When you hook multiple speakers up in the same place, it can be tough to figure out how to connect them and get the best sound quality. Are speakers louder in series or parallel, will get you thinking about how they should be secured? So that you can create the best possible setup for your home theater system or another setup? You need to know about hooking up speakers in series or parallel.
Before we get into the detail, know that the quality of the speakers and their compatibility also plays a vital role in the audio output that you provide. You can not expect a speaker like Sonix Bluetooth speaker to create a huge audio output no matter in what manner you are connecting them in.
Thus, to help you figure out everything you need to know about speakers and are speakers louder in series or parallel, we are writing this guide. So, without further ado, let’s get started. The things that you need to consider, while connecting your speakers are as follows.
Understanding Speaker Impedance
Before comparing speakers in series versus speakers in parallel, we need to understand speaker impedance. Impedance is a measurement of electrical resistance and is analogous to what it sounds like how much something impedes your progress if you’re trying to get somewhere.
The higher an object’s impedance, the harder it is for electricity to get through it. You can measure speaker impedance in ohms (Ω). A speaker with a low impedance will have lower power requirements than one with a high impedance.
Speaker output wattage and speaker impedance are not directly related. However, speakers with different impedances can produce similar amounts of power output.
To simplify, let’s say that speakers contain two components: drivers (woofers, tweeters) and passive crossovers (which connect drivers to amplifiers). We won’t worry about passive crossovers here; because they don’t affect speaker volume output.
They change how sound waves from different drivers interact with each other as they travel toward our ears. Speakers with passive crossovers should be wired in parallel, meaning all speakers share a standard positive and negative connection.
You should wire speakers without passive crossovers in series. Speaker 1 has its positive terminal connected to speaker 2’s negative terminal, and speaker 2 has its positive terminal connected to speaker 3’s negative terminal.
Now that we know how you should do the wire the speakers, let’s look at their volumes when wired in either configuration. In theory, when speakers are wired in parallel (where all positive terminals are connected), their volumes should add together.
Conversely, when you wire speakers in series (where all negative terminals are connected), their volumes should subtract from one another.
Understanding Speaker Resistance
A speaker is an electromechanical device that converts electrical signals into sound. The electrical signal entering a speaker causes its diaphragm to vibrate, moving air and producing sound waves. Speakers come in many different shapes and sizes.
However, you can classify most speakers by their resistance to electrical current. You can categorize all speakers as either low-impedance (4 ohms), which means they draw more power from your amplifier, or high-impedance (8 ohms), which is less demanding on your amplifier.
Most speakers are high-impedance because it is easier to build more significant drivers with high impedance. Speaker size also affects speaker impedance the bigger a speaker is, the lower its impedance.
This relationship isn’t linear; for example, you can’t assume that you halve its impedance if you double a speaker’s size. To complicate things further, speakers aren’t necessarily consistent within themselves.
They could have one part of their structure at 4 ohms and another part at 8 ohms. For example, passive crossovers often have a coil of wire attached to them that lowers their overall impedance.
It’s important to note that when we talk about speakers being in series or parallel, we’re talking about how speakers are connected. If two speakers were connected in series, both speakers were directly connected. And therefore, there would only be one path for electricity to flow through.
If you connect two speakers in parallel, both speakers were directly related, but there would be two paths for electricity to flow through.
Understanding Speaker Sensitivity
What’s the difference between speakers rated 8 ohms, 4 ohms, and 2 ohms? What do these ratings mean, and how does it affect your audio system? The first two numbers on a speaker’s rating are its impedance and how much electrical resistance it has to an alternating current (AC).
Speakers with lower impedance are more efficient and need less power than those with higher impedance. For example, it’ll work just fine if you’re hooking up a pair of 8-ohm speakers to an amplifier rated at 100 watts per channel.
But try to connect a pair of 4-ohm speakers instead, and you might blow out your amp. You can measure the speaker sensitivity in decibels per watt (dB/W), which indicates how loud a speaker will be for every watt of input power.
A speaker with a sensitivity rating of 87 dB/W will be about as loud as one rated 90 dB/W when both receive 1 watt from an amp. Most speakers have sensitivities between 80 dB/W and 92 dB/W, so they’ll get loud when given enough juice.
But what happens when we connect speakers in series vs. parallel? When you wire the speakers in series, each speaker adds to the total impedance of our speaker system.
