Speaker Selector Switch Summary

Speaker selector switches are the most common item bought from Amazon through this website (with over 200 units sold). Therefore I thought it is high time to look a little deeper at the different speaker selectors and the features available. I also present a table (or 3)  outlining the models, features, price and popularity of what readers have bought.

The main reason speaker selectors are used is to distribute sound to multiple speakers while protecting the amplifier from too much load (due to too many speakers). For a more detailed explanation of the issues regarding speaker load and impedance, see my article on connecting multiple speakers to your HiFi. For an explanation on using the various type of speaker selectors and how to wire them, see my article on wiring 4 speakers.

For a good overview on speaker impedance and how speaker selector switches help overcome the issues, watch the video (particularly the 2nd half) in Understanding Speaker Impedance.

Protecting the Amplifier with a Speaker Selector

There are two main technologies employed by a speaker selector to protect the amplifier from overloading due to a low load impedance:

  1. Series Resistor: this is used on lower cost speaker selector switches. It normally means there is a resistor (4-6 ohms) wired in series with the speakers. This gives the total circuit a minimum resistance which will protect the amplifier. However, this resistor gets hot at higher volume levels. That is why most speaker selectors using a series resistor for impedance “matching” have air vents in the chassis. Obviously there is some energy lost in these resistors as they produce the heat. Most speaker selector switches employing a series resistor have a “protection” or “impedance protection” switch. This switches the series resistor in and out of the circuit.speaker switch protection switch When you are using more than one set of speakers at the same time, the “protection” switch should be activated. When only one set of speakers are being used, or you are using impedance matching volume controls, the series resistor can be switched out to allow “direct connection” with no losses.
  2. Impedance Matching Transformer: this is used on higher power and higher cost speaker selector switches. An impedance matching transformer inside the speaker selector multiples the impedance of each speaker which effectively keeps the total impedance around the same as any of the individual speakers (providing the speakers are the same impedance as each other).  For example: a 4 zone speaker selector with an impedance matching transformer would multiple each of the 8 ohm speakers by four (making them appear as 32 ohms), and 4 lots of 32 ohm speakers in parallel makes a total impedance of 8 ohms. As one of the speaker selector promo says, they “maintain a safe operating load at the amplifier while distributing maximum power throughout your system“. There normally is not by-pass switch on a speaker selector with impedance matching transformers.

A few speaker selector switches connect the speakers in various series and parallel combinations to limit the overall impedance. These should only be used with 8 ohm speakers.

Some very budget speaker selector switches have no impedance protection what-so-ever. They are just a switch turning each speaker on or off. These are not recommended.

For a better understanding of how the different types of speaker selector switches work, see my Speaker Selector Switch Simulators. These show how each type helps with impedance, as well as how they distribute power to each speaker.

The Ins and Outs of a Speaker Selector

A speaker selector is normally known by how pairs (left and right) of speakers can be connected to it. Each pair of speakers is normally in a different room, or zone.  Hence, a speaker selector might be a 4 zone, or a 6 zone speaker switch. Sometimes they are also referred to as 4 way or 6 way.6-channel-speaker-switch This means they are capable of connecting 4 pairs or 6 pairs of speakers respectively. Be aware some manufacturers also confusingly use the word “channels” for the number of output pairs their speaker switch can connect to.

Some speaker selector switches connect to one stereo amplifier, allowing the speaker selector to connect the one amplifier to each speaker connected to it. This allows the same program (music etc) to be heard in every zone or room.

Other speaker selectors allow two different amplifiers to be connected to them. Then for each zone, you can select amplifier A or amplifier B. These speaker switches are marketed as having A/B inputs. Using two amplifiers with different programs allows each zone to select between the two programs available.

Other Features

Other features often promoted for a speaker selector are:

Volume Controls: These allow the volume of each zone to be separately controlled at the unit.

Power Handling: This states the maximum power (RMS) per channel of the amplifier that should be used with the selector.

Labels: Some manufactures supply pre-printed labels that make your installation look professional.

Speaker Selector Types

There are 4 basic types of speaker selector switches sold by Amazon through this website:

  • Simple Speaker Selector Switches: these simply switch between 2 or more sets of speakers (60% of units sold)
  • Speaker Selector Switch with volume control: As well as switching between 2 or more zones, they have separate volume control for each zone (20% of units sold)
  • Speaker Selector Switch with A/B amplifier input selection (0.5% of units sold).
  • Speaker Selector Switch with volume controls and A/B selection (20% of units sold).

How Many Zones?

Speaker selector switches are also categorized by how many zones (or channels of speakers) they can switch. Readers of this website who have purchased speaker selectors from Amazon have mostly bought 4 zone selectors, but other configurations are also useful:

  • 2 way selectors are useful when the speakers are only 4 ohms, as two sets of 4 ohm speakers is too much load for most amplifiers (13% of units sold).
  • 4 way selectors are the most popular. These can be used for 2, 3 or 4 zones (66% of units sold).
  • 5 way, 6 way, 8 way or 10 way speaker selector switches can be used to wire many speakers. With this many speakers, impedance protection is very important (21% of units sold).

 

The following tables list the speaker selector switches bought from Amazon through this website. I’ve added as much helpful information as possible including:

  • the supplier/seller
  • the model number and/or description of the product
  • the maximum RMS power (watts) the unit can handle from each channel of the amplifier(s) connected to the selector switch.
  • the average price of each product bought from Amazon
  • the percentage of sales of each item in its class (2, 4 or 5+ zones) through this website
  • a description of the impedance protection method used, warnings and features
  • a link to download the manual, if I’ve been able to locate one
  • a link to each item on Amazon – click on each picture to go to that item on Amazon for further information.

