How to Pair Speakers With an Amplifier

It would be an understatement to say there are many different varieties of speakers and amplifiers on the market today. Finding speakers that pair well with a particular amplifier can be a challenge. Here are some tips on how to pair speakers with an amplifier.

Choose Speakers First
When you’re shopping for a new sound system, making your decision based on the amplifier can limit your choices and ultimately restrict you from experiencing the kind of audio you would expect from your system. By choosing a set of speakers that sound the best to you, you will have a much better idea of what to look for in an amplifier.

Fit the System to the Space Where It Will Be Used
When considering speakers and amplifiers, take time to consider where you plan to use them. Are you providing audio for a large venue, or a home office? Do you really need the kind of equipment capable of shaking the walls of a bowling hall in a space barely large enough for your furniture?

How to Pair Speakers With an AmplifierMatch the Specifications
Pairing speakers to your amplifier is best when your amplifier is rated to handle your speakers. Using speakers that are rated at different ohms than your amplifier can cause unnecessary draw on your amplifier and shorten its life span considerably. For example, if you plug a six ohm speaker into an eight ohm amplifier, the speaker will draw more power from the amplifier than it is built to handle. As a result, your amplifier can overheat and the likelihood of failure increases dramatically.

Also, you’re going to want to make sure that your amplifier has all the connections necessary for your speakers to function. Mismatched connectors, splitters, and other components can impact how your amplifier delivers power and sound to your speakers, which can also cause technical issues down the road.

Try to Match the Brands Whenever Possible
Just because you have equipment from two well-known brands doesn’t mean that they are built to operate the same way. Purchasing an off-brand speaker to replace one that failed in a matched set doesn’t always guarantee consistent sound. Speakers from different manufacturers sound different, no matter how similar the specifications make them out to be. An odd speaker can throw off the sound and conflict with how the amplifier operates.

It’s also a good idea to take a close look at amplifiers that have the same brand as the speakers to which you want to pair them. While you may very well find a better combination elsewhere, the speakers and amplifier are tested together during development and manufacturing, so you should have a consistent sound throughout the product line.

What are your tips for finding a good set of speakers and pairing them with the perfect amplifier? Is there a specific combination that has worked for you? Comments welcome.

5 comments On How to Pair Speakers With an Amplifier

  • The discussion, while correct as far as it goes, is a bit simplistic.

    For example: While a 4 ohm speaker may well overload an amplifier rated to drive no less than 8 ohms, there will be no problem whatever attaching an 8 ohm speaker to an amplifier rated to drive 2 ohms. You might have explained that the smaller the ohm number of the speaker, the more difficult a load it is on the amplifier, and you need an amp rated to be able to drive that number of ohms or less.

    Amplifier power output is another factor to consider. 10 watts are probably enough to power computer desktop speakers if you are not an avid gamer. If you are filling a large home theater with Star Wars type movies, you will probably want 500 or more watts not counting the requirement of the subwoofer. Why not get a 500 watt amplifier for your computer speakers? Because if you inadvertently turn it up too high, your speakers will be toast.

    Otherwise, the specific amplifier you choose will not appreciably change the quality of the sound you get. If the amplifier has enough power, and does not go into overload, they all sound pretty much the same as has been proven hundreds of times in properly controlled scientific listening tests.

  • The discussion, while correct as far as it goes, is a bit simplistic.

    For example: While a 4 ohm speaker may well overload an amplifier rated to drive no less than 8 ohms, there will be no problem whatever attaching an 8 ohm speaker to an amplifier rated to drive 2 ohms. You might have explained that the smaller the ohm number of the speaker, the more difficult a load it is on the amplifier, and you need an amp rated to be able to drive that number of ohms or less.

    Amplifier power output is another factor to consider. 10 watts are probably enough to power computer desktop speakers if you are not an avid gamer. If you are filling a large home theater with Star Wars type movies, you will probably want 500 or more watts not counting the requirement of the subwoofer. Why not get a 500 watt amplifier for your computer speakers? Because if you inadvertently turn it up too high, your speakers will be toast.

    Otherwise, the specific amplifier you choose will not appreciably change the quality of the sound you get. If the amplifier has enough power, and does not go into overload, they all sound pretty much the same as has been proven hundreds of times in properly controlled scientific listening tests.

  • The discussion, while correct as far as it goes, is a bit simplistic.

    For example: While a 4 ohm speaker may well overload an amplifier rated to drive no less than 8 ohms, there will be no problem whatever attaching an 8 ohm speaker to an amplifier rated to drive 2 ohms. You might have explained that the smaller the ohm number of the speaker, the more difficult a load it is on the amplifier, and you need an amp rated to be able to drive that number of ohms or less.

    Amplifier power output is another factor to consider. 10 watts are probably enough to power computer desktop speakers if you are not an avid gamer. If you are filling a large home theater with Star Wars type movies, you will probably want 500 or more watts not counting the requirement of the subwoofer. Why not get a 500 watt amplifier for your computer speakers? Because if you inadvertently turn it up too high, your speakers will be toast.

    Otherwise, the specific amplifier you choose will not appreciably change the quality of the sound you get. If the amplifier has enough power, and does not go into overload, they all sound pretty much the same as has been proven hundreds of times in properly controlled scientific listening tests.

  • Good examples above…Any amplifier is rated at optimum ohms and minimal ohms (speaker configuration plays a huge part in this also). The speakers do not draw power. They provide the load or simply the resistance to the power given. Say you have an amp capable of making 500 watts at 8 ohms but is also 2 ohm stable (means you can place speakers on it as low as 2 ohms) you can possibly gain a bunch more power from the amps capable output (2 ohms from a stable amp may produce up to 4 X the output of a 500 watt 8 ohm output) so you could possible get a 2 ohm speaker (they do not sell many of these you must configure them yourself but a 4ohm is sold by many name brands) and the same amp that puts out 500 watts at 8 ohm will now produce 2000 aat 2 ohms. YOU MUST make sure that the amp you are usuing is able to do this if not it will burn up (not shorten its life BURN UP) better amps are able to handle smaller loads…not all amps are created equal NO.

  • Good examples above…Any amplifier is rated at optimum ohms and minimal ohms (speaker configuration plays a huge part in this also). The speakers do not draw power. They provide the load or simply the resistance to the power given. Say you have an amp capable of making 500 watts at 8 ohms but is also 2 ohm stable (means you can place speakers on it as low as 2 ohms) you can possibly gain a bunch more power from the amps capable output (2 ohms from a stable amp may produce up to 4 X the output of a 500 watt 8 ohm output) so you could possible get a 2 ohm speaker (they do not sell many of these you must configure them yourself but a 4ohm is sold by many name brands) and the same amp that puts out 500 watts at 8 ohm will now produce 2000 aat 2 ohms. YOU MUST make sure that the amp you are usuing is able to do this if not it will burn up (not shorten its life BURN UP) better amps are able to handle smaller loads…not all amps are created equal NO.

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