Amplifier/Speaker Hook-Up

No matter how new, fancy or expensive your speaker wire is, it's critical that you read this sheet before hooking up your amp. In some ways, thick, high-end wire can present MORE of a problem than the conventional skinnier stuff. More on that later.

For the purposes of discussion we will use the term "amp" (short for amplifier) to refer to any receiver, integrated amp or power amp. This sheet is intended for solid state, transistorized sets. We'll leave tubes out of this particular discussion.

It is absolutely crucial that you use extra care in hooking up any solid state (transistorized) amp. The first rule is to make sure the amp is turned off before connecting the speakers. Next make sure your wires are long enough to reach the speakers in one piece - rather than splicing numerous pieces together. When connecting the wire to the amp and speaker, make sure you have the proper "connectors" on the wire to mate with their respective terminals. There are many types of plugs, jacks etc., used for this application. We can either supply you with these connectors or send you to a place that has them. Often connector plugs are not needed and simply "tinning" the stranded wire with solder is adequate. In general loose strands of wire are NOT good either at the speaker or amp!


In general most of us here are skeptical that this type of wire makes any difference. If the length of wire is more than 50 feet, the light duty stuff that we give away with a purchase (18 gauge), may have some signal loss. Thick wire can present problems of its own, however: The main problem is that it is frequently too thick to cleanly attach to the amp or speakers. You MUST do whatever is needed to make the wire small enough at the end to make a clean connection. This can be done either with special connectors OR thinning down the number of conductors and tinning them.

It's also a good idea to pay attention to the "phasing" of your speakers. In simple terms it means making sure the positive side of the amp goes to the positive side of the speaker and negative to negative as well. Positive and negative are marked in many different ways. Red screws, a plus sign (+), "8," etc., indicate positive; black screws, "0," a minus sign (-), "G," etc., indicate negative. We usually tie a knot in the negative side of the wire to make it easy to identify later. Transparent insulation showing different colored (usually silver and copper) wires make it easy to distinguish negative from positive, but all twin lead wire has some code, such as a ridge or a colored stripe to distinguish it from the other.

There are many very elaborate set-ups these days that require complex installation. On gear that we've recently sold or repaired, we're willing to give a short consultation at no charge. If it's more than we can solve in 5 minutes on the phone or at the counter, we can refer you to an installer that can come to your house.

One final thing: If your speakers are less than 8 ohms ask us before you hook up another set of speakers to the same amp! Our warranty is conditional on following this sheet!!







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