If you don’t see the link pictures, please turn off any add blocker you may have installed on your browser

Summary of 2 way Speaker Selector Purchases

BrandItemWatts/
Channel
Average
Price
% soldComments
Link to item on Amazon
Monoprice108231
2 channel A/B speaker selector with Volume
50$62.6631%Uses Impedance matching volume controls
Monoprice Speaker Selector Manual (with volume)


NilesSSVC-2
speaker selector with volume
100$117.0023%Uses Impedance matching transformer
Niles SSVC Manual

OSDSSVC2
2 zone A/B with volume
50$88.604%Uses Impedance matching volume controls
OSD SSVC Manual

YIS2 pair speaker selector switch
50$28.9531%No information on impedance protection
Keen-EyeA/b a B A+b
Stereo speaker switcher combiner
10$17.508%No information on impedance protection

 

Summary of 4 way Speaker Selector Purchases

BrandItemWatts/
Channel
Average
Price
% soldComments
Link to item on Amazon
Simple Speaker Selector Switches
Monoprice109995
4 channel Speaker selector
70$26.8827%Uses 5 ohm Series Resistor
Monoprice 9995 Manual

PylePSS4
4 Channel Switch
100$30.5315%Uses Series Resistor
Pyle PSS Manual

Part ExpressSS4
4 zone Switch
70$36.6510%Uses 5 ohm Series Resistor
Parts Express SS4, SS6, SS8 Manual

Radio ShackFour Way Switch50$14.365%Uses series - parallel switching. Not recommended to use with 4 ohm speakers
Radio Shack Speaker Selector Manual

NilesSS-4
Speaker selector
100$69.963%Uses 2.5 ohm Series Resistor
72 Labels supplied
Niles SS speaker selector Manual


OSDISS4
4 Zone Speaker selector
70$48.772%Uses Series Resistor
OSD ISS Speaker Selector Manual

Wired HomeSS4
Speaker Selector
70$29.902%Uses 5 Ohm Series Resistor
Wired Home SS speaker selector Manual


NilesHPS-4
High Power Speaker selector
250$140.951%Uses 2.5 ohm resistor
72 Labels supplied
Niles High Power selector Manual

SimaSSW4
4 Speaker Selector
100$38.941%Uses 3 ohm series resistor
Labels supplied
Sima SSW Speaker Selector Manual

JamoJSS4-HP
Speaker selector
175$49.991%High Power
Monster CableSS4
Multi-Speaker selector
150$99.991%Uses series resistor
Monstor Cable Mulit-Speaker Selector Manual

RussoundSS-4.2
Speaker selector
100$59.951%Uses series resistor (switch at rear)
Russound SS Speaker Selector Manual
Speaker Selector Switches with Volume Controls
PylePSPVC4
4 Zone with volume control
100$115.9913%Uses Impedance matching transformer, for use with 8 Ohm speakers
Pyle PSPVC Speaker Selector Manual

NilesSSVC-4
4 Channel with Volume
100$204.357%Uses Impedance Matching Transformer
Includes 72 labels
Niles SSVC Manual

Speaker Selector Switches with A/B Inputs and Volume Controls
Monoprice108232
4 Channel A/B with Volume
100$83.078%No information on impedance protection
Includes labels

Specialty AV600 watt 4 Zone A/B with Volume200$169.954%Uses high power rating impedance matching transformer

 

Summary of 5+ way Speaker Selector Purchases

BrandItemWatts/
Channel
Average
Price
% soldComments
Link to item on Amazon
Simple Speaker Selector Switches
PylePSS6
6 Channel Switch
100$39.2926%Uses Series Resistor
Pyle PSS Manual

PylePSS8
8 Channel Switch
100$47.7016%Uses Series Resistor
Pyle PSS8 Speaker Selector Manual

Dayton AudioSS6
Speaker Switch
70$47.722%Uses 5 ohm Series Resistor
Currently not available
SimaSSW-6
6 zone selector
50$41.242%Uses Series Resistor.
Includes lables
Sima SSW Speaker Selector Manual

Speaker Selector Switches with Volume Controls
NilesSSVC-6
6 Channel with Volume
100$239.0016%Uses Impedance Matching Transformer
Includes 72 labels
Niles SSVC Manual

Theater SolutionsTS6DV
6 Zone with volume control
300$120.992%Has 2 inputs but only able to select one input at a time. No individual input switch for each zone.
Speaker Selector Switches with A/B Inputs only
OSDDSM8
8 zone switch with A/B inputs
70$94.992%Uses series resistor


JamoJSS6-HP
Speaker Selector
175$59.992%Uses series resistor


Speaker Selector Switches with A/B Inputs and Volume Controls
Specialty AV2 x 5 Zone
with A/B and Volume
100$209.959%Uses high power impedance matching transformer
Monoprice108230
Speaker Switch
100$37.589%Uses Series Resistor

Specialty AV2 x 6 Zone
with A/B and Volume
300$159.955%Uses heavy duty impedance matching transformer
PylePSPVC6
6 Channel Speaker Selector
50$153.995%No Information on impedance protection
Pyle PSPVC Speaker Selector Manual

Specialty AV10 Zone/pair
with A/B and volume
500$259.952%Uses heavy duty impedance matching transformer
Theater SolutionsTS6DV
Dual Source selector
300$122.722%No Information on impedance protection
Labels Included

Use the above summary information as a guide only. There are also many other models of speaker selector switches available.

