How to Hook Up 4 Conductor Speaker Wires

How to Hook Up 4 Conductor Speaker Wires

If you want to hook up your four-conductor speaker wires to a receiver and get quality audio, you need speakers with four terminals. Once you get one, decide whether you want to bi-amp or bi-wire the speakers.

Please find the steps you can follow whenever you want to hook up the wires to your receiver below. We start with the bi-amping method. After mastering it, you won’t struggle to use the bi-wiring option.

What Is a 4 Conductor Speaker?

A two-way speaker often comes with 4 terminals. The four-terminal is often added so you can connect your speaker to two different Amps and produce the best sound. This is referred to as Bi-amping

In this article, we will show you how you can connect your 2-way speakers with 4 wires to stereo leads that have 2 wires. 

Step 1: Ensure Your Speaker System is Turned OFF.

If your four-conductor speaker wires are connected to the speakers already, consider this step is a must. To start, power off the entire system to eliminate the risk of electric shock. Alternatively, you can turn off the main power switch or unplug the speaker system’s power cable from the power outlet.

Step 2: Prepare Your Speakers.

 

If you haven’t prepared your speakers before, this is the right time to do so. Remove your speakers’ brass jumpers that link the bottom and top speaker terminals together.

speaker with 4 conductors

After that, remove the jumpers that allow you to connect separate receiver channels to the terminals.

Step 3: Adjust the Receiver’s Settings.

If you are using a receiver with your amplifier, you can skip step one if your only aim is to hook up your four-conductor wires to the receiver.

receiver to connect 4 conductors

Since you need quality sound, be sure you start the process by enabling the bi-amp feature in the receiver. Go to your receiver’s menu and locate the setting in the menu’s setup section. If you don’t find it here, consult your owner’s manual.

Once you are done, proceed to the fourth step.

Step 4: Connect Each Set of the Speaker Wires to the Receiver.

Now that you’ve set up your receiver, you can connect the speaker terminals to the receiver.

Connect one set of the conductor speaker wires to the receiver’s front left and right outputs. Once you are done, connect the remaining set to the assigned bi-amp channels.

Note: Each speaker wire carries a full-range signal. So, you can plug your channels into the top and bottom speaker input terminals without following any strict order. However, if you doubt, don’t hesitate to consult the owner’s manuals. In some cases, there can be a preferred connection point.

If you don’t have pre-terminated speaker cables, buy bulk wire, cut it into four equal parts, and add banana connectors to each end.

Do you want an alternative way to hook up four speaker cables to your receiver?

An alternative way to hook up four-conductor speaker cables to your receiver is bi-wiring. We mentioned it briefly in the beginning. It is almost perfectly identical to bi-amping. The only main difference is that you don’t attach each of the cable sets to its own set of binding posts on the receiver.

bridge speaker wires

Since the bi-wiring and bi-amping methods are almost the same, it is up to you to choose the one that best suits your needs.

4 Conductor Speaker Wire Diagram

As the name suggests, four-conductor speaker wires are designed to allow for bi-wiring or bi-amping connections. The wires transmit an amplified stereo signal to speakers near a stereo volume control or one another.

These wires allow speakers with four terminals to offer split connections. The diagram of the four-conductor speaker wires below can help you see what these wires look like and what they are designed to do.

four conductor speaker wires

You can see you have four wires designed with listening needs in mind. However, as already mentioned, audio enthusiasts have to learn how to hook up these wires to their respective receivers. Whether you choose to bi-amplify or bi-wire your speakers, there will likely be a slight difference in the listening experience.

bi amped speaker wiring

However, you might find one of the connection techniques well worth your effort.

Now you’ve seen the diagram of the four-conductor speaker wires. You should choose one that looks like the one above.

Ensure it is the right wire for your speaker setup. That means you need four cables with high-quality conductors. You should get pure copper wire conductors for the best result in almost all cases. Moreover, it often means getting the correct gauge wire for your specific speakers.

In other words, the wire gauge above may not serve some of your listening needs. You can find an assortment of speaker cables of all gauges and lengths from your nearby store. So, you are assured of finding the best cable that suits your speaker’s capacity.

Overall, the conductor speaker wire diagram is for illustrative purposes only. You should seek expert advice for one that best suits your needs.

4 Wire Speaker Wire Color Code

The purpose of four-conductor speaker wires is to transmit electrical signals (current and voltage) from the receiver or amplifier to your speakers.

One of the conductors is color-coded red. It is the positive conductor. The negative conductor is color-coded black.

These two cables send the signals to speaker one.

A conductor that is color-coded white serves speaker two. It functions as the red one. The only difference is the speaker that it serves. The last conductor is green. It works like the black wire but serves the second speaker.

Standard speaker wires only have red and black wires. For multi-room audio or whole-house wring, you require the four-conductor wire. They minimize the labor requirement and the amount of cable used.

The speaker wire cross-section below shows the four-wire speaker color code. It also shows that the conductors are made of stranded copper conductors, PVC insulation, tissue, and PVC jacket.

Does Bi-Wiring Improve Sound?

