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 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. 


  1. Hi Geoff,

    I’ve read a few of your articles but still battling to work out my exact set up. I have a Denon PMA-500AE amp (2x70W/4ohm), and I have a 3 pairs of speakers. In the kitchen I have a pair of 3ohm ex-home-theatre speakers on channel A. Then outside I have a simple 2-way switch box connected to channel B on the AMP. I then have a pair of 6ohm, and a pair of 8 ohm covering 2 different areas. Between the AMP switching, and the external switch box, I can have all, or any of the three playing at any time.

    My question is if all three pairs are going at the same time, is it putting too much load on the amp?

    • Hi Dave,

      The basic answer is Yes, it is overloading the amp if you run the amp at full power. The A and B speakers are connected in parallel to the same amp. So once you have a 3 ohm load, you are under the recommended load impedance. Adding the other speakers (even via a speaker switch) only adds to the load.

      You have got away with it because under normal listening conditions you are not running the amp at anywhere near full power.

      If you need to ever run the amp at full power with all the speakers connected, then a better way would be to have all the speakers on Speakers A, and run through a four way speaker switch.

      If you are only running the Kitchen or outside speakers by themselves, then you are probably fine, but don’t run the amp at full power with the kitchen speakers (as they are only 3 ohms).

      hope this helps


  2. Hi Geoff, I have a Mcintosh MC 2500 amp that I would like to run 4 speakers with. 2 speakers per channel. 2 cerwin vega cls 215 ,and 2 VS15. The 215s are a 6 ohm the vs15s are 4 ohm. unless Ive got it wrong this calcs out to 2.5 load impedance . My question is now I should use the 2ohm speaker output connection on the amp correct?

    • Hi Dirk,

      It looks a solid amp. It is not usual to have a different taps for the speakers but as yours does you should use them correctly. This means doing as you say: connect the speakers to the 2 ohms taps. The manual says to use the 2 ohms tap for any total load impedance between 1.8 and 3.6 ohms.

      So you were correct – well done.


  3. Hi, Thanks for the info above, that is very helpful. My question: I am installing a car audio system that is rated at 25watts @ 4 ohms to each speaker. I wish to hook up 6 speakers, 4 for front channel and 2 for rear. The front speakers are of different impedance, 2 – 4 ohms and 2 – 8 ohms. I plan to wire in series as you suggested. Will that work ok?

    • Hi Charles,

      I’m assuming you have 6 speakers in total, 3 speakers for left and 3 for right. Therefore the rear amps will only have one speaker each.

      Your issue then is the front speakers where you have two speakers to connect, one 4 ohms and one 8 ohm. You are correct that wiring these two in parallel will give the amp a total load impedance below 4 ohms. Connecting them in series will give total load impedance of 12 ohms – much safer for the amp.

      The compromise of having it safe is the amp will not produce as much power. Also the 4 ohm speaker will take 67% of the power, and the 8 ohm speaker will get 33%.

      That is why dedicated(expensive) power amps for cars which are designed to work with loads of 1 or 2 ohms will take up to four 4 ohm speakers in parallel. However with your amp, wiring them in series is the only safe way of wiring them.

      hope this helps


  4. Hey there!
    I have two 8 ohms JBL Micro 24C connected to two JBL CSMA180 (“A” and “B”). Amps connected via AUX, so input only on amp “A”. I’m looking for a solution how to connect two speakers into one CSMA180 “A” using only one terminal connection. What do you think, is it safe to connect two “minus” and two “plus” into one terminal. I checked your schemes above and still can’t figure out is it safe or not. There is a cable QED pro QX16/4 with four conductors white/black for “-” and red/green for “+”.

    In the Owner’s Manual for CSMA180 it says “you can connect up to 4 16 Ohm and 2 8 Ohm speakers” but I’m kind of confused how this will work and don’t want to blow up my speakers.

    Now it works well but I’d like to connect two more 24Cs using second “B” amplifier. Kinda hard thing I have here 🙁

    • Hi Larry,

      It should be fine to connect two control 24s in parallel as you suggest. As each speaker is 8 ohms, two in parallel will bring the total load impedance to 4 ohms, which is will cope with.

