We mentioned in our previous post that a 2-channel amp should only handle up to 4 speakers. However, did you know that it can power 6 speakers at the same time?
Yes, you heard right! Six speakers, one amp, and an extraordinary sound experience that transcends expectations. But, only if you do it carefully.
Improper configuration can cause your entire sound system to blow up in a blink!
So, tune in as we show you how to connect 6 speakers to a 2 channel amp. Let’s get started.
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Ways to Connect 6 Speakers to a 2 Channel Amp
As we have said, you can connect 6 speakers to a 2-channel amp to upgrade your surround sound system. To be successful, you have to be very mindful of these crucial matters:
1. Equal Load Distribution
Before any configuration, note that you must balance the load between the two amp channels. Moreover, the amp should be capable of supporting the speakers’ load.
In our experience, standard speakers are 25 to 100 watts. If (for example) 4 of your speakers have 50 watts and 2 have 100 watts, then you have 4*50 + 2*100 = 400 watts in total.
Hence, each channel must bear a 200-watt load, and you need to divide the speakers accordingly.
Here’s a schematic wiring diagram to help you visualize the situation.
Every amp model handles distinct loads. Always check the user’s manual and validate if this setup is doable for your amp model.
2. Choosing the Best Wiring Method
Series and parallel wiring are two ways to connect multiple speakers to a 2-channel amp. Choosing the best method will depend on the speaker and amp’s impedance or minimum ohm rating.
Consider the tips below:
- You can use series wiring if the impedance sum of two left speakers is within the holding capacity of the amplifier.
- For parallel wiring, multiply the impedance value of your left speakers. Then, divide the product by the combined impedance of both speakers. The result should fall within the limit range of the amp.
Disclaimer: Don’t attempt to connect the speakers if the impedance is beyond the amp’s limits. The amp can’t handle the load and will incur damage.
3. Steps for Each Method
Generally, the parallel and series configurations, or a combination of both, can be used to wire a 2-channel amp to 6 speakers. Learn more below:
- Parallel wiring
In this setup:
- Connect the positive terminal of the amp to the positive terminal of the first speaker.
- Link the positive terminal of the first speaker to the same terminal (+) on the second speaker. Then connect the second speaker to the third speaker following the same method. Do this until you’re finished with all devices.
- For the negative terminals, link the amp and the first speaker, then wire the first speaker to the second speaker and so on (negative to negative).
Parallel wiring is typical and straightforward. This video shows you how to do this layout correctly.
- Series wiring
This is a process of connecting multiple speakers where the positive (+) and negative (-) output wires from the amp feed to the same leads on the speakers (positive to positive, negative to negative).
These easy steps can help you do series wiring:
- Attach the amp’s positive lead to the positive terminal of the first left speaker. Here, the amp’s negative lead feeds to the negative terminal of the third speaker.
- Now, connect the negative wire of the first speaker to the positive terminal of the second speaker.
- Afterward, link the second speaker to the third speaker (negative to positive).
- Keep doing these steps until all six speakers on both channels are connected. We’re assuming you have three speakers per channel here.
For reference, we suggest watching this instructional video.
- Parallel/series wiring
In some cases, combining parallel and series wiring is applicable. Here, you connect two or more speakers in a series. Then, you link these series groups in parallel to the amp.
Understanding how to connect 6 speakers to a 2 channel amp can seem daunting. This is especially true if you have difficulty balancing the load. However, with proper wiring techniques, it’s entirely possible and efficient.
Irrespective of your preferred wiring method, always navigate back to the device guidebook to ensure compatibility, electrical safety, and optimum system performance. Your ultimate goal is to obtain the most impressive audio output while maintaining equipment safety.
Sam Stephenson is a writer who grew up in Washington, North Carolina. He was 2010 and 2015 ASCAP Deems Taylor / Virgil Thomson Prize winner and a 2019-2020 Guggenheim Fellow in General Nonfiction. His books have been published by W.W. Norton, Alfred A. Knopf, and Farrar, Straus and Giroux