6 Ohm Speakers 4 or 8 Ohm Amp? All You Need to Know!

So, you’re planning to buy an amp to pair with your 6 ohm speaker. But you’re not sure about the ohm rating of the amp.

Hence, you want to know 6 ohm speakers 4 or 8 ohm amp.

A 6 ohm speaker can be paired with 4 ohm amp but not with 8 ohm amp. This is because an 8 ohm amp can’t provide enough load for the 6 ohm speaker. In contrast, a 4 ohm amp will have enough headroom to power a 6 ohm speaker. However, an 8 ohm amp can power a 6 ohm speaker with a resistor.

In this article, we’ve covered everything for pairing different ohm speakers with different ohm amps.

So, let’s jump right into the business.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • To know which amp to choose, you need to check the specs of your speaker. If it supports the impedance of your preferred amp, then you’re good to go.
  • Along with the impedance, RMS power, wattage are also crucial factors.
  • Make a decision beforehand whether you want to go for a series or parallel connection for your speaker-amp setup.

Is it OK to Connect a 6 Ohm Speaker with a 4 Ohm Amp?

It’s completely OK to connect a single 6 ohm speaker with a 4 ohm amp. Unless your speaker impedance or ohm rating is much higher than the amp, it’s fine. However, if the speaker impedance rating is too high, your speaker may provide compressed sound quality.

But if you connect multiple 6 ohm speakers to a 4 ohm single channel, the scenario changes. 

Then, you’ll have to know how you can safely connect multiple speakers with a single channel amp.

So, now comes the question, what happens if the amp impedance rating is higher than speaker impedance.

Is it OK to Connect a 6 Ohm Speaker with an 8 Ohm Amp?

It’s not fine to connect a 6 ohm speaker with an 8 ohm amp. In this case, your amp will struggle to provide enough current to your speaker. This is because the load of your speaker is higher than your amp’s output ability. As a result, your amp will get fried due to overstressing.

However, it’s possible to connect a 6 ohm speaker with an 8 ohm amp with simple tweaking.

But before moving on to that, let’s find out how impedance ratings affect your sound devices.

What Does Impedance or Ohm Rating Mean?

Well, the ohm or impedance rating indicates the resistance value of a device. To put it simply, the higher the resistance, the lower the load and vice versa.

Speaker Impedance Matching Example
Source: SoundCertified

To understand how these impedance ratings affect your sound devices, you need to understand how they work.

So, let’s find out how your amp and speaker work.

Speakers are run on direct current (DC). That means your speakers will have a positive and a negative pole to circulate the electricity.

However, the current your usual wall sockets provide is alternate current (AC). Thus, they don’t have any positive or negative poles. That’s why it doesn’t matter in which orientation you plug in any device to your wall socket.

So, you can’t plug the speakers directly into the wall socket. You need a device that converts the AC current to DC. And now, the amps come into play.

Your amps convert the AC current to DC and supply the DC current to your speakers. And, to run your speakers properly, your amps need to provide enough load to the speakers.

Hence, if your amp’s capacity is lower than your speaker’s requirement, the amp will struggle a lot.

And, due to this overstressing, the amp transformer will overheat excessively. Eventually, it can even blow your amp completely.

Not only that, this can reduce your speaker components’ longevity as well.

Here’s a quick look at how the impedance ratings can affect your amps and speakers.

Speaker impedance/ohm ratingsAmp impedance/ohm ratingImpedance relation between speaker and ampEffects on amps or speaker
44Equal impedance ratings.Stable (No headroom for amp).
48Speaker impedance rating is lower.Damaged amp due to overheating.
64Speaker impedance is higher.Recommended (Adequate headroom for amp)
164Speaker impedance is a lot higher.Compressed or low sound quality due to low dynamic range.

So, it’s recommended to pair a higher ohm speaker with a lower ohm amp. However, pairing a much higher impedance speaker with a lower impedance amp can produce compressed sound quality.

Now, how do you connect a 6 ohm speaker with an 8 ohm amp?

As we promised, here’s the solution for you.

How to Safely Connect a 6 Ohm Speaker with an 8 Ohm Amp?

You know that pairing a higher ohm speaker with a lower ohm amp can damage your device.

So, to overcome this situation, we need to raise the speaker’s ohm rating.

Back Panel of a Speaker
Source: Yamaha

But don’t worry. You don’t need to replace your stock speaker for this. Just add an extra resistor between the amp and the speaker’s positive connection.

Here’s the wiring diagram to add the resistor for your convenience.

