connect 2 speakers to one amplifier – either in parallel or series.

If each speaker has an impedance of 8 ohms or more, then you can generally connect them in parallel.download article

If each speaker has an impedance below 8 ohms, you should wire them in series.

If you need to switch each set of speakers on or off, or you want separate volume controls, see my articles on connecting multiple speakers, wiring 4 speakers and/or my speaker selector switch summary

If you still have a question on how to wire two speakers, please read the FAQs before submitting your question. You may also find an answer in the questions and answers below. 

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Miro

Hi there! I used an Onkyo Reciever TX 8211 with two paar of boxes: Pioneer CS-775 8 Om and Yamaha NX-E400 6 Om. Everything sounded alright and there was no problem switching speakers A or B on and off or playing it at the same time together. I tryed to connect the same boxes to a Sony STR D-365 reciever but I experinced the following trouble: I can play Speakers A or B separate alright but not together. Activating the both pair speakers at the same time switched the A pair off… Could you please help me with an advise?… Read more »

Ferdinand Angeles

Hello Mr. Geoff. Im Ferdinand from the Philippines. Im so happy to find a site like yours on the net. I recently bought a Philips BTD1180 mini sound system and just like many people here, I also want to connect additional speakers, 1 per each amplifier. My new unit’s speaker impedance is 6 ohm. I would like to add the speakers of my old sony stereo component system. Unfortunately, i have no idea about their impedance. What i remember is that the maximum power output of the system is 200 W. Please help me sir. Thank you in advance. God… Read more »

Bill (NewMarket)

My receiver has a 4 or 8 ohm switch. One pair of speakers is 6 ohms, the other is 8 ohms. What is the safest setup?

Rob

hello I have A Denon avr-97 home theater receiver, I have that connected to an Art 1/3 octave equalizer. Also I have a Crown XLS2000 amplifier connected to the receivers pre amp outputs. I have 4 Cerwin Vega VE-15’s, wired in parallel connnected to the Crown amplifier. Each speaker has a power capacity of 400W and is either 4 or 6 ohm not sure. The Crown is rated at 1050W per channel 2 ohms. Do you thisnk this set up will be ok?
Thanks.
Rob

Robert Shepherd (Desert Hot Springs, CA)

I have a 5.1 surround system and the speakers are all 6 ohms. I wanted to see what it would sound like with 2 more speakers however, the other speakers I have are some Pioneer (8 ohm) I thought if I connect another amp or receiver and connect the two receivers together and have the 8ohm speaker connected to the second amp, but I get no sound. The main receiver that has the 5.1 6 ohm speakers connected is a Yamaha RX-V775. The speakers are from Aperion Audio in Oregon. the other receiver that is connected to the Yamaha is… Read more »

Barry (Swindon, UK)

Hi, I have a JVC UX-D150 which has two passive speakers connected to it. I am a guitarist and have guitar amps & speaker cabinets. What I would like to do is, whilst the original speakers are connected to the JVC unit, connect some additional speaker cable to the outputs on the back (sames ones used by the passive speakers) and run this into another room in my house – on the end of this speaker cable i’d have soldered a 6.3mm male jack plug which I would connect to my PA head (it’s a Marshall 100w unit) which in… Read more »

Sally

Thanks Geoff for your reply. I just tried your advice with an old powered subwoofer and it works! Thrilled to bits!
Really appreciate your help, Sally

Sally (Australia)

Hello Geoff
I have a Technics amp (SE CH-515d 163w) which has a pair of the original Technics speakers wired to it. Am I able to connect a pair of active speakers as well, or should I only connect passive speakers?
Thank you, Sally

Ken (Westhampton)

Hello Geoff, I have a home theatre receiver (7.2 channel) that i bought to use exclusively to power an outdoor music system. The receiver is the Denon AVR-X2100W. The speakers I have are one pair of Yamaha NS-AW350 and two Niles Audio RS8SI. Note these Niles speakers each play both left left and right channels. I guess I bit off more than I can chew cause I can’t figure out what I need to do to connect everything and I don’t know if it’s a good way to go. Once connected, the idea is to play all speakers at once… Read more »

Guy Kunkel

I have a NAD c340 integrated stereo power envelope and I have a NAD 2700 Monitor series with thx . I have never done this before, so that’s why I am interested in how to make the connection between the two. Thanks for your reply. Guy Kunkel

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