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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Dino (Germany)

Hallo Geoff,
Just want to confirm what I have learnt browsing your excellent website:
Two rooms, 4 speakers, all rated 4-8 ohm. One pair run through a passive sub-woofer. Denon CEOL N8 has 4ohm output 65W+65W. I don’t need separate volume control and am happy to run both rooms evenly.
I assume that I run the speakers in Series, using one (the first or the second???) of the examples you suggest. The cables all run quite close to each other, or at least to one central point.
Please comment

Dennis Regaller (Roseville, CA)

Hi Geoff, Thanks for the very informative website and youtube video you put together. I think I’m finally understanding speaker impedance. I have four 4 ohm speakers that I’m going to connect to a 5.1 channel A/V receiver/amp that’s rated for 6 to 16 ohm speaker impedance. Based on what I’ve learned from your web site it’s apparent I need to connect the speakers in series in order to avoid overloading the amplifier with my 4 ohm speakers. My plan is to connect two of the 4 ohm speakers in series to the left front amp output, and the other… Read more »

Dennis Regaller

Geoff, After writing you this message and thinking about what I’m trying to do with my system, it dawned on me how I could get the stereo imaging I’m after. Initially I was thinking in terms of connecting the two front speakers in series and the two rear speakers in series. However I now realized that I could just connect the left front and rear speakers in series, and the right front and rear speakers in series and connect them to the left and right front amp outputs respectively and I would have my stereo imaging. I just wouldn’t have… Read more »

Steve (Marshfield)

Hi Geoff, great wealth of knowledge here. I am trying to hook up two speakers (8 ohm rated) to one amp (Denon AVR1613) 6-16 ohm rated. I will wire the speakers in series, but i would also like to use a volume control knob for the two speakers. It has a impedance matching setup (using the jumpers). When I look at the instructions for the controller (monoprice #8237) they have a listing for for 16 ohm speaker matched with an 8 ohm amp. Is that the closest match i should use?

Scott

Hey Geoff, Love the website. Very helpful. I have a question for you. I recently moved into a new flat that has pre-wired speakers. The surround (left and right rear speakers) are connected by one wire for some reason. My amplifier is a five channel amplifier. Should I splice the one wire for the two rear speakers into the right and left rear surround inputs or should I just connect the one wire from the two rear speakers into either the right or the left surround input? Any insight you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your help.

Mikhail

Hi, I am thoroughly confused about replacing my car’s stock speakers & amp (E36 BMW), it has a set of 10 speakers, in various locations around the car, and a sub woofer. I would like to keep the factory look when replacing these aging speakers, but I want to do the simplest solution possible. Would it be possible with crossovers to hook up all of these speakers to a 4 or 5 channel amp? I had planned to purchase the GTO509C JBL speaker kit X2 (3 ohms), and 2 Vifa NE65W-04 2″ Full Range Woofer (4 ohms) as a direct… Read more »

Relf (London)

Hi Geoff!
I have a technics SU-X70 (rating 8ohms)
One pair of goodman’s speakers (8ohms)
And one pair of technics speakers (8ohms)

How can I put on technics and one goodman’s on each side of the amp? (Left and right)

Jem (Philippines)

Hi Geoff, i have a Sakura 733 amplifier, 2 channels at 450 watts max, 8 ohms impedance. And i have 4 speakers 2 for 400 watts 8 ohms each and 2 for 500 watts 8 ohms impedance. what system of wiring do i need to do for a perfect and safe output? Pls i need your advice..Thank You.

Jay

Hey Geoff! My stereo has rca outs that currently go to two 8 ohm speakers. I have another pair of 8 ohm speakers that I would like to add. Can I use an rca splitter cable to attach two speakers to each output? Would thos be the same as wiring them parallel? Thanks!

Bose (USA)

Hi Geoff! Firstly I should thank you for hosting such a user-friendly and informative website for tech novice people like me. I have a 5.1 channel SONY blue ray home theatre system model BDV-HZ970W. The specificatins are Total output power 1000W . FL/FR/SL/SR/C 167 W@ 3ohms, 1kHz, sub Woofer -165w@3 ohms,80Hz/Channel driven . I want to add 2 additional ( 1pair of ) best sounding speakers to my current system .I would appreciate if could answer my below question since I am very new to this Tech world. Situation 1. Where (as Front speakers or Surround speakers) and how to… Read more »

John (Island Lake, Il)

Hello Geoff. I have a older radio Shack MPA 20 amp that I would like to put a female 1/4″ Jacks on. On the back of the amp are a common screw,a 4 ohms screw, an 8 and a 16 ohms screw. I took two speaker cable and cut the end off (about 6″ long). Two wires coming off the female end. I have two Peavy PA speakers pr12 . Would I hook the bare wires to the common and 8 ohms or to the 4 ohms? So there would be one ground wire from each female Jack,and one positive… Read more »

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