      Hope this helps


  5. I want to connect two speakers in parallel. Both the speakers have 8 ohm impedance but different wattage.
    One is 300W and the the other is 200W.
    I want to know the total impedance and total wattage required from the amplifier.

    • Hi Jerin,

      As shown in this speakers in parallel calculator, two 8 ohm speakers in parallel will give a total load impedance of 4 ohms. The power will be shared equally between them, so if you use a 400 watt amp, then each speaker will get 200 watts. If you use a 20 watt amp each speaker will get 10 watts.

      How much power you need will depend on the how loud you need the speakers to run, and the sensitivity of the speakers. You can calculate this here Speaker, Amp and SPL calculator.

      hope this helps


  6. I have a amp that is 4ohms with only one output and 2 speakers that are 4ohm I want to know how to safely wire this. Please help

    • Hi Dale,
      As suggested above, connecting your two 4 ohm speakers in parallel is going to give the amp a total load of 2 ohms, which is way too low. Therefore connecting them in series is the only reliable way of connecting them to your amp.


  7. Hi Geoff,
    We have a small outlet of 400 sqft.
    We would like to install 2 units of ceiling speakers (Show CSL-6112) on the Martin Roland OVC3860 MK2. The speakers spec shows it has impedance of 4Ohms each. Should i connect using parallel or series? These speakers will be playing light music only, therefore we do not need a very powerful speakers. We have not not purchase these items so we are open to suggestions as well.

    Also, will it be sufficient to install 2 in-ceiling speakers to support an area of 400sqft with a ceiling height of 3.2m? Should i increase the quantity?

    • Hi Zac,

      Firstly your question about speaker coverage. Most ceiling speakers have a throw angle of around 110 degrees. So you have a ceiling height of 3.2m (10ft). We can assume when someone is seated they are around 1.2m(4ft) off the floor. Therefore the effective throw distance is 2m(6ft). This gives a circular coverage of around 5.5m (17ft) diameter.

      Regarding your speakers, are you sure they are 4 ohms? The only data on them I could find says they are a 100 volt speaker (with a transformer). If this is the case, then you will have to bypass the transformer at the speaker.

      If you are going to connect only two speakers, then you will have one speaker connected to the left channel, and one to the right channel of your stereo amp. Therefore there is no need to wire in series or parallel, as you will have only one speaker connected to each amp.

      hope this helps,


  8. Hi Geoff,

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge and for answering all these questions. I’d like to connect 4 x Yamaha AW392 speakers (6Ohm – 2 per channel) to a T-class amp (Topping TP30 mk2) for background music in a small exercise studio (15 x 6m / 45′ x 18′). So in series, the impedance would be 12Ohm but the amp spec recommends 4-8. If I understand you correctly, amps can handle impedances above spec more easily than ones below, in which case I should be able to get away it? Or is that just wishful thinking? Does cable length make a difference? Also, I read elsewhere that sound quality (particularly bass) can suffer when speakers are wired in this way. Is there any truth to that? Many thanks, Jason.

    • Hi Jason,

      You are correct in assuming the 12 ohms (2 x 6 ohm speakers in series) will still work with the amp. It will lower the maximum power from the amp. Instead of the maximum power being 9.7 watts into 8 ohms, it will be 6.5 watts into 12 ohms, which is less than 2dB difference.

      My main concern is that that amp is not very powerful. The power ratings are their maximum power at 10% distortion. So their real power without too much distortion is 6 watts into 8 ohms, or 4 watts into 12 ohms. The amplifier chip inside the Topping (the TA2024 chip) is designed for CD players, Computer/PC Multimedia, DVD Players, Cable Set-Top Products, Televisions and battery powered systems. They are not designed as a main amplifier for a room. For the area you are wanting to cover, you may want a more power amp.

      In regard to speakers in series loosing bass, that is true. There is a thing called damping factor which affects the crispness of the bass frequencies. For most domestic installs this is not a factor.

