How to Properly Install Your Bookshelf Speakers?

Install Your Bookshelf Speakers

There is more to adding speakers to your home entertainment center than just buying them, connecting them to the receiver and listening. You need to be aware of certain speaker specifications, the way you are wiring your speakers and whether or not you need to bi-amp or bi-wire your speakers for optimum performance.

Basic Speaker Wiring Do s

You would think that connecting speaker wires from your receiver to your speaker would be simple enough. Typically, there is one positive (+) and one negative (-) connector on the back of your speaker. There are also positive and negative terminals on the back of your receiver. You want to make sure that the positive cable connection from the receiver is running to the positive terminal on the speaker. You want to do the same with the negative connections from receiver to speaker.

Use banana plugs or spades to connect your speakers to your receiver. If your speakers only have two-way binding posts in the back, make sure to correctly insert the copper wiring connected to both terminals.

Basic Speaker Wiring Don ts

Don t connect the positive terminal of the receiver to the negative terminal of the speaker and vise versa. This won t damage your speaker or your receiver, but it will throw the speakers out of phase. When your speakers are out of phase this severely impacts the sound quality. When you first connect your speakers and they don t sound right, don t assume they are broken. Check the wiring and make sure you ve correctly connected all of the terminals together.

If you are connecting your speakers to your receiver via bare speaker wire, make sure that you have a secure connection to each terminal   and be careful that the positive and negative speaker wires do not touch one another. When two live speaker wires with opposing charges touch one another, it can damage both your speakers and receiver.

Speaker Specifications

Speaker specifications such as sensitivity rating and nominal impedance are important to keep in mind when pairing your speakers with a receiver.

Sensitivity rating is the amount of sound a speaker generates when you input a reference tone of 2.83V or 1W. In simple terms, it measures efficiency. Speakers with higher sensitivity ratings need less power to generate sound. These speakers can usually be paired with just about any receiver and sound fine. Speakers with low sensitivity ratings need a more powerful amplifier to sound good.

Nominal impedance is another specification you need to pay attention to when deciding on a pair of speakers. This is a speaker s resistance to an electrical current. An 8-ohm load is the most common, and it enables you to pair speakers with less powerful amplifiers and be fine. Speakers with 4-ohm or 6-ohm loads need more power to be driven properly.

Speaker Specification Do s

You can pair a speaker with a sensitivity rating of 98 decibels (high sensitivity rating) and an 8-ohm load with just about any receiver and the speaker will sound fine. If your speaker has an 85dB sensitivity rating and a 4-ohm load, you’ll need a high-powered amplifier or receiver to achieve optimum sound quality.

Speaker Specification Don ts

Don t pair your speakers with a 4-ohm load and 85dB sensitivity rating to a low-powered, entry-level receiver. Doing so can push your receiver too hard and possibly make your amplifier explode (not literally, but it will ruin your amplifier).

Bi-wiring Do s

Bi-wiring speaker divides the frequencies to separate drivers within your speaker. This cleans up your sound by sending the correct frequencies to the drivers that it s intended for.

If there are two sets of binding posts on the back of your speaker, your speaker is capable of bi-wiring or bi-amping. The two sets will be connected by a copper or gold plate. In order to bi-wire your speaker, you need to remove that plate connecting both sets of binding inputs.

Next, take speaker wire and connect one set of inputs to the positive and negative terminals of the amplifier and connect the other set of inputs to the corresponding posts on the back of the amplifier. Since the copper plate is no longer connecting the two inputs on the back of the speaker, you will be sending separate power to each binding post, removing unwanted frequencies from woofers and tweeters and improving your sounds clarity.

Bi-wiring Don ts

In any speaker setup, you want to make sure that the positive and negative wires don t touch since that could damage your amplifier.

If you try to bi-wire your speaker without removing the copper plate, true bi-wiring will not be achieved. You will be sending the same frequencies to each separate speaker.

Don t try to bi-wire your speakers with an underpowered amplifier. You will push the amplifier past its capabilities and potentially ruin the amp.

By following this guide, you should be able to correctly and safely connect your speakers to your receiver or amplifier correctly. Knowledge is power, and that power keeps you from destroying your expensive audio equipment.


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