How to Prevent Overloading Your Audio Amplifier When Connecting Multiple Speakers

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Some people sometimes connect several loudspeakers to a single output of an audio amplifier. However, this practice can lead to damage of the amplifier. Let’s assume that the speakers are connected in parallel. In that case the impedance seen by the amplifier output is only a fraction of the impedance of every single speaker. Let’s assume for example that you are connecting to speakers each having an impedance of 4 ohms. In this case, the impedance that the amplifier sees is actually half that impedance which is 2 ohms. However, not all amplifiers are able to sustain 2 ohms for an extended amount of time. Over time there may be some thermal damage which can in the end irreparably damage the amplifier.

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Instead, I would consider the following arrangement. Use for speakers and connect to speakers in series each and then those two branches are connected in parallel. In that case each branch will have an impedance of twice the speaker impedance which would be 8 ohms in this example. The total impedance of the two branches connected in parallel thus would be 4 ohms which would be identical to the impedance of the signal speaker. Therefore, this arrangement should work fine. However, keep in mind that the wattage that is output by each speaker in this case will only be one fourth of the wattage that is output if a single speaker was connected to the amplifier. However, this is the ideal scenario. In practice, because of small differences in speaker impedance, the sound will not be distributed equally amongst the four speakers. In fact, certain frequencies will be distributed amongst certain speakers while other frequency components will be distributed amongst other speakers. This can in fact distort the sound to some degree. Therefore, the best practice still remains to purchase a dedicated amplifier for each speaker.

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Alternatively, you can get a multichannel amplifier and connect each speaker to its own output.

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