Connecting the speaker to stereo receiver or an amplifier using the speaker’s main wire looks like a simple process — and for the most part it is. But you should be aware of some important points to ensure the best results. For example, reversing the polarity of the wiring is a simple but common mistake that can significantly degrade the sound quality.
Most all stereo receivers, amplifiers, and standard loudspeakers (i.e., those capable of receiving signals via speaker wire connections) have rear-panel connectors for connecting speaker wires. These terminals can be spring clamp or clamp type.
These terminals are also almost always color-coded for easy identification: the positive (+) terminal is usually red, and the negative (-) terminal is usually black. Please note that some speakers support two-wire communication which means that the red and black connectors are paired for four connections.
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How to Connect Speaker Wires to Your Receiver or Amplifier
The main speaker wire is not type of RCA or Optical/TOSLINK — has only two parts to work with at each end: positive (+) and negative (-). Simple, but there is a 50-50 chance of getting it wrong if you’re not careful. Obviously, this is best avoided because swapping positive and negative signals can seriously affect system performance. Before re-powering and checking the speakers, it is worth checking if these wires are connected correctly.
While connectors on the back of stereo equipment tend to be easily identified, the same cannot be said for speaker wires. There is often confusion here because the labeling is not always obvious.
If your speaker wire doesn’t have a two-tone color scheme, look for one stripe or dotted lines (these usually indicate the positive end) along one of the sides. If your wire has a light-colored insulation, this stripe or stroke may be dark. If the insulation is dark in color, the stripe or dash will most likely be white.
If the speaker wire is transparent or translucent, check if it has markings. You should see (+) or (-) symbols (and sometimes text) to indicate polarity. If these markings are difficult to read or identify, use tape to mark the ends after you know which one is for faster identification later. If you’re ever unsure and need to double check (especially if you have a mess of wires), you can quickly check speaker wire connections using a regular AA or AAA battery.