      In your case it could be an issue, as most exercise studios I’ve installed don’t have background music, they like thumping loud music, with lots of bass. If that is also your issue, then damping factor could be a factor, although I doubt you would hear much difference with your speakers as they won’t have much bass anyhow.

      hope this helps


      • Thank you for your comprehensive response! Just to clarify, it will be just background music. The instructor will not have a mic and needs to be audible at 15m/45′ (she has good pipes) and I plan to notch out the vocal frequencies so the music doesn’t compete as much. The music would be played via the instructors phone, connected to the amp via the headphone jack. Are your concerns around the lack of power related to distortion or a lack of volume? Do you still think lack of power will be an issue if it is just for background music? Many thanks, Jason.

        • Hi Jason,
          My concerns were lack of volume due to low real power output.

          However if it truly for background music only, then it might just be OK. I run my 15 watt home amplifier with the volume less than half way up, and that is more than loud enough for background music.

          Be aware that many phones give a low output through their headphone sockets. My android is very low. So you need to make sure the volume on the phone is up (close to full) to drive the amp properly.

          Let us know how it goes.


  9. Dear Geoff
    I am planning on upgrading a system that has 100v speakers . Current setup has x6 TOA F-160WM set to 170ohm @ 30w that are wired in parallel to InterM PA-1000B. These are connected to the 4ohm output of the amp. The speakers are wired with 16gauge speaker cable not 6amp rated cable.
    My Plan is to connect 2 x Yamaha HiFi Amplifier 140W+140W @ 4ohms to end up with 2 zones .I will also add a volume control for one of the speakers. Should I wire these in parrallel ?
    Many Thanks

    • Hi Jannis,

      It looks like the existing install was not set up well. It would have been much better if each speaker was set to 5 watts. Then the total load would have been 30 watts which the amp should have coped with (connected to the 100 volt terminal).

      I’m not sure what you’re thinking in using 2 stereo amps for 2 zones. One amp would give you two zones (left and right). Either way, an amp designed for 4 ohm impedance is not going to output much with a 130 ohm load, in fact is may turn itself off thinking it has no load.

      Even if you connected 3 speakers in parallel the total impedance of 3 lots 170 ohms gives you a total load impedance of 57 ohms. This would only let a 100 watt amp deliver around 7 watts to the speakers in total, or around 2 watts to each of the 3 speakers. Not very efficient.

      A much better way would be to use a 100 volt amp, and use a couple of switches (even light switches) to switch either zone on or off. Or you could use volume controls instead of switches if you like.

      Also by using 100 volt amp and speakers, the small cable size will not be an issue.

      Hope this helps some,


      • Dear Geoff
        Thanks for getting back to so quick, the idea behind the 2 zones is to have different music playing at the same time, upstairs and downstairs.
        Thank you so much for the advice.

  10. Hello Geoff,

    my name is Rizal and I am from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

    having read your article i have tried both parallel and series for my LR surround channel. my setup is denon x2200w and the speakers are Pioneer FS 52 (fllorstanders) and Pioneer BS22 (bookshelfs). both are 6 ohms and the denon specs are shown as Power Output (6 ohm, 1 kHz, 0.7% 2ch Drive)
    125 W (i copy and paste from Denon). currently LR mains and surround speakers are the same model fs52 floorstanders but i want to utilize the bs22 bookshelf for the surround.

    my questions are
    is it better in series or parallel for my setup? from your website i know that if parallel i make the load into 3 ohm and in series it become 12 ohm but i don’t know which is better in long run and will there be any issues with amp in long term? or should i avoid and just use as factory intended? maybe just me but parallel make sounds more powerful than series.

    now i know series and parallel, i want this option in future. keeping the same 6 ohms speakers, if i want to upgrade to a new amp, what should i look for to have this flexibilty?

    many thanks for good advice and good write up on your page.


    • Hi Rizal,

      The floorstand speakers seem to be the better speakers. If you need to use the bookshelf speakers, you could just use them and not the floor standing ones for the surround speakers. If you want to use both at the same time, then I suggest wiring them in series. This will avoid any overload when the amp is turned up.

