You can wire speakers with 4 terminals in a few different ways, including bi-amp wiring, bi-wiring, and bypass wiring. These are all easy to figure out and set up, depending on your needs and preferences with your speakers.
My name is Donovan, and I’m a home studio and audio enthusiast. I’ve set up numerous recording studios and audio systems over the years, including many with speakers that have 4 terminals.
This post will show you how to wire speakers with 4 terminals. I’ll walk you through the steps of getting this type of speaker set up easily and effectively and provide you with step-by-step directions for all of these.
Let’s get rolling.
- Key Takeaways
- Why Are There 4 Terminals on My Speakers?
- How to Wire Speakers with 4 Terminals
- How to Wire Car Speakers with 4 Terminals
- Final Thoughts
- The simplest way to wire speakers with 4 terminals is to leave the bridge connectors between the terminals and wire speakers as normal. This is sometimes called bypass wiring.
- You can also use 4-terminal speakers to wire multiple amps to your speakers, which is called bi-amp wiring.
- Another option is to bi-wire the four terminals to one set of speakers, which will provide you with better overall audio quality.
Why Are There 4 Terminals on My Speakers?
Before I explain how to wire speakers with 4 terminals, it’s essential to understand why the speakers have this many terminals in the first place.
Even though you only need 2 terminals to connect speakers in most situations, 4 terminals give you more options in how you wire the speakers and can ultimately lead to better audio quality.
An extra set of terminals allows you to wire the speakers to multiple amps, boosting the audio signal and increasing audio clarity and better dynamics. 4-way speakers are ideal for audiophiles because of this.
The 4 terminals allow you to set up various wiring configurations to meet your needs and preferences from your audio setup. Having options is ideal for many reasons, but you might not need them if you are just an average listener.
How to Wire Speakers with 4 Terminals
Now let’s look at the different ways you can wire speakers with four terminals. I’ll give you instructions for each method and also point out when and why you’d want to use each style of wiring.
Bi-wiring is one way you can go about wiring speakers with 4 terminals. For this, you’ll split the speaker wires coming into the speakers to get more dynamic range and then plug the other end into your amplifier or audio source.
Bi-wiring is a good option for anyone looking to get increased audio quality compared to a standard two wire setup.
Follow these directions to wire speakers with 4 terminals by by-wiring:
1. Make sure your audio source (turntable, receiver, amp, etc.) is turned off.
2. Cut the proper length of speaker wire to run between your speakers and the audio source.
3. Split one end of the speaker wire. This will leave you with two bare ends of wire rather than one.
4. Match each end of the split wire with the positive and negative terminal on one set of the speaker terminals.
5. Attach those wire ends to the speaker terminals and secure them in place. This might require screwing them down or lifting a clamp.
6. Connect the other end of the wire to the corresponding channel on your audio source.
7. Repeat steps 2 through 6 for the other channel.
Bi-amping is another way you can wire speakers with 4 terminals. This allows you to connect multiple amps to your setup, giving you increased audio quality and dynamic range by boosting the signal.
Only some people need to use bi-amping, but it can be a solid option for studio owners and audiophiles who are looking for excellent audio quality.
Follow these steps to wire speakers with 4 terminals through bi-amping:
1. Make sure your audio source (amp) is turned off.
2. Cut the proper length of speaker way to run between your speakers and the amp.
3. Remove any bridges between the terminals on your speakers if they are installed.
4. Attach your speaker wires to the back of your speakers. Be sure to match the corresponding terminal with the proper polarity of speaker wire.
5. Attach the other end of the speaker wire to the corresponding input on the amps.
6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 for the other set of terminals with another amp.
7. Do the same for the other speaker until all terminals are plugged into your amps.
8. Connect the proper wires from your amps to your receiver or other audio source.
9. Enjoy your audio.
The final way you can go about wiring a speaker with 4 terminals is to bypass one set of them and use them like they are 2-terminal speakers. This is known as bypass wiring, and it’s a simplified way of doing things if you don’t have a reason for 4-terminals in the first place.
You’ll need to bridge the two sets of terminals together to make this happen. You can do this by using a terminal bridge or attaching a small speaker wire between the two terminals. Both will function the same way.
Follow these steps to wire speakers with 4 terminals through bypass wiring:
1. Turn off the power to your audio source.
2. Bridge the two sets of terminals together using a terminal bridge or speaker wire. Connect the black channel to the black channel and the red channel to the red channel.
3. Cut enough speaker wire to run from your speakers to the audio source or amp.
4. Attach one length of speaker wire to one of the bridged terminals. It doesn’t matter which one as long as they are bridged together.
5. Attach the other end of the speaker wire to your audio source or amp.
6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 for the other speaker.
7. Listen to your audio.
How to Wire Car Speakers with 4 Terminals
You can wire car speakers with four terminals the same way you would with home audio speakers. Just know that you might be dealing with a different color code than just black and white because car speakers include more channels.
But you can still use the terminals to attach multiple amps, bi-wire for better audio, or bypass if you don’t need to use them. The wiring process is essentially the same, and if you have a basic understanding, you should be able to figure it out.
You probably won’t want or need to use multiple amps in most car audio situations. But knowing how to bi-amp or bi-wire will still be useful if you need to wire up multiple speaker channels.
Here are a few short answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about how to wire speakers with 4 terminals.
Why do some speakers have 4 inputs?
Some speakers have 4 inputs to allow you to configure the wiring in multiple ways. This can allow you to use multiple amplifiers with the speakers for increased audio capabilities. You don’t always need to run the wires this way, but having the option is nice.
How to wire a 4-way speaker?
A 4-way speaker is essentially just a speaker that has 4 terminals. You can wire these in multiple ways, including connecting to multiple amps, bi-wiring, or bypassing the second set of terminals with a bridge connection.
What is the color code for 4-wire speakers?
Four wire speakers have the same basic color code as other types of speakers. The red terminals indicate a positive connection, and the black wires indicate a negative connection. These will typically correspond to the right and left speaker channels.
Can 4 conductor speaker wire be used to connect a pair of speakers?
Yes, 4 conductor speaker wires can be used to connect a pair of regular speakers. You’ll just connect two speaker wires to a single speaker terminal. Just make sure you get the wires attached to the appropriate terminal.
What’s better 2-way or 4-way speakers?
4-way speakers are generally seen as a better choice for increased audio clarity and dynamics because these speakers highlight more elements of the audio range. Both types of speakers can work well, but 4-way speakers are better overall.
Does it matter which way speaker wires go?
It does matter which way speaker wires go because the polarity of these wires will dictate how the sound is amplified. You need to get the correct speaker wire into the proper terminal of the speaker to listen to recorded music accurately.
The main ways to wire speakers with 4 terminals are bi-amping, bi-wiring, or bypass wiring. Bypass wiring effectively turns the 4-terminal speakers back into 2-terminal speakers and is a good option for the average listener.
But you can connect multiple amps if you go with the bi-amping route, and bi-wiring will help you get better overall audio quality. Utilizing all of the terminals on your speakers is a good option for audiophiles and engineers looking for increased dynamics and quality.
Do you prefer to use 2-terminal or 4-terminal speakers? Why? Let me know in the comments below.