Wiring Diagram of Extra Resistor
Source: SoundCertified

The positive connection from the amp connects to the speaker’s positive pole via the resistor. It increases the output impedance to 10 ohms, higher than the amp’s 8 ohms.

As a result, your amp now has a higher load capacity than the output device. So, your amp will be safe to run your speakers effortlessly.

So, if you’ve already bought an 8 ohm amp for your 6 ohm speaker, that’s the solution.

However, it’s always better to match the speaker and amp before you make the purchase. This will ensure a clean setup without any further hassles.

So, how do you match the speaker and amp?

To match your speaker and amp, check the ohm rating of both devices. If they are the same, then you don’t need to worry about anything.

Still, let’s check out some details about matching in the following section.

How to Match the Speaker & Amp?

You already know the gist of how to match speakers and amps.

However, there are some key factors that you should keep in mind while purchasing your sound devices. I’ve seen many people interpreting the specifications wrongly and purchasing the wrong device.

how to match speakers and amps
Source: Home Cinema Guide

Let’s find out what those factors are and why you should check them.

Impedance Rating of the Amp per Channel:

Usually, the impedance rating on the amp is rated per channel. The number of channels can be 1, 2, 4, 6, and so on.

“4 ohms per channel” means you can connect 4 ohms speakers to each channel. So, keep an eye on the rating per channel, not as a whole.

Nominal Impedance & Minimum Impedance:

The impedance rating on the amp can be described as nominal and minimum. 

Remember to check the nominal impedance rating. This is the impedance rating your amp can operate at for a long period.

Just ignore the minimum impedance and focus on nominal impedance as it may confuse you.

Continuous/RMS Power & Peak Power:

Just like the impedance rating, the power rating is well described in different terms. To make it easier for you, don’t even think about peak power.

But why should you ignore the peak power rating?

Well, the peak power indicates the maximum power the device can handle.

RMS vs peak
Source: Retro Manufacturing

Think of it this way. How long can you run at your maximum speed?

Yes, you’re covering more distance in a short time than walking. But you’ll soon be exhausted and won’t even be able to walk.

Your devices work the same. If you put them at peak power, they would deliver the maximum result for a short time. But, eventually, they’d get damaged.

So, focus on the continuous/RMS power rating of your devices. This rating indicates your device can handle the power for a long time without getting damaged.

Power Rating of Speakers & Amps

Just like the impedance rating, the power rating of your speaker and amps should also be matched. Otherwise, you may damage your sound devices.

Here’s a quick look at how the power ratings can affect your amps and speakers.

Speaker RMS watt ratingsAmp RMS watt ratingsRMS watt relation between speaker and ampEffects on amps or speaker
500500Equal RMS watt ratings.Amp can get damaged quickly (No headroom for the amp).
500400Amp RMS watt rating is lower.Damaged amp due to overheating.
500750Amp RMS watt rating is higher.Recommended (Adequate headroom for amp)

As you can see, the amp’s RMS/continuous watt rating should be higher than the speaker’s.

But how high should your amp rating be? Is it worth buying 100 watt amps for 50 watt speakers?

Well, we recommend choosing an amp that has around 50% higher power rating than the speaker. Anything above that is a waste of money.

However, higher wattage amps can be justified for future speaker upgrades.

Wattage Rating of the Amp per Channel & Ohm:

Just like the ohm rating, the wattage rating also varies with the power. But in addition, the wattage rating also varies with the ohm.

Generally, the more the ohm or resistance, the less the power.

Hence, you need to look for the variable wattage rating per channel and the ohm value.

So, that was all about connecting a single speaker with a single amp channel.

But what if you want to connect multiple speakers to a single channel of the amp?

Let’s find out.

How to Pair Multiple Speakers with a Single Amp?

Well, before moving further, we need to ensure you understand the basics of series and parallel connections. This is because you’ll connect multiple speakers by following either of the connection methods.

The power or wattage value calculation for multiple speakers’ connection is quite straightforward. Just add up the total wattage of your speakers to find out the final wattage value.

However, when it comes to impedance, things get a bit complex.

Here are the series and parallel wiring diagrams for your understanding.

speakers resistance
Source: SoundCertified

The diagram may seem a bit complex for non-technical people. Hence, we’ll try to make it as simple as possible.

Speakers Connection in Series:

Think of a water pipe that is flowing water to its full potential. Now, if you put a ball inside the pipe, it will act as a resistance. As a result, the water-flow rate will decrease.

Speakers Connection
Source: Prime Sound

If you put another ball in the same pipe, the resistance will increase further. Thus, decreasing the flow rate even more.

This is the series connection. Here, two resistors (speakers) are connected to a single wire.