If you are interested in purchasing speaker selector switches in other countries, here is a link to Amazon’s range in Canada, UK, Germany, Spain and France.

If you have details to add to the above summary please share them as a comment below and I will include them for the benefit of others.

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51 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Geoff,

    I recently set up our ceiling speakers with a Yamaha R-S202 2 channel receiver and Monster 4 channel speaker selector (model MSS4). For some reason only one side will work at a time. For instance, when I connect the left receiver output into the left selector input all the left outputs to the speakers work, however, when I add the right, the right does not work. If I connect just the right, all the right outputs work. Do you know why only one side works when all are connected?

    Thanks
    Brian

    • Hi Brian,

      I assume that each pair of speakers works fine when connected directly to the amplifier without the switch.

      That being the case, there are a couple of things to consider.

      The switch could be faulty. No likely, but possible.

      The wiring could be wrong. This is the likely issue. I’d particularly be checking that the negative speaker terminal for each channel is connected to the negative of the switch in all instances. If the negative and positive are swapped on one of the channels it could cause your issue.

      Does this help at all?

      Geoff

  2. Geoff,

    A quick question. I’ve a Niles SVCC-4 hooked up to a ReVox B750 MKII amp. Speakers are Celestion Ditton 15XR (4ohm), KEF 304 (8ohm) and Dynaudio Emit M20 (8ohm). I just got my a BK Electronic XLS200 active sub. Can I simply hook it up to the spare speaker connection? I have the resistance selector set on 3/4 currently, but I noted that you said maybe it should be 2?

    Thanks a bunch. Your website is oft visited by yours truly.
    Craig

    • Hi Craig,

      It is nice to have a regular reader!

      There are a couple of ways you could connect your sub.

      You could connect the high level input to the fourth channel of your switch. This will work and it gives you an easy way to effectively switch the sub on and off.

      Alternatively you could connect the low level input to the pre-amp out of your amp (with the pre-amp switch set to normal). This will also work, and may possibly give you more level if you need it.

      Regarding the switch setting on the speaker selector. Your amp is designed to work into a total speaker load impedance of 4 ohms or greater. If you were to have all four speakers (including the sub) connected and all four volume controls flat out, then the total impedance would be less than 2 ohms. So the switch needs to be set to 3/4. However if any volume control is turned down two clicks or more, then you can use 2. The video in Understanding Speaker Impedance gives an overview on this. But even better, I think you will enjoy playing with this on the third of my Speaker Selector Simulators. This demonstrates my point nicely – well I think so.

      Hope this helps

      Geoff

  3. Hi Geoff,

    Thanks very much for all of the info. It has been very helpful. I was just about to purchase a Jamo speaker selector (JSS4-HP) or similar. I came across an older JSS-4 model and have since bought that from Ebay. Specs on the JSS4-HP say 250W peak, but I was wondering if you happen to know if the JSS-4 has the same rating. I couldn’t seem to locate a manual or documentation for it on the Jamo website. Another question I had is if you know of a selector that is can handle high power (say a 200 or 250W amp, and also has 2 inputs (A/B). Thanks again for all of your help.

    Best,

    Aaron

    • Hi Aaron,

      I’m pleased you found the info useful.

      I did find this manual, which might help you. It suggests the JSS-4 is good for 100 watts RMS.

      This switcher from Specialty Audio clams to handle up to 300 watts RMS and is reasonably priced. It is designed for 6 channels but will also work with only four. A number of readers have commented on how much they like their Specialty Audio switchers, although I haven’t had the chance to play with one myself.

      hope this helps

      Geoff

  4. Hi Geoff,

    First of all, great website. The information that you presented here is super informative.

    I am planning on wiring a total of 8 outdoor speakers (4 zones), with each speaker being at 8 ohms, rated at 250w RMS. That being said, I am still going back and forth on picking a strong enough amp or receivers to power them all. My backyard faces a busy street which makes for a lot of background noise during the day so I need something powerful enough. Because of this, I will need a speaker selector that can handle higher outputs going through it. I was planning on purchasing a 4 zone speaker selector, and I am in between the Niles and Theatre Solutions as they both have high powered ones. My first question would be the wattage rating for speaker selector. In your chart, does the total wattage represent the total per zone or per speaker? I know that it mentions per channel, which I would think would mean per speaker, but you said to be careful as it many times means per zone or per pair. For example, if one is listed above at 250w per channel, does that mean 500w per zone, or 250w per each speaker selector zone?

    Secondly, there will be times where i will be playing all 8 speakers at the same time. Can I wire each pair of the 8ohm speakers to each zone in parallel and still be safe or would I need to select a speaker selector with impedance protection? If I would wire them all in parallel, would that affect my ohms per speaker?

    Lastly, based on my above described setup, are there any amps or receivers that you would like to recommend? If my ohms would change per speaker having all 8 playing at the same time, I want to make sure that my amp or receiver can handle that rating.

    Thank you so much for your help in advance, and this website is wonderful. Thank you again for putting it together.

    Joe

    • Hi Joe,

      The Niles 4 channel switch says the 250 watts refers to the power rating of the amplifier into 8 ohms. The major limitation is the capacity of the series limiting resistor. The next limitation is the current capacity of the switches.

      This brings us to needing to know what power amplifier you require. To do this you need to establish how loud you need your speakers to be to overcome the traffic noise, and how loud you like to listen to your music – and have some consideration for your neighbors (if applicable).

      It will also depend on how far from the speakers your normal listening position will be, and then you need to know how efficient your speakers are (sensitivity). Then these figures can plugged into the Amplifier, Speaker & SPL Calculator. This will tell you how many watts you need for each pair of speakers.

