How To Daisy Chain Speakers (Step by Step)

Norvan Martin
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Music is powerful, crossing borders and sparking feelings. It’s a big part of our days. Whether it’s for a fun party, a cozy date night, or just chill alone time, sound quality matters a lot. To make your music sound better, try linking speakers together in a chain. This setup lets you connect many speakers one after the other for a bigger and better sound. We’re going to dig into how to link speakers this way, why it’s good, how to do it, and what to watch out for.

What is Daisy Chaining?

Daisy chaining means hooking up several speakers one by one. This lets you play music through lots of speakers at once using just one source of sound. The best thing? You stretch your sound system’s reach without needing more amplifiers.

Daisy Chaining Speakers In Series:

How To Daisy Chain Speakers In Series

Daisy Chaining Speakers In Parallel:

How To Daisy Chain Speakers In Parallel

 

Benefits of Daisy Chaining Speakers

  1. Increased Coverage: Linking speakers this way is perfect for making sure your tunes reach all corners of a big room or outdoor area where one speaker just doesn’t cut it.
  2. Cost-Efficient: Instead of buying tons of amplifiers for each speaker, daisy chaining lets you power them all with just one. This can save you some serious cash.
  3. Versatility: With daisy chaining, you can adjust your setup however you need for different places or parties. Add more speakers or take some out with ease.
  4. Improved Sound Distribution: Place your speakers smartly in a chain, and you’ll get an even spread of sound that makes listening better for everyone.

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Getting Started: Equipment and Preparation

1. Selecting Compatible Speakers

Begin by making sure the speakers you want to link are compatible with each other. Look at each speaker’s specs, focusing on things like impedance, power handling, and sensitivity. If all these specs match, you’ll avoid problems such as bad sound quality or harming your speakers.

2. Choosing the Right Amplifier

Finding the right amplifier is just as crucial. Your amp needs to be strong enough to power all the speakers in the chain without causing any trouble. Add up the total impedance of the daisy chain and see if your amp can handle it. Always check the manuals for both speakers and amp to get things right.

3. Gathering Necessary Cables and Connectors

You will need some specific cables and connectors to set up your speaker system. Depending on what your speakers and amplifier support, you might use speaker wires, XLR cables, or quarter-inch cables. Make sure they’re long enough to connect all your speakers without pulling too tightly.

4. Understanding Speaker Impedance

Impedance is key when you’re linking speakers together. It’s an ohm measurement that tells you how much resistance a speaker has to electrical flow. In a daisy chain, when you hook up speakers in a series, their impedance levels combine. For example, two 8-ohm speakers linked together will have a total impedance of 16 ohms. Getting to grips with how impedance works is important so you don’t end up damaging your gear.

Methods of Daisy Chaining

1. Series Connection

Daisy chaining speakers often start with a series connection. Here, you connect the positive terminal of one speaker to the negative of another. The chain continues until you reach the last speaker, which connects back to the amplifier.

How To Daisy Chain Multiple Speakers In Series

How to set up a Series Connection:

a. Link the first speaker’s positive terminal to the amplifier’s positive output.

b. Attach the negative terminal of that speaker to the next one’s positive terminal.

c. Do this with each speaker, joining its negative terminal to the following speaker’s positive terminal.

d. Hook up the last speaker’s negative terminal to the amplifier’s negative output.

e. Check that your total impedance is above what your amplifier can handle.

2. Parallel Connection

In a parallel hookup, you tie all speakers’ positive terminals together, then do the same with their negative terminals. This parallel circuit ensures each speaker has the same voltage across it.

How To Daisy Chain Multiple Speakers In Parallel

Steps for Parallel Connection:

a. Connect every speaker’s positive terminal to the amplifier’s positive output.

b. Join all negative terminals to the amplifier’s negative output.

c. Be sure the total impedance isn’t less than what your amplifier requires.

d. Remember, parallel connections are more lenient with impedance than series ones.

3. Combination of Series and Parallel

Sometimes you need a mix of both series and parallel connections for a more elaborate setup. This way, you have branches in parallel and series, offering a good balance in sound distribution. 

How to Combine Speakers In Parallel:

a. First, arrange the speakers into groups. Within each group, hook them up side-by-side (parallel).

b. Next, join all those groups along a single line (series), and make sure the last group is linked to your amp.

c. Finally, figure out the overall impedance for both parallel and series setups to check they’ll work with your amplifier.

