When you’re setting up your home audio system, one of the most important decisions you have to make is whether to connect your speakers in series or parallel. Both configurations have their own benefits and drawbacks, so which one is right for you?
In this article, we’ll break down the pros and cons of each setup so that you can make an informed decision. Let’s get started!
Are Speakers Louder In Series or Parallel?
Speakers are louder in parallel connection. When you wire speakers in series, the speaker’s resistance (as measured in ohms) is additive – i.e. putting two 8 ohm speakers in Series results in a 16-ohm load.
When wiring in parallel, the resistance of the speaker decreases. So, two 8-ohm speakers in parallel would result in a 4-ohm load. This is why parallel wiring is often recommended – it allows more current to flow to the speaker, which will also result in louder bass.
In a series connection, the signal flows from one speaker to the next, sequentially. This is the traditional way to connect speakers, and it’s still used in many audio systems today. Series connections are typically used when you want to create a higher-power system. By connecting the speakers in series, you can increase the overall power output. However, this also means that the speakers will be less efficient, and you’ll lose some of the sound quality.
In a parallel connection, the signal flows between all the speakers at once. This is the newer configuration, and it offers several advantages over series connections. First, parallel connections are more efficient, so you’ll get more sound quality for your money. Second, they’re easier to set up and configure. And finally, parallel connections are more tolerant of impedance mismatches, which can be a problem with series connections.
Series and Parallel Connection In Speakers with Example
You probably already know in series connection, the impedance increased. If you have two speakers and each has an 8-ohm impedance in the series connection, you’ll get 8+8=16 ohm impedance, and the more impedance means more power you need to drive. On the other hand, in a parallel connection, the impedance decreased.
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If you have two speakers and each speaker has an 8-ohm impedance, it means that the impedance will be less than 4 ohms in parallel.
If you do not know how to calculate speaker impedance in parallel, it’s pretty easy. There are plenty of formulas and techniques available, and here is the simplest way to calculate impedance in parallel speakers.
If you have two speakers with 8 ohms.
Ztot = 1/(1/8 + 1/8) => 1/(2/8) => 1/0.25 => 4ohm.
If you have four speakers with 8 ohm
ztot = 1/(⅛ +⅛ + ⅛ + ⅛) => 1/(4/8) => 1/0.5 => 2ohm.
As you can know, in the series connection, the impedance will be increased, and in parallel connection, the impedance decreased.
But the next question you might be confused about is identifying the series and parallel speakers through wiring.
Here are the pictures that show the series and parallel connection.
Disadvantages of Connecting In Series
There are a few things that need to be mentioned about the series connection for speakers.
1. High impedance
One of the main drawbacks of the series connection is high impedance. If you have 4 speakers and each speaker has a 4-ohm impedance, when you connect them with one source/amp, the impedance will be over 4+4+4+4=16.
To drive a high impedance, you need more power. It also made the speakers quieter and required more power from an amp.
2. Required high voltage
High impedance requires more power, which means high voltages are necessary to develop power.
For example, if you have 4 speakers with each 8-ohm impedance and connect them in series, the impedance will be 32-ohm impedance, and for 32-ohm impedance, around 400 volts RMS is required, which is high for any amplifier.
3. If One Speaker fails or Coils open, all others will stop working
As mentioned above, high impedance required high voltages, and speaking of the earlier example, 32-ohm impedance required around 400volts RMS, which is high for any amplifier.
And if one coil or speaker opens or fails, all others will stop working. You need to find out the problem that needs to be fixed, and then it will start working again.
These three are the major drawbacks of a series connection.
Disadvantages of a Parallel Speaker Connection
Compared to the series speaker connection, parallel has very few disadvantages. The parallel’s impedance is way lower than the series, with no need for high voltage, and if one speaker fails or coils open, others will work without any problem.
But make sure the amplifier works fine with the required impedance and power; otherwise, it can damage the devices. Parallel also makes the speakers louder, and overall parallel speakers are more effective and recommended.
The only drawback of the parallel connection is its complexity. Other than that, there is no issue. If you can understand it well, it’s great but compared to the series; it required more knowledge and effort.
Is it better to wire speakers in series or parallel?
The parallel is the better option to wire speakers because it requires low power, has low impedance, and if one of your speakers fails or coils open, others will work without any issue. However, the parallel wiring of speakers is more complex than series wiring.
What hits harder 1ohm or 4ohm?
The thing is very simple: a speaker with less electric resistance or low impedance produces a loud sound than a speaker with high impedance or more electric resistance.
This means a 1-ohm impedance speaker produces a louder sound than a 4-ohm impedance because the 1-ohm impedance speaker has low impedance and less electric resistance.
Ultimately, it is up to you to decide whether to connect your speakers in series or parallel. Each connection has its own benefits and drawbacks, so it is important to understand them before making a decision.
In general parallel connection is better for most cases and in parallel, the speaker will be louder. Because the impedance is halved and hence the power drawn by the speakers is doubled.