Can you use 4-ohm and 8-ohm Speakers Together?Can you use 4-ohm and 8-ohm Speakers Together?
The world of high-fidelity audio has more to do with electronics than superb sound output. The sound output is just the end result of all the electronic components working together.
Setting up our dream audio setup means using different speakers. You may want your theater system to have lower-power mids with high-power lows, so you get 4-ohm mid speakers and an 8-ohm bass. Unfortunately, your receiver has outputs for 8 ohms; what can you do now?
The answer to this question is yes - you can run 4-ohm and 8-ohm speakers together. However, you must be careful how you connect these speakers to your receiver, and there are some risks involved with it.
How To Run 4-Ohm And 8-ohm Speakers Together?
So as I’ve said in the intro, you can run speakers with different impedance. However, you need a receiver that can handle it, and you must be careful how you connect the speakers.
If you have an 8-ohm speaker, a 4-ohm speaker, and a receiver/amplifier rated at 12 ohms, then you need to connect the speakers in series. This means that only the lead speaker is connected to the amp while the other speaker is connected to the lead speaker. This way, you’re getting a total impedance of 12 ohms.
You will have to be careful with volume. The impedance is not constant and varies depending on the frequency. Some speakers can have significant drops in impedance when outputting sound. If the impedance drops significantly, you risk blowing out your amplifier.
The best way to connect mismatching speakers is to get a receiver or amplifier with 4-ohm and 8-ohm outputs. This way, you can connect the speakers to their respective outputs without any issues.
Whatever you do, don’t try to connect the speakers in parallel. If you connect a 4-ohm and an 8-ohm speaker in parallel, they’ll have an impedance of only 2.67 ohms. This impedance is so low that it will probably blow out your amp.
So far, I’ve been talking about impedance like it’s something you should be well versed in. If you’re still new to the world of Hi-Fi audio, this section will bring you up to speed.
Impedance limits the flow of electricity in an electrical circuit, similar to resistance. The impedance varies depending on the audio frequency, but the resistance remains the same.
The voice coil on your drive and other parts of the speaker shape the impedance, so the impedance value is actually measured as an average over all the audio frequencies a drive can reproduce.
One critical thing you need to remember about impedance is matching. If there is a mismatch between the speakers and the amplifier, you can damage your amp at worst and have poor sound quality at best.
While your audio setup can work with mismatched speakers and amp, you will run into problems if you turn up the volume since that will require the amp to output more power. Any energy that isn’t spent on driving the speakers will turn into heat energy and will cause your amplifier to overheat and short circuit.
Does Impedance Affect Audio Quality?
Impedance alone doesn’t affect the audio quality. There are other specifications you also need to look out for, such as frequency response and wattage. At the end of the day, what it all boils down to is for what purpose you’re going to use the speakers.
If you’re building a home theater setup, 4-ohm speakers will do more than fine. They won’t be the loudest thing out there, but you’ll be able to hear all the intricacies of the movie soundscape.
On the other hand, if you’re an aspiring DJ looking to blow the roof, getting a set of 8-ohm speakers is an excellent idea. The higher the impedance, the more powerful the speakers.
Why Matching Impedance Is Important?
If you mismatch your speakers and amp, the first thing you’ll notice is distorted and poor audio quality. What’s more, if you connect high-impedance speakers to a low-power amp, the speakers will be barely able to work, and you’ll overheat the amp.
If you don’t match the amplifier with your speakers, you won’t be able to get that peak audio quality you’re looking for.
So, before buying a set of new speakers, look at the specifications and note down the impedance. Before buying them, see if your amp can handle the speakers.
Let’s sum up everything we’ve learned so far.
So you can connect 8-ohm and 4-ohm speakers to the same receiver. However, you need a powerful amp, and you need to connect the speakers in series so the impedance matches the amp’s output.
Even with this, the best way to ensure nothing bad happens to your audio setup you must buy an amp that has separate outputs.
About the author:
I grew up to be a self-proclaimed stuck-up audiophile, and I – partially – blame Pinnacle Speakers for it.
The whole point of me starting this website was to keep the tradition going. Although the means have changed, the mission remains the same: Bringing „sterling sound“ as they once put it into home theaters and sound systems worldwide!