How To Connect Passive Speakers To Receiver? Installation Guide

How To Connect Passive Speakers To Receiver?

Passive speakers are the easiest way to get an inexpensive and portable surround sound experience. But do you know How To Connect Passive Speakers To Receiver as they lack internal amplification? Read on to find out.

Connecting passive speakers to receivers is not a hard nut to crack however, if not connected properly it may cause serious problems in sound quality and performance. So, most people prefer USB flash drive speakers or Bluetooth speakers to enjoy their music without having to worry about the connection. But if you are planning a big project, then it’s better to get the best DJ speakers.

Furthermore, there are several other factors that you need to consider before connecting your passive speakers to the receivers in order to get a high-quality sound. These factors include speaker wire quality, wire gauge, type of connectors, and proper installation. Are you still wondering? Let’s read further to know How To Connect Passive Speakers To Receivers?

What are Passive Speakers?

Passive speakers are speakers that don’t have any sort of internal amplification system. They can draw their power from an external amplifier or a power supply. As these speakers don’t have internal amplification, they can’t produce sound when connected directly to the audio source like a phone or CD player. They require an external amplifier/receiver to produce a sound. Also, the speakers can play multiple frequencies at once.

These speakers are commonly used for home audio. They are available in various sizes, shapes, and prices. They range from small bookshelf speakers to full-size floor-standing speakers.

Passive speakers offer great sound quality with low distortion when properly connected. They are easy to set up and are lightweight. No wire complications and are cheaper than their counterpart. However, to connect passive speakers to your receiver, you will need a set of speaker wires with the correct gauge and connectors.

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How to connect the speaker wire?

Here is the guide on how to connect the speaker wire

1. First place the speakers in their desired location.

2. Take proper measurement of the speaker wire needed to connect speakers with the receiver.

3. Place the speaker wire in the appropriately sized slot in the wire stripper.

4. Press the wire stripper down on the speaker wire and pull it towards the end of the speaker wire.

5. Remove the plastic covering (about 1/2 inch) on the end of the speaker wire.

6. Connect one end of the speaker wire to the terminal on the back of the speakers.

7. Connect the other end of the speaker wire to the appropriate terminal on the power source. (positive to positive & negative to negative).

Note: You know speaker wire can be used for LED lights.

Types of Connecting Terminals 

In most speakers, amplifiers, and receivers there are two types of connecting terminals: tabs/ spring clips and circular connections/ binding posts.

Tabs /Spring clips

Tabs are the more common type of speaker terminal. They are designed to be pressed open to allow you to insert the speaker wire. When you press the tab, the speaker wire will fit snugly inside the terminal. They are most commonly found in old speakers. They are usually color-coded for easy identification i.e black and red, the red tabs are usually positive (+) terminal and the black tabs are usually the negative (-) terminal.

Circular/ Binding posts

Circular connections are designed to be turned by hand to reveal the speaker wire connection. These are more commonly found on higher-end speakers. They are also color-coded, the positive terminal is usually red and the negative terminal is black just like tabs.

Watch the video for more details about connecting the speaker wires with tabs or circular terminals on speakers.

Speaker Wires

Speaker wires usually come in different gauges. The lower the gauge number, the thicker the wire. The best way to determine the correct wire gauge is to measure the distance between the terminals on the speakers and the receiver.

For high power applications and long wire runs like the distance greater than 50 feet, it is recommended to use thick wire, 12 or 14-gauge. However, the thicker the wire, the harder it is to work with and install. For short runs, (less than 50 feet) 16-gauge speaker wire is usually sufficient.

Basic speaker wire has two ends: positive (+) and negative (-). The positive end has a red color tone and the negative end has a black color tone. If they don’t show any color scheme then stripe or dotted lines on one side show usually a positive end.

When it comes to connecting speaker wires, you should make sure the positive and negative ends are connected to the proper terminals. If they are not, it could cause problems with the sound quality and the system performance.

Speaker Wire Connectors

When connecting the speaker wire to the speaker terminals, it is recommended to use a speaker wire connector. Some speaker wire comes with connectors already attached but mostly the speaker wires are bare and you will have to strip them off. The connectors are designed to help prevent mistakes when connecting the wires.

Speaker wire connectors are available in three main types: banana plug, spade, and pin connectors.

Banana plug connectors are single-wire electrical connectors. They are the most common type of connectors and are used with binding posts. They are very easy to use and insert.

banana connector

Spade connectors are the most popular type of connectors. They are designed to connect two wires together and they are commonly used with binding posts.

spade connector

Pin connectors are used with spring clip terminals. Pin connectors are used with spring clips and are designed to help prevent mistakes when connecting the wires.

Pin connector

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Connection with Receivers or Amplifiers

When connecting speaker wires to receivers or amplifiers, it is recommended to connect the positive terminal on the speaker to the positive terminal on the receiver and the negative terminal on the speaker to the negative terminal on the amplifier/receiver.

If you have a receiver or amplifier with binding posts, you can easily connect the speaker wire to the binding posts using a banana plug connector or spade connector. If you have a receiver with spring clip terminals, you can connect the speaker wire to the spring clip terminals using a pin connector.

When you’re wiring a home theatre, it’s easy to forget that speaker wires need to be connected to the exact terminals. If not connected properly, the speakers will not come “In Phase” with each other, which means two or more speakers will not operate in the same way.

This may lead to serious problems in sound output like a poor bass response, distorted sounds, popping, or buzzing. So it’s important to check and re-check all the connections properly (positive to positive & negative to negative).

After connecting with the receiver, do you also want to know how to connect the speaker with a DJ mixer?

Final Thoughts:

Connecting passive speaker to receiver/amplifier is not a tough task but all you need is to know the right equipment and a few simple tips to follow. The right terminal connection, the type of connectors to use, the right wire gauge, and length also matter a lot to provide you with quality audio. The right terminal connection (positive to positive, negative to negative) can make a good electrical connection between the speaker and the amplifier and you will get an awesome output. In case of bad connections, distortion, buzzing, or even damage to the speakers will result.

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