      Once that is calculated, and any compromises applied, we can start talking about amps and impedance. It may be better to use an amp which will drive a total speaker load of 2 ohms, or you might want to use a couple of amps. Let’s see what power you really need first.

      over to you…

      Geoff

  5. Geoff,

    Great website, thanks.

    I recently purchased the Niles ssvc-4 speaker selector to run three sets of speakers. the pairs are the mains, kitchen and outdoor. I had to purchase the kitchen speakers and bought a set of what I thought were 8ohm, but when I got them they are 4ohm.

    Given that the other two sets are 8ohm, can I run these using the niles selector, and if so do i choose a different setting than that described in the manual (i.e selector would be 3/4 on the impedence corrector).

    Thanks for the help.

    • Hi Clive,

      Good question. The answer is: “it all depends”.

      It depends on whether you will run the Kitchen at full volume. I say this because running the kitchen volume control at one click off full, doubles the impedance seen by the amp. So as long as all volume controls are not flat out, there should be no problem with running the Niles at x 2.

      hope this helps

      Geoff

  6. Hi, I have an amp feeding a 4 position switch box – currently radio shack but just ordered Niles). I have two sets of speakers on it and both on. One set is in bedroom, one set in bathroom. The set in bathroom has a AudioSource AE100VC Impedance Matching Volume Control on it. When I turn this volume down in the bathroom, it also turns down the bedroom. Any idea why? I have the input and output correct-

    Thanks

    • Hi Lenny,

      I can think of only two reasons the one volume control would control both sets of speakers.

      1) Both sets of speakers are connected to the volume control. This is unlikely if you have a direct run from each set of speakers to the 4 way switch box.
      2) The speakers are wired in series. This could be happening in the switch box. Some speaker selectors connect zones 1 and 2 in series when both are selected. To test this, if you just select the bedroom, the bathroom volume control should not control it. However, when both bathroom and bedroom are selected, it will control them as they are all in series. The Niles speaker selector will overcome this.

      Not related, but you should check the settings on the back of the volume control (VC). As it is an impedance matching VC, it will have x1, x2, x4 etc settings on the back. Since you only have one VC, and you are going through an impedance protection speaker selector, you don’t need the impedance matching on the VC, so set it to x1 on both channels.

      hope this helps

      Geoff

  7. Geoff, I’ve searched but can’t find the answer to this question. Can I hook up two speaker selectors to one receiver? One to Zone A and the other to Zone B? This is assuming the receiver has A/B speaker capability. I want to run 6 speakers on A and up to 3 on B. The receiver is rated 80 wpc. Also, I would never be running all 9 speakers at once.

    • I’m not sure if you are wanting to run 9 speakers or 9 pairs of speakers. Either way the basics are the same. On most amps, the A/B speaker selector is just a simple two way switch, with a third option of having both on at once. This is the same as having both speakers in parallel. Therefore both speaker selector switches would be in parallel.

      This would work if the total load presented by each switch was 8 ohms or more, as then the two in parallel would give the amp a total load impedance of 4 ohms – not a problem for most amps. However if the total impedance presented to the amp is anything less than 8 ohms each, then you are in danger of overloading the amp when close to full power.

      If you only running 3 pairs and then 1.5 pairs (total of 9 speakers), it would be simpler to use a 4 way switch. If your are running 9 pairs, then you could use a 10 way switch. A cheaper option might be to use a 4 way switch on one of the zones (outputs) of another 4 way switch.

      hope this helps

      Geoff

  8. Hi Geoff

    I am planning to connect a sonos amp to two pairs of Krix speakers, bedroom and bathroom. One set of speakers is rated 20-100W and 6 Ohm, the other 20-100W and 8 Ohm. I am getting confused between impedence matching and impedence correcting and manual vs automatic. The Niles SSVC-2 appears to do this through manual switching but the The Pyle Home PSS4 does it automaticaly? I only need switching between two speakers so the Niles looks like doing the job but just wanted to check that it will and give me good sound in the two rooms?

    • Hi Graham,

      Yes, marketing terms are often confusing. If anything, I would say that the Pyle is manual and the Niles is set once and forget about it.

      With the Pyle selectors, and any of the “series resistor” type, you need to press the “protection” button in to put the series resistors in circuit. They do this so that if you are only running one set of speakers you can run them straight (no series resistance, because they are 4 ohms or above). When the resistors are connected, some power (like almost half) is lost in heat through them.

      With the Niles, there is a little switch on back where you select “x2”, which means the amplifier will always see double of what the total speaker impedance actually is. This is much safer as you will not forget to do it. However it does send only half the possible output power of the amplifier to each set of speakers. But then you have a volume control for each set so you are not likely to be running both flat out anyhow.

      If you can afford the price difference, my suggestion would be the Niles.

      hope this helps

      Geoff

      • Thanks Geoff. Is there a speaker selector that can impedence match automatically, i.e it will know when one or two speakers are running. Also is there one which will not halve the output power to each speaker or is this inevitable?
        Graham

        • Hi Graham,
          Power sharing is a fact of physics. Without increasing the output, the signal going to one speaker is always going to less when going to two speakers. In power terms, this is 3dB, so you only need to turn the amp up by 3dB to overcome these losses. Then going through a speaker selector switch with a series resistor is going to drop the power to each speaker by around another 3db. However for most domestic situations, you don’t need any where near the maximum power available from modern amps so this isn’t a practical concern.

