How to Wire Speakers with 4 Terminals (3-Method Guide)

Speakers now have numerous terminals, allowing you to transfer the audio signal to separate drivers, amplifiers, and other devices. Some speakers only have two terminals, but most speakers nowadays have four. Wired speakers with four terminals are now an excellent option to improve the sound quality of your music. However, wiring 4-terminal speakers can be complicated when you’re a beginner with wiring.

In general, you can wire your 4-terminal speakers in three different ways: 

  • Bi-Wiring
  • Bi-Amping
  • Leave the conductive bar between its terminals and connect speaker wires

In this article, learn how to wire speakers with 4 terminals in various ways.

3 Methods to Wire Speakers with 4 Terminals 

There are three ways to wire four-terminal speakers:

Method 1: Bi-Wiring

Bi-wiring divides the signal into two independent routes, each of which goes to a different speaker. This configuration allows each amplifier channel to drive its speaker, boosting sound quality. With that, each speaker can work independently, which leads to a cleaner, sharper sound with greater detail and clarity than a single-wired configuration. So, here are the steps:

Step 1: Power Switched Off

Ensure that the power to the entire system is switched off.

Step 2: Remove Bridges

Remove the bridges from the speaker’s binding posts to separate the LPF & HPF crossovers.

remove the bridges of speakers
Video | Fluance Audio

Step 3: Left Channel Outputs

Connect two sets of speaker wires to the receiver’s left channel outputs.

connect wires receiver’s left channel outputs

Step 4: Speaker Wires

Connect one pair of speaker wires to one set of binding posts on your left channel speaker.

connect one pair of speaker wires
Video | Fluance Audio

Step 5: Other Pair of Speaker

Connect the other pair of speaker wires to your left channel speaker’s other set of binding posts.

connect one pair of wires to the left channel speaker's
Video | Fluance Audio

Step 6: Perform the same Process

Perform the same processes on the right channel speaker, but connect those wires to the right channel outputs instead.

diagram of a speaker input with bridges removed

Method 2: Bi-Amping

Bi-amping is when two separate amplifiers are connected to a pair of speakers. It has several advantages, including higher power handling, clear and more accurate sound quality, and less distortion. Bi-amping may necessitate more equipment and setup than typical amplification, but it can be well worth the effort for those trying to get the most out of their audio system. Here are the steps:

Step 1: System Power

Make sure to turn off the entire system’s power.

Step 2: Remove Bridges

Remove the bridges from the speaker’s binding posts, which separates the LPF & HPF crossovers.

bi-amping: remove the bridges
Video | Fluance Audio

Step 3: Choose Amplifier

Choose which amplifier will be used for low and high frequencies.

Step 4: Speaker Wires

Connect one set of speaker wires to each amplifier’s left and right channel outputs.

Step 5: Positive and Negative Terminals

Connect the amplifier’s positive and negative terminals for high frequencies to both speakers’ positive and negative terminals.

left and right hand speaker section diagram

Step 6: Connect Amplifier

Connect the amplifier’s positive and negative terminals for low frequencies to both speakers’ positive and negative terminals.

full diagram for the left and right section of speaker

Method 3: Leave the Conductive Bar between its Terminals and Connect Speaker Wires 

This method will ensure that the current will properly flow through the speaker. It will complete the circuit and enable the speakers to function correctly. However, you should be cautious because it might be harmful if done incorrectly. Hence, use the proper gauge wire for your application. A too thick or thin gauge wire might cause resistance and lower sound quality. Also, if you’re running the cable through walls or ceilings, utilize an in-wall speaker wire. This wire is made to be safe and non-flammable. So, here are the steps: (1)

Step 1: Turned Off and Unplugged Speaker

Make sure the speaker is turned off and unplugged.

Step 2: Take Off Speaker’s Cover

Take off the speaker’s cover, then locate the four-speaker terminals on the speaker’s back.

Step 3: Conductive Bar

Between terminals 1, 2, 3, and 4, you should leave the conductive bar.

speaker's binding post
Video | Fluance Audio

Step 4: Speaker Wires

One pair of speaker wires should be connected to terminals 1 and 3, while the other set should be connected to terminals 2 and 4.

speaker's terminal diagram

Step 5: Replace Speaker’s Cover

Replace the speaker’s cover and turn it on by plugging it.

Step 6: Check Speaker

Check to see if the speaker is operating properly, and adjust your device’s sound settings if necessary.

FAQs

Why are there four terminals on speakers?

Speakers have four terminals for bi-wiring connections. The fundamental rationale for having four terminals on some speakers is that instead of running a single connection to each speaker, you may use a separate cable for each pair of terminals. In that way, it allows you to divide the frequency ranges. The mid and high-frequency drivers should be wired into one set of terminals. On the other hand, the low-frequency drivers should be wired to another set of terminals

What are the benefits of speakers with four terminals? 

The obvious benefit is the significantly improved sound quality. Bi-wiring is said to remove undesired distortion from speaker output. The premise is that dividing the high and low frequencies minimizes cable strain and allows for clearer signal transmission. When using the four terminals on a speaker set, you send one pair of speaker cables to the tweeters and the other two wires to the woofer. The tweeter and woofer currents are effectively separated.

How to utilize your 4-terminal speaker? 

When connecting the four-speaker terminals, I recommend utilizing the shortest speaker wire possible. Commonly, the cable must be long enough to allow for minimal tension or wear and tear. However, the shorter the cables are, the lower the likelihood of undesired noise in the output. Next, make sure your speaker cables are the same length to avoid imaging and phasing issues. It ensures that their physical properties match and reduces the likelihood of audio discrepancies. (2)

Take a look at some of our related articles below.




References
(1) walls – https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/lists/the-worlds-most-famous-walls/
(2) physical properties – https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/
acsreagents.2004

Video Reference

About Sam Orlovsky

b1d87d2ee85af3e51479df87928bdc88?s=90&d=mm&r=gI realized early on carpentry was a huge passion for me and I’ve stayed in the industry for over 20 years now. This gives me a unique ability to really be able to tell you what the best tools and recommendations are. I’m not only a carpenter but I also like machinery and anything to do with electrics. One of my career paths starting off was as an apprentice electrician so I also have a lot of experience with electrical products and anything related.