If we were three 8-ohm speakers together in series, our total impedance rises to 24 ohms. This can cause problems because most amplifiers don’t like dealing with impedances over 4 or 6 ohms, and most won’t even start working until there’s at least a 2-ohm load connected.
On top of that, many amplifiers’ maximum output voltage decreases significantly as load impedance increases; some amps may not produce total volume when driving loads above 3 or 4 ohms. In short: wiring speakers in series can cause problems by making them harder to drive and reducing their maximum output capability.
The Math Behind Higher Amp Requirements
There are two primary ways to connect multiple speakers: series and parallel. In theory, either way, it should provide roughly double your current speaker’s power output. But does doubling your amp power at 4 ohms also mean you get a 4x increase at 8 ohms?
In short, yes as long as you’re connecting identical speakers and not just speakers with a similar wattage rating. But if they’re not precisely equal (which they never are), you’ll likely experience more than double your current speaker’s sound pressure level.
Let’s look at some math behind series vs parallel speakers connections to figure out how much more. We’ll assume we’re using four speakers rated at 100 watts each, and we want to know how loud they’ll be when connected in series versus when connected in parallel.
We’ll assume all of our speakers have an impedance of 8 ohms to keep things simple. If we wire them in series, each speaker will see half of its original voltage. So that means 50 volts for one speaker and 25 volts for each of the other three speakers. Because there are four speakers, that gives us a total voltage of 100 volts.
Since there’s twice as much voltage present compared to our single speaker example above, it stands to reason that there should be twice as much sound pressure level, too, right?
Well, not quite! As it turns out, increasing speaker impedance by 16 times doesn’t make that big of a difference in SPL because it only increases by about 1/3rd!
Series Vs Parallel Wiring Speakers
Both speaker configuration setups offer their own set of pros and cons. These include 6×9s, 5.25-inch woofers, tweeters, etc. You’ll have to decide which is suitable for you, but here are a few factors to consider:
Constructions of most car speakers are as individual units meaning they operate independently from one another. When placing multiple speakers in a single enclosure (like a door or dash), they’re typically wired up so that each one operates as an independent speaker (parallel).
However, if you’re installing two more prominent speakers side by side (like two 10-inch subwoofers), you may want to wire them together like you would with your stereo components at home.
Some other factors that you will notice when comparing the speakers in series or parallel are that in parallel you will get the best audio quality from most speakers but that also depends on how the individual speaker performs.
However, in the series connection, you will find it easy to set up and it is an affordable option to connect multiple speakers without breaking a sweat. But if you are considering about are speakers louder in series or parallel then the answer is parallel.
Wiring speakers in series sound quality will reduce; you will get lower volume from your speakers which is not ideal if you are looking for an audio blast. But keep in mind it is not always possible to connect the speakers in parallel due to the Ohms load and because it is more complicated to add extra speakers in the connection.
What You Should Know About Your Car Amplifier?
While the different speaker’s shapes affect the sound quality a lot there are other features as well that play their part. The one thing most people want to know about car amplifiers is, Will it make my speakers louder? The short answer is yes, and an amplifier can make your speakers significantly louder. The longer answer is that you much install an amplifier, so you don’t get distorted.
Some people install a new amp and then turn it up to full blast only to find that their speakers sound worse than before. If you install an amplifier, we recommend that you have it professionally installed by someone who knows what he’s doing.
It’s worth noting that there are many different types of car amplifiers, and each type requires a different installation procedure. For example, some amps require bridging, which means connecting two positive terminals and two negative terminals.
Other amps require bi-amping, which means splitting your speakers into high-frequency (tweeter) and low-frequency (woofer) components. Installing each element on its channel of amplification, and then bridging both channels together at one point for maximum efficiency.
Even though speakers are different, a simple calculation can help determine which way is better between parallel vs series speakers. The critical variable is impedance. You’ll want to make sure that all of your speakers have an impedance rating as possible.
So, if you have two 8-ohm speakers, you’ll want at least one 4-ohm speaker. Otherwise, your total impedance will be too high, and your overall volume will drop substantially. Because speakers naturally tend to amplify sound, they will produce more loudness when attached serially rather than in parallel.
Thus, learn more about both kinds of connections before trying one out. So that you can get the best experience without working too much on connecting the devices.