In summary, 6-speaker sound systems work best when connected to a 6-channel amp, but you can do it with a 4-channel one if you’re looking to save a buck or want to work with hardware that you already have on hand. However, it’s worth noting that this isn’t a recommended practice and may lead to adverse effects on your entire sound system.
That being said, let’s take a closer look at how we can connect a 4-channel amp to a 6-speaker setup and the pros and cons of utilizing the different wiring methods.
What Is an Amplifier?
As its name suggests, an amp’s function is to improve your sound system by amplifying the weaker signals in your audio input, resulting in a clearer and more powerful listening experience.
4-channel amps like the one I’ll be talking about in this guide are sometimes called stereo amplifiers and are generally built to handle 2 individual speakers, 2 speakers along with a couple of subwoofers, or 4 speakers in total.
But with a little bit of tweaking, they can go over their recommended level of output and accommodate a 6-speaker system as well.
How to Hook Up a 4-Channel Amp to a 6-Speaker System?
There are two ways to connect a 4-channel amp to 6 speakers - either through parallel connections or serial ones. No matter which method you decide on, 2 of your channels will end up handling 4 speakers, while the remaining two channels accommodate one speaker each.
To achieve a parallel connection, you’ll have to connect all of the positive wires of your speakers, and the same goes for all of the negative ones. In short, all the pluses go together, and so do the minuses. This goes on until all your speakers are connected with one another, which in this case is six speakers in total.
The parallel method is often considered the more preferred of the two because this kind of connection fundamentally works. With this type of wiring, your audio system can continue functioning even if any of the speakers were to fail.
The audio performance will also be significantly better if wired using a parallel connection. However, it’s worth mentioning that the uneven power distribution resulting from certain channels handling two speakers at a time will end up generating more heat overall. This can lead to faster degradation of your speakers or amp, especially if they are cheaper models made with lower-quality materials.
While the amount of extra heat generated isn’t too much of an issue if the volume of your sound system is kept to reasonable levels, it becomes a serious concern if you enjoy blaring your music at high volumes for extended periods of time.
Connecting your speakers via series involves linking each of them after the other in a sort of line, with the positive wire of one speaker connecting to the negative wire of the next until all speakers are linked. The main advantage of this kind of wiring is that the power is evenly distributed. There’s no additional heat created, meaning your audio system will likely last a lot longer.
On the flip side, the audio performance in a series connection takes a fairly noticeable downgrade in terms of sound quality. Because of how the wiring works, if one speaker fails, the entire sound system goes down along with it, which can definitely be a hassle.
No matter which wiring method you end up choosing, each of them has clear advantages and disadvantages that you will have to take into account.
At the end of the day, using a 6-channel amp remains the best way to get the most out of your 6-speaker system since you won’t be saddled with drawbacks like your entire sound system going down when you lose an individual speaker or your equipment heating up whenever you want to listen to music on full blast. But if you’re dead-set on connecting your 6 speakers to a 4-channel, it certainly can be done.
How to run 6 speakers off a 4 channel amp? ›
There are two ways to connect a 4-channel amp to 6 speakers - either through parallel connections or serial ones. No matter which method you decide on, 2 of your channels will end up handling 4 speakers, while the remaining two channels accommodate one speaker each.How many speakers can I connect to a 4 channel amplifier? ›
Most external amplifiers can power more than one speaker per channel. For example, a 4-channel amplifier may be able to power up to 8 speakers. In fact, if you wire it correctly, you will be able to pull up to twice as much power out of the amp.How do I connect 6 speakers to a 4 channel stereo? ›
Wiring Series – 4 Channel Amp To 6 Speakers
You will have 2 speakers in series connecting on 1 channel. Now, 4 speakers are connected on 2 channels, and you can connect the remaining two speakers on the remaining two channels. That means you have connected 6 speakers on a 4 channel amplifier.
