How to Hook a 4-Channel Amp to 4 Speakers & a Sub

Written by david lipscomb Google
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How to Hook a 4-Channel Amp to 4 Speakers & a Sub
Running 4 speakers and a subwoofer is easily done with a 4-channel amplifier. (amplifier knobs image by Darko Draskovic from Fotolia.com)

Modern 4-channel amplifiers are generally robust, flexible devices, able to drive more than 4 speakers, and higher than rated power. Many choose to run front and rear speakers with 2 channels, and a subwoofer with the rear channels. Two-ohm stable amplifiers will comfortably run the 4 speakers and a 4-ohm subwoofer simultaneously. Although fader controls are lost, this flexibility is paramount in allowing an installation featuring 4 speakers and a subwoofer.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Speaker wire
  • Wire strippers/cutters
  • Screwdriver (Philips, Allen, flat head)

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Strip 1/2 inch of insulation from the amp end of the 4 wire pairs running to the individual speakers. Strip 1/2 inch of insulation from the amp end of the subwoofer speaker wire.

  2. 2

    Twist the bare wires tightly by hand, preventing stray speaker strands from causing a short. Insert the bare wires for left front, left rear, right front, and right rear into channels 1 and 2 on the 4-channel amp. Tighten the speaker terminals securely with the appropriate screwdriver.

  3. 3

    Insert the wires for the subwoofer into the left positive and right negative terminals on channels 3 and 4, creating a bridged configuration for the sub. Tighten those speaker terminals down with the appropriate screwdriver.

  4. 4

    Adjust the high-pass crossover level for the front and rear speakers to a distortion-free level. Adjust the low-pass crossover for the subwoofer so that it blends with the satellite speakers. Adjust all gains for all speakers so that they do not distort at any volume level. Gain and crossover controls are typically located in a grouping in a central location on one side of the amplifier.

Tips and warnings

  • Never make speaker or power connections to an amplifier with the power turned on.

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