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How to Choose an Amplifier for Speakers

how to choose an amplifier for speakers

Selecting the right amplifier for your speakers can be a bit tricky. But it would be best if you did proper research on your options before making a choice. The wrong choice may get you stuck with poor sound quality, or you could damage both the amplifier and the speakers.

This article will explain everything about speakers, amplifiers, impedance, power rating, and sensitivity. You will also learn how these parameters can help you choose a suitable amplifier for your speakers. We will also explain how to connect speakers in parallel or series to alter the impedance.

Now, before we dive into the details, here is a summary of the entire process:

The Matching Process

the matching process on choosing an amplifier for speakers
Photo by Nicolas Picard on Unsplash

To put it simply, all you need to do when selecting an amplifier for your speakers is to find one with suitable impedance and power ratings. Do not worry if you are unfamiliar with these technical terms, as they will be explained later.

For now, all you need to know are these two basic rules:

1.   Amplifier Power Rating Should Be Slightly Above That of the Speaker

amplifier power rating should be slightly above that of the speaker
Images from Unsplash

The power rating of your amplifier’s output channel should be between 1.2 and 2 times the power rating of your speaker. So, if you have a 50-watt speaker, you should go for an amplifier with a power rating somewhere between 60 watts and 100 watts.

The recommended gap gives your amplifier enough room to power your speakers to their full potential. But, too large of a gap means that the amplifier could feed the speakers with a too high signal. This will cause the speaker to produce a sound of terrible quality due to clipping (another technical term we will explain later).  Also, an amplifier could feed a speaker with a strong signal to damage it in some cases.

On the other hand, if the amplifier’s power rating is less than the speaker’s, the sound produced may be too low. This is also an undesirable outcome.

So, before you go shopping for an amplifier, take note of your speaker’s power rating. This parameter is usually stated in Watts (W). And in most cases, you will find this information written somewhere at the back of your speaker. The amplifiers also have their power rating printed at the back of the appliance. It would typically be stated as X Watts or XW (where X is a number).

2.   Amplifier Impedance Should Be Equal To or a Bit Less Than That of the Speaker

Amplifiers usually have an impedance range instead of just a specific impedance rating. Therefore, when matching an amplifier to speakers, you should consider the lower range of amplifier impedance. For example, if your amplifier is for speakers with an impedance of between 4 ohms and 8 ohms, the number that concerns you is the lower range (4 ohms).

All you need to do is make sure you pick an amplifier whose impedance rating has a lower range, equal to or a bit less than that of the speaker. So, if your speaker has an impedance of 6 ohms, you will need to choose an amplifier with a lower range of 6 ohms or 4 ohms.

If you should do the opposite, like trying to power a 6-ohm speaker with a 16-ohm amplifier, make sure you have a fire extinguisher nearby. Okay, that was a joke (partly). But on a serious note, powering a speaker with an amplifier whose impedance rating is higher could fry the amplifier’s internal components.

On the other hand, if your amplifier impedance is far lower than the speaker’s, you could have a barely audible sound.

Like power ratings, the manufacturers print the impedance at the back of these appliances. If you cannot find this information on a device, you can check its manual. You can also search for the model number of the appliance on Google. This will give you links to web pages with all the technical information you need.

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What Do These Technical Terms Mean?

Now, just in case you are not familiar with some of the technical terms used, we will explain their meanings:

Power Rating

For most appliances, the power rating given by the manufacturers is an estimation of the rate at which the appliance consumes electric energy during normal operations. As we mentioned earlier, the unit for power rating is Watts (W). For the output channel of an amplifier, the power rating is the amount of electric power that the output channel can feed to the speakers.

An amplifier’s output channel connects and feeds sound signals to your speaker. It can have more than one output channel. And in most cases, all the output channels of an amplifier will have the same impedance and power rating.

Now, coming back to the term under consideration, an amplifier’s output channel will sometimes have two different power ratings printed on the back. Do not let this confuse you. These are the “continuous power” and “peak power” ratings.

The peak power rating is the highest level of electric power that the output channel can feed to a speaker momentarily. When choosing an amplifier, this is not the power rating you should be concerned with. The one you should take note of is the continuous power rating. That is the one we have been referring to since the start of this article. The level of electric power the amplifier’s output channel can comfortably feed to a speaker over an extended period.

For a speaker, the power rating is the level of electric power it takes to operate at its loudest without distorting the sound. And as we mentioned earlier, your amplifier should be capable of supplying power higher than the speaker’s power rating.

Impedance

balanced sound waves and impedance
Image by mtmmonline on Pixabay

Impedance measures the resistance to the flow of an alternating current (or signal). For this article, we are giving an oversimplified description of the term. The full details are way too technical, and there is no need to go into all of that. This property is measured in ohms, and every appliance has it. That is to say that every single appliance presents some level of resistance to the flow of electric signals.

However, the impedance printed at the back of an amplifier is not necessarily the impedance of the amplifier itself. Instead, it is the recommended impedance of speakers the amplifier can power. So, if you see “4 ohms” printed on the back of an amplifier, the manufacturers recommend using the amplifier with a 4-ohm speaker. And if you see a range of 8 ohms to 16 ohms, the manufacturers recommend you connect the amplifier to a speaker with an impedance of between 8 ohms and 16 ohms.

The impedance printed at the back (or in the manual) is the speaker’s actual impedance for a speaker. However, there is a slight complication. In reality, the impedance of a speaker varies according to the frequency of the signal it receives. Therefore, it does not remain constant while the speaker is in use. But the manufacturer’s impedance rating is a good approximation of the speaker’s average impedance level during regular operation.

Clipping

Clipping is the distortion when a signal has an amplitude (level) too high for an appliance. This distortion occurs as the appliance attempts to forcefully limit the amplitude by cutting off the excess (or clipping). For appliances like an amplifier and a speaker, the signal’s amplitude is proportional to the loudness of the sound produced. In other words, the higher the amplitude, the louder the sound.

For example, appliances like amplifiers and speakers are designed to handle signals below a certain level. Anything higher than that specific level will get clipped. This results in a distorted sound.

As we mentioned earlier, this happens when your amplifier’s power rating is many times higher than the speaker’s. As a result, the amplitude of the signals sent to the speaker would be too high. So, the speaker would clip the excess amplitude, resulting in a distorted sound.

Clipping could also occur when the power rating of your amplifier is considerably less than that of the speaker. In this case, the sound would be too low. But in a futile attempt to make it loud enough, most people would raise the volume settings too high. In this case, the amplifier does the clipping as the signal amplitude rises above the level it can handle.

Speaker Sensitivity

You would assume that the higher the speaker’s power rating, the louder the sound it produces. But this is not necessarily so. While the power rating does determine the loudness of a speaker to some extent, it is the sensitivity that counts. For example, a sensitive 10-watt speaker could be louder than a 20-watt speaker that is less sensitive. So, do not let the power ratings deceive you – it isn’t all that matters.

Conventionally, a speaker’s sensitivity is how loud (in decibels) a speaker can get when powered by 1 watt of electric power and observed from 1 meter away.

How to Match an Amplifier to Multiple Speakers

how to match an amplifier to multiple speakers
Photo by Thomas Litangen on Unsplash

If you have several speakers, you could connect more than one speaker to each channel of an amplifier. Doing this can alter the effective impedance of your speakers. The good thing is that this gives you more options when choosing an amplifier.

Here is an example to explain how this works:

Let us assume you have eight speakers. And each one of them has an impedance of 8 ohms with a power rating of 16 watts. If you know how to connect these speakers correctly, you will have more options when choosing an amplifier.