You can connect 6 speakers to 4 channel amp either in series or parallel.What does bridging a 4-channel amp do? ›
Bridging amplifier channels combines a stereo pair of channels into a single mono output channel. Bridging is often used to provide more power to large full range speakers in a two channel system or home theater, or to power larger passive in room/in wall subwoofer speakers.How do you bridge a 4-channel amp to speakers? ›
Four channels in, two channels out
For the outputs, connect the amp's front right negative output terminal to the left speaker's negative terminal, and the amp's front left positive terminal to the left speaker's positive terminal (well, these connection are made to the crossover box, actually).
Summary of Connecting 2 speakers
There are only really two ways to connect 2 speakers to one amplifier – either in parallel or series. If each speaker has an impedance of 8 ohms or more, then you can generally connect them in parallel. If each speaker has an impedance below 8 ohms, you should wire them in series.
What happens if you connect too many speakers on one amplifier? Impedance matching goes away and you risk overloading the final amp stage causing damage.How many speakers can my amp handle? ›
Most amplifiers can cope with a load of two speakers. Similar to a passenger on a small motor bike: add another passenger and the load the bike needs to carry is doubled, but most bikes will cope with two passengers. However adding more than two speakers will normally overload the amplifier.Do you need 2 RCA cables for a 4-channel amp? ›
For a 4-channel amp, you will only need two RCA cables, each for each side's channel.
How many speakers can run off a 6 channel amp? ›
* Amplifier must have bridging capability. 6+ Channel Amp Scenarios: 6 Speakers - Front Left, Front Right, Rear Left, Rear Right and 2 Tweeters.How do I match speakers and amplifiers? ›
The second rule of thumb of this matching amplifier to speakers guide: Match your speaker's ohms to the ohms that your amplifier can handle. Now, amplifiers are generally designed to work with 4, 8, and 16-ohms speakers. But it is very important to know exactly what your amplifier can handle.Can speakers be too powerful for amp? ›
Should Speaker Wattage Be Higher Than Amp Wattage? No, It is always recommended to use approximately twice as much amplifier power as the speaker's power rating. More watts may provide more bass, but only if the amplifier you're currently using is insufficiently strong for the speakers you're using.What does bridging an amp mean? ›
Primarily a live sound term, “bridging” is a means to configure a 2-channel amplifier to drive a single loudspeaker with more power than the two original channels. For example, a 100-watts-per-channel amp may output a single channel of 300 watts after bridging.Does bridging an amp make it louder? ›
To an extent, yes. Just like the other answer, the job of an amp is really just to increase the volume, that is, amplify the signal. Mostly, it will not really change the quality of the sound, only the quantity. However.What's the best way to hook up a 4 channel amp? ›
- What Do You Need. ...
- Disconnect the Negative Battery Terminal. ...
- Find a Suitable Place to Mount the Amplifier. ...
- Connect Ground Cable. ...
- Connect Power Cable. ...
- Mount the fuse holder close to the battery for easy access. ...
- Connect Remote Turn-On Wire and RCA cables on stereo.
A four-channel amp works to power: Four speakers; Two speakers and a subwoofer—you can use a four-channel amp to power a subwoofer and two rear full-range speakers by bridging two of the channels to power the sub.Is it better to bridge an amp? ›
Bridging a stereo amp can approximately double the output power of your amp-speaker rig. Bridging has its utility, specially in the pro audio world, depending on the deployment of your audio hardware in a given location.Can you double bridge a 4 channel amp? ›
You will need a 4 channel amp to run 2 speakers in bridged mode. Typically the speakers will be hooked to the positive side of one channel and the negative side of another thus bridging the channels, but this is not always the case. Look for the diagram near the speaker connects to see how yours is bridged.Is it better to wire speakers in series or parallel? ›
Speakers are always louder when wired in parallel. Series wiring leads to more impedance and thus less voltage per speaker which translates to less volume per speaker. A parallel circuit reduces the resistance and impedance on each speaker and equates to more volume.
