Amplifiers are mostly used for concerts and similar events but we are seeing more and more people buying an amplifier for personal use. When an amplifier is used in a professional setting, there’s an audio guide to set it up. Since most people need help with setting up an amplifier, I’m here to answer some questions. We’ll focus on: Can speakers damage an amplifier?
Although it’s not likely to happen, speakers can damage an amplifier. That is only if the amplifier overloads the speakers. It’s more likely that your amplifier will damage the speakers which in turn can damage the amplifier. This usually happens with low impedance speakers connected.
The main thing to be concerned about is if the speakers and the amplifier are compatible. Let’s go into specifics.
Amplifier – Speakers Damage
I think the best way to approach this is to explain what amplifiers are all about. The amplifier is the unit that creates problems, so it makes sense. Also, amplifiers are not cheap at all so I guess most of you are concerned about amplifier damage.
What Is An Amplifier?
Amplifiers are not necessarily used for audio. Basically, an amplifier takes a low current or signal and makes it larger/stronger. It has a broad range of uses in electronics and practical sciences. As audio equipment, it’s used for taking a low input and making it louder.
For instance, most people that buy amplifiers for personal use and plug an instrument into them. Without an amplifier, few in the audience can hear the guitar. The amplifier takes the input and gives it enough gain so it can even be split into two or more output devices.
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How Amplifiers Damage Speakers
When you’re buying speakers or headphones you’ll see “impedance” in one of the listed features. That’s the feature you should pay attention to. An amplifier damaging speakers is mostly because of low impedance speakers.
The impedance value tells you how resistant the speakers are to an electric current. That’s what impedance is. Impedance also determines the quality of the sound.
When the amplifier delivers a current, impedance is there to control it. It allows for the efficient passing of a current. If the current is too amplified, impedance resists the strong current and controls it so it can pass without distortion.
So, if the speakers have low impedance it draws more power from the amplifier. Basically, the amplifier is sending a current that the speaker can’t control. Since the speakers are drawing a current which is too strong, they can quickly burn out.
And that’s how an amplifier can damage speakers. The speakers don’t necessarily have to be low impedance. You can have speakers with high impedance but the amplifier still may be too strong. In that case, your speakers can still be damaged.
The speaker’s and the amplifier’s impedance need to be compatible. That way you can avoid damaging your equipment. Otherwise, incidents happen.
I would be worried about the speakers being damaged. Although I understand why you’re worried about the amplifier. The burnout speakers can mess up the amplifier and other technical equipment. Most likely, only the speakers will be damaged.
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Matching Your Amplifier And Speakers
So, all we care about is making sure the impedance of the amp and the speakers are compatible. All amplifiers and speakers have the amount of impedance listed on the box. Check the manual of your speakers, you will find the impedance. If you’re buying, the impedance will be featured.
Impedance is measured in Ω(ohms). Although I’m not sure it will exactly say “impedance” in the manual, the number of ohms will be listed. Most speakers have an impedance of 4,6 or 8 ohms.
Likewise, amplifiers support speakers from 4-8 ohms. The impedance range of the amplifier will also be listed in ohms in the manual. You can find amplifiers that support 4-6 Ω speakers or 6-8 Ω speakers.
Using speakers with an impedance of 4 ohms connected to a 6-8 ohms amplifier is a big no-no. As we said, don’t use low impedance speakers with a high impedance amplifier.
You can use high impedance speakers with a low impedance amplifier though. Nothing will be damaged, you won’t get the most out of the amplifier, however.
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Buying Only An Amplifier
So, if you already have good speakers and you only want to buy an amplifier, here’s what you have to do. First, check the impedance of your speakers. Then, look for an amplifier that has an impedance range that supports your speakers. That’s all you have to do, you won’t have any problems. For example, if you have 6 Ω speakers, look for an amplifier that supports 6-8 Ω speakers.
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Buying Only Speakers
Let’s say you have an amplifier but you want to buy good speakers. To avoid any trouble with current resistance, follow this. Check in the manual of the amplifier for the impedance range. You can find this online if you have the model. Then, look for speakers that fit that impedance range.
If you have an amplifier that supports 4-6 Ω, look for speakers that have an impedance of 4 Ω or 6 Ω.
Buying Both Speakers And Amplifier
Now, it’s always better if you’re starting from scratch. If you’re buying speakers and an amplifier, you can choose compatible models. The recommended impedance range is 6-8 Ω. You should always avoid low impedance units.
Find really good speakers with an impedance of 6 or 8 ohms. Then, just look for a good amplifier that has than impedance range.
I don’t exactly know what you want from the amplifier. Let me recommend these combinations. Even if you don’t like them, look for something similar.
- Combine the Polk Audio S20 with Marantz PM5005
The S20 is a really good pair of speakers for your home, the Marantz amp works best with home speakers. The amp is entry-level.
- Buy the Marshall Kilburn II Bluetooth Speaker
This is an excellent choice if you’re planning on plugging your guitar. Marshall is known for their guitar amplifiers but we’re seeing some new cool speakers. Marshall Kilburn II, it’s a portable speaker that can act as an amplifier. It’s a really good all-in-one device that provides quality acoustic sound.
- Buy the Marshall Kilburn II Bluetooth Speaker
How To Avoid Damaging Low Impedance Speakers With An Amp
Now, let’s end this on a cautionary note. I guess some of you already have low impedance speakers that are not compatible with the amp. So what to do? You can still use the speakers but don’t crank up the volume. The current gets stronger when you raise the volume.
If you keep the volume of the speakers, you are controlling the current. This way, there’s no way your amplifier will damage your speakers or vice versa.