If your stereo has 6 speakers but you only have a 4 channel amp, don’t worry. You can wire the 4 channel amp to 6 speakers. How do you do that?
Wiring a 4 channel amp to 6 speakers is possible in both series or parallel. However, it is not recommended. The best practice is to get a 6 amp channel in order to connect 6 speakers.
Find a great 6 channel amp to connect to those speakers here.
Even though wiring a 4 channel amp to 6 speakers isn’t impossible, it’s not the best idea. It could potentially damage your speakers. Safety should be the primary concern when working on anything with electricity within the home. It is recommended to always get a professional to do any work with electricity.
Can you hook 6 speakers to 4 channel amp?
You can wire a 4 channel amp to 6 speakers in many ways, but keep in mind that wiring a 4 channel amp to 6 speakers is not a good practice.
The best thing to do would be to buy a 6 amp channel or connect 4 speakers with a 4 channel amp.
How do speakers work?
Before we get into wiring a 4 channel amp to 6 speakers, here is something about speakers in general, and how they work.
Every speaker consists of the cone and the dust cap which move the air and produce the sound, the spider and the surround which hold the cone in place while still allowing them to move, the magnet and the voice coil which are the parts that interact to convert electric energy into motion, the basket, the pole and top plate, and the frame that mounts everything together.
Speakers convert electrical energy into mechanical energy. The mechanical energy then compresses air and converts the motion into sound energy or sound pressure level.
Magnet fields are induced when an electric current is sent through a coil of wire.
A current is sent through the voice coil in speakers, which then produces an electric field that interacts with the magnetic field of the permanent magnet attached to the speaker.
The same charges repel each other and different charges attract. While the audio signal is sent through the voice coil the musical waveform moves up and down, and the voice coil is drawn and repelled by the permanent magnet.
This causes the cone that the voice coil is attached to move back and forth. The back and forth motion produces pressure waves in the air that we recognize as sound.
The best test of how good your speaker is is how similar the waveform in the air, which is the pressure wave, is to the electronic signal, which is the sound recording, that was sent into the amplifier.
If every frequency is reproduced to the listener precisely without adding or removing any information it’s probably an excellent speaker.
Frequency response in stereos is very important. It is how loud the output of a speaker will be at different frequencies.
You would typically test for frequency response by sending out a sweep of frequencies from the bass to the mids, and up to the treble range to see if the sound from the speaker is the same in all these areas.
The best frequency response for a speaker is very flat, which means that the speaker would be at the same level at low frequency as it is in the mids or high frequencies.
Most speakers are not flat. Some speakers do not have enough treble or enough bass. They have peaks or drops in their frequency response where certain frequency ranges are overly stressed or hidden.
This may cause some instruments to be louder or softer than you wanted them to be.
Speakers have to move very quickly for high frequencies. For low frequencies, speakers have to push a lot of air. This is why tweeters, which are high-frequency drivers, are usually small domes, and woofers, which are low-frequency drivers, are regularly large cones.
It is a lot to ask for a speaker to reproduce a wide range of octaves that we hear accurately and it often takes 9 drivers to produce this wide range well.
A lot of speakers have limited frequency responses. For example, you can’t really hear the bass kick on your laptop speakers.
Most speakers nowadays have lower output power. Speakers on your phone can’t produce very loud music.
Many speakers produce distortions, which means that they add frequencies to the music that were not there in the original recording. Speaker distortion usually sounds bad.
On average, larger speakers are much better when it comes to their frequency response and distortion but there is still room for improvement. A big improvement for them would be to be able to produce better, more accurate sound from smaller speakers.
How to wire a 4 channel amp to 6 speakers?
You can connect 6 speakers to 4 channel amp in series or parallel. Both of these ways have some advantages and disadvantages.
Wiring in series is safer for your stereo, but unfortunately, it cannot give you an excellent experience of listening to music.
Wiring in series
If you decide to wire 2 speakers of 4-ohm in series, it puts a load of 8 ohms on the head unit.
If we do it this way, 2 speakers will be connected in series on 1 channel. That means that 4 speakers will be connected on 2 channels and the remaining two on the remaining two channels. Therefore 6 speakers are wired with 4 channel amp.
The advantage of wiring in series is that your amplifier will be safe. You are able to try this method in a safe way without changing any equipment. In case you do not like it, you can change it easily without extra expenses.
The disadvantage of wiring in series is that power is reduced, and the audio quality is not very good.
Wiring in parallel
If you wire 2 speakers of 4-ohm in parallel, it will result in a 2-ohm load on your head unit. As you are going to connect 2 speakers on 1 channel, you will have to connect 4 speakers on 2 channels.
Now your 4 speakers are connected on 2 channels and the remaining 2 can be connected on the remaining 2 channels. Now 6 speakers are connected on 4 channels.
2 speakers connected on 2 channels are great for the health of your amp. However, 4 speakers wired with 2 channels will put a continuous load of 2 ohms on 2 channels if they are working at full volume.
2 channels will cause your stereo to be hot because of the double load. Keep in mind that this is the case when you listen at a high volume for a long period of time. If you know that you are not going to play music at a very high volume, you don’t have to worry because it will not make your stereo hot. In the case you listen at high volume for a very short time, it is still safe.
If your stereo is constantly getting hot, it will slowly but surely break. To prevent your stereo from breaking, make sure you listen at a normal volume, or if you have to listen to something on high volume, do it for a short period of time.
The advantage of wiring 6 speakers to 4 channels in parallel is that the quality of sound will be good.
The disadvantage is that you cannot listen at full volume for a long time. It will make your stereo hot which destroys it. It is less safe for your stereo than wiring in series.
Whether you choose to wire your stereo in parallel or series, you are going to connect 4 speakers in 2 channels. But which two speakers to wire in a single channel?
Let’s say that 6 speakers are installed in your car in such a way that 2 are on the dashboard, 2 on the rear, and two on the sides. If that is the case, you can wire 2 rear speakers with 1 channel and 2 side speakers with the other 1 channel. The remaining 2 speakers are wired each in a single channel.
You can always change the setup.
Consult An Electrician
An article such as this cannot cover all eventualities and codes that apply in all countries and all local municipalities.
For this reason, as well as for the safety of you, your family, and your home, it is best to consult with a local electrician before any type of electrical work.
When electricity is concerned, a little bit of knowledge can be deadly, and it is not worth taking the risk simply to save a little money. Any type of electrical work should never be considered a DIY job with little basic knowledge of electrical work. It is recommended to always get a professional to do any work with electricity.