Using the previous method, you would need to go for an 8-ohm amplifier with a 20 to 32 watts power rating. You can also creatively connect the speakers in parallel or series in either a 2-ohm, a 4-ohm, or even a 16-ohm amplifier instead. The amplifier only needs to have a power rating higher than the sum of the power ratings of all connected speakers.

Now, let us explain how this can be done. But before we proceed, be warned that this involves some mathematical calculations. If you hate equations and calculations, you may want to stop right here. Also, connecting multiple speakers to a single amplifier output channel must be done with extreme care. If you find the following details confusing, do not try this. This should only be attempted by someone who knows what they are doing. If you do not get it right, you could end up permanently damaging your appliances.

But if you can get it right, it allows you to use just about any amplifier with your speakers. It expands your list of options.

So, this is how it is done:

If you want to use an amplifier with a considerably less impedance rating than your speakers, you connect the speakers in parallel. Doing this reduces the effective impedance of the speakers as a whole. This brings the impedance down to the level that matches the amplifier.

On the other hand, if you want to use an amplifier with an impedance rating that is too high for your speakers, you connect the speakers in series. This increases the effective impedance of the speakers so they can match that of the amplifier.

Next, we will explain what it means to connect speakers in parallel or series. And we will show you how this reduces or increases the effective impedance. We will also show you how to calculate the impedance of a group of speakers connected in series or parallel.

Connecting Speakers in Series

connecting speakers in series
Photo by Vaido on Unsplash

When you connect speakers (or any component) in series, you increase the impedance. The resultant impedance is simply the sum of the impedances of all the individual speakers. For example, if you connect one 6-ohm and two 4-ohm speakers in series, these speakers will have an impedance of (6 + 4 + 4) ohms. That is 14 ohms.

To connect a group of speakers in series, you line them up and link them in a chain-like formation. For example, if you want to connect speakers A, B, and C in series, you connect the amplifier output’s positive terminal to A’s positive terminal. Then, you link the negative terminal of A to the positive terminal of B. Similarly, you also link the negative terminal of B to the positive terminal of C. Finally, you link the negative terminal of C, the last speaker in this chain formation, back to the negative terminal of the amplifier. So, the amplifier output’s two terminals are connected to the first and last speaker in the chain while the speakers link up with each other.

Remember, you should do this when you want to increase the impedance to match the amplifier. Also, the total power rating of these speakers would be the sum of the power ratings of the individual speakers.

Finally, if you want to connect speakers in series, it is recommended that they all have similar impedances. For example, do not link a 16-ohm and a 2-ohm speaker in series. If you do, you will likely damage the one with the higher impedance.

Connecting Speakers in Parallel

Now, this is where it gets complicated. When you connect speakers in parallel, the inverse of the resultant impedance is equal to the sum of the inverses of their impedances.

For example, three speakers are linked in parallel, and their impedances are represented by the letters X, Y, and Z. Also, the resultant impedance is represented by the letter R.

Then, 1/R = 1/X + 1/Y + 1/Z

There is no need to dive deeper into this equation. However, it would be best to remember that the resultant impedance (R) is always smaller than all the individual impedances when connected in parallel.

Also, if speakers with the same impedance, X, are connected in parallel, the resultant impedance is X divided by the number of speakers. For example, if you connect four 8-ohm speakers in parallel, the impedance is 8 ohms / 4 = 2 ohms.

And just like speakers connected in series, the power rating of speakers connected in parallel is also the sum of the individual power ratings. So, you only need to select an amplifier with a power rating high enough to carry all the speakers.

As we stated earlier, you connect speakers to an amplifier in parallel when you want to reduce the impedance of the speakers to match that of the amplifier.

To connect speakers to an amplifier output channel in parallel, the positive terminal of the output must be linked directly to the positive terminal of all the speakers. At the same time, the negative terminal is also connected directly to the negative terminal of the speakers.

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Conclusion

In conclusion, you must adhere to all these recommendations when choosing an amplifier. Remember, if you get it wrong, you could damage both the amplifier and the speakers.

In this article, we have carefully explained two different ways one can go about selecting an amplifier. The first is finding an amplifier with a power rating and impedance that matches your speakers.

The second is to expand your options by mastering the art of connecting speakers in series or parallel. This would save you the trouble of having to search for an amplifier that strictly matches your speakers. Also, understanding the mathematical equations that govern series and parallel connections will help you calculate the exact impedance and power rating options that can work.

Some of the technical details here may be hard to understand. But if you can grasp them, you will enjoy the benefits. These benefits include superior sound quality and a longer life for your appliances.

How to Connect a Crossover to an Amplifier

how to connect a crossover to an amplifier

Many audio enthusiasts go the extra mile to ensure that they get the most out of their sound equipment. For them, the quality of sound should always be on a cinema-level of crispiness. In time, they’ve learned some tricks as to how to feed this niche. For example, they often add both a crossover and an amplifier to their setup.

On some occasions, even using two amplifiers at once is not taboo. The crossover sends high-frequency audio into one amplifier and low-frequency audio into the other. That process is otherwise known as bi-amping. For the pairing to work, the amplifiers will connect to different speakers or speaker component inputs. The tweeter, the part of a speaker that emits loud frequencies, will connect to one amplifier, and the second will connect to a woofer.

how to connect a crossover to an amplifier
Image by lujiang710 on Pixabay

Suppose you’ve just purchased your crossover system and intend to give it a chance for the first time. But before you can do so, you’ll need to learn how to connect the crossover to the amplifier. If done correctly, it can result in excellent audio quality.

Read on to get the details about amplifiers and crossovers. Also, take a look at some useful tips and tricks.

Understanding the Function of an Amplifier

understanding the function of an amplifier
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An amplifier is an electronic device that amplifies the low voltage signals from any source system to a high voltage signal. So, the original sound receives a boost and comes out much stronger. As a result, you can hear each cord clearly.

This process is a bit more nuanced than it seems, though. An amplifier’s function does not necessarily mean they make the sounds louder. It also brings out all the fine details in sound that you may not get if you are using a speaker by itself.

How It Works

The amplifier will be the connection between the crossover and the speaker in this context. The sound coming from the crossover goes into the amplifier. The amplifier, in turn, enhances the sound before sending it to the respective drive (tweeters, woofers, subwoofers) in the speaker.

Most amplifiers in the market have a built-in high-pass and low-pass filter, which the crossover system utilizes. However, these filters in the amplifier are often inaccurate; that’s why audio enthusiasts prefer a separate electronic crossover.

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Understanding the Function of a Crossover

understanding the function of a crossover
Photo by José Pinto on Unsplash

A crossover system is an essential component in this setup. It’s in charge of filtering the emitted sounds. Then, it ‘groups’ them up into different frequency ranges, such as high, mid, and low. Next, the crossover sends the output to an amplifier. Finally, this path ends up with the drivers or otherwise known as the speakers.

How It Works

This device takes input signals, filters them, and divides them into three outputs. These outputs are of various frequency bands – a high-range, mid-range, and low-range frequency.

The different bands then connect to the various drivers of your sound system. Among these are the tweeters, woofers, and subwoofers. The crossover ensures that each drive gets the exact frequency they are meant to play.

For clarity, we can illustrate this process in a more relatable way. Imagine the crossover as a ‘sound inspector’ whose only job is to direct the frequencies. The device will lead the high frequencies to the tweeters, mid frequencies to woofers, and low range frequencies to subwoofers for that task. So, it’s much like traffic police.