Can you run multiple speaker wires together? ›
The easiest method is to use a wire nut to clamp two wires together, but the most durable method is to solder them. Just avoid simply taping wires together, as this can be risky. If you're interested in adding some extra length to your setup, splicing is a great choice.What happens when you connect 2 speakers in parallel? ›
Parallel - When wiring in parallel, the resistance of the speakers decreases. Two 8 Ohm speakers wired (hooked up) in Parallel results in a 4 Ohm load. It's easy to calculate the effect of a resistive load when all the speakers are all the same resistance.Should amplifier be more powerful than speakers? ›
As a very vague rule of thumb, we normally recommend around twice as much amplifier power as speaker's power rating. For example, if a speaker is rated at 200 watts, we'd use a 400 watt amp. Again, the idea is to have enough clean power to handle whatever you throw at the amp without clipping.What happens if your amp is underpowered for speakers? ›
If you don't have a powerful enough amplifier to reach the volume levels you want, you can damage the speakers by feeding them too much high-frequency energy by driving the amplifier into clipping. It's the extra power in these harmonics that damages speakers.Does a more powerful amp make speakers sound better? ›
Yes, it's true that the higher the power (watts), the louder and cleaner the speakers will play. Small differences in power, however, don't make much of an audible change. In order to perceptively hear a difference (a 3dB increase), the power would have to double.What happens if speaker impedance is too high? ›
On the other hand, if speaker impedance is too high, an amplifier's power may not drive the speaker at all (although this speaker should still work fine with other amplifiers). This situation occurs when your speaker requires an 8-ohm impedance, but you connect it to a 4-ohm rated amplifier.How far can a speaker be from an amplifier? ›
Note2: Avoid Speaker Cable runs more than 50 feet. Best Performance can be achieved by moving the amplifiers closer to the speakers. For example, 18 gauge wire connected to an 8 Ohms speaker should not exceed more than 32 feet in length from amp/receiver to speaker.Can you have too big of an amplifier? ›
In my opinion, there is no such thing as an amplifier that's “too big”; only big amplifiers turned up too far. On the other hand, amplifiers can easily be too small – and deliver unwanted and potentially disastrous results.What happens when you wire speakers in series? ›
Wiring in series increases the impedance. This is calculated by multiplying the number of speakers by their impedance.Why would you wire speakers in series? ›
Wiring speakers in series increases the total speaker impedance (Ohms) load, decreasing how much electrical current (amps) can pass through. So the amp or stereo's power output will be lower. Series speakers receive a part of the power delivered and won't be driven as much as the parallel speakers.
How many speakers can I daisy chain together? ›
An important note: In most cases, it's not advisable to daisy chain more than two pairs of speakers to a single output. Doing so could end up damaging the equipment.Do you need to ground RCA cables on an amp? ›
The short answer is no. RCA cables are already balanced and grounded by nature of their design. The three-wire cable includes two signal wires and one ground wire, all of which are sheathed in a cylindrical shield that is also grounded.Is RCA to amp input or output? ›
Your amplifier gets its input signals from the receiver's output typically via RCA cables. RCA cables come in stereo pairs, in various lengths. When running new speaker wires from your amplifier's output to the speakers, any size wire from 18- to 14-gauge will work fine.Do tweeters need an amp? ›
Tweeters Don't Need Much Power. In our article on speaker power ratings, we looked at how the energy required to play different frequency ranges in music follows the shape of pink noise. That is to say, reproducing midrange frequencies requires less power from an amplifier than bass frequencies.Do you need an amplifier for each speaker? ›
Every stereo system requires an amplifier – it's what breathes life into the loudspeakers. Even the smallest loudspeakers have an amplification module somewhere in their structure, only it's usually integrated so well that it can't be seen.What does RMS stand for? ›
RMS stands for Root Mean Square and TRMS (True RMS) for True Root Mean Square. The TRMS instruments are much more accurate than the RMS when measuring AC current.What is a good RMS for speakers? ›
|# of Speakers||Each Speaker Rating (RMS)||Recommended Amplifier Power (RMS)|
|1||100 watts||30-100 watts|
|2||100 watts||60-200 watts|
|3||100 watts||90-300 watts|
|4||100 watts||120-400 watts|
If you're looking for an amp to perform live with, you should consider a larger amp (12-15”) that is 50 watts. If you're planning to play in large venues, you can go for a higher power amp that's at least 100 watts.Is it better to Underpower or overpower a speaker? ›
Overpowering will likely kill a speaker faster. Underpowering can be safer if you are very careful and do not crank it up to the point of clipping ... Similarly: Underpowering will likely kill a speaker faster. Overpowering can be safer if you are very careful and do not crank it up beyond what the speaker can handle.How many watts is best for speakers? ›
If you like loud uncompressed music and your speakers are 90dB efficient, 200 Watts is likely plenty of power for you. If you only listen to light classical, jazz and don't expect them to rock the house, 50 Watts is adequate. Higher efficiency speakers, like horns, take very few Watts.
