What Is Speaker Impedance?

Posted by PinPoint Mounts on 9/16/2014 to Tips and Advice

As you are searching for the right speakers for your home-theater system and your budget (always something to keep in mind), you will undoubtedly come across a number of numbers that describe the various specifications and characteristics of speakers and varying price ranges - with the expectation that you will be able to compare them side by side.

One of the numbers that many speaker manufacturers show is the impedance, which is measured in ohms. Do you know what it is? Is it something to ignore if you don't understand it?

We'll help you here so you don't completely ignore the number. Impedance is a measure of resistance of electrical signal through the speaker to present the best sound, and it is an average across the entire scale of audio. Think of it as water - the lower the impedance means the bigger the pipe that water (the audio) flows through, and thus more easily it flows.

And for certain parts of the audio or music scale - like the higher tones - the speaker will tend to have a lower impedance because the speakers need to have more power to express the higher tones with little or no distortion, but higher impedance to avoid the very lowest tones from sounding garbled or distorted.

Chances are that many mass-produced speakers will generally show an impedance of around 8 ohms, while some of the premium-priced speakers will be at 4 ohms or lower on average. You will need to compare your receivers and amplifiers to see how much impedance they will handle - you don't want to blow anything out because your speaker impedance is too low for your system. As long as 4- or 8-ohm impedance is listed on your amplifiers and/or receivers, you'll be good. But always check to make sure and do not assume. If it's not listed, make sure to ask.

Don't let impedance impede your right to a quality audio experience with your home-theater system.