Needless to say, a crossover’s role may prove vital. Without it, our system would often put out an incoherent mess. Sounds would completely mix up and ruin the signal. For one, the low and mid-range frequencies would clash in the woofers. On the other hand, the tweeters would waste energy playing notes from the mid-range frequency. Also, many frequencies will simply get lost in the void. So, we owe a sincere “thank you” note to our tech gurus.

Connecting Crossovers to Amplifiers

In this section, we’ll get more technical about connecting your active crossover with the amplifier.

First of all, remember that green and yellow color markings represent ‘the earth’, the blue color markings indicate ‘neutral’, and brown color markings mean ‘life’. However, these are dependent on the brand of a particular crossover system. So, if your crossover and amplifiers are not from the same manufacturer, this may not apply. Hence, the colors on the amplifier may even not correspond to the color markings on your crossover.

But, this is not a cause for an alarm. For such cases, look for an ‘E’ symbol on one of the amplifier’s terminals. ‘E’ means ’earth’; thus, you’ll know it is compatible with the green and yellow colors on your crossover.

The color blue on your crossover means the same as the black terminal on the amplifier. Usually, you can spot them by the “N” symbol. Lastly, the brown wire of your crossovers pairs with the red terminal on the amplifier. Also, look for an “L” symbol.

Sometimes the alternative colors for the ‘life’ wires are red instead of brown. Similarly, the substitute color for the usually blue neutral wires is white. Then, for the ‘earth’ wires, you can find them in yellow or green color.

Precautions to Keep in Mind

You should never expose these devices to dripping or splashing fluids. So, on no account should you rest an object filled with liquid on top of the equipment. This precaution is crucial to prevent any accidents from occurring.

Also, use a dry material whenever it’s time to clean this electronic device from dirt or dust. Furthermore, do not place the equipment so that its vent openings get blocked. Always make sure that your equipment’s vent openings face toward an open space.

Also, never install the crossover equipment near any device that produces heat. Examples to avoid include radiators, stoves, or any other heat-generating device. Even putting it next to another such amplifier is a bad idea.

Lastly, keep an eye on the weather, too. If a lightning storm starts raging outside, be quick to detach the equipment from the power source.

How to Connect Crossover to an Amplifier Using Passive and Active Crossover Units

how to connect crossover to an amplifier using passive and active crossover units
Image by Oudom Pravat on Pixabay

You often see these audio combinations in home theaters, studios, during live acts, etc., but how does one set it up? Well, you could either work with a passive or active crossover. Your preference and budget are the main factors regarding that choice. Whatever your pick, though, we’ll explain both methods below.

Connecting With a Passive Crossover

Your crossover is placed and wired between the amplifier and the speaker for this setup. So, the first thing you want to do is unplug your speakers from any other power source. Next, connect your amplifier’s output using speaker wires or RCA connectors to your crossover’s input. You can do this by plugging the speaker wires, the +ve and -ve terminals of the amplifier, into the crossover inputs.

Remember the color codes mentioned earlier? Use red wires for +ve terminals and black for the -ve terminals. Then, tighten the terminals using a screwdriver or a hex key, depending on the amplifier and crossover unit.

Afterward, all that remains is to pair the crossover to your speaker. Start by connecting your speaker wires from the crossover output for woofers. Lastly, tweeters go to your speaker’s woofer and tweeter.

The following markings are dependent on the brand of the crossover unit you choose to use. However, the signs on the woofer are usually marked as “W+” and “W-”. For tweeters, look for the “T+” and “T-” signs.

In the end, test the connection by playing some tunes. If everything’s fine, then you should hear a significantly clearer sound. Otherwise, retrace your steps.

Pros of Passive Crossover

Passive crossovers are easy to set up since they require no power and ground connection. Also, they do not require any frequency setting. That’s because the passive crossover functions at a particular frequency for a specific speaker.

Cons of Passive crossover

That automatic frequency-finder can be a bad thing, too. It means that you can’t change it easily. In other words, for a different frequency, you’ll need a new crossover system. The passive crossover has a frequency for that speaker, and that’s it. Secondly, this crossover consumes a lot of energy and is vulnerable to noise.

Connecting With an Active Crossover

connecting with an active crossover
Photo by João Henrique on Unsplash

This crossover setup is between the receiver and the amplifier. As before, disconnect your speakers from their current power source at the start.

Since active crossover units are larger in size than passive ones, you’ll need to mount them properly. Find the perfect space that will allow you easy access. Optimally, you’ll be able to quickly make adjustments on the unit’s switch (or knob). However, do not mount your crossover directly on any metallic rack. Doing this will only negatively affect the audio quality.

Using the right cables, connect your crossover to your receiver. Next, the wires that come out of the receiver will need to go into the crossover’s input terminal.

Follow that by connecting the crossover to the amplifier. Connect each output of the crossover unit into its respective terminal in the amplifier.

If you choose not to work with a subwoofer, set your crossover to two-way mode. Once you accomplish that, send the high-frequency to the tweeter amplifier and low-frequency to the woofer. Check your user’s manual to apply the settings correctly if you are unsure.

If you are working with a subwoofer, there are several ways to connect it to your system. Whichever approach you take, make sure you set your crossover so that only the mid-frequency go into woofers. You do not want the low-frequency signals interfering there.

For a subwoofer without power, the first approach uses more cables to make the connection. Set the crossover to three-way mode if there’s a separate speaker component (woofer and tweeter). The two-way option is the way to go if you are just sending bass into the subwoofer.

The second approach is to connect the cable from the subwoofer’s output terminal of your receiver. Newer models of receivers have their crossover settings. Hence, there might be no need for an external crossover if you are using those. Also, some subwoofers have a built-in crossover and may not require you to get it at all. However, they will not provide you with the maximum sound quality as an external crossover would.

So, if crystal clear audio is a must to you, try another route. For example, combine your external crossover with a subwoofer with a built-in crossover. But you can’t use more than one crossover at a time. So, in this case, you will need to shut off the built-in crossover by turning it to its maximum rotation. That will effectively remove it from the circuit.

Pros of an Active Crossover

This crossover has knobs or switches for adjusting the frequencies. This property makes the crossover suitable for any speaker, unlike the passive crossover.

Also, with an active crossover, there is no need to stress over the strength of the amplifier. An active crossover processes the signal before it goes into the amplifier, thus doing much of the heavy lifting.

Cons of an Active Crossover

Setting the crossover to the right frequency can be difficult. It requires a good understanding and experience to know the right frequency to cross your speakers to. If you set your frequency to low, you stand a chance of damaging your tweeter. And if you put it too high, you’ll experience distortion from the mid-range frequencies.

However, there is a solution to this, which involves getting an active crossover with a digital sound processor (DSP).

Connecting Your Crossover to Power

Some amplifiers have a terminal for sending power to the crossover. Then, plug the crossover into a power outlet when setting up your home or studio equipment. For a vehicle, plug it into your car battery which will supply 12 volts to power up the crossover.

Once the crossover is in use, you can tune and test the system to see how the audio holds up. For that, turn everything down with the knob: both the crossover and amplifier gain to the end. Start testing by playing your favorite songs. Then, while the music is playing, slowly turn up your crossover’s input gain. Do this until you get comfortable with the sound coming from the speakers.

Set the crossover’s output until all frequencies find their place. After this, raise up the amplifier’s gain until right before the sound distorts. Continue readjusting your frequencies until you find the right combination.