Yes, bi-wiring is a perfect way to minimize the impedance difference between low and high frequencies. It also reduces the impact of this variation on the overall sound that you receive. So, bi-wiring improves the midrange, which many audiophiles consider is essential enough to justify using four cables.

How Do You Wire A 2-Way Speaker With 4 Terminals To Stereo Leads With 2 Wires?

Bi-amping or more popularly used ‘bi-wiring’ is a pretty straightforward process so long as you know the gimmicks and have the right tools at hand. 

Step 1: Connect The Amp End Of The Speaker Cable Together

To begin, you’ll need to remove the jumpers and purchase two sets of speaker cords. The wires will be connected/joined at the end that enters your receiver or amplifier, but the part that goes to the speaker will be separated.

There may be two sets of speaker connectors on high-end amplifiers, making the procedure of connecting the appropriate wires considerably easier. The most important thing to remember is to make use of identical speaker wires. That is, they should come from the same manufacturer and be exact replicas of one another.

N.B: The circuitry on the speaker will differ if the cables are not similar when attached to the four terminals, and this will affect the overall sound equilibrium.

Step 2: Check That The Wires Are In Good Working Conditions

So, once you have your four-speaker cables and have double-checked that they are similar, you must perform the essential checks to guarantee that they are in perfect working condition.

Step 3: Connect Positive To Positive And Negative To Negative

It is important to check that you connect the positive end of one speaker cable to the other speaker cable before pugging into the Amp. The positive side of the cable mustn’t be in contact with the negative side.

If either of the cables has a defect and connects to the wrong terminals, it can cause catastrophic damage to your 4-terminal speaker, as well as blow your amp beyond repair.

Tip

There is a general rule of thumb to follow in order to minimize noise production. Make sure to use the shortest speaker cable available when hooking up your speaker’s four terminals. The cable must, of course, be long enough to allow for minimal strain, otherwise, wear and tear may occur. However, the shorter the wires are, the lower the likelihood of undesired noise in the output.

Why is a 4-Terminal Speaker preferable?

To begin with, the obvious advantage is the significant boost in sound quality. This is a controversial topic, with some stating that bi-wiring provides considerable sonic benefits and others objecting.

“Bi-wiring” is said to remove undesirable distortion from the speaker output. The idea is that by separating the high and low frequencies, the strain on the cables is reduced, and the signal can flow through more clearly.

When you use the four terminals on a set of speakers (for example your 2-way speaker), one pair of loudspeaker cables is sent to the tweeters, while the other two wires are sent to the woofer. You’re essentially dividing the tweeter and woofer currents here.

The woofer or bass driver can travel an incredible distance compared to the treble of mid-range drivers. 

Cons of 4-Terminal Speaker

4-terminal speakers have a few drawbacks. When compared to standard 2-terminal speakers, bi-wiring with 4 terminals requires double the quantity of speaker cable. Bi-wiring is also not especially simple to set up and requires some work. This is why we took the time to carefully explain the steps in this article. 

FAQs

Is Thicker Speaker Wire Better?

For lengthier cable runs, it is preferable to make use of thicker speaker wire.  Thicker wires are also preferable for speakers with a low impedance rating and high-power applications. For speaker uses, it would be advisable to use a 16 gauge wire.

Why Do My Speakers Have 4 Wires?

Your speaker has Four wires because of the presence of four terminals. Bi-wiring connections are possible thanks to the four terminals on some speakers. Split connections are available on four-terminal speakers, dividing frequency transmission into two portions. One set of terminals is connected to the mid and high-frequency drivers, while the other set is attached to the low-frequency drivers. Bi-wiring is possible in speakers with four terminals when compared to speakers with two terminals.

Can You Use 4 Conductor Speaker Wire?

Yes. But you can only connect a pair of speakers with only one pair of connections using four-conductor speaker wires. 4-conductors are commonly used to deliver an amplified stereo output to two speakers that are close to each other or to a stereo volume control.

The problem with using 4-conductors for speakers that are far away is that you’ll have to cut away the outer jacket for the distance between the two speakers unless they’re directly next to one other which will make the setup process quite unpleasant.

Why Do Speaker Wires Have 4 Conductors?

The four-conductor wire is often used for bi-amping and bi-wiring speakers. A standard speaker has two wire connections, whereas these ones contain four: one for positive and negative, as with conventional speakers, and two more for highs and lows, or specific frequency ranges.

Can You Connect 4 Speakers To A 2 Channel Amplifier?

Yes. You just have to consider the impedance of the speakers and divide the power evenly between the two channels to connect four speakers to a two-channel amplifier. There are two ways by which you can do this: Connect the four speakers in series or in parallel.

Conclusion

Hooking up your four-conductor speaker wires to your receiver wire is an easy assignment. Once you decide to bi-wire or bi-amplify and know how the wiring works and the right cable for the setup, you are set to go. You can follow the steps we’ve covered here and complete the work in no time.

Using the same cables, regardless of whether you are bi-wiring or not, will guarantee that their physical properties match up and reduce the likelihood of any audio-related anomalies. Cables are sometimes disregarded, although they have a significant impact on the frequencies generated by speakers.

Finally, a speaker cable with a minimum rating of 14AWG should be used. This will ensure that it is powerful enough to perform the role required on a 4 terminal speaker.