Can You Connect Powered Speakers to a Receiver?

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A good sound system is essential whether you are a music enthusiast that enjoys listening to rich and powerful sounds in your free time, or you like pumping out good house parties from time to time. Now, as you might know, there are two basic types of speakers – powered speakers and passive speakers.

The difference is quite clear – passive speakers might need an additional amplifier/subwoofer to increase the volume while that is not the case with powered speakers since these already have an amp built in.

And, although a powered speaker might be good enough by itself, you can still improve the experience by connecting it to a transmitter-receiver. There are a few things that matter when it comes to maximizing the potential of your sound system, and a good transmitter-receiver is one of those.

If you plan on doing so, you might come across two potential situations – connecting your speaker to a traditional receiver or the so-called wireless transmitter kit. Just to get things straight, the wireless speaker kits (transmitters) aren’t completely wire-free – these just involve fewer wires in the process and are easier to connect.

Without further ado, let’s go ahead and take a look at what you should know about this process and how to do it.

Connecting Powered Speakers to a Receiver

Connecting Powered Speakers to a Receiver

The first option is to connect your powered speakers to a receiver. It is a two-step process:

  1. You should lift the spring clips on the receiver and expose the terminal holes in which you should put the transmitter wires. Now, most of the transmitters have a dual speaker combo and come with four wires. You should connect the red wires to the right audio connection and the other wire pair (usually black) to the left.
  2. Once you have done that, you should go ahead and attach the receiver clips to your speakers (using the speaker wires) – wire length shouldn’t pose a problem and you are fine as long as you are able to comfortably connect it.

If you have a receiver setup that involves a jack connection, simply plug it into the back of your powered speaker and start transmitting your audio.

Connecting Your Speakers Using the Traditional Method

While connecting it the traditional way might sound easy, there is still room for error and there are a few things you should consider and be conscious about. Most of the receivers have the so-called speaker terminals on the back that are either in the form of binding post type or a spring clip. Identifying the terminal that you need to connect to is easy – the negative is usually black, while the positive is red.

Now, when we are talking about the traditional connecting method, you will not be using an RCA, but rather a basic speaker wire. And although it has only two connections (+ and -), you still have to be conscious about it – in the end, there is a 50% chance to make a mistake.

If you mistake positive for negative, you are putting your speakers at a serious damage risk so that is something that you want to avoid. While you might think that there is no way to confuse the + for –, you are wrong. Speaker wires usually aren’t as strictly labeled as terminals (black and red color).

If the insulation is colored, you should be looking for a single stripe or dash line representing the positive signal; the opposite will be negative. And if the insulation is not colored, then you will usually find a + and a – printed on it (just look carefully).

Along with that, you should tell a difference between pin connectors which are adequate for clip terminals and banana plugs which are adequate for binding post terminals.

Once you have everything set and ready, connect the negative speaker terminal to the terminal on a receiver; do the same for the positive terminals as well. The best way to know if you got it confused is to turn on the speakers and listen to the sound – if the bass is thin, and the sound is mushy, you have got it wrong and you are lucky that no further damage was made. Just clip it off and repeat the process – just be sure to double check this time!


While powered speakers are usually producing an extraordinary sound on their own, connecting to a receiver may allow for an even better experience. And as you can see, there is nothing complicated about it – just be sure to pay extra caution when connecting the positive and negative wires, and double check everything for your own safety!

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