          I’m not aware of an auto-switching speaker impedance switch. Although a switch that simply connects any one speaker directly to the amp, and connects them in series when both speakers are selected virtually does this for you. This simple switch from Jaycar does this, although it doesn’t say so – I used one of these recently for a customer and measured the impedances myself). The downside of it is you can’t vary the volume between the two rooms when running both, it has limited power handling capabilities and is not as well built as say a Niles – but it is very well priced.

          hope this helps some more,

          Geoff

  9. Hello.

    First of all congratulations for the clarifying guides. I want to setup my Home Theather at the main room and an ambient sound with 6 pairs of 30W speakers. I`ll use the Yamaha Receiver a1050 or a850 in the main room. I don`t know if the Zone 2 channels can handle the 6 pair. If not I thing I`ll have to use the “2X6 Matrix Speaker Selector Switch Switcher Volume Level Control, 2-AMP 6-ZONE 900-Watt” with the “Pyle Home PT1100 1000-Watt Power Amplifier”. The Speaker Selector handles 900W and the amplifier has 1000W. It will be a big problem?

    Thank you very much.

    • Hi Fabricio,

      If you only want nice background music around your house, then the zone 2 output of around 80 watts should be fine from either of the Yamaha amps you mention. You could also use one of the lower power, lower cost 6 way switchers too.

      My suggestion would be try this first, and if it isn’t loud enough, then we can look at other amps. However many houses use less power this to drive many speakers for background or ambient music.

      Geoff

      • Thank you for your help. There is no need of an impedance matching system on the Speaker Selector to protect the Receiver? Thank you.

        • You are correct, you will need some impedance protection. I think all the 6 way switches should either have a series resistor, or a transformer to do that for you. If it has a series resistor, you just nee to press the “protection” button on.

          Geoff

  10. Geoff, I am wanting to run a Yaquin mc13 tube amp from the front speaker preouts of my HK AVR20 receiver. The receiver will accommodate my turntable, CD player and computer inputs. The Yaqin will run 2 sets of speakers both rated at 8 ohms. I will run cable from the left and right Yaqin speaker outs (the Yaqin has 8 and 4 ohm speaker outs) to the Monoprice 109995 4-Channel Speaker Selector. The 2 sets of speakers will run out from the selector box. I want to make sure the amp is not damaged while switching between speaker sets. Will the protection circuitry in the Monoprice box, protect my amp when switching…even if I inadvertently switch off both sets of speakers when the amp is powered up. Also, on the Monoprice ..is the protection circuitry engaged when the button is pressed in or out? It is a little confusing as it says “( engage when using one set of speakers)”. Does this mean you are engaging or disengaging the protection circuit when the button is pushed in?
    Thanks Brendan

    • Hi Brendan,
      There are a few issues you raise:
      1) As you seem to understand, these speaker selector switches are designed for solid state amps, not really for Tube amps. Therefore the role of the “protection” switch is to limit the minimum impedance the amp sees. However a tube amp is more concerned about always wanting some sort of a load, which the speaker selector does not intrinsically provide. To accomplish this, I suggest you follow the guidelines in figure 3 of the Niles Speaker selector manual regarding tube amps. You can download it via this link.

      2) Given your tube amp will drive a 4 ohm load, you don’t really need a speaker selector with impedance protection. A simple change over switch would suffix. However the speaker selector switch you mention will also work. You just don’t need to use the protection switch.

      3) which brings use to your question on which way does the switch work? I would have thought the protection is on when the button is pushed in. But I haven’t seen your model. Perhaps another reader can help. There are two ways to test this. The box will get warm when the protection resistor is being used, so you could run your speakers at a good volume and determine if the box gets warm with the switch in or out. The more technical way is to measure the resistance from the input to one of the outputs. There should be zero resistance with the protection off, and around 4 ohms with the protection on.

      Hope this helps

      Geoff

  11. Hi Geoff,
    I am relocating a salon/spa business and need to purchase an inexpensive receiver/speaker system to accommodate the two different music needs of my business – one calm and the other high energy – and would like to use Sonos/Pandora. I am looking at the Pyle products and thinking of purchasing two of the 4-room in-ceiling speaker systems (4-8 ohm) – one system for the salon and one for the spa. Could you suggest the best Pyle receiver to coordinate with these speaker systems and work with Sonos? Do I need two receivers or get away with one? Should I also get a speaker selector? Thanks for any help you can provide as I really want to make the right purchase.

    • Hi Daryl,

      I gather you need two different systems, one calm and one high energy. This will require two sources and least two stereo amps. The sources can be a Sonos streamer, a MP3, a digital radio or any other device that plays music. Since you want two different programs at the same time you will need two different amps.

      I don’t know much about the Pyle range, but a quick look at their range on Amazon reveals the PYLE PT8000CH. This is actually 8 amplifiers in the one box, so you could have one amp for each speaker – no speaker selector required. Connect your calm source to the “main buss” in and choose Main buss as the input for the amps feeding the speakers in the calm area (Channels 1-4). The high energy source can be connected to the Aux input and select this source for channel 5-8 which feed the speakers in the SPA.

      Once you set the relative volume for each speaker on the back of the amp, the overall volume level for each area will be adjusted on the source (MP3 player etc). Although you probably wont be adjusting the volume too much.

