How To Connect Powered Speakers to Amplifier the Right Way

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Yes, in case you’re wondering, there is a right way to connect active speakers to an external amplifier.

As you probably already know, powered speakers already have a built-in amplifier.

That’s why learning how to connect powered speakers to amplifier isn’t as simple as plugging one into the other.

Besides, more power isn’t always a good thing, especially when it comes to sound. That said, some will still want to go down this route.

If this is your case, we’ve got you covered.

So, without further ado, let’s find out more about power amps and active speakers and how you can hook them up safely and still produce the best sound quality.

What Are Powered Speakers?

Active speakers or powered speakers are mostly lightweight, portable speakers for home use.

They typically come in the form of small music studio speakers, PC speakers, and home theater speakers.

As mentioned, no, you do not need to connect an amp to these speakers.

The words “power” and “active” are often used interchangeably when referring to these speakers.

In truth, however, powered speakers and active speakers are not completely the same.

Powered vs. Active Speakers

In a pair of speakers that are “powered,” only a single amplifier is built into the device and powers the two speakers.

Only one speaker will have the amplifier. That will be the same speaker that connects to the other via a speaker wire.

On the other hand, a pair of active speakers will have one amplifier per speaker and another for each driver.

That means 2-way active speakers will have at least four built-in amplifiers—one for the mid or bass driver and another for each speaker’s tweeter.

These two also differ in terms of pricing, with active speakers being the pricier alternatives and powered speakers being the more cost-effective.

More often than not, it’s the professionals who gravitate towards active speakers because of their more sophisticated speaker applications.

Further research should help you learn more about the differences between these two speaker types.

For the purpose of not confusing our general readership, we will refer to powered speakers and active speakers as one and the same.

Connecting Active Speakers in Three Steps

So, how do you connect your powered speakers? Follow these three easy steps:

Step 1: Connect the active speakers to power.

Step 2: Hook up your active speakers to a music source with an analog RCA signal cable. 

Step 3: Use a wire to connect the two speakers. Connect the two speakers with a speaker wire.

You will not need a power amp to produce excellent audio quality. The speakers connect directly to the turntable.

Moreover, many active speakers use Bluetooth technology to allow you to connect to various audio sources wirelessly.

Using this feature, you can stream music from your mobile phone, laptop, or personal computer wirelessly.

tips on how to connect powered speakers to amplifier

Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Active Speakers

What users love the most about powered speakers is that they are incredibly easy to use, portable, and offer great value for money.

Since the amplifier and individual speaker drivers are all in one section, you won’t need to purchase anything else separately.

Sound quality remains top-notch, and you can still play or stream music from different sources without needing to connect to powered amplifiers.

The best part? You will need neither a receiver, power amp, or the traditional rack containing the receiver or amplifier. Talk about cost-effectiveness!

Now, let’s talk about the downside. Of course, you saw this coming.

Powered speakers usually lack additional features and lineouts compared to what they would be when linked to receivers and amplifiers.

In addition, you may find more superb-sounding options in a separate amplifier and passive speakers.

Passive Speakers or Powered Speakers?

So, which will it be? Both can offer exquisite sounds, but you may favor one over the other when it comes to specific needs.

If you aren’t concerned about the budget, passive speakers that come with a separate amplifier are a great option to consider.

On the other hand, powered speakers are ideal if you’re working with limited funding and don’t have much space to work with.

Audio purists weren’t as keen on active speakers as they were on passive speakers because of the former’s subpar audio quality.

These sound machines haven’t quite measured up to their passive counterparts in terms of the nitty-gritty.

That said, speaker manufacturers have upped their power-speaker game in recent years. Today, they focus more and more on producing high-end active and powered speakers.

Before you know it, audiophiles’ general opinion of these speaker types should take a turn for the better.

How To Connect Powered Speakers to Amplifier

You don’t need a power amp to use active speakers or powered speakers. In fact, NEVER hook up your amp’s power output to the powered speaker’s speaker terminal.

The active speaker’s speaker terminal holding the built-in amp is considered a power output, which means it powers both speakers.

That is not the power input meant to link up with your amp.

You will want to determine if your amp possesses a line-level analog output since that would allow a safe connection between your amp and power speaker.

The power amplifier section in your amp is not meant to be linked to your power speakers.

To perform this connection safely and properly, you should always use the line-level analog audio signal.

It should also be an option if your passive speakers are connected to your amp’s power output and you are looking to stream music through your speakers simultaneously. 

Connecting Powered Speakers to an Amplifier

Before you can learn how to connect powered speakers to amplifier, you first need to determine if you have the right devices to make a safe and proper connection.

If not, then you shouldn’t force the issue.

Active speakers or powered speakers DO NOT need an amplifier. Most of them will sound great on their own.

If you are unsatisfied with the sound quality, we recommend you get a new one.

Generally, powered speakers are low-cost options, so buying one shouldn’t be too hard on your wallet.

Not to mention, the exchange you get for a well-chosen unit should exceed the amount you put into purchasing the device.

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