When buying a speaker, you can see different impedances on their features and specs. So, what is the difference between 2 ohm vs. 4 ohm speakers especially in terms of sound quality?
A 2 ohm speaker has lower electrical resistance than a 4 ohm speaker which causes it to produce louder audio. But due to its power consumption, a 2 ohm subwoofer has poorer sound quality. So, a 4 ohm speaker is better if you value audio quality more than volume.
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You can easily decide what impedance you want to get when choosing a speaker. However, it is essential to note that considering impedance if you’re going to get the best out of your purchase.
2 Ohm Vs. 4 Ohm Speakers: What is Better?
It may sound very technical, but all the subwoofers you buy are electronic components. They are like a resistor, similar to the tiny striped kind that you see soldered into circuit boards.
Subwoofers are also rated in impedance or ohms. Such is a measurement of the resistance an audio source provides.
In order to simplify this explanation, impedance is the resistance of an electric circuit to alternating current. It comes from the combined effects of ohmic reactance and resistance.
But to answer the question of which among the two subwoofers is better, you first need to know how a 2-ohm subwoofer differs from a 4 ohm one.
Characteristics of a 2-ohm Subwoofer
The first and most crucial thing you need to know before getting a subwoofer is the amplifier’s impedance rating. You can see that information somewhere behind the amplifier.
Once you know the impedance of your amplifier, then that is when you can purchase a subwoofer.
Ohm is an indication of the amount of power that your speaker can transform into audio. Such is a crucial specification that you need to look at when picking a subwoofer.
As mentioned, the lower the electrical resistance of a subwoofer is, the louder it sounds. Meaning, 2 ohm subwoofers are louder than 4 ohm subs.
But not because 2 ohm speakers are louder means they are better than higher ohm ones. The reason is that they are more likely to produce more inferior sound quality than 4 ohm speakers because they consume less power.
Characteristics of a 4-ohm Subwoofer
Subwoofers with an impedance of 4 ohm use less energy since they have higher electrical resistance. However, they produce less sound in comparison to 2 ohm subwoofers.
Despite sounding lesser than speakers with lower impedance, 4 ohm speakers have a more compact and impactful sound.
Going back to which is better between a 2 ohm and 4 ohm subwoofer, the answer will depend on you.
If you value sound quality more than volume, then a 4 ohm speaker is the better choice for you. It will provide you with clean and more impactful audio.
But if you want your subwoofer to produce a loud sound, you should go for a 2 ohm one.
Still, it is essential to note that the difference between the two is not that huge. If you run 2 ohm and 4 ohm speakers on the same wattage, they will produce a similar sound quality.
Wattage will make subwoofers with different impedance produces a similar sound quality because when you put watts and ohms together, and one of them changes in value, the other one will change as well.
Is Higher Ohm Better for Subwoofers?
When you are setting up a subwoofer, there are always two components:
- The subwoofer itself
- The amplifier
If you look at the specification of these two, you may notice that there is impedance indicated. You may think that high impedance will make the sound of your subwoofer better. But in reality, it would not.
The impedance or ohm of a subwoofer does not adversely affect the quality of sound. Instead, sound quality will depend on the amplifier.
If your subwoofer’s ohm is not enough for your amplifier, the quality of sound will suffer.
That said, a higher ohm is not always better for subwoofers. In fact, it does not have a direct correlation to the quality of your subwoofer. If there is, it will only be minimal and almost unnoticeable.
Instead, the amplifier will determine the quality of audio produced by your subwoofer.
Moreover, the capabilities of your amplifier should match the specifications of your subwoofer. True enough, you can connect a sub with an amp that does not match it. The subwoofer will not explode the moment you switch the amp to the on position.
But if the amp does not match the subwoofer, it will overheat and distort the audio it produces. The reason is that it will draw more electrical current than the power supplies are designed to distribute.
If such a thing happens, the amplifier will shut down in no time, which will cause adverse damage.
For that reason, you should always make sure that your amplifier matches the impedance of your subwoofer. At this point, you will not experience any problems. Still, some issues may occur if you try too hard to control the volume.
You always need to check out the specification of your amplifier to see if it matches with your subwoofer.
If the amplifier’s specification states 4 ohm to 8 ohm, it could support subwoofers of 4, 6, and 8ohm.
Suppose the amplifier is designed to support 6ohm to 8ohm speakers. In that case, you can still connect a 4 ohm subwoofer to it, and everything will work.
However, if you are planning to set the sub on a high volume so you can get good sound in your room, chances are your power supply will overload. If such happens, the amp will shut down.
If the subwoofer is damaged before the amplifier shuts down, that would be another problem.
One thing worth noting is that if you have a subwoofer with a low impedance, such as 2 ohm or 4 ohm, you need to ensure that your amplifier has the capacity to drive it.
- What Is Better 2ohm Or 4ohm Subwoofer?, Oznium LED Lighting, https://www.oznium.com/blog/2-ohm-vs-4-ohm/ https://www.techwalla.com/articles/2-ohm-vs-4-ohm-speakers/
- Buck Pomerantz, Wiring subwoofers — what’s all this about ohms?, Crutchfield, https://www.crutchfield.com/S-pOORLZscuQM/learn/wiring-subwoofers-ohms.html/
Jason is a home theater expert with over 10 years of experience in setting up home cinema rooms and systems. What started out as a hobby soon transformed him into an authority in the audio-visual field. He is passionate about providing readers with accurate and up-to-date information on the latest audiovisual technologies and their applications for home theaters. Read more about Jason.