Now, how do you calculate the resistance value in a series connection?

The formula to calculate the resistance value in a parallel connection is as follows:

R = r1 + r2

Where:
R = Total resistance
r1 = Resistance-1 (speaker-1)
r2 = Resistance-1 (speaker-1)

As you see, it’s nothing but adding up the total impedance or resistance values of all speakers.

So, the total resistance for both speakers will be,

R= r1 Ohms+r2 Ohms
R= 4 Ohms+4 Ohms
So, R = 8 Ohms

So, it was quite easy, right? Now, let’s find out what happens if you connect multiple speakers in parallel.

Speakers Connection in Parallel:

Let’s get back to the water pipe analogy. But here, we’ll use two separate pipes for two balls.

If you put a ball inside the pipe, this will work as a resistance. As a result, the water-flow rate will decrease.

Speakers Connection in Parallel
Source: Mesa/Boogie Support

However, if you add another pipe, the water can travel through that pipe without any resistance. Hence, the water-flow rate will get back to normal.

But what if you put the second ball on the second pipe? Well, the water-flow rate will decrease compared to no resistance flow.

But, compared to the single pipe with one ball as resistance, the water-flow rate is double here. This is because the water is getting another path to flow through.

This is the parallel connection. Here, two resistors (speakers) are connected to two separate wires.

Now, how do you calculate the resistance value in a parallel connection?

The bookish formula to calculate the resistance value in a parallel connection is as follows:

1R

Where:
R = Total resistance
r1 = Resistance-1 (speaker-1)
r2 = Resistance-1 (speaker-1)

So, the total resistance for both speakers will be

1R=14 Ohms
24 Ohms

1R=24 Ohms

1 2 Ohms

So, R = 2 Ohms

But we don’t want you to do this annoying calculation. Hence, we’re providing you with the easiest way to calculate the total resistance in a parallel connection.

But remember, this works only for identical impedance values of different speakers.

However, you can mix different ohm speakers with your amp as well. But in that case, you need to follow the previous parallel connection formula to calculate the resistance.

So, here’s the simple formula for you.

Ohm rating of a single speaker

Where:
R = Total resistance.

So, the calculation now goes this way.

Ohm rating of a single speaker
4 2 Ohms

So, R = 2 Ohms

So, that’s how you calculate the total resistance value for multiple speakers.

Here’s a calculated table for your assistance to connect up to 4 speakers in one amp channel.

Impedance or ohm of each speakerNumber of speakersTotal impedance in series connectionTotal impedance in parallel connection
428 Ω2 Ω
4416 Ω1 Ω
6212 Ω3 Ω
6424 Ω1.5 Ω
8216 Ω4 Ω
8432 Ω2 Ω
16232 Ω8 Ω
16464 Ω4 Ω

So, if you want to connect multiple speakers to a single amp channel, match your amp accordingly. Furthermore, remember to match the wattage rating of your speakers with the amp as well.

However, if you’ve already bought mismatched speakers and amps, there are some ways to pair them safely.

But you need to use a speaker selector switch with impedance protection to align them properly. 

In our personal experience, we’ve found the Monoprice Speaker Selector to be the best. 

They provide different options, from dual channel to 6 channel speaker connections.

Not only that, they’re wireless and have impedance protection as well. So, you don’t have to worry about burning your amps or speakers for impedance mismatch.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I Use a Higher Ohm Speaker with a Lower Ohm Amp?

You can use higher ohm speakers with lower ohm amps. A higher ohm translates to a lower current load. Hence, lower ohm amps have more load supplying capacity than higher ohm speakers require. However, upscaling speakers’ ohm too much can result in compressed/low quality sound output.

Can I Use a Lower Ohm Speaker with a Higher Ohm Amp?

You can’t use lower ohm speakers with higher ohm amps. A lower ohm translates to a higher current load. Hence, higher ohm amps will struggle to supply enough loads than the speakers require. However, extra resistors can raise the speakers’ ohm. So, you can pair lower ohm speakers with higher ohm amps.

Are Tube Amps Better Than Solid State Amps?

Tube amps are better than solid state amps for musicians. This is because of the tube amps’ sophistication, responsiveness, and smoothness. However, they’re expensive & prone to causing issues. Hence, solid state amps are cheaper, more durable, and more sturdy than tube amps.

Take Away

We hope we could clear your confusion on “6 ohm speakers 4 or 8 ohm amp.”

Now, it’s time to hear from you. Let us know if you’ve ever faced any issues with your other sound devices.

We’d love to address the issues and provide solutions to them in our next articles.

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