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Connecting an Active Crossover With Two Amplifiers

connecting active crossover with two amplifiers
Image Michael A on Unsplash

When using two amplifiers for your connection, the system is called a bi-amp system. However, the setup is quite similar to the conventional method we’ve covered above. The crossover placement is between the sound source and the amplifier. Assuming that the sound source is a mixer, it creates the sound signal. Then the crossover separates the sound signals into different frequencies. These frequencies go to their respective amplifiers, which in turn go to the speakers or speaker components. In other words, the tweeter, woofers, and subwoofers.

Using your shielded connection cable, connect to the mixer’s primary output. Depending on your system, the output is either balanced (low impedance) or unbalanced (high impedance) and needs a quarter-inch or XLR connector.

Connect the other end of the shielded connection cable from the mixer’s output to the crossover’s input port. The second shielded cable connects the crossover’s output high-frequency terminal with the other end of the amplifier’s input. This connection will power the high-frequency horn speaker.

Next, use the third shielded cable for your crossover’s low-frequency terminal. Pair with the amplifier’s input. This powers up the low-frequency bass speaker.

Plug the first speaker cable into your high-frequency amplifier’s speaker output port. The other end of the speaker’s cable should go into the frequency horn input port.

Lastly, the second speaker cable should lead to the low-frequency speaker output port. The other end, just like the first speaker cable, will go to the low-frequency bass speaker input jack.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1.   Why should I adjust my crossover frequency?

If you are playing music and notice some distortions or extra noise, your next step is to adjust your frequency settings. By fine-tuning these settings, you might get a much clearer signal.

Q2.   Are active crossovers worth it?

Well, that depends on the purpose you are using the crossover for. So, the answer varies whether it’s for professional purposes or personal use. However, an active crossover system will allow you to get the most out of your audio system.

Q3.   What distinguishes active crossovers from passive?

The main difference between these two is that active crossover needs power.  The passive crossover doesn’t, but it comes with specific caveats.

Q4.   How do I know which speaker is right for my amplifier?

When trying to find the right speaker that matches your amplifiers, you should consider three main factors. The first is the power ratings of the two devices. Next comes their impedance. Lastly, check the sensitivity ratings of the speaker.

Conclusion

Evidently, there are several ways to utilize crossovers and amplifiers. Knowing how to tinker with that combination is a good way to stay resourceful. Also, it might save you time and money in searching for new equipment. Instead, you could make the most out of your current devices. By correctly fixing them up, you can unlock their full potential. In turn, those same devices will produce a much better sound. The result will be comparable to a professional-level sound system. Afterward, you’ll get to enjoy your favorite tunes in a whole new way.

How to Remove Humming Noise From Amplifier

how to remove humming noise from amplifier

Sometimes you hear a rather unpleasant noise every time you plug in your speaker. The noise kills your mood and might even make you want to chuck that speaker into the bin.

This noise usually occurs when we connect our amplifiers to sound sources such as speakers, cellular phones, mixers, audio interfaces, and others. In this case, we reduce the amplifier’s level to reduce the obnoxious sound, which defeats the purpose of an amplifier.

Many people who purchase amplifiers are not electrical engineers or specialists who can identify the source of the problem. We occasionally check the cables to see whether they are correctly plugged in or switched off and on the device to silence the noise. It does work in some instances but not in others.

This article on how to get rid of humming noise from amplifiers will explain some of the most frequent reasons for humming noise in amplifiers and how to get rid of it.

Why Does My Amplifier Buzz?

why does my amplifier buzz
Image by tommyvideo on Pixabay

We utilize amplifiers in high-power audio systems because of their ability to boost audio volume. If there’s a problem, they might make an unpleasant hissing sound called an amp buzz.

The most common cause of amp buzz includes an ungrounded AC power supply, ground loops, AC line noise, RF interference, cable noise, or devices such as the audio source, pedalboards, FX units, microphones, or guitars.

What Causes the Humming Noise?

what causes the humming noise
Photo by Ben Tofan on Unsplash

The amplifier’s noise may originate from sound sources such as speakers, cell phones, music players, cable lines, or other device components. Here are some of the most prevalent reasons for humming noise in amplifiers.

●    Unbalanced Input and Output Signal

When a sound source (output) has a higher signal than the amplifier, it might cause problems (input). A disbalance in the output and input signals results in a hum.

●    Ground Loops

When you connect the ground (earth) pin to the main electric outlet, the current does not go down the wire meant to be its pathway but instead forms a loop and returns to the current source. To further understand this, imagine connecting an amplifier to the primary source of electric current through its earth pin or connection. If the speaker is not a Bluetooth-enabled device, you must additionally connect the speaker’s earth pin to other sources of electric current. The cable wire connecting the speaker must also connect to the amplifier.

There is a voltage differential in this situation because the two devices connected by a cable line may have different quantities of power flowing. This discrepancy generates a grounding loop in which electric current travels to a channel other than the intended wire, causing a humming noise.

●    Unparalleled Signal

When the wires connecting the speaker to the amplifier do not match or transmit the same signal, it results in unparalleled signal generation. That implies that the cable we use for connections must equalize the signal. You would need to connect the high-frequency sound source to the CPU’s line input on the computer. The line input has a lower frequency to balance the two devices by keeping the frequency at a high signal. Noise is produced due to the difference in input and output signals.

●    Defective Capacitors

If you’ve tried everything and the amplifier still isn’t working, it might be due to damaged capacitors or poor amplifier wiring.

●    Defective or Disconnected Cables

The cables connecting the sound source and the amplifier might be the source of hums. Long-term usage of wires can cause them to wear out, resulting in a loss of sound quality.

Similarly, when the earth cable’s chassis does not link to the earth’s connections, it generates a hum. This happens if the components of the line connecting the sound source and amplifier are not properly connected.

●    Poor Sound Source

There are also times when the quality of the sound sources, such as a speaker, is the issue; in this instance, modifying the sound coming from the source is the only option.

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Types of Humming Noise Coming From the Amplifier

types of humming noise coming from the amplifier
Image by jonschwarz from Pixabay

Humming noise in the amplifier can happen due to a variety of circumstances, and there are different types of noises as well. The key to correcting the noise is identifying the type of noise. There are mainly two types of amp buzz:

●    120 HZ

Ground loops cause the amplifiers to produce 120 Hz sounds.

●    60 HZ

The majority of amplifier sounds fall into this group. 60 Hz hums are due to poor shielding, cable issues, and closeness to magnetic fields.

How to Fix Humming Noise Coming From an Amplifier?

how to fix humming noise coming from an amplifier
Image by Neekster Man on Unsplash

We have discussed some of the major causes of humming noises above, and there are multiple ways to fix the problem.

●    Connect a Resistor

If the misaligned signals are causing the humming noises, connect a resistor to the sound source. The capacity of the resistor should not exceed the power of the source. A resistor should be connected to the output wire cable on one end and the sound source board on the other.

●    Use the Same Electric Outlet Source

When the source of the humming noise is the ground, there are several options for removing it from the amplifier. The first step is to utilize the same electric outlet source, which produces the same amount of current and maintains a voltage balance between the amplifier and the speakers.

●    Check the Cables

Before using the device, you should double-check that all cable wires, connections, and tool pieces are securely fastened.

●    Get High-Quality Cables

If the cables are faulty, replace the substandard cable wires with new, sturdy, and high-quality ones. You may also use ferrite chokes on the wires to reduce the frequency carried by the line.

