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. 

Notify of
Kyle

I am very knew to the audio scene. I picked up a pair of Yamaha HS8s, and I want to use them at college to play music. I don’t really want to connect my computer to them, and I’m eventually going to buy a Yamaha HS8S powered subwoofer. I want to be able to use one master volume control for both speakers that I can either connect my phone to through AUX or Bluetooth. I’m unsure of what I should buy for this setup. Any help is appreciated.

Felix Thomas

I have one 4 ohm and one 6 ohm that I would like to use with an amplifier. Do the speakers both need to be the same ohm in order to work?

pat

Hi
Can I connect double speakers with 250w and 8ohms drivers inside to an amp with specs 4ohms/1100w and 8ohms/700w per channel

mike (LA, US)

I have a 160 watt stereo that has two 8 ohm speakers made for it. Each channel has an impedance of 8-16 ohm, and the surround channels have impedance of 16 ohm. I have one more 8 ohm speaker that is larger than the other two that I want to connect for more sound, because it handles lower frequencies. It works great when I replace one of the factory speakers with that one, but I would like to have both of those speakers plugged in how they should be, and the extra larger speaker plugged in to play the sound… Read more »

Sebastian Fernandez (Karlsruhe, Germany)

Hello Geoff, Thank you for your very instructive page! My case: Stereo amplifier rated 110 W @ 6 ohms, which means the current at maximum power is 4,28 A. The original speakers are rated 6 Ohms. Somebody is offering me as a present two JBL speakers of the typ SCS200SAT, rated 8 Ohms. I made the calculations for a parallel connection and the new Rt is 3,428 Ohm. That is very much below the 6 Ohms of the 110 W allowed, meaning the current at maximum power would be of 5,66 A, almost 33% more than the nominal 4,28 A… Read more »

Jack Hunt

Hi Geoff. First, thanks for the great info. My question is: I was informed that with tube amps output power in not affect by load changes, only solid state. But having said that my Kenwood KW55 receiver has speaker terminal for 4, 8 and 16 ohms. Isn’t this a contradiction in info? My question is simple. Using 2 8 ohm speakers in parallel produces a 4 ohm load. Should I then connect to the 4 ohm speaker terminal on my receiver or leave it connected to the 8 ohm terminal. It’s the contradiction involving all tube amps that has me… Read more »

Jack Hunt

Thanks Geoff. I had my speakers connected to the 4 ohm terminal after I hooked 2 per amp. I thought I was right but when in doubt ask a pro.
Wow such a good site. You help a lot of people so speaking for us all….a big thank you. Keep up the good work.

Billy (Kent, UK)

Hello I wish to connect 4 speakers ( two in each room) to my Panasonic CD Stereo system SA PM03 with switcher box so I can have either one set of speakers on or both sets playing ( 1 set in each room ). Have two sets of panasonic speakers both sets rated as 6 ohms. Original set that came with CD system Impendence 6 Ohms Input 30W (Music) 2nd set of speakers Impendence 6 Ohms Input 35W (Music) What I’d like to know is if I can attach the two sets of speakers to my CD system ? If… Read more »

Craig

Hi Geoff, I have a Pioneer Surround Receiver-SC-LX78. It is rated at 250watts@4ohms, and has an guaranteed speaker impedance of 4-16ohms. As it is a multi zone function of up to 3 zones, I have it configured as Main Zone 5.2 set up, zone 2 Patio speakers, and zone 3 will be the spa area. All speakers are powered off the LX78 amp, and are 8 ohms, with the exception of the subs. I have 2 questions if I may. 1/ I need to turn the speaker level output of zone 3 into a line level signal (preout), so that… Read more »

Eric (Houston tx)

Hi Geoff

Could you please help me to advise me how to connect below 1 amp and 4 speakers to set up a music system. It includes:
– 1 pair of speakers Bose 601 series III
– 1 pair of speakers 701 series I
– 1 power amplifier Crown xls 1500
Also, I am confusing between the crown xls 1500 vs xls 1000, which one is better for those 2 pairs of speakers to get the best music from them.?

Thank you for your help.
Eric

Alex (Redcar, England)

hello i have a Auna-AMP-6100-Home-Hifi-6-1-AV-Receiver-1600W-Amplifier and 6 6 ohm speakers and i was wondering what would be the best way to hook them up without losing noise? when done in series they drop in power massively but if put in parallel they are too low an ohm how