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RSD Quick Guide -Matching speakers and amps ?

How do you match speakers and amps ?

Back in the seventies (when I first started!) the general advice was to have twice as much speaker capability (measured in watts) as you had amplifier output.

Now the general rule is the other way around; have twice as much amplifier power as you have speaker capability.

The trick is to make sure your amps aren''t running at full stretch. It''s like cruising along the motorway at 70 with a car that is capable of a lot more. A clapped-out Lada could maybe do 70 as well, but it won''t like it!

To protect your amplifiers and your speakers, the first rule is keep the sound ''clean''. Yes, I know that if you let the red lights come on all the time on the mixer it goes louder, but red means the signal is now distorting and producing a dirty sound. Too much signal into the amp means clipping by the time it reaches the speakers and then things start to go wrong. This is the path to blown speakers, distorted sound quality, unhappy audiences, venues not paying you (as you cant finish the gig with blown speakers) and general unhappiness!

Most speakers have two connectors at the back - and these are usually in parallel. This means you can connect the output from your amplifier to the first speaker and then use another cable to go from the first speaker to another speaker. If these are both 8 ohm speakers, then as the connection will be parallel, you now have an overall resistance of 4 ohms. You should do this with speakers that are the same or at least very similar - otherwise you risk overloading one of them. If they are not the same impedance then do not connect them. It will be bad.

So, bigger amps, run them gently, keep the signal clean and the best speakers you can afford to get a clear sound that shows off your musical talent in the best possible way.

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