      Having them is series doesn’t allow the amp to be quite as powerful as if you wired them in parallel, but it wont cause any stress on the amp either.

      hope this helps some,


  11. Hello Geoff
    Can I apply the same methods for big events,if so please help me to understand rigging both parallel nd series methods using SPEAKON CABLES

    • Hi Phillimon,

      It is not normal to wire commercial systems in series/parallel.

      Quite often commercial amps will work well down to 4 ohms or even 2 ohms, so you can run two or four 8 ohm speakers in parallel by simply looping from each speaker via the speakon sockets on the back of each speaker. But this will depend on the capabilities of the amps and the impedance of the speakers.

      Depending on the event (and their budget), it is not unusual to run only one or two speakers per amp.

      Hope this helps

  12. Hi Geoff,

    Very nice I do like what you’ve got there. Much appreciated and you are really helping out a bunch of us.

    Now, let’s say I have a 50W per channel amp ( let’s say that’s the Max Power it can handle), and want to connect a total of 4 speakers ( 2 on each channel).

    If one of the two speakers which are going to get connected to one channel is 40W (woofer) and the other one is let’s say 30W (Tweeter), that’s a total of 70W for a 50W amp.

    That would be too much for the amp to handle.

    What I want to ask you is if this is correct or does the power consumption of the speakers not added up? (Like, since the amp is 50W it can handle them both as it it’s higher than each one of them)

    It’s a stupid question but I had not knowledge before I started researching this.

    • Hi Nik,

      You appear to be making this harder than it is.

      The speakers only draw what the amp can supply. So even if you had speakers that can handle 200 watts they will work fine with a 50 watt amp – they just wont be as loud as they could, but they will work fine. Obviously if you try to make the amp make go louder than it is is designed for, then the amp will complain and probably stop working.

      But for normal home listening, wattage is not a major issue as you don’t need anywhere 50 watts in a living room. More important is the impedance load you put on the amp by adding extra speakers, which is what most of my articles are about. Even then, it is only a real issue when using your amp at close to maximum power.

      hope this helps


      • Thanks for the quick and detailed reply Geoff, much appreciated!

        That makes sense now.

        Thought there could be a problem with the power as I know there is when matching impedance.

        All good!

  13. Hi. Your article is great. Can I confirm whether to wire up in series or parallel. I have two speakers (same brand, both 32w, 4ohm each) and the amp is rated at 100w with 6ohm min load. Should this be in series?


    • Hi Anthony,
      Yes, you should wire your speakers in series. Two 4 ohm speakers in series will give a total load impedance of 8 ohms, which will sit nicely with your amp.
      hope this helps,


  14. I am relatively new to the world of hifi, excited to get started, but could you tell me if it is worth while connecting (or even possible) 2 JPW mini monitors and 1 JPW gold monitor to my denon amp. From what i can see the amp has 2 speaker outputs (with a + and – binding post for each speaker), how would I go about connecting the 3 speaker?
    Many thanks

    • Hi Nathaniel,

      I suggest there is not much benefit to connecting the third speaker. It is not possible to connect it as a center speaker without using an amplifier with a dedicated center channel. I think the Denon will work best with with a balanced load, where as to connect three speakers, one side would be different to the other side.


  15. Hiya Geoff,
    I have a Denon DM40 receiver (can connect speakers 4-16 ohms) to which I have connected a pair of Tannoy Eclipse 3’s (8 ohms impedance). I want to add a pair of Q acoustic 2020i’s (6 ohm) to the system. Can you suggest the best way of wiring?

    • Hi Mick,

      The best way to connect will depend on the how you want to use them.

      If you need to turn one or the other off or on, then you will need to use a 2 zone speaker selector switch. One which uses series/parallel switching would be ideal.

      If you don’t need to control them individually, then it will depend on how loud you like your music. 8 ohms in parallel with 6 ohms give a total load of 3.4 ohms, which is slightly lower than the minimum 4 ohms your amp is designed to work with at full power. But that is the thing, if you are not running it at full power, then that should work well.

