Anyone ever switch speaker wiring for a tonal change?

Discussion in 'Amps/Cabs Tech Corner: Amplifier, Cab & Speakers' started by justonwo, Feb 6, 2006.

  1. justonwo

    justonwo Member

    Mar 2, 2005
    SF Bay Area
    I'm currently reading The Guitar Amp Handbook and ran across a section about how speaker wiring (series vs. parallel) can have a small effect on tone. The author concludes that parallel wiring produces tighter response and smoother breakup, while the series wiring is a little looser and rawer.

    I'm contemplating changing my series-wired Rivera Quiana just to experiment with the sonic differences. Has anyone ever tried this simple mod and 1) noticed a difference, or 2) developed a preference for one vs. the other?

    (The author also notes the parallel benefit of having at least one speaker receiving power from the OT should one of the speakers blow out).
  2. Rod

    Rod Tone is Paramount Silver Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2004
    Area 51
    Hi Justin..I've done this quite a few times over the years with different amps I've used..I have to say I like series wiring when I can use it...I first discovered it when looking at the speaker wiring of an older Vox AC30 I bought, which had series wiring....Changed it to parallel, just to see the difference, and it lost some of it's elusive charm, and some bottom...Not a ton, but enough to notice...You can also hear the difference in impedance from 4, 8 to 16 ohms..Vintage style amps of the english variety sound better at 16 ohms... And that's for overdriven tones...I don't ever play very clean, so this is what I know....That's my opinion:horse :horse :horse :horse
  3. Hollobody

    Hollobody Member

    Jul 25, 2005
    I'm sure this has been covered somewhere else, but what about the gage of the speaker wire? Is there an optimum gage? Does it have any impact on the tone?
  4. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

    Mar 17, 2002
    I can hear the difference, and I generally prefer parallel - it sounds 'chunkier' to me. But some amps and sounds suit series better (particularly vintage British amps, IMO).

    This a commonly perpetuated fallacy. If you blow one speaker, the other one will then almost certainly blow as well unless you stop playing immediately, because it will have to take the amp's whole output on its own, even allowing for the drop in power caused by the mismatch - so now you have two blown speakers instead of one, and still a risk to the amp.

    eg, if you have a 50W amp with two 25W speakers and one blows, you now have an amp that will deliver about 35W into the remaining speaker, so it should be obvious what will happen.

    It's only (fairly) safe if the speakers are dissimilar, and one will take the whole power of the amp on its own. Even then, the sudden impedance change if the weaker speaker fails is not risk-free for the amp either. The only truly safe scheme is to make sure that the speakers are not at risk of blowing... period.
  5. rockon1

    rockon1 Member

    Aug 12, 2005
    Stamford CT
    Yes I have done this. With my JSX I prefered parallel wiring. Tighter lows and smoother highs-not by a lot but noticable. I imagine speakers(whether your mixing or not) plays a factor in it too as well as the type of amp.
  6. Chandler

    Chandler Member

    Jul 11, 2005
    Media, PA
    I like to install a switch to go back and forth depending on the application. Here's a diagram I got from Ted[​IMG] Weber.

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