      There are other ways of doing all this, but this looks a neat Pyle budget solution.

      hope this helps

      Geoff

  12. Hey Geoff
    We have an Onkyo TX – SR 703, 7.1 surround sound receiver. We bought it about 6 years ago and like it a lot. One reason we got it is that it has a Zone 2 stereo output, that is now hooked up to the dining room speakers only. We have speakers wired for outside, the living room, bedroom and bathroom, which have not ever been hooked up. I was looking at the Pyle Home PSPVC6 6-Channel High Power with Volume Control, that I was going to hook up to the Zone 2 Onkyo output for the speakers mentioned above (5 pairs total). When you use zone 2, the 7.1 becomes a 5.1 + 2, so I’m guessing that Zone 2 puts out 100 wats a channel. I can’t find out how much power the Onkyo Zone 2 has and if it will be sufficient to power those other speakers (they will rarely be on together). Maybe the bedroom and bathroom combo, the living room and outdoor combo.

    Main Zone:
    7.1 Family Room: 7 Bose speakers + Bose Sub-Woofer

    Zone 2:
    Dining Room: Bose, In-ceiling mounted, 8 ohms (already installed)
    Bathroom: Pyle, In-ceiling mounted, 8 ohms, PRWC51, weatherproof (not installed yet)
    Exterior: Audiophile, bracket mounted, 8 ohms, weatherproof, (not installed yet)
    Other Areas: no speakers purchased yet
    Volume controllers: Each of the remote speaker zones will have a separate volume controller, in wall. MonoPrice, MVL-100

    Questions: Is the Pyle Stereo Speaker Selector a good choice for this application, although it doesn’t indicate having impedance protection? I will make sure that all the speakers are 8 ohms. Next, will I need to add an amplifier? or will the power provided by the Onkyo Zone 2 be sufficient?

    Thanks very much!

    • Hi Steve,

      The Onkyo should have sufficient power to drive your external speakers, as long as you can cope with only having 5.1 in the family room.

      If you intend to have volume controls in each room, you don’t need a speaker selector box at all. The signal can go to each volume control but if that control is turned down there will be no power used from the amp.

      You will though need to make sure the volume controls have impedance matching. The monoprice you mention do. They have little jumpers on the back. You need to set these to x2 or x4, and all your impedance worries will be over.

      hope this helps

      Geoff

      • Hi Geoff
        Although, we have zone volume controllers in each room, including the volume controller with the external speaker controller is fine if it means that the quality doesn’t diminish. Maybe we should use the Specialty AV speaker controller, since it has the impedance protection feature. Please advise about the speaker jumpers for the MonoPrice volume controllers. I checked any they are set at x2. I don’t know what this means and if they need to be changed.

        Geoff,
        I read you profile and about the great work your family does in Africa and elsewhere… teaching electronics, etc…. thank you for this. 🙂

        • Hi Steve,

          You should not need any extra impedance protection with the volume controls you are using. The volume controls do the same as any speaker selector will do in regards to impedance protection.

          Let me try to explain the links on the back of the volume controls. I will talk about just one, as it is the same for both the left and right channels.
          If the link was set to x1, the amplifier would see the speaker x1, that is for a 8 ohm speaker it will see a total load of 8 ohms. This is fine if you have just one set of speakers connected to the amp. if you have two sets, then the amp will see two lots of 8 ohms which gives a total load impedance of 4 ohms. This is still fine for your amp as it will work into a 4 ohm load. However if you now have four lots of speakers, that will mean the amp will see for lots of 8 ohms which is a total load impedance of 2 ohms, which is too much.

          Now let’s say we move the links on all volume controls to x2. Now, the impedance of any one speaker is multiplied by 2. So a 8 ohms speaker now looks like a 16 ohms speaker to the amp. And when we have four 16 ohm speakers all connected together, we get a total load of 4 ohms, which is fine for your amp. So, no more impedance matching is required.

          You could even have 5 or 6 sets of speakers connected this way given you have said you will not have all of them on at the same time. If you do, and all of them are running at full volume, you can simply put the link to x4.

          Easy eh?

          Hope this helps some more
          Geoff

          PS. Thanks for the generous donation – much appreciated

  13. Geoff, your site has been very helpful to me. I have a question. I have a Grace Digital BTAR512 Amplifier (Power Output: 2 x 50 watts RMS at 6 ohms, 40 watts RMS at 8 ohms), a pair of Dayton Audio B652 speakers (6 ohms) and a pair of Bose Model 101 Music Monitors (4 Ohms). All of this will be for my shop area. I would like to hook up all the speakers to the amp and from what I can gather the best way to do that would be to use a selector switch given the speakers have different impedances? I would like to get the most volume out of this set-up since I listen to it at times when equipment is running. Which selector switch would you recommend and do you have any other recommendations that would help get the most from this equipment?

    Thanks, Robert

    • Hi Robert,

      There are several ways you could go, depending on the size of your shop and the sound level you really need.

      Whenever you connect two speakers to the one amp, each speaker only gets half the power coming from the amp. That sounds drastic, but in reality it is only a power reduction of 3dB. Normally you can simply turn the volume up by another 3dB to compensate. Of course you can’t do this if the volume is already at max.

      Unfortunately none of the data available online for your speakers give the sensitivity of each speaker so it is hard to calculate how loud they will be without actually trying them. If you haven’t already, I suggest temporarily connecting one set of speakers up in your shop and seeing how loud they are. Then try the other pair for interest’s sake. Perhaps you only need one set.

      If you need two sets of speakers as you suggest to better cover the area evenly, then you will need a speaker selector with some form of impedance matching. Any of the “series resistor” ones above should work fine as your amp is not above 50 watts per channel. Although they will reduce available power to each by another few dB.

      Alternatively, you could use a old stereo amp as a slave amp to drive the second set of speakers. This will overcome the losses, and give you separate volume control over those speakers. There is a line out from the amp which could connect to the input of the slave amp.

      hope this helps

      Geoff

  14. Hi Geoff,

    You had helped me before with a somewhat similar set-up, but I need your expertise again!

