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Parallel VS Series Speakers: Which is Better?


If you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering whether series or parallel speaker wiring is better.

Going from website to website, trying to figure things out, can be a real pain. You’re also probably wondering how it affects power, sound, and the speaker.

The worst part is that it can become complicated, but luckily for you, we’ve got you covered on everything you need to know. Examine it out.

 

Parallel VS Series Speakers
Parallel VS Series Speakers

How does a Speaker Work?

Let us now connect the speakers to the amplifier. It is entirely up to you whether you want two speakers, four speakers, or multiple speakers.

The amplifier sends alternating positive and negative electric signals to the speakers. This is in the form of a musical waveform. The electric current flows through the voice coil, which is housed within the speaker. It begins on the positive side and progresses to the negative side.

 

This generates a magnetic field that alternately moves towards and away from the coil as the electric charge changes from positive to negative. To begin, the magnetic field has the same charge as the magnet. This causes the field to move away from the magnet, causing the speaker cone to move forward, pushing the air and producing sound.

It is important to remember that the speaker operates on alternating current (AC) (alternating current). This means that the electric signal will reach its apex before continuing downward and reversing direction. As the electric signal decreases, the magnetic field weakens, allowing the speaker cone to return to its original position.

The zero voltage point is known as zero crossovers, and it is where the speaker cone returns to its original position. The electric signal is now reversed in direction by changing its polarity from positive to negative. This shifts the current in the voice coil’s direction (it goes from the negative side to the positive).

The magnetic field is now charged in the opposite direction, attracting the magnet. The cone moves once more, but this time from front to back (in the reverse direction). The speaker cone will then return to its original position as the sine wave on the negative side weakens.

The speaker cone’s front-original-back-original movement occurs thousands of times per second to produce sound audible to human ears.

Series Wiring

When wiring two or more voice coils, connect the first voice coil’s positive connector to the positive amplifier. The connection for the negative voice coil will be the same as the connection for the positive voice coil. If you connect two voice coils in series, the negative connection on the second voice coil will link to the amplifier’s negative connector. If you have more than two voice coils, repeat the operation by connecting the negative voice coil connections to the positive voice coil connections of the next speaker, and so on.

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When you wire voice coils in series, all you have to do is add the resistance of the voice coils to obtain an indication of the impedance at the amplifier. The coils do not have to be the same impedance, but they will effect the amount of power delivered by the amplifier to each speaker. We do not advocate combining the impedances of speakers connected to the same terminals in a car audio system.

Parallel Wiring

Parallel wiring is significantly easier to understand than serial wiring. Then connect all positive voice coil connections to the amplifier’s positive terminal and all negative voice coil connections to the amplifier’s negative terminal.

If all coils have the same impedance, calculating the final impedance is simple. Divide the impedance of the voice coils by the number of voice coils. The formula, however, only works if all of the voice coils have the same impedance.

Which is better series or parallel Speaker Wiring?

Here are the key differences between series and parallel speaker wiring:

  1. For the best results and sound, speakers should almost always be wired in parallel.
  2. Certain types of speakers can be used in series without degrading sound quality in a few cases (or other disadvantages).
  3. Before connecting speakers in parallel, make sure you pay attention to the minimum Ohms rating of your stereo or amplifier.

The main thing to remember is that there are a number of reasons why you shouldn’t use most speakers in series – all of which I’ll go over in greater detail as we go.

Parallel VS. Series Speaker Sound Quality

When it comes to sound quality, parallel speakers maintain their sound quality, whereas series connected speakers can have a bad or “odd” sound.

This is because speaker crossovers are used in the design of many coaxial speakers, as well as 2-way or 3-way speaker cabinets or car speaker systems. Speaker crossovers are used to prevent unwanted sound frequencies from reaching speakers that aren’t designed to handle them.

Tweeters, for example, cannot handle low bass or midrange because it causes terrible distortion and even damage. Woofers and midrange speakers, on the other hand, do not produce treble (high frequencies) well and produce a poor sound. Crossovers, when combined, produce a better-sounding speaker system that extracts the most performance from them.

What effect does series resistance have on crossovers?

Crossovers (electrical components known as capacitors and inductors) block sound based on the resistance of the speaker load in Ohms. When the speaker load is changed, a phenomenon known as crossover shift occurs.

This means that the crossover frequency shifts dramatically, allowing unwanted sound to pass through to a speaker or speakers. Knowing this explains why series-connected speakers can produce poor sound: you’re connecting more speaker load (Ohms) than is necessary.

It also adds extra capacitance and inductance in series and parallel, which can cause some strange issues that I won’t go into here. This will have an effect on the sound as well.

