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What Is Speaker Impedance?

What Is Speaker Impedance?

Any speaker you purchase will have a given impedance. This means that the sum of the resistance to current flow in Ohms for all frequencies must equal this impedance level. So, for example, if you plug your speakers into an amplifier and measure 6-Ohm of resistance. Then it is safe to say that the 6 Ohms are at all frequencies across the bandwidth.

Implementation in audio equipment requires understanding what Impedance is because it can be confusing knowing what is real and what isn’t. For example, you can put up a sign on your front lawn saying “Pylons for Sale,” but how many people would want one? There are no towers in front of your house, so claiming to sell them is a practical joke. This is not true, however, you could have a friend bring pylons over and put them on my lawn, but the original sign would still be wrong.

So, Impedance is an electrical quantity that can never be claimed to be at one frequency only because it changes with frequency. It is possible to build a step-up transformer from two separate windings.

 One having high Impedance and low current flow and the other low Impedance and high current flow. The idea is that if we use these two windings in series, they will cancel each other’s effect. So no matter how much current flows through either winding, there will be the same amount of power output as before since both currents are equal now. The advantage of this approach is that you can now double the power.

From a speaker’s point of view, if you have just one piece of wire for your voice coil, its Impedance will vary with frequency. This means that it is impossible to use just one winding on the transformer. Since this would result in either no output or meager output across the board. Fortunately, most speakers are built using multiple separate pieces of wire, so this is not an issue.

Putting these ideas together suggests why most amplifiers provide two outputs. High current and low resistance (speaker level). And having low current but high resistance, which is called line-level input for pre-amplification before they get to your amplifier input stage. 

Low impedance speaker input will give a lot of high current at low frequencies, but the current flow will drop off rapidly with frequency. The advantage is that you can get “punchy” bass from your system to compensate for room-acoustic problems. 

At the other end of the scale, line-level input has much higher Impedance and gives more control across all frequencies. This is because there is no way to make speaker level output constant with frequency. 

And this would be impractical in most cases anyway due to cost.

So what speakers do we recommend? Well, it depends on how far and wide and above and below and up and down you want to go.


Is higher Impedance better for speakers?

If you are mismatching, choose a higher impedance speaker rather than a lower one since the output circuitry of the amplifier will be subjected to less strain. The peak sound output will be somewhat lower than with a low impedance speaker, but you can compensate by turning up the volume a little more.

 The punchy bass from low impedance speakers will be missing, but this could be an advantage, especially if you are trying to minimize bass boom in your room.

What is the ideal speaker impedance for my system?

The most common speaker for most individuals is a 6-ohm or an 8-ohm speaker.

Does the Impedance of your speakers impact the quality of the sound?

The quality of the sound is unaffected by the Impedance (ohms). This is because the music controls the voltage supplied to the speakers. The Impedance is inversely related to power output. Therefore 4 ohm speakers will be twice as loud as 8-ohm speakers.

What if the speaker's Impedance is too high?

The speaker impedance should be correct if the amp is to function correctly. If it’s too low, the amplifier will have to work excessively hard (i.e., produce a large current) and risk overheating. Conversely, the amp will be unable to deliver full power if the speaker impedance is too high, but this will not cause any damage to the equipment.

Is it dangerous to use a higher-impedance?

High impedance loads can create more volume with a high output impedance source. If an amplifier is currently limited, it might not deliver much power into a low impedance load, but it will be capable of doing so into a high impedance load.


Higher impedance speakers are better, but only if the amp provides enough high current. The speaker’s impedance should not be too low or too high for optimal performance.

It is safer to set up higher impedance speakers since you will not risk damaging your system by using them. They will also deliver more volume than lower-impedance ones, so they are suitable for parties and other situations where lots of sounds are needed. However, if the amplifier cannot supply enough power, it might overheat and ruin itself.

As long as you set up your speaker correctly, within an appropriate range, then the quality of your sound will remain unaffected regardless of its impedance.

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