    I’m trying to figure out which selector to use in this situation and to make sure it will all work ok.

    Sonos Connect:Amp
    Four 4-ohm speakers in one zone
    Two 8-ohm speakers in the other zone
    Can control volume via the Sonos app, so may not need volume controls on the unit.

    Would like a switch box to support the two zones, 6 speakers total.

    And ideally, looking for a switch box that is small, like under 10″ in width.

    Any suggestions on this set-up?

    Thanks!
    Michael

    • Hi again Michael, it is good to have a return customer.

      If you don’t need to the switch the zones on or off, you could wire 2 of the 4 ohm speakers in series, for both the left and the right, and then wire them in parallel wit the 8 ohm speakers. That would give you a total load impedance of 4 ohms which Sonos FAQ says is fine. see my new article on wiring 2 speakers for connection details.

      If you need to switch each zone on or off separately, you could use any of the two zone switches. With an impedance protection model, the 2 x 4 ohm speakers could be wired in parallel or series.

      let me know which switch you buy and I’ll give more connection details then if required.

      Geoff

      • hi geoff,

        i just wanted to let you know i ended up using a 2 zone switch.

        thanks so much for all your wonderful help and advice as i set up my system!

        michael

  15. I have two sets of following speakers, all of the brand Jamo:

    Front: 6 Ohm 37-20.000Hz Power: 150/240W (Long/Short)
    Rear: 80-20.000Hz Power: 80/130W (Long/Short)
    Center: 75-20.000Hz Power: 80/130W (Long/Short)

    I need to be able to switch between set 1 and set 2, because I have two places in my living room where I watch films (the Tv and the projector).

    Do you think the switch below can handles this because they say “Suitable for 8-16 ohm speakers” and my speakers are 6 ohm ? I was thinking about buying 3.

    Thanks !

    • Hi Bjorn,
      Those switches will work. The reason they state 8-16 ohms is for when both sets of speakers are on together – if both sets of speakers are 6 ohms and are both on at the same time, then the total laod impedance would be 3 sophism, which is below the minimum of 4 ohms for most amps.

      However, since you will only be having one set of speakers or the other on at any one time, it wont matter.

      So while using three of these switches will work, there are better ways – but not in a ready made box. All you really need is a two way switch – 5 of them. Unfortunately most combined two way switches only have two switches in them, they are called 2 pole. You can get 4 pole switches, but that is still one short for your use. The best way would be to get an electrician or electronics person to wire up a couple of relays for you. A relay is simply a switch controlled by another switch. So one simple selector switch could control two 4 pole relays which would switch all your speakers by using just one switch. While it is a bit of work initially, it would be easiest long term solution. It is the way I would do it at my house.

      Geoff

  16. Hi Geoff – thanks for sharing your knowledge, I’ve learned a TON in a short time reading up things here. I was given a beautiful set of custom built 4 ohm speakers and I’m trying to figure out the best solution for a 2-zone (vol controlled) setup.

    I was given a recommendation for the Onkyo TX-8020 receiver, which I’m planning to purchase.

    As far as speaker selectors go, the Monoprice 108231 manual recommends only using 8ohm speakers, but the Niles SSVC-2 instructions are less clear.

    Could you recommend a setup that would work with the 4ohm pair I have (I need to get an addition speaker pair, which I assume needs to be at least 8ohm if not higher?)

    Thanks so much.

    Mark

    • Hi Mark,
      It would be nice if manufactures used a standard terminology in describing their products wouldn’t it?

      The Monoprice suggestion of using only 8 ohm speakers applies mainly to the 4 and 6 channel units. With only two sets of speakers and your amp, you are really only using the speaker selector as a switch and volume control. If the second set of speaker are 8 ohms then you will only have an impedance issue if the amp is flat out (and no selector switch used).

      Either switch will work fine to look after the impedance issues for you. With the Monoprice, having either volume control on the selector just one click off full volume (or lower), effectively looks after the impedance matching for you. The Niles will work for you with all controls at full volume, although that will probably be a rare occurrence. Personally I like Niles, but they are considerably more expensive. The Niles will work well if both sets of speakers are 4 ohm too.

      hope this helps

      Geoff

  17. Hi Geoff,
    The information you provide is great. I would like your opinion about my situation. One channel on my 1970s Akai has died and I am replacing it with a Sherwood RX-4109. Besides its age I think one of the reasons that the Akai has bitten the dust is the speaker configuration. All speakers are 8 ohm. Living room speakers on A. Dining room and outside deck speakers in parallel on B, each with its own L-pad volume control. Usually the deck speakers are switched off locally (an actual DPDT switch, not just volume turned down). In other words the B channel usually sees only the 8 ohm dining room speakers, but when I switch on the deck speakers the B channel will see 4 ohms. However if I understand what is said in your discussion and others’ comments, when both A and B are switched on the amp is seeing a 4 ohm load for Living +Dining, or 2.7 ohms for Living + (Dining + Deck). This probably has a lot to do with the Akai failure and the occasional hot electronics smell.

    The manual for the Sherwood states that speakers should be 8 ohm for A or B use, but should be not less than 16 ohm speakers for A + B use.

    I considered using one of the speaker selector switches you listed in your table, and the Radio Shack seemed a good choice based the Sherwood limits and my possible speaker configuration. They are still available on eBay and based on the impedance chart I could wire the speakers up and use them in a way that would meet the Sherwood’s requirements.

