Have you ever wondered how speakers can damage an amplifier? It is actually very simple.
When the speaker’s impedance is less than that of the amplifier, more power will be drawn from the amplifier than it can provide. This will cause the amplifier to overheat and stop working.
Most audio engineers or music producers would know that amplifiers often do damage speakers. But few would know that speakers can also damage the amplifier.
Let’s take a look into how speakers can damage an amplifier and how to prevent it. But before we get into how a speaker can damage an amplifier, we need to understand what a speaker impedance is, as this will be the main reason speakers can damage an amplifier.
Speaker Impedance is the product of listening volume and speaker efficiency.
Technically, the speaker impedance is a measure that tells you how hard your speaker or amp has to work to drive an electrical current into the voice coil. There are two types; 8-ohm and 4-ohm.
How Can Speakers Damage Amplifier?
One of the main causes of how a speaker can damage an amplifier is the impedance mismatch between the speakers and the amplifier. A faulty speaker can also sometimes damage an amplifier, but that is very rare. Let’s take a look at them in detail.
The Impedance Mismatch
When a group of speakers’ total impedance is either higher or lower than the amplifier’s impedance range, an impedance mismatch occurs.
When low-impedance speakers are connected to amplifiers with a high impedance, the impedances between them become mismatched.
This indicates that you’re using an amplifier that is far too feeble to drive the speakers connected to it. When the speaker impedance is greater than the amp’s impedance, you can describe this as a mismatch in terms of ohms.
When the speaker impedance is lower than the amplifier, the amplifier will not be able to provide enough power to the speaker. This causes an overload and overheating on both speakers and amps, which eventually leads to failure.
For example, if your amp is built for 4-8 ohms, you will have no problem with a 4-8 ohms speaker impedance. But when your speaker’s ohms becomes lower than 4 ohms, this causes an impedance mismatch as your amplifier can handle only up to 4 ohms.
Suppose you have connected 2 pairs of speakers which have both 4 ohms in parallel. The total ohms would become 2 ohms. So, an amplifier that can only handle up to 4 ohms will have a hard time driving this. This will cause the amplifier to heat, and if you continue to power up with the mismatch, the amp will eventually get damaged due to overheating.
Speakers can become faulty over time, and when this happens, the speaker can present a wrong impedance than the actual impedance it was supposed to have.
So, when the impedance becomes lower than the amplifier’s impedance range, we all know what will happen.
How To Prevent The Speaker From Damaging The Amp
Here are three ways to prevent your amplifier from damage.
1. Get a Matching Impedance.
The best way to prevent speakers from damaging an amplifier is by checking if the speakers’ impedance and amp’s impedance range are matched.
If you are unsure, it would be better for you to check the user manual or search online about the specifications of both components before connecting them. You can also get professional help on this matter if needed.
Most modern amps are built with protective circuitry that automatically cut down the power when detecting an impedance mismatch.
This is a good thing as this prevents your speakers from being damaged by constantly cutting off the sound output due to impedance mismatch. However, these protectors can also cause music distortion or completely cut off any sounds while preventing speaker damage.
Suppose you want to connect speakers with different impedance. In that case, it is recommended that you get an amplifier that allows the option of changing the impedance range via switches or dials on your amp.
This way, if any changes in speaker impedance over time can cause damage due to mismatches, this feature will help protect your equipment from further damage.
2. Check Your Speaker’s Impedance once in a while
I have mentioned in the above section that faulty speakers can present the wrong impedance. Therefore, you should check your speakers’ condition once in a while to see any hardware problem that can change the impedance.
3. Do Not Mess With The Speaker Wires After Connecting.
Never try to change the speaker wire after connecting it.
This might cause a short circuit which will lead to damage to your speakers or amp.
If you are unsure how to connect them, please refer back to the user manual of both components before trying anything else.
Speakers can damage an amplifier, and we should always check the speaker impedance before connecting them to protect our equipment from further damage.
I hope this article has helped you with how speakers can cause amp damage, which many people do not know.