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2 Channel or 4 Channel Amp for (4) 4 Ohm Cockpit speakers - What's Ideal?

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  • 2 Channel or 4 Channel Amp for (4) 4 Ohm Cockpit speakers - What's Ideal?

    My 2000 XStar's speakers are now totally shot - Time for an upgrade.

    Im going through the JL/WS debate, but my question is if its better to use a 2 channel or 4 channel amp? (Both JL MX650 and WS XS 650 are 4 Ohm speakers).

    Almost all amps are now 2 Ohm stable, and my understanding is that they output more power (in Watts) with a lower resistance (in Ohms) load.

    2 Channel amps with the same total power handling @ 2Ohms seem cheaper than the 4 channel ones as well.

    So if you dont care about controlling the front/back independently (I dont), why would you still use a 4 channel amp for 4 speakers @ 4Ohms rather than 2 pairs each wired in parallel to 2 Ohms with a 2 Channel amp?

  • #2
    Without getting amp specific, I'll use the wet sound amp I just purchased for example. Its 2 channels, at 4ohms, 400W per channel. At 2ohms, 620W per channel. So halving ohm load doesn't double power at least in my case.


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    • #3
      Almost all amps are now 2 Ohm stable, and my understanding is that they output more power (in Watts) with a lower resistance (in Ohms) load.
      While this is typically a true statement with most amps, keep in mind that what ever the amp's 2 ohm output is, is now divided by those 2 speakers. Its not a case of each speaker getting that 2 ohm power. Example: lets say our amp is 75W rms @ 4 ohm. Single speaker wired to chnl gets 75W. And the amp delivered 100W @ 2 ohm. Two 4 ohm speakers to a chnl and each nets 50W.

      Dollar to wattage, a 2 chnl will likely get you more wattage for less money. However, there can be some advantage to running a 4 chnl amp @ 4x 4 ohm rather than a 2 chnl @ 2 ohm X2. 4 ohm p/chnl amp runs a little more conservative.

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      • #4
        It's true that the cost-per-watt ratio is better running a 2-channel amplifier @ 2-ohms versus a 4-channel amplifier @ 4-ohms. However, the quality of those watts may not be exactly the same. At a 4-ohm load you have lower distortion, greater headroom, greater bandwidth, lower heat, and higher efficiency. The key is under what circumstances you will hear a performance difference. If you are running at 2-ohms, once the power is divided per speaker, if you have just enough power per each speaker for your needs, then you are better off stepping up to the 4-channel or a larger 2-channel amplifier, in which case the cost will be similar.

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