    But I had another thought: I could wire up and switch the Dining/Deck speakers in a switchable parallel/series configuration that would provide 8 ohms if only the Dining room is on and 16 ohms if both Dining and Deck are on. (The Dining Room is always on when the Deck speakers are used.) Then if Living Room (8 ohm) is on A and Dining/Deck (16 ohm) is on B, the amp will see 5.3 ohm. (I think this is basically the same scheme that the Radio Shack switch provides.) If channel A is off then the amp will see 8 ohm for Dining only and 16 ohm for Dining/Deck.

    Do you think this will work?

    Thanks,
    John

    • Hi John,

      Your reasoning appears correct. The radio shack switcher would need to be placed at the amp and the outside and dining speakers would need to cabled back to the switch.

      Your idea of basically having a series/parallel switch for the outside/deck speakers would probably be easier with existing cabling.

      The other issue I just thought of is if you run the outside/dining speakers in series, and still use the volume controls, then each volume control will adjust both sets of speakers when they are connected in series.

      So I guess it comes down to how loud you are going to run things. If you are not going to run at full volume 5.3 ohms is not too bad (and a lot better than the 2.7 ohms you currently have). However if you have at least one volume control turned down at tad, then the impedance to that speaker is effectively increased, meaning you could run the three in parallel (as you currently do).

      Perhaps the safer way would be to swap your Lpad volume control for a couple of impedance matching volume controls, and you could then run all the speakers in parallel with no problems.

      hope this helps

      Geoff

      • Geoff,
        Thanks for your reply. I think if I wire the two L-pads in series on channel B, that will show 16 ohms to the amplifier and allow independent volume control of the dining room and deck speakers, correct?

        The on/off switch for the deck speakers can then be on the output side of that volume control and should not affect the impedance when the speakers are off (will still show as 16 ohms to the amp across the L-pads in series.) If the living room speakers on channel A are on and the amp is running A+B the impedance will show as 5.3..

        The only down-side I see in this configuration is that the B channel will always be driving 16 ohms even if only the dining room speakers are on. Should not be a problem since those speakers are usually running at a low volume.

        What do you think?

        John

  18. Geoff,

    I’m planning on setting up speakers in multiple rooms, probably 6 zones. I will be using a Rotel power amp rated at 550W, with a Rotel preamp/controller. I’m assuming this is plenty of power, right? And would you recommend an impedance matching selector? Can you recommend mid-range selectors? My speakers will not be particularly high end.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Stephen,

      550 watts should be more than enough for most listening levels, and probably way above what your speakers can handle.

      Indeed the issue you will have if you think you need anywhere near that amount of power is the power capacity of a speaker selector switch. The cheaper ones mostly have a series resistor is may be rated as much as 50 watts, or less. The better ones with transformer impedance matching can cope with up to 100 watts.

      Having said that, if this is for a domestic install, you wont need anywhere near that much power.

      I don’t like to recommended individual products as each person has different ideas of budget, quality and performance. I also haven’t been able to test many of them to give an experienced first hand recommendation. However, any of the transformer type are normally better in quality and performance than the resistor type – any charge accordingly. A number of readers have commented favorably on the Niles, and the ones I’ve seen are well made – but they are certainly not the cheapest.

      hope this helps some

      Geoff

  19. Hello Geoff, thank you posting this data. I wish I would have seen this prior to my purchase. I bought the Yis TC8. On Amazon it stated it could handle 4-8 ohm speakers 100 watts per channel. I don’t plan to run in A+B, just A or B. Speakers are 2 Infinity m612 4 ohm and 2 Polk MM651um 3 ohm. My amp is Rockford Fosgate M400-D. Amazon states the switch can handle 4-8 ohm speakers, but the manual it came with says not to use speakers less than 8 ohm. Is it still safe to use since I will not be running in A+B?

    • Hi Tony,
      It should be fine. Your amp, as with most auto/marine amps, is good down to 2 ohms. So running the 4 ohm or the 3 ohm speakers will be fine. Ironically, according to the blurb about the switch on Amazon, it puts both speakers in series, giving a total impedance of 7 ohms, which would also be fine if you did happen to use A + B.

      hope this helps
      Geoff

  20. Hello Geoff – I have an Integra DTR 7.8 receiver rated at 130 watts per channel. Would I be able to connect the Pyle PSPVC4 speaker selector to my system? It says it rated for 100 watts max. I am having a heck of a time finding a speaker selector that can handle 130 watts. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • Hi Randy,
      I have a couple of comments to add to your thinking:

      Keep in mind that your amplifier is only going to produce 135 watts at maximum power levels. It is likely you will never run your amp at full power. Therefore a speaker selector switch with a rating of 100 watts may suffix.

      Regarding the Pyle PSPVC4 selector – I don’t understand the Pyle manual. On one page it says it can cope with up to 100 watt RMS, then on another page it says 50 watts max RMS. It is also not clear how they deal with impedance matching.

      The Niles SSVC-4 Speaker Selector is rated at 100 watts RMS. Niles makes solid equipment and I would trust their ratings. They also have selectable impedance matching.

      The 600W 4-ZONE Stereo Speaker Selector Switch Switcher with Volume Control is rated at 200 watts, but I don’t know much about them, but a number of readers have bought them.

      Since I last updated the tables above, one reader bought the 4- Room Dla Speaker Selector and he reckons it is much better than the Niles which he previously had. It is much smarter than other switches and has a price tag to match. It is rated at 125 watts RMS.

      Hopes this helps with your deliberations

      Geoff

      • Thank you Geoff. This clears everything up for me. I think I’ll get the Niles.

        Again, thank you for your help. Very much appreciated!

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