 

How To Daisy-chain Active Speakers

Linking active speakers together means hooking up several powered speakers one after the other. As long as your speakers are active, meaning that they have an internal amplifier and have the input and output connections to do so, you can daisy chain as many active speakers as you want together. In this chain, each speaker has its own amplifier.

Before you continue here, you can also check out our guide on how to connect active speakers to a mixer.

You can play the same sound through several speakers using one audio source.

How To Daisy-chain Active Speakers

This lets the signal travel from one speaker to another. Here is a basic step-by-step on how to link active speakers:

Step 1: Find Input and Output Ports:

Look for the input and output ports on each powered speaker. The input is where the sound comes in, and the output is where it goes out to the next speaker.

Step 2: Get Your Cables Ready:

Pick out balanced audio cables, like XLR or TRS cables, to connect the speakers. Make sure they’re long enough to reach between your speakers wherever you place them.

Step 3: Ensure Speakers Are Compatible:

Make sure your powered speakers can be linked and have the right ports for input and output.

Step 4: Hook Up the Source:

Plug the source of your sound (like a mixer, audio interface, or music player) into the first speaker’s input using a balanced cable.

Step 5: Connect the First Speaker:

Use another cable to join the first speaker’s output to the second speaker’s input. Make sure it’s plugged in well.

  1. Connect the Audio Source: Link the mixer or other audio source’s output to the first speaker’s input using the right cable.
  2. Power On: Switch on your first speaker.

Step 6: Connect Additional Speakers:

If you have additional speakers, keep linking them by taking the output from one speaker to the input of the next one.

  1. Identify Output: Look for an “Output” or “Thru” label to find the output port on the first speaker.
  2. Connect to Next Speaker: Plug in a cable from this output to the next speaker’s input.
  3. Power On the Second Speaker: Now, turn on your second speaker.

Keep adding more speakers by following these steps for each new one you want to include. Just connect the output from one speaker to the input of the following one until you get to the final speaker in the line.

Step 7: Adjust Speaker Volumes:

Tweak each speaker’s volume until you achieve even sound throughout.

Step 8: Turn On the Speakers:

Switch on each powered speaker one by one. Check that they’re all plugged into a proper power outlet.

Step 9: Test the Setup

  1. Play Audio: Switch on the sound system and play some music or any audio to check if everything is working correctly.
  2. Check Volume Levels: Make sure that the sound level is good and consistent for every speaker connected in series.

How To Daisy-chain Passive Speakers

Linking passive speakers together means you hook up several speakers one after the other, so the sound moves from one to the next. Before you continue here, you can also check out our guide on how to connect passive speakers to an amplifier.

How to Connect Passive Speakers to an Amplifier - BoomSpeaker

Here’s an easy step-by-step on how to link passive speakers:

Step 1: Find Input and Output Ports:

Look for where to plug in and out cables on each speaker. You put the sound into the input, and the output lets it go to the next speaker.

Step 2: Collect Necessary Cables:

Pick out speaker wires that fit your speakers and are long enough to reach between them where you want to set them up.

Step 3: Make Sure Speakers Can Be Daisy-Chained:

Check that your speakers can be connected in a chain and that they have the ports you need for input and output.

Step 4: Hook Up the Source:

Use wires to connect the source of your audio, like an amp or receiver, to the first speaker’s input.

Step 5: Connect the First Speaker:

From the first speaker’s output, plug another wire into the next speaker’s input. Make sure it’s plugged in tight.

Step 6: Add More Speakers If Needed:

Keep going if you have more speakers, linking the output from one to the input of another.

Step 7: Tweak Speaker Volumes:

Adjust each speaker’s volume to get an even sound all around. If your sound source lets you change volumes for different speakers, you can do it there too.

Step 8: Turn On Your Amp or Receiver:

Switch on the equipment that’s sending out the sound to your linked speakers.

 

How To Connect Multiple Subwoofers

Hooking up several powered subwoofers one after another is called daisy-chaining. This lets the audio flow from subwoofer to subwoofer. Follow this easy guide to chain your powered subwoofers together:

1. Get the Right Cables:

  • RCA cables for subwoofers: You’ll need these to transfer the sound.
  • Plug each subwoofer into an electrical outlet with power cables.