●    Connect to Isolating Transformer

Connect the ground line to an isolating transformer (adaptor) if the noise persists. An earth lift switch on the adaptor reduces the amount of electricity that passes through the cable wires.

●    Connect Ground Wire From Speaker to the Amplifier

Connecting a grounding wire from the speaker to the amplifier is another option to eliminate the ground. The grounding wire offers a second way for the signal to travel, preventing ground loops and hums.

●     Know Your Device

It’s critical to understand the signal carried by the cable (output) and the signal that will be received by the input. One way to avoid this is to become familiar with your device. Some cables act as adaptors or ground loop isolators, preventing a loop even if the signal difference is only potential. Different cables, such as RCA, jacks, TRS, TRRS cables, XLR, and others, should be learned. This information is beneficial and helps you save money by preventing you from contacting your gadget for repair.

●    Seek Expert Help

If the capacitors are faulty and you’ve exhausted the alternatives, you might want to consider professional help.

●    Change the Settings of the Digital Audio Workstation

In the case of a mixer or an audio interface that can be altered by the program, sophisticated settings in the Digital Audio Workstation can improve the sound quality.

Conclusion

There are times when amplifiers generate a humming noise rather than a powerful, high-definition sound. It’s quite aggravating to be in this situation.

Most of the time, the solution lies just in front of you, and you just have to find it. In certain circumstances, all you need to do is relocate your devices away from the amp or connect them to a shared ground through the same channel. This guide will allow you to successfully solve the amp buzz without having to buy a new amp, speaker, or audio source.

If you are able to troubleshoot the problem yourself, you can successfully solve it on your own.

DIY Guide: How to Connect an Equalizer to an Amplifier

how to connect an equalizer to an amplifier diy guide

You may be wondering how to connect an equalizer to an amplifier. Perhaps you want to understand how to install the system yourself, or maybe you want to aid someone else in connecting their sound system. Alternatively, you might want to know what an equalizer connected to an amplifier does before you consider learning about the connection process.

Amplifiers enhance the quality and clarity of the music. Individually, amplifiers and equalizers have unique attributes that work well with stereos. Together, they quiet outside noises and strengthen audio quality.

diy guide: how to connect an equalizer to an amplifier
Photo by José Pinto on Unsplash

Most car stereos come with a default equalizer whose volume distorts as it increases. This can take away the fun of listening to music while driving because the stereo volume isn’t loud enough to mask outside noise.

Let’s talk a little bit more about what equalizers and amplifiers are.  Then, we will guide you through the process of connecting both of them to your speaker system. Finally, we’ll cover some details to keep in mind when selecting the right amplifier for you.

What Is an Equalizer?

equalizer connected to amplifier
Photo by Ezequiel Garrido on Unsplash

Equalizers are devices you install in your car or home sound system. They are used to filter unwanted audio signals and frequencies. This changes the sound of music in your vehicle, making it more pleasing.

Some car and home speaker systems come with a built-in equalizer. In these cases, there’s no need to install an external one. But if the equalizer doesn’t observe frequency changes as it should, then an external stereo equalizer is an excellent option. 

In addition, there are a variety of external equalizers out there. Some are designed to hang on your car’s dash, specifically above or below the head unit. On the other hand, some are mounted in the trunk of your vehicle. Remote equalizers are one type of these. These are typically mounted in the trunk along with the amplifier. Apart from these two designs, there are plenty more; it all depends on your preference.

It can be good to have an equalizer within reach for easy accessibility. If you’re going for the dashboard equalizer, do some fittings before installing the equipment. This way, you can choose an alternative if it doesn’t end up suiting your space.

What is a Car Amplifier?

car amplifier
Photo by Kevin Fitzgerald on Unsplash

Most people will agree music is the perfect driving companion. It enhances the mood and contributes to the overall experience. Like equalizers, car amplifiers are an excellent addition to your car audio system. A car amplifier zeroes out external noises while driving and gives you clear quality sounds.

Although most stereo equalizers can work as an amplifier, having a separate amplifier will give you better sound output. This is because having each device do only one task, as opposed to multi-tasking, usually leads to a better result. It is also ideal in case of any malfunctions. Having one task per device makes it easier to troubleshoot and solve problems.

What Does a Car Amplifier Do?

car amplifier
Image by DFL-Denver on Pixabay

The purpose of an amplifier is to enhance the sound power and quality. As mentioned before, most stereo units generate low-level audio. Due to their factory-built settings and make, the sound distorts when you increase the volume to the max.

But by adding an external amplifier to the car stereo, you can boost the low-level audio signals. It gives the stereo the power needed to create a more satisfying sound.

Step-by-Step: How to Connect Equalizer to Amplifier

step-by-step: how to connect equalizer to amplifier
Photo by Adi Goldstein on Unsplash

First, to connect directly to an amplifier, your amplifier has to have both a preamp-in and preamp-out channel. If either of those is missing, you will need an intermediary such as a receiver. This is used to connect the two pieces of equipment in a loop.

The car head unit is the interface you interact with while you’re behind the wheel. It is the brain and command box of the sound system. These days, the head unit comes with many user-friendly tools, like Bluetooth, GPS navigation, USB outlets, etc.

You can connect an equalizer to an amplifier via the following steps. First, make sure you have all of the necessary items on hand.

Required Tools

  • Wire crimper
  • Wire ties
  • Screwdrivers
  • Soldering iron
  • Wire stripper
  • Drill
  • Amplifier kit (RCA cables, ground wires, terminals, remote lead)

Planning the Location

Planning the location of the equalizer is a crucial first step. You wouldn’t want to drill holes in your car dash only to then discover it is the wrong place.

In addition, keep in mind the wire length for the connections. Regardless of the mount location, the wire length determines how far apart the pieces of equipment can be from each other.

For example, remote equalizers are mounted in the trunk. These would need a longer length of wire. Additionally, they come with remote control for easy control. However, in most cases, it’s best to not have the amp in the truck. Mounting it on the dash instead simplifies the wiring process. It’s also helpful if you wish to add more amplifiers later on.  

External stereo equalizers need custom installation to be mounted on the dash. The mount fixtures could be placed below or above the receiver. Whichever you choose, ensure it doesn’t take up too much space. You’ll also want to ensure that you can easily access it.

Equalizer and Amplifier Wiring

Before you wire the equalizer and amplifier to the head unit, make sure the car ignition is off. Then, disconnect the negative terminal from your battery to avoid getting shocked.

Run the power wire, a red 16 gauge wire to the car’s fuse panel, then use a crimp-on connector to attach it to the device power input.

Furthermore, to get the equalizer and amplifier to turn on automatically, you can link their power source to the stereo’s power. The lead wire is usually blue and can be accessed by removing the receiver or head unit from the dashboard. Check your vehicle’s instructions to remove the receiver or head unit from the dashboard.

For the wiring, strip the turn-on wire end piece, and stretch an additional wire from the receiver to the equalizer. Then strip the end of the wire, and join the two. Make sure to wrap the connection with electrical tape to prevent shorting.  By doing this, you’ll have connected the equalizer so it will turn on whenever the main stereo does.

Also, don’t mount your equalizer directly on steel. Mounting it on steel will cause noise problems. It’s best to attach a non conducive board to the car body and mount the equalizer on that. Another idea is to isolate the chassis by using rubber grommets on the screws.

Next, you’ll want to connect the ground wiring. Remove the bolt next to where you mounted your equalizer. Then, attach a crimp ring terminal small gauge wire to it, to bolt it into place.

On the off chance you can’t locate a suitable bolt position, drill a new hole. However, be careful; you wouldn’t want to puncture something important like your gas tank.

