When buying car speakers, one of the features you will consider is the impedance of either 2 ohms or 4 ohms.
What is their difference?
Even if the practical difference is not that big, the main difference between them is the amount of energy they extract from the amplifier. 2-ohm car speakers need a more powerful amplifier than a 4 ohms speaker. Due to this, 2-ohm speakers play louder than 4 ohms speakers, but the sound is of poorer quality.
This article will help you understand how a 2-ohm car speaker varies from a 4-ohm car speaker.
What is impedance?
Before we hit the nail on the head, let us first understand what a speaker’s impedance is.
Impedance is the total resistance of the voice coil to the flow of electric current as it works with a musical signal. It is measured in ohms.
An amplifier or car stereo requires some amount of speaker load impedance to limit the amount of electrical current the amp or radio tries to supply. Moreover, in-car speakers, the real impedance changes as the music plays.
Nevertheless, the great thing is that car speakers can be classified according to an Ohms rating because it is close.
Many of the speakers are manufactured in either 2 ohms or 4 ohms in the car speaker world.
Even if you can find exceptions for those with 1 ohm, it will be hard to get a speaker or amplifier of over 4 ohms due to the low 12V voltage.
Differences between 2 ohms speakers and 4 ohms speakers
The two speakers vary by:
- The price
- The resistance one can get
- The amount of power that will pass through your subwoofers.
- Sound quality
- Amplifier compatibility
- Compatibility with an amplifier
These two kinds of speakers vary so much in terms of their cost.
However, price also depends on the brand and size of the speaker.
A 2-ohm speaker is usually more expensive than a 4-ohm speaker. This is because many people want them in their cars due to their louder sound. A 2-ohm speaker will cost $50-$200 depending on the brand you decide to buy.
In addition, 2-ohm speakers are designed with greater fine-tuning options than 4-ohm speakers.
The other reason is to operate a 2-ohm speaker, and you will require a very powerful amplifier for your car. Therefore, it will be best if you buy a powerful amplifier if you don’t have one. This will incur additional costs.
The resistance you can get from them
Electrical Resistance (ohms) shows the amount of power a subwoofer will be able to hold and the amount of power it will change into sound.
It is okay to say that a 2-ohm speaker has a resistance of 2 which means that it lets more current to flow through, while a 4-ohm speaker has a resistance of 4 which means that it allows less current to flow through it.
The electrical resistance impacts the sound quality, power consumption, amplifier requirements, and so on.
A speaker with a lower electrical resistance delivers louder sound than one with higher electrical resistance. This means that 2 ohms speakers are louder than 4 ohms speakers.
Amount of power consumed
Two ohms speakers consume more power. Hence they deliver lower quality sound. They take 72 watts of power.
In contrast, 4 ohms speakers use way less power hence have better audio quality. They use 36 watts of power.
A speaker’s sensitivity is the amount of power needed to operate the speaker. It is measured in decibels (dB).
It depicts how loud a speaker will be with a certain amplifier power. Moreover, sensitivity helps you know how powerful your amplifier should be.
There is a difference of almost 2.5dB between a 2ohm and 4-ohm speaker, which some may realize while others may not.
As mentioned earlier, most people may not notice the significant difference in the sound quality of the two types of speakers.
Note that, here we are considering a similar amplifier for both the speakers.
2 ohms speakers permit more current to flow through. More current is equivalent to more power. Therefore, with the extra power level, 2 ohms will be able to deliver more power.
In comparison, 4 ohms speakers don’t take up so much power from the amplifier. This leads to lower power hence lower sound than 2 ohms speakers.
Nevertheless, if you have more control of the power, you will notice a significant increase in the sound quality. This is when you are using the same amplifier for both speakers.
In addition, you can also get better sound quality from the 2-ohm speakers, even if you will need to check many settings and may require a better amp that lets you do so.
4-ohm speakers have a higher resistance; hence they don’t consume too much power. This higher resistance limits the flow of the electricity, which in turn decreases the amount of power your speakers require.
Therefore, with a 4 ohms speaker, you will worry less about the amplifier. I can assure you that these speakers won’t damage the amplifier in any way. So, if you don’t know about amplifier capabilities, the 4 ohms speakers are the safer option.
In contrast, you will have to ensure your amplifier can handle the requirements of a 2-ohm speaker. For example, if a 4-ohm speaker needs 100W power, a 2-ohm speaker will need 200W. If you have a 100W amplifier, it will handle too much load from the 2-ohm speakers.
That will result in overheating issues that may even harm the amplifier.
Therefore, you need to know your amplifier capabilities before selecting a 2-ohm speaker.
In fewer words, the 4-ohm speakers are compatible with almost all kinds of amplifiers, while the 2-ohm speakers have their special power needs.
In this case, we can’t pick one over the other.
However, theoretically, 4-ohm speakers are said to be more long-lasting than 2-ohm speakers.
4-ohm speakers have a higher resistance which prevents too much current from going through. This causes a more controlled and precise current flow instead of overpowering things with electricity. Due to this, 4 ohms are more durable than 2-ohm speakers.
Can you use a 4-ohm speaker with a 2-ohm amplifier?
This is one of the questions one wouldn’t answer before this guide.
The answer is, yes, you can run a 4-ohm speaker with a 2-ohm amplifier because a 2-ohm amplifier will have more than enough power to offer a 4-ohm speaker.
In simple words, if your amplifier can handle a 2-ohm speaker, it will easily handle a 4-ohm speaker.
However, when you think about it the other way round, everything will go downhill if you try to power a 2-ohm speaker with a 4-ohm amplifier. You will require 2-ohm speakers requiring half the power as a 4-ohm speaker if you want it to function.
For instance, you have two 120W 4-ohm amplifiers, and you want to run 2-ohm speakers, you must get two 60W 2 ohm speakers. With reduced power, the sound quality will also decrease. In the long run, selecting a 2-ohm speaker won’t be worthwhile.
To sum up, either of the speakers is a great option.
However, whichever you pick will be influenced by the kind of bass you want. If you need a moderate bass level and the best quality, a 4-ohm speaker will do. Moreover, you will be required to connect several subwoofers in series for higher resistance, hence higher quality bass.
In comparison, if you want the loudest bass, consider the 2ohm speaker and if you have multiple subwoofers, connect them in series for less resistance hence more loudness.