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Wiring your car audio system might seem like a no-brainer, but there’s actually a lot to consider. The first thing you’ll need to decide is how to wire your speakers: Do you go series or parallel?
First, a little refresher: A parallel connection is when each speaker is attached directly to the amp, whereas a series connection involves linking the speakers together through a shared lead. In parallel connections—the most common type—positive leads are connected to other positive ports, and negatives to other negatives, so power is delivered equally to each speaker. The equation’s a little different in series connections, which require a positive-negative connection between speakers. In both cases, it all depends on how power is distributed, which is what makes all the difference in what kind of sound you get. However, there are pros and cons of each wiring type.
We all want the best possible sound for our music, and any good quality speaker should deliver that. In general, parallel-wired speakers produce more volume than do series connections, and they offer a lower level of impedance (the level of electrical resistance), which means a better utilization of power and less sound distortion. In other words, parallel wiring gives you more “oomph.” It also enhances bass, whereas series wiring caters more to mid-range sounds. It really just depends on how loud and deep you like your tones.
There’s a lot to consider here. Again, how much volume you want is a big deal; if you want to get the most of it, then parallel is the way to go. Parallel wiring may also give you a richer sound, especially at extreme ranges. On the other hand, series wiring may meet your needs just fine unless you fancy a
music type that relies on heavy bass and greater clarity at higher volumes. The big problem with a series connection is that if one component fails for any reason, they all go down, since there is a single power pathway between them. That means that one faulty speaker can cause the others not to work. It’s also more difficult to replace a bad speaker if series-wired—sort of like finding the bad bulb on a string of Christmas lights—and will involve a lot of work. It’s also easier to add components to a parallel-wired system without having to increase voltage.
You’ll be glad to know that you don’t have to tear into your car’s interior to determine how your speakers are wired. If you’re getting good, undistorted quality out of your speakers, that’s a pretty good indication that you’ve got parallel connections. On the other hand, if all your speakers go silent, there’s more than a fair chance that you’ve got series wiring. You can also tell by looking at what’s connected directly to the amp: a parallel system will have branches; a series will have a single pathway.
Series connections do have advantages. Since there’s a single pathway, series wiring requires less cabling than parallels, and that makes it easier to install. And because power distribution is diluted along that pathway, series-wired speakers are less likely to overheat than parallel-wired ones. In general, series wiring is a bit less expensive than parallel wiring, since you have to connect only one speaker to the amp. Overall, it all really comes down to what best suits your needs; good series-connected speakers with high quality cables will give you the sound you’re looking for.
Just about anything’s possible when building a car audio system, so, yes, it’s possible to combine series and parallel speakers onto the same amp. It can get a bit complicated, though, because of all the extra wiring involved, and you have to carefully calculate the ohms and your overall voltage supply. But all logistics aside, there doesn’t seem to be much of an advantage to combining parallel and series wiring, as the parallel system by itself should give you all the sound and volume you’re looking for.
Whether you opt for parallel or series wiring, you’ll still need the best speakers for your car audio system. And Genius Audio is your best option for those. We have the best subwoofer for car, tweeters, midrange speakers—Genius has it all, plus every accessory you need to make the magic work. And if you’re not sure exactly what you need, the highly qualified staff have over 40 years of experience to help you decide. Let Genius Audio set you up with the top-rate equipment and start enjoying your music to the max!