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Are Speakers Louder In Parallel Or Series?

To answer this question, parallel speakers are generally louder than series speakers for the reasons listed below:

Wiring speakers in series raises the total impedance (Ohms) load, limiting the amount of electrical current (amps) that can pass through. As a result, the power output of the amplifier or stereo will be reduced.

Series speakers receive a portion of the delivered power and will not be driven as much as parallel speakers.

It’s important to note that this is a typical situation when using amplified or stereo speakers. It is different when lower impedance speakers are used on purpose to keep the total speaker load low.

To answer this question, parallel speakers are generally louder than series speakers for the reasons listed below:

Wiring speakers in series raises the total impedance (Ohms) load, limiting the amount of electrical current (amps) that can pass through. As a result, the power output of the amplifier or stereo will be reduced.

Series speakers receive a portion of the delivered power and will not be driven as much as parallel speakers.

It’s important to note that this is a typical situation when using amplified or stereo speakers. It is different when lower impedance speakers are used on purpose to keep the total speaker load low.

To answer this question, parallel speakers are generally louder than series speakers for the reasons listed below:

  • Wiring speakers in series raises the total impedance (Ohms) load, limiting the amount of electrical current (amps) that can pass through. As a result, the power output of the amplifier or stereo will be reduced.
  • Series speakers receive a portion of the delivered power and will not be driven as much as parallel speakers.

It’s important to note that this is a typical situation when using amplified or stereo speakers. It is different when lower impedance speakers are used on purpose to keep the total speaker load low.

Wiring Speakers in parallel vs series – pros and cons

There are a few advantages and disadvantages that I’ll describe for you here, because while parallel speakers are often the best option, series speakers have advantages as well.

Parallel Speaker

PROS

  1. Best for maximum power and volume
  2. Best sound quality for most speakers
  3. If one fails, others will still have sound

CONS

  • Not always possible due to the Ohms load
  • Harder to add extra speakers (min. Ohms required)
  • May require more amp channels etc.

Series Speaker

PROS

  • Higher series speaker Ohms safe for stereos & amps
  • Easy to hook up
  • Cheap, simple solution for ceiling speakers, speaker arrays, etc.

CONS

  • Lower power & volume
  • Bad sound quality for 2-way or similar speakers
  • Lose sound to all speakers with a single failure point
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A Combination of Two Speaker- One Series and One Parallel

A series-parallel wiring combination is simply two sets of speakers with series wiring connected to the amplifier via parallel wiring. The primary rationale for using combination wiring is to appropriately disperse the load and resistance throughout the speaker network. However, you must ensure that the configuration is proper. You should calculate the loads to ensure that the wiring does not significantly reduce the resistance.

Look to the example below to learn how to wire a combo speaker. We’ll connect four 8-ohm speakers in series/parallel wiring to match the amplifier’s 8-ohm load. Speakers A, B, C, and D should be arranged in two lines (A, B in the first and C, D in the second).

  • The positive of A is linked to the positive of C.
  • The inverse of A is connected to the inverse of B.
  • The inverse of B is connected to the inverse of D.
  • The positive of D is linked to the negative of C.

The positive side of the amplifier is connected to the positives of A and C, while the negative side is connected to the negatives of B and D.

The left and right speakers are connected in parallel to the amplifier. The top speakers, like the bottom speakers, are wired in series. This speaker wiring configuration produces an 8-ohm output impedance.

Using a series or parallel connection box, you can match the output impedance. However, a little mismatch is beneficial to the sound quality. This occurs when more than one speaker cabinet is required. If you have 8 ohm and 16 ohm speaker cabinets, you can securely connect them to 4 ohm and 8 ohm amplifiers. It indicates that the speaker impedance can be twice as high as the amplifier ohm.

Conclusion

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

Is it better to have series or parallel speakers?

Parallel speakers are generally louder than series speakers. Because connecting speakers in series raises the total impedance (Ohms) load, limiting the amount of electrical current (amps) that can flow. This means that the power output of the amplifier or stereo will be reduced.

What exactly is the distinction between parallel and series speakers?

Series – When you wire (connect) speakers in series, the resistance (measured in ohms) of the speakers is additive – for example, connecting two 8 ohm speaker in Series results in a 16-ohm load. Parallel – When speakers are wired in parallel, their resistance decreases.

Is 8 ohms more powerful than 16 ohms?

A 16 ohm speaker can handle more power and can be louder. Nope. If both are using matched speakers, an 8 ohm amp at 50 watts and a 16 ohm amp at 50 watts will have roughly the same volume level. This is determined more by the output wattage and efficiency of the speakers.

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