Parallel vs Series Speakers – Basic Comparison 2023

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Written By Bruce






Setting up a music system with speakers for making a great surround system needs more effort than just following instructions. They can be connected to the device with two types of wiring, i.e., parallel wiring, series wiring, or their combination. It will help if you put in a bit of extra work while connecting the speakers.

Well, don’t worry; we will help and assist you with the detailed information you need to know about parallel vs series speakers wiring.

The wiring of the speakers gives out the final quality. Series wiring is best for some people, while some prefer the parallels. However, some people are delighted when speakers are connected in combination.

This can be not very clear. That’s why here we are to guide you through the process. But before wiring the speakers, there are some points that you must know

  • load
  • impedance
  • phase
  • ohm’s law

These are some basics that you must know beforehand. This article is all about guiding you and making you understand the difference between parallel and series wiring of speakers and how that affects the whole audio quality.

What is Inside a Speaker? 

Have you ever tried to dismantle a speaker to explore what is inside? Well, it’s a no, but I am sure that everyone must have wondered what the inside of a speaker looks like. To buy an excellent surround sound system, you should know this. The sound is produced by the speakers, which makes it an eye-catching and effective device.

inside speaker

However, it won’t be able to work on its own. Only after being connected to a stereo or an amplifier speaker can it work well. Also, multi speakers can be connected to the receiver. So let us tell you what is inside of a speaker. First, you will find a voice coil, magnet, and speaker cone inside of a speaker.

The first one is designed for reviewing electric signals and creating a magnetic field, while the other one is for producing sound waves, and also for the conversion of electric signals to audio and loudly playing it. To be understandable and audible to humans, this cone has to be moved a couple of thousand times per second. As we use the kilohertz range for measuring the quantity of music.

Different Components of a Speaker: 

Let’s see the working of a speaker. First, we will connect the speakers to the amplifier. It depends on you whether to choose two speakers, four speakers, or multiple speakers.

The amplifier is used to send electric signals to the speakers alternating between the positive and negative. This happens in a musical waveform. And this electric current then travels through the voice coil, which is present inside the speakers. The pathway of this signal is from the positive side to the negative side, which in turn creates a magnetic field that moves in the direction towards and away from the coil, alternatively following the changes in electric current between positive and negative.

component of sepakers

Also, this magnetic field is charged the same as that of the magnet. Due to this, the sound is produced by moving away from the magnet causing the forward movement of the speaker cone by pushing the air and, lastly, creating the sound.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that the speakers use AC. That implies the electric signal will be at its peak even before it changes its direction and moves in reverse order. Along with the downward movement of the electric signal, the magnetic field will also get weak, which will allow the speaker to regain its original position.

There is again a new thing known as zero crossovers which is nothing but the zero voltage point where the speaker cone is again at its place. Now, the polarity of electric signals will be in the reverse direction which means towards the negative direction. Therefore, the current direction will be changed in the voice coil ( it will go from the negative to the positive side).

So, an opposite charge will be present in the magnetic field now which will cause the magnet to be attracted towards it. Again there will be a cone movement but in a direction from front to rear(reversed). Similarly, when the sine wave starts to get weak again, the speaker cone will again be repositioned.

All this movement of the front-back-original speaker cone occurs almost thousands of times every second so that the produced sound is audible to human ears.

parr or ser speaker

Parallel vs Series Speakers – Parallel Wiring

Wiring speakers in parallel is easy when you connect two speakers or more to the amplifier. However, here you need to understand that the overall impedance of the speakers is halved instead of being added.

For example, you need to connect two 16-ohm load speakers to an 8-ohm load amplifier if you use the parallel connection.

Wiring multiple speakers in parallel

You’ll need more wires here. The positive of the amplifier will be connected to the positive of both speakers. The same is followed for the negative. The speakers are not connected but are fully connected to the amplifier.

By adding other speakers to the circuit, we reduce the overall resistance which means the current will increase(Ohm’s law), when we add the speakers to the parallel circuit, the current draw on the amp increases accordingly.

calculation formula: 

Znet = 1 / (1/z1+ 1/z2+ 1/z3+ /z4+…)

A Combination of Two Speakers – One Series and One Parallel

A combination of series-parallel wiring is nothing more than two sets of speakers with series wiring connected to the amplifier using parallel wiring. The main reason to use combination wiring is to distribute the load and resistance evenly through the speaker network. However, you do need to get the configuration correctly. It would help if you calculated the loads to ensure that the wiring doesn’t lower the resistance too much. 

The combination speaker wiring can be better understood with the following example. We will take four speakers of 8 ohms, and then we’ll connect them in a manner of series/combination wiring so that they can match the 8-ohm load of the amplifier.

So let’s arrange the speakers ABCD:

Arrange speakers A, B, C, and D in two lines (A, B in the first and C, D in the second). 

  • First, we connect the positive of A to the positive of C.
  • Then, we connect the negative of A to the positive of B.
  • After that, we’ll connect the Negative of B to the negative of D.
  • Then the Positive of D is connected to the negative of C.
  • Now, we’ll connect the amplifier’s positive side to the positives of A and C, and the negative is connected to the negatives of B and D.

Both the right and left speakers are connected to the amplifier in parallel wiring. All the speakers at the top are connected in a series of wiring, which is quite similar to the speakers at the bottom. And due to this combination of circuit wiring, the output impedance will be going to be 8-ohm.

However, the output impedance can be matched by using a series or parallel connection box. Also, sound quality is better when there is a bit of a mismatch in them. When you use more than one speaker cabinet, this phenomenon can occur. So the speaker cabinets with 8 ohms and 16-ohm respectively can be safely plugged into the amplifiers of 4 ohms and 8-ohm. That means that the impedance can be twice the amplifier ohm but can never be more than that. 



Now we think you have learned sufficient enough for your understanding of the parallel vs series speaker wiring. So what do you think about them? Which one will you opt for, series or parallel? Although most of the time, parallel wiring is preferred because of the louder sound output as it offers lower resistance.

As for the series, wiring offers the sound output with some high mids, including animation and chime. When we talk about parallel wiring, a soothing deep bass comes with it. That can also be achieved with their combination wiring and also with a fuller ambient sound.

We strongly assume that this article on parallel v/s series wiring was helpful for you, and if you have any other questions or queries, you can drop them in the comment section.