What are the symptoms of underpowered speakers? ›
The sound will be distorted and dynamically depressed. The sound will distort on louder transients such as a dynamic drum solo. If the amplifier is driven into clipping on loud transients, you may even hear a "snapping" sound.How do I connect 6 speakers to my amp? ›
There are two ways to connect a 4-channel amp to 6 speakers - either through parallel connections or serial ones. No matter which method you decide on, 2 of your channels will end up handling 4 speakers, while the remaining two channels accommodate one speaker each.How many speakers can a 4 channel amp power? ›
You can wire up 6 speakers to 4 channel amp either in series or parallel. These two have their advantages, and that's up to your choice. If you have 4-ohm speakers that audio buffs purchase mostly.Does it matter which wire is positive and negative for speakers? ›
Good news is, with speakers it doesn't really matter which one you choose as your positive and which as your negative, just so long as you are consistent. Ultimately, what you want is for the wire that connects to the red terminal on your Amp or Receiver to connect to the red terminal on your speaker.How do I run multiple speakers off one amp? ›
There are only really two ways to connect 2 speakers to one amplifier – either in parallel or series. If each speaker has an impedance of 8 ohms or more, then you can generally connect them in parallel. If each speaker has an impedance below 8 ohms, you should wire them in series.Can you run 4 speakers and a sub off a 4 channel amp? ›
A four-channel amp works to power: Four speakers; Two speakers and a subwoofer—you can use a four-channel amp to power a subwoofer and two rear full-range speakers by bridging two of the channels to power the sub.
The two main ways on how to connect 6 speakers to a 2-channel amp are through either in series or parallel connection. What way you choose should depend on the kind of speakers and amps you have. You should put into consideration their impedance levels and limits.Are speakers louder in series or parallel? ›
Speakers are always louder when wired in parallel. Series wiring leads to more impedance and thus less voltage per speaker which translates to less volume per speaker. A parallel circuit reduces the resistance and impedance on each speaker and equates to more volume.How many speakers can you run off of one amp? ›
Most amplifiers can cope with a load of two speakers. Similar to a passenger on a small motor bike: add another passenger and the load the bike needs to carry is doubled, but most bikes will cope with two passengers. However adding more than two speakers will normally overload the amplifier.How many powered speakers can I daisy chain? ›
An important note: In most cases, it's not advisable to daisy chain more than two pairs of speakers to a single output. Doing so could end up damaging the equipment.
How do I know if my amp is monoblock? ›
A monoblock amplifier is a single unit (“block”) responsible for amplifying a single channel (“mono”). They are larger, heavier and more expensive per channel. A stereo amp usually internally contains two independent mono amps in one chassis, usually they also share a common power supply.Do I need 2 RCA cables for 4-channel amp? ›
For a 4-channel amp, you will only need two RCA cables, each for each side's channel.Can you hook up 4-channel amp to stock radio? ›
Usually, you'll be installing a 4-channel amplifier with speaker-level inputs. The best way to connect it to a factory system is to tap into the stereo's speaker outputs for the amp's input signal. Then send the amp's outputs back to the stereo's harness, and on to the speakers through the factory wiring.