Series Parallel

  • 6 December 2019
  • 6 replies

I have 4 SONANCE MARINER 64’s I would like to use with a SONOS AMP.

They are rated at 8ohm nominal ;6ohm minimum , 5watt min. 80watt max.

If wired in parallel the impedance is 3.6 ohms & too much power for the speakers.

If I use series parallel will there be enough power to drive the speakers to party level & will it have any negative effect on the amp ?

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6 replies

Userlevel 7
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A bit confusing question but I’ll take a shot.

You only wire speakers in parallel or to an impedance matching unit, never in series.

Too much power isn’t a problem unless you make it one by turning the volume up past the point that the speakers start sounding quite bad.

I’d try them in parallel and see if the Amp is happy with that setup, if it isn’t then add an impedance matching unit and all will be well.

You should be able to run two pairs of these speakers on AMP. AMP is a big boy and can protect itself. If you upset AMP, it will shut down.

Your request for “party level” scares me. We have been conditioned to equate distorted with “loud”. In this respect AMP will never become “loud” because it will shut down if stressed.

In my college apartment we had a party. In that small space we could run the level up to the point were verbal communication was extremely difficult, but the sound was clean. Yet, we would get requests (using cupped hands) to “turn it up”. With this same crowd at another apartment there was a distressingly poor quality record player struggling as best it could, but there were no “turn it up” requests because this system was playing “loud”. (and verbal communication was easy)

The point that I’m making is that the success, or not, of this system will depend on your expectations.

Thanks for the input.

The reason I would like to do series parallel is because there are 4 zones .

3 zones are SONOS speakers & I am adding these outside.

My concern is that if they use the master volume these 2 pairs will recieve 250W @ 4 ohms.

In series parallel with my calculations will get ± 30W @ 8 ohms which will preserve the speakers.

I am old school & did this quite often with JBL & CROWN so why not with this new stuff ?

Userlevel 7
Badge +21

You can hook it up any way you want to, the advice we gave was on how to get them to sound good. You can hook them in series if you aren’t concerned about sound quality or other issues. An Internet search should find you more on that if you care.

They won’t receive 250 Watts, that is what the amplifier can put out at 4 Ohms. If you hook up two speakers in parallel you will see 125 Watts to each speaker. If you do the series/parallel you are then looking at the 8 Ohm power level from the amp, so 60 Watts will go to each string but how it is split at various frequencies between the series speakers takes some complex electronic math as speakers are not simple resistors but reactive (inductance and capacitance plus resistance) devices.

You can Mickey Mouse this and live with the sound and possible damage you get or simply get an impedance matching unit and do it in a manner that gets you the best possible sound.

If you drive the amp into clipping your sound will be awful no matter how connected and you risk damaging your speakers from the distortion frequencies created. If you stay at volume levels the amp can support and avoid series connections you will have no problems.

Thanks again

I would like to have had the Impedance matching speakers but I live in the Caribbean & have a 3 week delivery time so I had to install these .

I am going to NY city next week & will get an impedance matching unit .

My thought was to make it idiot proof as they are installed in a rental villa & there is no way to keep the gain down on this amp.


More speakers are damaged by little amplifiers than big amplifiers. And, since there is no widely adopted standard for assigning maximum power handling for a speaker, no one knows exactly what a speaker power rating means.

An amplifier is rated for a certain power and it will deliver this power at low distortion. If the amplifier is pushed beyond this limit, distortion rises dramatically and the distortion products are rich in high frequencies. The bottom line is the little amplifier burns up tweeters when the amplifier is pushed beyond its rating.

SONOS amplifiers are well behaved and it is very difficult to force them into a distortion mode. If you gave me a job: “please blowup this speaker, pick any amplifier you like” my choice would be something in the 50W range and I’d drive it beyond the limit. A gorilla amplifier would be more difficult to drive into distortion and my job would be a little harder. A SONOS amplifier would be my absolute last choice for this project because I could’t drive it into distortion and create all of the tweeter damaging high frequency products.

Typically more tweeters are damaged than woofers. If someone is habitually blowing tweeters, they need a bigger amplifier. If they are blowing woofers, they need a smaller amplifier. For natural music, most of the energy is in the lower frequencies.

There are impedance matching Volume controls These can allow balancing levels in rooms when there are multiple speakers in a zone.

Two points bug me about using them in this application. First, I don’t like to use the impedance matching Volume controls with amplifiers rated more than 100W per channel because more powerful amplifiers can damage the controls. Since the SONOS AMP is so well behaved and is only a little over this (unofficial) limit, it will probably be OK.

The second point is operational, but it is important to you as the landlord. Over time tenants will use the Volume controls to turn down the level. This is natural because the Volume controls are usually mounted close to the speakers. The next time they use the system, they will start the session and adjust the Volume with a SONOS App. Over time you’ll find that the Volume controls will be set near minimum, the amplifier will be set at max and the tenant will feel (correctly) that the system is not loud enough -- and you’ll get a call. The solution, of course, will be to tell the tenant to set the amplifier level to minimum, then set the Volume controls to maximum. This will restart the downward spiral that will eventually strike another tenant. I mention this so that you’ll be prepared when you get the call, there is no need to freak out.