RCA Connection Cables 

Sound signal travels through RCA cables to the equalizer and then to the amplifier.  Therefore, connecting an equalizer to an amplifier requires two sets of RCA cables.

You will need to plug an RCA cable into the head unit channel, and connect it to the equalizer. Then, join the second RCA cable to the amplifier.

You will find the channels on the back of the device. Right channel jacks often take the red-colored RCA plug, while the left channel takes the white or black one. Also, you have to remove the receiver or head unit of the dashboard to access the rear end. For this part, consult the owner’s manual for removal instruction.

Once connected, you can tune the equalizer frequencies as you like.

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Equalizer Preset

Equalizers let you tune music to your taste. If you’re not sure how to adjust the frequency, you might end up with poor results. This is why equalizers come with a default preset for music as well as additional preset options. These presets are classified by genre. They can aid in amplifying your musical taste.

This is the last step of the process, to tune your equalizer to your desired settings. After this, you are ready to enjoy your newly improved sound system!

Factors To Consider When Choosing an Amplifier

12 v power supply when choosing for amplifier
Image by blickpixel on Pixabay

There are some important factors to keep in mind when choosing an amplifier. For example, it’s best to buy an amplifier that matches your speaker’s power. If you pair a speaker with a more highly powered amplifier, it could damage the speaker.

Below are some of the main factors you’ll need to keep in mind.

Amplifier Size

It’s essential you think about location and the size of your amplifier. If the amplifier is large, it might not fit in the space. This is especially true if it’s going to be under the seat of your car or on the dashboard. Instead of getting a large amplifier when you are working with limited space, you can consider multiple smaller amps. These can fit your car space and deliver exceptional sound quality.

Power and Impedance

When choosing an amplifier, consider the power unit of the amp. Root mean square (RMS) measures the power output of an amplifier. If the amp’s  RMS is too high, this will damage the speaker.  Therefore, you should make sure the speakers equal the power of the amplifier.

You also need to know the impedance specifications of your speaker and amplifier. If they mismatch, this can lead to the same result and cause the speaker to blow over time.

Therefore, make sure your speaker power and impedance specifications are the same before purchasing.

Number of Channels

“Channel” refers to the connector for sound distribution between devices. The amplifier sends a powered signal to the speakers via RCA cable.

To amplify a car stereo system, you typically need an equal number of amplifiers and speakers – that is, for every speaker, one amplifier. This distributes the sound evenly between the speakers and in turn, heightens your experience.

That said, some amplifiers can connect all the speakers simultaneously — for example, a four-channel amplifier:

4 Channel Amplifier

A 4 channel amplifier is a single amplifier that can connect to four speakers or more at once.

Primarily, the design is used to power door speakers. As such, it’s a go-to choice for individuals who have minimal space but still want a bigger sound. This is a good option if you’re seeking an easy method of amplification and don’t care how it comes about.

The sound quality of a 4 channel amplifier is excellent, but installing one amplifier per speaker has higher strength and intensity. So, consider your personal needs and preferences when deciding which style is best for you.

Therefore, knowing the number of channels needed to amplify your speaker will help you choose a suitable amplifier.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for an easier way to connect your equalizer to an amplifier, you can always hire someone. But if you’re determined to do it yourself, these steps will guide you.

There are many benefits to having a separate equalizer and amplifier. For one, it will make driving around town with your friends more fun because of the music quality.

However, be aware equalizers change the tone of songs. It gives you the power to make music to your taste. So if you’re not so sure about frequencies, you can use equalizer presets.

Why You Need an Amp to Power a Subwoofer

Why You Need an Amp to Power a Subwoofer

What Are Subwoofers?

Subwoofers are speaker drivers that can produce low-frequency audio. Subwoofers are usually mounted in a speaker enclosure that is called a cabinet. Cabinets are typically made from wood. The enclosure is really to protect the tech from air pressure and to avoid deformation.

Subwoofers have multiple design aspects that help their performance. An example of a design aspect that the cabinet of the subwoofers has is a bass reflex. This is usually the hollow tube that you see on speakers. That hollow tube acts as a hole or vent that allows the sound from the rear side of the diaphragm to increase the system’s efficiency when it has to produce low frequencies.

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What Are Subwoofers?
Image by Jean van der Meulen from Pixabay

Another example is passive radiator speakers. These are the dome-like structure that you see in speakers. The dome-like structure is actually called cones. This design is beneficial for compact audio systems where applying a vent is difficult or impossible. There are many more cabinet designs such as the acoustic suspension, infinite baffle, horn-loaded, tapped horn, transmission line, bandpass, or isobaric.

All represent unique trade-offs. The efficiency, sound quality, cabinet size, and cost are all factors that are considered when choosing a design for a subwoofer.

Subwoofers are made to produce audio frequencies known as bass and sub-bass. Both bass and sub-bass are low frequencies, and the typical range that a subwoofer that is sold for recreational purposes produces is about 20hz to 200hz. Higher quality subwoofers for professional live sound, on the other hand, produces lower than 100hz.

THX-certified systems can produce about lower than 80hz. George Lucas founds THX. Some movie theatres, screening rooms, gaming consoles, car audio systems, computer speakers, and video games utilize this system. So if you see audio systems that are THX certified, you can expect high-quality audio performance.

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What Subwoofer Should You Get?

The power and the driver size are important factors to consider. The first thing that you have to know about power is that higher-powered subwoofers are not louder than low-powered models. The power does not dictate the loudness; that’s what the volume is for! So a 1000-watt subwoofer is not louder than a 100-watt subwoofer.

The watt rating is just a rough guide on the output it can produce. Here’s a tip, don’t be scared of getting a 1000-watt subwoofer. They perform very well even in a relatively regular-sized room. In fact, a 100-watt subwoofer may not be enough since we are talking about subwoofers and not loudspeakers. 300, 500, and higher watts are a good range to choose from.

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What Subwoofer Should You Get?
Image by Yassine Khalfalli from Unsplash

Another important thing to factor in is size. The size of the driver inside usually dictates the size of the cabinet. So a subwoofer with a 12-inch driver has a bigger cabinet than a subwoofer with an 8-inch driver. It was mentioned before that the purpose of subwoofers is to create bass.

Bass waves are really long, so there should be sufficient space in the cabinet behind the driver. Because the driver has to perform heavily to create waves in volumes that we can hear, the bigger the driver, the better. So 12 inches is a good size to get.

There are multiple sizes to choose from. For example, you may encounter two 6 inch drivers. In that case, a single 12 inch is still better. However, multiple subwoofers are still good and useful because you get to improve the sound experience by setting it in different locations in a room so it is more spread out.

If you have a smaller subwoofer, a good way to counter that is to get a subwoofer with a higher power.

Voice coil also factors in when choosing a subwoofer. There are two:

  1. Single Voice Coil or SVC – This generally only supports one specific ohms rating, so it is not as versatile as the DVC.
  2. Double/Dual Voice Coil or DVC – This gives you more wiring options to connect your subs with amps allowing you to hit the correct impedance loads you need for the best sound possible.

How Will You Know if You Need an Amplifier With Your Subwoofer?

Some subwoofers come with loudspeakers, and some subwoofers have built-in amplifiers. But, definitely, subwoofers are never used alone. This is because subwoofers are just used to give loudspeakers a low-frequency range—loudspeakers, on the other hand, cover high-frequency bands.