      If you are likely to be running it at close to full power, then to be safe you should wire them in series.


      • Hiya Geoff,
        Thanks for your quick reply.
        I think the neighbourhood would have cause for complaint if I ran the system at full power 😉 . I’ll be using them together so I’ll take your suggestion about wiring them in series.
        Great that someone gives their time to assist with audio questions.
        thanks again,

  16. Hi Geoff,

    Great article on speaker wiring.

    I’m planning on buying an amp that can handle 4 ohm speakers and also has power rating for 8 ohms.This amp has also dual volume controls. My speakers are 8 ohms and to take advantage of the full power of the amp i should wire them in parallel, according to your article.

    My doubts are as follows:

    1- To wire in parallel mode 2 speakers i have to connect them in such mode in only ONE of the speaker amp + and – outputs?

    2- Connecting in such a way I’ll stilll perceive the audio in stereo?

    3- Will I be only controling both speakers with only one of the volume controls? (assuming I need to connect them to only one speaker output)


    • Hi Sergio,

      You are correct, wiring your two speakers in parallel to one amp will only give you a mono program.

      However there is no real reason to do this. Simply wire each speaker to one amplifier each and you will have proper stereo. The difference in level between running you amp with a 4 ohms load verses a 8 ohm load is quite small, and would be very difficult to hear.

      Also when you have to two speakers in parallel, each speaker will only get half of the available power each, so you are not gaining much by running two together just to have a 4 ohms load.


  17. Hey Geoff,
    Just wanted to let you know how helpful you’ve been. I recently bought some speakers and was having trouble understanding the correct ways to wire them. I came to your website and was blown away by how helpful you were. Keep up the good work!

  18. Me & Dolby Atmos

    Our home cinema and our living room are one in the same room and in fully refurbishing the room in the past year so much of the speaker wiring was put into hidden trunking and any possible re-patches have had to be designed to be easily and discreetly achieved – hence a tiny patch box set up. The layout of my room and home cinema set up is such that I might wish on some occasions to push the side surround signals to my back speakers and vice versa for various reasons. Also I have wired in a spare pair of speaker cables so I could experiment with an alternative position for height speakers at some future point.

    In order to give me some flexibility in trying such things I have produced a tiny patch box set up. The other speakers in the 7.1 set up are all wired direct to the back amp terminal including a sub woofer. But the “side surround” and the “back/height” outputs of the Onkyo TN X646 are wired to a patch box.
    Using a set of “jump leads” of speaker wire, with banana plugs at each end, and using two adjacent patch boxes, I can switch between the various designations of the side surrounds, the backs, and the front heights and even use a spare set of leads with no speaker on the end of them currently so I could experiment with an alternative position for height speakers. All this can be easily done without having to change anything at the back of the Amp or relay any wiring.

    In the cinema exhibition industry I understand the top of the range Dolby Atmos compatible Amp for cinemas has 64 channels for up to 64 speakers around the walls and on the ceiling of an auditorium.

    In these early entry level Atmos Home Cinema Amps they just have one channel for a pair of height speakers. I think the reason the terminals on the these home Amps say – front height / back surround – is that the manufactures know many early domestic installations would not yet consider putting speakers into the ceiling and so have produced left and hand right front speakers for the domestic market that have integral “up facing to the ceiling” “height” speakers.
    There is just one channel of height information in the domestic 5.1 Atmos set up, and I don’t think it is that important if it is delivered by a set speakers in any one of various alternative positions. I don’t think people should just think of their pair of height speakers of being limited to just a front position. But it is important to note that most opinion agrees that the best spot for Atmos height sound to be appearing is to be as if it is coming down from the ceiling just in front of where the viewers are sitting.

    I ran my very first Atmos film “Everest” through my home cinema set up on Boxing Day. I had the wiring on the patch box configured for 7.1 Surround Sound but had 5.1 Atmos selected on the DVD and that what was going into the Amp.
    All I did was angle my two rear speakers, which are quite high up on a shelf behind the viewers, towards the ceiling, so that the sound would bounce back to as close as I could get to it be appearing as to be coming down from the ceiling just in front of where the viewers were sitting.

