What is an Amplifier for Speakers?

When setting up a sound system, your first priority is to make sure that you choose amplifiers and speakers that are compatible with each other and will work well together. You may get poor or low-quality sounds or worse, damage your equipment if you use the wrong amplifier for your speakers.

What is an Amplifier for Speakers?

This is why it is important to learn how to choose the right amplifier for speakers to prevent any issues and enjoy your favorite songs and sounds to the fullest.

What are Amplifiers for Speakers?

Amplifiers are devices that turn the low voltage signals from the source equipment into signals with enough gain that will be used for powering a pair of speakers. Amplifiers are split into two primary sections.

The first section lets you collate and choose several inputs and pick the necessary level of gain. This is generally known as the preamplifier. Meanwhile, the second section is the one that does most of the work, adding the gain to the signals that will be used to power up a pair of speakers. This second section is called the power amplifier.

When the functions have been split into two boxes, these are called power and pre amps. In some amplifiers, both these functions are put in one chassis and are known as an integrated amplifier.

Factors to Consider When Looking for an Amplifier for Speakers

The general rule of thumb to choose an amplifier for speakers is to choose an amp that offers 1.5 to 2 times the speaker’s continuous power rating. This will guarantee that the speaker has sufficient power that will leave you a headroom of 3dB.

Once again, it is important to look for an amplifier that is more suitable for powering your speakers. This will make sure that you will get the best quality of sound possible and protect your equipment at the same time.

When you choose the wrong amplifier, this will put you at more serious risk of damaging not only your speakers but even the amplifier itself.

There are two primary factors you need to consider when choosing an amplifier that is compatible with the speakers you have, and these are power and impedance.


Power is being measured in terms of watts and pertains to the rate the energy gets transferred. Your speaker’s power rating is also indicated in its technical specifications.

You will likely find a few power ratings. One of these is peak power which pertains to the maximum short-term power that the speaker will be able to handle with no damage at all.

However, audiophiles are often more concerned with the amount of power that a speaker can handle over a long period of time, which is known as the speaker’s continuous power rating.

AES or RMS specifications might be used in place of continuous power ratings depending on the speaker manufacturer. It is important to remember that more power doesn’t always mean louder. The sensitivity of the speaker may also vary, and this ultimately determines its loudness. Some speakers also produce more sound compared to others once supplied with the same level of power from the amplifier.

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Impedance pertains to the opposition that a circuit presents to the electrical current and is being measured in terms of ohms. A speaker impedes the electricity flow that an amplifier creates.

The number one step here is to identify the nominal impedance of the speaker or speakers. Your speakers’ nominal impedance can be found in the technical specifications on the official website of the manufacturer. The nominal impedance of speakers is usually written on the speaker’s label itself. Most speakers have a nominal impedance of 16, 8, or 4 ohms.

Determining the total impedance may become somewhat more complicated if you need to connect several speakers to just one amplifier channel.

How Do You Use an Underpowered or Overpowered Amplifier?

You might go beyond the limitations of a speaker if you choose an amplifier that supplies too much power. Once you start hearing distortions in your speaker, it is recommended that you turn it down for your equipment to remain safe. Distortions may occur in the speaker that can be dangerous to the device. When it gets to this point, you have to turn down the amplifier.

An overpowered amplifier can easily provide sufficient power to a speaker provided that it has been set hot enough to offer too much power to it. Meanwhile, going for an underpowered amplifier that has a hard time supplying adequate power to the speaker has a higher chance to cause unwanted damage.

In the case of an underpowered amplifier, there won’t be sufficient power to help the speaker operate at its optimum level. This might make you tend to continuously turn up the signal. However, at one point, it might cause the system to clip. The speakers will not get any louder, yet it will distort the waveform, leading to overheating of the speakers.

How to Choose an Amplifier for Loudspeakers?

There is actually no simple rule when it comes to finding an amplifier that will match with loudspeakers. The combination of just any equipment may cause damage if you use an improper gain structure.

The best recommendation is to look for an amplifier that can offer about two times the speaker’s continuous power rating. It is important to take that a doubling of power is just a change of 3 decibels. It will let the amplifier offer the speaker sufficient power while still retaining some additional headroom to prevent the tendency to overdrive the amplifier’s input.

The best and easiest way to avoid unwanted damage and achieve the finest quality of sound possible is to look for speakers that have been specifically designed to offer enough level of sound pressure for the application at hand. With this, you can avoid the need to turn up your speakers beyond their set limitations.

The Bottom Line

An amplifier for speakers can do wonders in taking the sound quality to the next level. Always pick the right amp for your needs to ensure the safety of your equipment.