A good thing to note is that an external amplifier usually powers passive subwoofers, and active subwoofers usually include a built-in amplifier. So when buying equipment really research about it. Find out the important details and specs.

So what do you need? A passive or an active subwoofer? Here is a short guide to help you find out!

How Will You Know if You Need an Amplifier With Your Subwoofer?
Image by AliceKeyStudio from Pixabay

Most of the time, for cheaper or entry-level audio systems bundles or kits, what you get is a passive subwoofer. A drawback that passive subwoofers have is that they might not give you the quality of an active subwoofer. Although, it is a good option because it is relatively more affordable and is more budget-friendly.

If you’re only buying for casual enjoyment, a passive subwoofer might be enough. Still, if you aim for a surround sound experience or generally just a really high-quality audio experience, active subwoofers might be for you. Active subwoofers are perfect for professional use or if you want to build a theater room at home.

You can even elevate the sound quality by adding an external amplifier. Although even without the additional extended external amplifier, an active woofer performs really well. It can also help save you real estate if you only have limited space for your audio system since there is no need for an external amp.

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All About Amplifiers!

An amplifier is a piece of audio equipment that increases the power of a signal that is connected to its input terminal. Hence, the output that you get from using an amplifier is a greater and balanced signal. Its gain measures the amp’s power output. The gain is the ability to increase the signal from the input to the output by adding energy converted from a power supply.

All About Amplifiers!
Image by Bertrand Fines from Pixabay

If the explanation is a little too complicated… here’s a simpler explanation. The amplifier receives a signal from the source connected to it, and these may be your mobile phones, turntable, CD, DVD, media players, etc. Then it replicates the signal it receives larger and greater for the output to produce.

Usually, the output is speakers. As you already know, from passive and active subwoofers, an amplifier can be a separate piece or is part of another piece. To control the output you’re getting from your amplifier, you will need a potentiometer. Using the potentiometer, you can control the volume.

This is because the potentiometer allows the user to control the amount of current that goes to the speakers, which directly affects the overall volume level. Amps may differ in their shape and sizes, but it all really works the same way… to amplify the sound that comes out of your speakers.

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What to Look for in an Amplifier?

When choosing an amplifier, there are five important factors to check out:

What to Look for in an Amplifier?
Image by Andreas Glöckner from Pixabay

1. Power Output

This defines how loud you can turn up the volume. If you have large and high-quality speakers, the more power you want. However, for average listening and casual purposes, you don’t need lit. 10W is just fine and is already loud enough for an average user.

Although if you need audio for large parties, 100W may be what you need. So it all really boils down to what you’ll use it for. Speaker sensitivity also factors into this.

So also make sure to check the specs of the speaker you have or planning to buy. The average speaker sensitivity rating is 87 dB to 88 dB. 90 dB is considered excellent. The higher the sensitivity rating, the louder your speaker is.

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What Is a Good Signal to Noise Ratio for an Amplifier?

2. THD + N (Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise)

This is a measure of how much effect the amplifier has on the sound output it produces. What you’re looking for is that you want the output from the amplifier to be as close to the original sound.

However, your speakers will still have the biggest effect on the sound or the audio experience. That is why you must get an amplifier that works compatibly well with your speaker. For THD + N, the lower numbers are better! 1k is better than 20k, for example.

3. Signal to Noise Ratio or SNR

Amplifiers tend to generate a very faint noise. This is from the electrons whizzing around inside. Good amplifiers make this noise almost impossible to hear, and that’s what you want when looking for an amplifier.

You want the sound to be more dominant than the noise the amplifier generates. The bigger the number, the better the amplifier is in hiding the noise.

4. Crosstalk

This is the ability of the amplifier to differentiate what should come out to the left or what should come out to the right. Good quality amplifiers can split apart signals to travel to the output where it’s meant to be. The more crosstalk there is the more unwanted interference between left and right output.

5. Inputs and Connections

Will it work with the device you want to use it with? There are different connections for different purposes. For example, you’ll need 3.5mm cables for Mobile phones or USB for computers and laptops.

So when you look for an amplifier, these are factors that you may want to ask about.

Subwoofer and Amplifier Matching

Now that you know about subwoofers and amplifiers individually, time to learn how to use both together for a better sound experience!

Subwoofer and Amplifier Matching
Image by Peter Harte from Pixabay

Just a recap, if you have a passive subwoofer, you will need an external amplifier to improve the audio quality. Still, if you have an active sub, you don’t necessarily need an external amp since it already has an amplifier built in the box. Still, you can always add an external amp to improve the quality further.

Let us start learning about getting the right amplifier for your subwoofer or getting the right subwoofer for your amplifier!

First thing’s first, the amplifier capabilities need to match the subwoofer’s specs. In technical terms, the watts RMS and the ohms have to match.

Subwoofers for Amps

If you already have an amplifier, which subwoofer should you get? The first information you need is what your amp can do? What is the RMS rating of your amp at different loads? Your amp’s power output is expressed in watts RMS. Next, you also have to know the power output you would like to get because the load impedance of that rating will be what your sub’s total impedance be.

There is actually a chart that you can use for this that can help you as a guide. The number of subs you want or also need factors in. Lastly, it is important to get a subwoofer for both SVC (single voice coil) or DVC (double voice coil). Refer to the heading what to look for in a subwoofer for more info about SVC and DVC. Basically, it’s for versatility.

So remember, the secret to having your audio gear produce good bass is the have an evenly matched subwoofer and amp that works properly together.

External Amp for Subwoofers

Now, if you already have a subwoofer, but you need to add an amplifier. If you have multiple subs, the first thing to do is to check if they all have the same coil type, whether SVC or DVC and impedance. They must be all the same so that the power will be divided equally between all subs. But, again, you don’t want some to be overpowered or some underpowered.

The first information you need is the answer to how much power can your subwoofer produce? This is the watts RMS rating of the subwoofer that you have. If you have multiple subs, you will need to multiply the subs you have by the RMS rating of each to get the total RMS rating.

Next, you need to know the total impedance that the subs can be wired together from.

Once you have information on both steps, you can now pick an amp to handle those watts and ohms. Here is a rough guide that can hopefully help you choose the right amplifier for your setup

  • 1 SVC 2-ohms can only have 2 ohms of impedance
  • 1 SVC 4-ohms can only have 4 ohms of impedance
  • 1 DVC 2-ohms can have 1 ohm or 4 ohms of impedance
  • 1 DVC 4-ohms can have 2 ohms or 8 ohms of impedance
  • 2 SVC 2-ohms can have 1 ohm or 4 ohms of impedance
  • 2 SVC 4-ohms can have 2 ohms or 8 ohms of impedance
  • 2 DVC 2-ohms can have 2 ohms or 8 ohms of impedance
  • 2 DVC 4-ohms can have 1 ohm or 4 ohms of impedance
  • 3 SVC 2-ohms can have 6 ohms of impedance
  • 3 SVC 4-ohms can have 1.3 ohms of impedance
  • 3 DVC 2-ohms can have 1.3 ohms or 3 ohms of impedance
  • 3 DVC 4-ohms can have 2.7 ohms or 6 ohms of impedance
  • 4 SVC 2-ohms can have 2 ohms or 8 ohms of impedance
  • 4 SVC 4-ohms can have 1 ohm or 4 ohms of impedance
  • 4 DVC 2-ohms can have 1 ohm or 4 ohms of impedance
  • 4 DVC 4-ohms can have 2 ohms or 8 ohms of impedance

The Best Amplifier in the Market Right Now

Marantz PM6007

Marantz PM6007

Check Latest Price

Marantz PM6007 Specs

Power Output (8 / 4 Ohm RMS):45 W / 60 W
Frequency response:10 Hz – 70 kHz
Total Harmonic Distortion:0.08%
Damping Factor:100
Input Sensitivity: MM:2.2 mV / 47 kOhm
Input Sensitivity: MC:No
Signal to Noise Ratio: MM/MC83 dB / No
Input Sensitivity: High level200 mV / 20 kOhm
Input Sensitivity: Balanced High levelNo
Signal to Noise Ratio: High level102dB(2V input)
Input Sensitivity: Power Amp Direct INNo
Signal to Noise Ratio: Power Amp Direct INNo

This is a 45W per channel amp. You can use either coaxial and optical cable for digital inputs. It also supports headphone output. Overall, this amp is a clear and punchy performer, has broad connectivity options, has a solid built. The only con is that it is not Bluetooth enabled and no connection for USB.