2. Make Sure Subwoofers Can Be Daisy-Chained:

  • Check that your subwoofers can be linked this way. They must have the right ports to connect them in a chain.

3. Spot the Ports for Input and Output:

  • Find where to plug in (input) and where to connect out to the next sub (output) on each subwoofer.

4. Connect Your Sound Source:

  • Use the right cable, often an RCA, to hook up your sound source—like your stereo or amplifier—to the first subwoofer’s input.

5. Wire Up the First Subwoofer:

  • Link a cable from the output of the first subwoofer to the input of the second to pass on the sound. Make sure it’s plugged in well.

6. Keep Going for More Subwoofers:

  • If you’ve got additional subs, just continue like before. Connect the output from sub two to sub three and further if needed.

7. Turn on the Subwoofers:

  • Switch on each subwoofer one by one, making sure they are all connected to their own power sources.

8. Adjust Each Subwoofer:

  • Tweak the volume and settings on each sub till the bass sounds unified and evenly spread out.

 

Tips for a Successful Daisy Chain

  1. Balancing Impedance:
    • When connecting speakers in parallel, in particular, pay close attention to the impedance of each speaker and the overall impedance of the daisy chain load. Avoid falling below the minimum impedance supported by your amplifier, as this can lead to overheating and damage. Your amplifier could blow if the impedance of the speakers is too low.
  2. Using the Right Cables:
    • Select high-quality cables or substitute cables for the type of connections your speakers and amplifier support. You can always check this on the specifications sheet. Using the wrong cables can result in signal loss and reduced audio quality.
  3. Positioning Speakers:
    • Remember, audio waves travel in straight lines and can be canceled quite easily. Strategically position speakers to achieve optimal sound distribution. You must think about the acoustics of the space and aim for even coverage throughout the listening area. In addition, check for any issues such as phase problems, distorted sound, or imbalances. Make adjustments as needed.
  4. Labeling Connections:
    • Labeling the connections on each speaker can save time during setup and troubleshooting. Mark positive and negative terminals to avoid confusion.
  5. Powering Off Before Connecting:
    • Ensure that everything is powered down before you begin. Always turn off the amplifier and disconnect it from the power source before connecting or disconnecting speakers. This prevents electrical surges and protects your equipment.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

1. Distorted Sound

  • Potential Causes:
    • Impedance mismatch. Solve by checking and correcting impedance matching.
    • Poor cable connections. Solve by ensuring all cables are securely connected.
    • Overloaded amplifier. Solve this by adjusting the amplifier settings and reducing the load to avoid overloading.

2. Low Volume Output

  • Potential Causes:
    • Insufficient power from the amplifier. Solve by verifying if the amplifier has enough power for the daisy chain.
    • Loose cable connections. Solve by checking and tightening all cable connections.

3. Uneven Sound Distribution

  • Potential Causes:
    • Poor speaker placement. Solve by adjusting your speaker placement for more even coverage.
    • Inadequate balancing of series and parallel connections. Solve by reevaluating the series and parallel connections for better balance.

4. Phase Issues

  • Potential Causes:
    • Incorrect wiring during daisy chaining. Solve by double-checking the wiring to ensure correct connections.
    • Mixing up the polarity of speakers. Solve by ensuring all speakers have consistent polarity.

Conclusion

Linking speakers together—also known as daisy chaining—is an effective way to enhance your listening experience without breaking the bank. It helps spread out your sound system’s reach. You’ll need to grasp how impedance works, pick gear that can work well together, and connect everything correctly. Do this, and you’ll be rewarded with sound that surrounds you and feels high-end.

Like any good audio setup, you gotta plan carefully, test things out, and solve any little snags for the best sound quality. Try out several speaker arrangements to see which one fits your space and preferences like a glove. Armed with the right know-how and a keen eye for detail, you’re all set to tap into everything your sound system has to offer, drenching both you and your audience in pure sonic bliss.

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Norvan Martin is the founder of BoomSpeaker.com. He is a professional Electronics Engineer and is passionate about home theater systems and AV electronics. BoomSpeaker was created as an online hub to share his knowledge and experiences as it relates to home theaters and home audio electronics. My email: [email protected]  Connect on Pinterest and Linkedin