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4 speakers off 2 channels

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hello, I have recently purchased Onkyo HT-RC270 which has a 2nd zone feature. I plan to run the 2nd zone to my patio and I say plan as that is the stage I am in. Haven't purchased anything to do so yet, speakers included.

My problem is the 2nd zone is stereo and has to connections on my receiver. My patio is large and I know 2 speakers will not provide the coverage I am looking for. I want to run 2 Left speakers and 2 Right speakers to the patio off of these 2 connections and then run each pair of speakers to each end of the patio.

I want to do this correctly. If I have been reading the other threads on this form correctly if I buy four 8ohm speakers and connect 2 to each connection that will be sending 4ohms to the receiver and I have been hearing people say that can cause issues. I see on the onkyo web site that I have "certified 4ohm performance". Does that mean this setup would run okay on my receiver? Can I expect any kind of performance issues?

Or do I need to get a 2ch amp and connect it to the 2nd zone pre-outs on my receiver. Is there one designed to take a 2 channel signal and push it out 4 speakers like I need? If there is my google skills are not strong enough to find it.

Or is there a better option to accomplish my goal?




To make things more complicated I have a 2nd question. I would also like the 2nd zone to work in my kitchen and garage. I have been looking at speaker switches that are just a manual switch that physically moves the connections over to the other speakers. I know that means the 2nd zone would only work on the patio, kitchen OR garage at at time and I am okay with that. I guess my question is that if there is any opinion you guys have on these switches? They ever cause anyone problems? I have seen some with impedance protection, that sounds like a feature worth getting I guess. Thoughts?
post #2 of 7
Two 8 ohm speakers in parallel is a 4 ohm load. This can be fine. At sufficiently high volumes it could cause issues. For background music, maybe fine.

Another option is to put two 8 ohm speakers in series for a 16 ohm load. A 16 ohm load presents less problems for a receiver. But it increases the chance the receiver's could clip as you have to turn up the volume more to compensate. At moderate volumes, not a problem I would guess either.

Then there's putting two 4 ohm speakers in series. That gives you 8 ohms, which is what receivers are designed for (but as I say, may handle 4 ohm loads fine.)

As for wanting to power more speakers, then I would get an amp. You get get high power pro amps for under $500. A speaker selector, with impedance matching, can let you hook up quite a few speakers, and at reasonable volumes, the amp can supply enough power.
post #3 of 7
There are many options. Depends on how "much" are you willing to spend...

You can get multi-zone amplifiers(meaning one amp can accept 2-3 different inputs, and send them, however you wish, to the rest of the house.

Using a speaker selector(like for 4 pairs of speakers) can get tricky. You MUST buy one that does impedance matching. Most "cheap" speaker selector boxes take the ohm load and "halve it" for each pair added in(8 ohm speakers, 2 pairs ran is 4 ohm, 3 pair is 2 ohm, 4 pairs makes an amp killer load of 1 ohm).

So...how do you wish to do this?

Using the 270 to power the 2nd zone, with an impedance matching speaker selector, or running the pre-out to another amp(or amps, with a RCA splitter)...both are "correct" and advisable, if done right.

Also, check your owners manual. Most Onkyo receivers...the "Zone 2 pre-out" does NOT do volume control. It sends out a baseline signal, so the OTHER END has to have volume control.
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
I want loudness to be an option (I'm a metal head) so it sounds like 2 pair of 4ohms speakers connected in series is a stronger option. I was however reading this thread and at the bottom Kal Rubinson is advising that there may be quality concerns with this setup... thoughts?


I found some Pyle outdoor speakers on Amazon rated at 4ohms for cheap. Never heard of Pyle, has anyone here? Not seeking out cheap but not seeing many options for outdoor speakers rated at 4ohms.
post #5 of 7
Running speakers in series has been done since, well, the very beginning of audio(1906). It worked then, it will work in 2111(100 years from now).


The "big issue" with outdoor audio...

There are no walls to reinforce sound...
Fidelity sucks...
outdoor speakers are plastic...

But, as long as you can live with those 3 issues(sarcasm, cause you have no choice anyway), there is no reason not to do it.

There is also a "third option". Buy 6 8ohm outdoor speakers and run them in a parallel/series wiring pattern(you can look that one up on your own time) to keep the 8ohm rating...

By the way...I have an "outdoor" 5.0 theater. It is protected from rain, but not heat/cold. The TV is outside(Panasonic outdoor plasma), but the receiver is in the house. "The receiver" has a speaker selector box ran on all 5 channels..."in the room" or "to the porch". And yes, been known to host parties where outside and inside are going at the same time.
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your help guys. Sounds like when I am selecting outdoor speakers I need to investigate what they are rated against. You say yours are protected from rain but not heat/cold.

Here is Phoenix it can get to 120° at the peak of summer
post #7 of 7
Pyle make good for the price speakers...and I think they specialize in outdoor/boat speakers. They won't be high quality...
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