Cambridge Audio CXA81

Marantz PM6007

Check Latest Price

Cambridge Audio CXA81 Specs

Power Output (8 / 4 Ohm RMS):80W RMS into 8 Ohms, 120W RMS into 4 Ohms
Frequency response:<5Hz– 60kHz +/-1dB
Analogue Audio Inputs:1x balanced XLR, 4 x RCA
Digital Audio Inputs:1 x S/PDIF coaxial, 2 x TOSLINK optical, 1 x USB audio, Bluetooth (integrated)
Compatibility:TOSLINK optical: 16/24bit 32-96kHz PCM only, S/PDIF coaxial: 16/24bit 32-192kHz PCM only, USB: audio profile 1.0/2.0 (default 2.0), up to 32bit 384kHz PCM, up to DSD256 or DoP256, Bluetooth: 4.2 A2DP/AVRCP supporting up to aptX HD (24bit 48kHz)
Bluetooth Aptx Hd Receiver Built-inYes
Roon TestedYes
OutputsSpeakers A+B, 3.5mm headphone, Preamp Output, Subwoofer Output
Remote Control:Yes
Max Power Consumption:750W
Standby Power Consumption:<0.5W
Dimensions (H X W X D):115 x 430 x 341mm (4.5 x 16.9 x 13.4”)
Weight:8.7kg (19.1lbs)

This amp has a power of 80W per channel. You can use S/PDIF coaxial and Toslink for digital inputs. Unlike the Marantz PM6007, it is Bluetooth enabled and has USB connectivity. It has an aptX HD receiver built-in for Bluetooth.

It also allows headphone output. The only con, but it isn’t really a deal-breaker, is that it doesn’t have a remote control. But overall, it is still one of the best. The price may be a little bit too steep if you’re going on a budget.

Rega io

Rega io Specs

Power Output:30 W per channel into 8 Ω
Power Consumption:135 W
Inputs:1 x Phono input, 2 x Line inputs
Frequency Response:Phono: 15 Hz to 40 kHz (-3 dB points) / 27 Hz to 20.5 kHz (-1 dB points)
Remote Control:Mini
Max Power Consumption:135 W @ 230 V / 220 V / 115 V / 100 V into the rated load of 8 O
Dimensions (H X W X D):7.1″ x 11.4″ x 2.7″
Weight:2.9 kg

Power is 30W. Doesn’t provide Bluetooth and USB connectivity. Also, no digital input. However, it does allow headphone output. It also has a remote control included. All in all, it produces detailed, rhythmic, and fun sound, and it has a good headphone output. Good enough for those looking for an amp on the cheaper side.

Naim Nait XS 3

Naim Nait XS 3

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Naim Nait XS 3 Specs

Power Consumption (max.):350VA
Mains Supply:115V, 230V; 50 or 60Hz
Power Consumption (quiescent):16VA
Supplied With:NARCOM-5 Remote Control, Mains Lead, Link Plug and Safety Manual
Audio Inputs
MM Phono Input
:
via RCA, 47k parallel 470pF input impedance, suitable for 5mV cartridges
Line Level Inputs:130mV sensitivity, 47k input impedance, suitable for 2V
Audio Outputs:DIN Socket
Speaker Outputs:70W per channel into 8 ohms (4mm sockets), 100W per channel into 4 ohms
Remote Input:1 x 3.5mm Jack on rear
Max Power Consumption:350VA
Mains Supply:115V, 230V; 50 or 60Hz
Dimensions (H X W X D):70 x 432 x 314 mm
Weight:8.5 kg

Power is 70W. Zero digital inputs available and no USB or Bluetooth. Headphone output available. This amplifier has a dynamic sound.

Cambridge Audio CXA61

Marantz PM6007

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Cambridge Audio CXA61 Specs

Power Output:60W RMS into 8 Ohms, 90W RMS into 4 Ohms
Frequency response:<5Hz– 60kHz +/-1dB
Analogue Audio Inputs:4 x RCA, 1 x 3.5mm MP3 input (front panel)
Digital Audio Inputs:1 x S/PDIF coaxial, 2 x TOSLINK optical, 1 x USB audio, Bluetooth (integrated)
Compatibility:TOSLINK optical: 16/24bit 32-96kHz PCM only, S/PDIF coaxial: 16/24bit 32-192kHz PCM only, USB: audio profile 1.0/2.0 (default 2.0), up to 32bit 384kHz PCM, up to DSD256 or DoP256, Bluetooth: 4.2 A2DP/AVRCP supporting up to aptX HD (24bit 48kHz)
Bluetooth Aptx Hd Receiver Built-inYes
Roon TestedYes
OutputsSpeakers A+B, 3.5mm Headphone, Preamp Output, Subwoofer Output
Remote Control:Yes
Max Power Consumption:600W
Standby Power Consumption:<0.5W
Dimensions (H X W X D):115 x 430 x 341mm (4.5 x 16.9 x 13.4”)
Weight:8.3kg (18.3lbs)

This is a 60W per channel amplifier. You can use S/PDIF coaxial and Toslink for digital inputs. It has USB and Bluetooth connectivity, a headphone output, and a few hundred bucks cheaper than the Cambridge Audio CXA81. Most of all, it has detailed and dynamic audio and great build quality.

Rega Brio

Marantz PM6007

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Rega Brio Specs

Power Output:50 W into 8 Ω
Power Consumption:195 W
Inputs:1 x Phono input, 4 x Line inputs
Frequency Response:Phono: 15Hz – 40kHz (-3dB) / 27Hz – 20.5kHz (-1dB)
Remote Control:Yes
Max Power Consumption:195 Watts at 115V into the rated load of 😯
Dimensions (H X W X D):216 x 78 x 345 mm
Weight:5.1 kg

Power is 50W. Just like the Rega io, it doesn’t provide Bluetooth and USB connectivity. Also, no digital input. However, it does allow headphone output. It also has a remote control included. Still, the quality is amazing, detailed, and dynamic. Agile and rhythmic.

Location and Positioning

Audio quality doesn’t directly rely on your equipment. It is also good to know how you can set it up to get the most out of your audio equipment. For example, putting your subwoofer against the wall may add a little a bit of volume, and putting it in a corner will add a little bit more.

All in all, to know the best placement for your subwoofer in the room, test it out. Sit in the place where you mostly do the listening. Have a family member or friend move it around to test the sound quality. Try it on several locations that are a few feet apart.

There is no exact ruling on where you should place your bass because it can depend on preferences but having it ear level is a good tip. Getting the most out of your system is important. You don’t want just one area in the room to get a ton of bass and another part to get next to nothing.