    The back speakers were acting as the height speakers with them bouncing the sound off the ceiling and the effect was great without having to change over any wiring whatsoever !! The sound of the rescue helicopter rotor blades appeared to be becoming from above us when we were inside the helicopter – very realistic.
    When we were inside a tent in a blizzard we could here the canvas of the tent flapping above us – again very realistic. During the mountain blizzard we could hear the wind and the thunder above us as well as from the side surrounds. It was the best surround sound experience I have enjoyed at home ever – it seemed to somehow almost incorporate the experience of 5.1 / 7.1 but there was a definite discernable height dimension when I believe I was supposed to be hearing a height dimension.

    Using the patch box system and a recommended “series connection” that Geoff has outlined to me – next time – I will engage the front height speakers too and that might increase the spread of the height effect more evenly and effectively more throughout the room – which is what I am hoping for.

    If you would like me to send you some illustrations of the simple patch box set up and the set of wiring patches – email me at:

    C: A Recommended “series connection ”wiring patch for Dolby Atmos 5.1 with two pairs of speakers wired into the height channel one of which will be a pair of front heights. A “series connection ” of two pairs of speakers produces minimum strain on the Amp channel.

  19. I have 2 speakers, one is 6 ohms, the other is 8 ohms. So I should be connecting them in series as 14/2=7?

    Rms power of receiver is 100w 8ohms, Max power 170 watts 6ohms.

    • Hi Bryan,

      It looks like your amp can run with a load impedance no lower then 6 ohms.

      A 6 ohms speaker and a 8 ohm speaker in parallel does not give you a total impedance of 7 ohms (that simple formula is only for speakers with the same impedance). The total impedance is 3.4 ohms, which is too low for your amp when at full power.

      To be safe, I suggest wiring your two speakers in series (total impedance=14 ohms), or use a speaker selector switch.

      Hope this helps,

      • I was pretty confident that parallel was not going to be right, so thanks for reconfirming. I have them in series and the setup is working very well

  20. Dear Geoff

    I have an Onkyo TN X646 surround sound AV amplifier with Dolby Atmos Capability. The height channel is presumably driven by an individual amp within the bigger unit. I like the idea of attempting to drive a total of 4 height speakers from the two L & R and + and – outputs for the height channel. Currently all the speakers are 8 ohm speakers which are connected to a patch box via banana plugs that have the ability for another banana plug being plugged into its back. Can I plug in another two speakers into the back of the banana plugs for the existing two speakers which will I believe from your diagrams be a parallel arrangement? If i do this will it damage all the speakers or the amp ? I like the idea of attempting to drive a total of 4 height speakers from the two L & R and + and – outputs for the height channel as i think it will give a better effect given my room arrangement but I dont want to damage any component. Be grateful of your advice.

    • Hi Mark,

      I like your concept, but I’m not sure the amp will.

      Connecting two 8 ohms speakers in parallel as you suggest will give the height amp a total load impedance of 4 ohms. This is below the design minimum of 6 ohms for when your amp is at full power.

      So there are two ways forward:

      1) Don’t run the map at full power. The amp only needs to be a little under full power to cope with the slightly lower load impedance. I don’t recommend this, but many people do it. The amp has a protection circuit whereby it will turn off if it thinks it is overloaded, so that is the safeguard.

      2) You could run each pair of height speaker in series. This will give a total load impedance of 16 ohms. The amp will cope with this, but will not quite deliver its full available power. However this can be balanced out in the setting up of the levels – if you can hear any level difference.

      hope this helps


    • Mark, I am interested to hear how this worked out for you as I have the exact receiver (TX NR646) and I am interested in doing the same thing. I am going to be purchasing a pair of Tower speakers. Currently I have all in ceiling speakers (7 total). I want to connect the new Tower speakers directly to left and right channels of receiver which in turn will leave me with the two current ( L/ R ) in ceiling speakers not connected to anything. I want to then connect these in series to either the front height or surround back channel.

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