How to Connect Two Receivers Together
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If your speakers are power-hungry and your receiver is struggling to provide enough power or if you have more speakers than receiver channels, you may be wondering if adding a second receiver to the setup is a good idea.

However, you won’t get more power by hooking up the output of one receiver to the input of another. The better option to gain more power is to get a receiver with preamp output and a powerful amp. Then simply hook the preamp outs from your receiver to the inputs of the power amp. Another option is to step up separates (learn more about receivers vs separates).

Having said that, if you still want to hook up two receivers, please ensure that your receivers have line-level outputs or preamp out. There are many good receivers with preamp out on the market. These are known as pre out receivers. You can also use a tape output or zone 2 output. 

Before we get into details, let’s take a quick look at the steps to connect two receivers together:

  1. Connect your input source (CD, Blu-ray, etc)
  2. Locate the output on the first receiver (preamp output, tape or zone 2)
  3. Locate the input on the second receiver
  4. Use an RCA cable to connect the output of the first receiver to the input of the second receiver. 

Steps to Connect Two Receivers Together

Below, you will find the simple steps you can follow to connect your two receivers and improve your entertainment experience in no time:  

1. Connect Your Source

Ensure you have the two receivers in close proximity in your listening room. Plug one of them into an outlet and connect your sources to the input, whether it may be a CD player, Aux, Blu-ray player, or whatever else. 

2. Locate the output on the first receiver

Locate the output on the rear of the device. Most designers typically position the output here and label it “Output”. 

receiver preamp output, tape output or zone 2 output

This output could be a preamp output, tape output or zone 2 output. 

3. Locate the input on the second receiver

Turn to your second receiver and plug it into the wall as well. Unlike the first receiver, you should locate the device’s input.

receiver phono input

Receiver designers and manufacturers also typically put this on the back. Look out for the jacks that are labeled “Input.” 

If you are using zone 2, you can connect it to any input other than phono on the second receiver. AUX is a good choice for example. Keep in mind however that if a digital source is connected, it cannot feed zone 2 because it is analog.

4. Use an RCA Cable To Connect The receivers

Find a high-quality RCA cable and plug it into the “Output” on the first receiver. After that, plug it into the “Input” on the second device.

That is all you need to do. However, you should always remember to match up the color of the cable’s tips to that of the output and input jacks to prevent errors and get the best experience. 

Can You Connect Two Receivers to a Single Set of Speakers?

So now you know how to connect two receivers. However, you may further decide to connect them to a single set of speakers. You can consider purchasing a separate set of speakers, but it is costly. 

The good news is that you can do this without any difficulty by using one of the following methods:

A Popular Choice: Speaker Switches

Using speaker switches is one of the most convenient methods, but it could damage your audio system if you ignore the basics. To reduce the risk, you should:

  • Purchase the correct type of speaker switch. Speaker switches are not created equal, so getting the right one comes at a small cost.
  • The ideal speaker switches can completely shut off the second receiver. You can opt for switches that have sensors. They allow receivers to switch automatically based on what you need at any given time.
  • Some speaker switches with sensors are prone to lots of audio issues. Nonetheless, they are compatible with many devices and can be all you need to connect the speakers to your two receivers securely.
  • Ensure your receivers are not on concurrently. This could cause several problems, such as heavy loading outputs to the receivers

A Cheaper Alternative: Banana Plugs

Speaker switches are common but are more costly than banana plugs. So, since both of them can help you accomplish the same task, it could be best to use banana plugs. It is the best option for people who are tight on budget.  

Banana plugs look like headphone jacks and make switching the speaker source between your two receivers easy. You should put together extra wires to make the switching more efficient.

It is best to remember the affordability comes at a cost. The banana plug doesn’t solve the entire problem of switching the receiver, so you need to get a set of wires to help you accomplish the mission.

Why Do You Need Receivers?

Before you hook up your receiver, consider whether it is the right type. We have two types of receivers. These are:

  • A/V receiver: Have at least 5 channels and designed to handle your video and audio needs
  • Stereo receivers: Have 2 channels and only handle audio output

Here are the primary functions of a typical receiver:

  • Connects and switches audio and video sources: The audio sources in a home theater are connected to your stereo or A/V receiver. 
  • This allows you to choose your preferred audio sources without any trouble. 
  • However, your video source can only be connected to your A/V receiver. Your display device is also connected to the receiver. So, you can select any video source that you want to watch on the receiver’s remote.
  • In short, you get the best sound and video quality when switching your video through the receiver.
  • Decode digital and analog surround formats.  The A/V receiver can decode these surround-sound formats, making it more valuable than a stereo receiver.
  • Amplifies audio signals. Stereo and A/V receivers have the remarkable ability to amplify audio signals. However, the audio-video device contains at least five channels, making it suitable for driving your surround-sound speaker system.  In other words, it supports not less than the typical 5.1 surround setup.
  • Stereo receivers have two channels of amplification. Please note that this means it can only serve your stereo needs, not surround-sound.
  • Provides radio programming. Receivers have radio tuners. Most A/V receivers also feature satellite radio receivers, giving users the rare opportunity to get much satellite-exclusive content like sports programming.

When Should You Connect Two Receivers Together?

From the above explanation, receivers are essential for amplifying, routing, and managing your audio properly, inputting sound from external devices, and more. 

However, they have limited amplification channels. A stereo receiver, for example, has 2 channels. So, let’s say you have two stereo receivers and several speakers. If you use one receiver, you will not be able to connect the other speakers.

So, many people choose to connect a second speaker to create more channels for amplification.

The good news is the process of connecting receivers is straightforward if you understand the steps. 

Wrap Up

You can use the simple steps above to hook up your two receivers if you need to get more from your home theater system. You can also use a speaker switch or banana plug to connect these receivers to your single set of speakers.