Benefits of Adding Speakers Using the Speaker B Switch

Use this switch to optimize your listening experience

Home theater setup with surround sound in a white room

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Most stereo and home theater receivers and amplifiers have a speaker A and speaker B switch located somewhere on the front panel. Speaker A is typically used for the primary speakers—usually the pair used for television or video. But what about that secondary set of hookups?

With a little planning and effort, speakers assigned to the speaker B switch can be used to play audio from another room, a patio area or backyard, or a set of rear surround speakers. The switches can also be used compare two different speakers.

How to Set up A and B Speakers

Taking advantage of this built-in feature requires running speaker wires from the receiver to the desired room/zone and connecting a second pair of speakers. Most receivers are designed to safely power both sets of speakers at the same time without any problem.

Be sure to refer to the product specifications first, since there are some receivers and amplifiers that permit only one pair of speakers to operate at any given time. The owner's manual is a good reference to check, and if you don't have the manual, you can often find a digital PDF version on the manufacturer's website, usually under Support.

Comparing Speakers

Adding speakers to the speaker B switch can make it easier to compare and contrast the performance between two sets. Given that the rest of the equipment is typically shared (e.g., audio source, receiver/amplifier, and even the playing space), you can zero in on and evaluate the sonic quality of each.

It's also possible to use different sets of stereo speakers for different listening situations. One set may be favored over the other, depending on each speaker's strengths or the genre of music being played. For example, those who often listen to classical music may prefer speakers that focus on exhibiting clean highs and mids with excellent imaging. But if the mood changes to enjoying some EDM or hip-hop, speakers with fuller-sounding lows and boosted bass might be preferable.

Powering More Speakers

It is possible to use the Speaker B switch to power more than one additional pair of speakers. However, a special (read: additional) switch is required to do this safely. The required speaker switch has an impedance matching feature that protects the receiver from potential damage caused by attempting to power too many speakers at once

Such speaker switches with impedance matching can be purchased in a range of prices, qualities, and with a variety of available total connections. But the benefit of using this bit of gear is that it can transform your receiver into a basic multi-room audio system. An entire house can be wired to the same audio source, complete with individual volume controls for each connected area.

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