How to use 1 set of speakers with 2 amplifiers

I have a 5.1 surround sound speaker set up connected to a Yamaha amplifier. The problem is the two Q Acoustic Concept 40’s floor standing speakers I have sound amazing, so I would like to be able to listen to them in stereo only. This isn’t the problem as I can switch the Yamaha HiFi amp to Direct and get unadulterated sound through the amp to the Q Acoustics. The thing is, I have an

older Denon HiFi amp that is just a stereo amp, it doesn’t even have HDMI inputs or surround sound it’s so old, but it does sound really tasty in stereo. It has a rich, full, bottom end that I know the Q Acoustic Concept 40’s would sound amazing with.

So the problem is how do I run one set of speakers using two different HiFi Amps?

  • One for when I am watching movies in surround sound and..
  • One when I just want to listen in stereo to the floor standing speakers.

I’ve googled this over the years and it seems not very many people have this question. I expect because most people are happy with one amp and one set of speakers. It’s only the audiophile-obsessed types who consider such a setup it would seem.

This is definitely a common issue for people who have a turntable/record player/phono stereo and a separate home theatre amp set up.

Important things before wiring up your amps

The most important thing when looking to set this up is NOT TO wire everything together and hope that if you turn on one amp one it will power the speakers and then turn that amp off and turn the other one on to power the full 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound set up. This is asking for trouble and you are going to blow something, if not the speakers then one or both of the amps.

The thing you need to ensure is that when one amp is powering the speakers the other one can’t be connected in any way.

Cicero – Make Life Click

Fortunately, there have been a couple of companies come to the rescue in making switches for this exact purpose. Both offer ‘disconnect before connect‘ switching allowing you to change from one amp to the other via a switch, without the risk of blowing up your stereo. One offers more options with extra speaker poles.

Amplifier switching product options

This first product is in such a rare space it doesn’t even have a ‘name’ although the actual model number is SP-71. The product title is:

2-Way Amp Amplifier Receiver to 1 One Pair of Speakers Selector Switch Switcher Splitter Combiner – Specialty AV

This product is available online here and ships internationally. It comes from a brand called Specialty AV. You’ll have to wait a while for it to be delivered as it seems to go ground but it’s worth the wait.

It’s the most affordable option in this space that looks robust enough that I would trust my stereo system with it. This is the one I chose as I don’t need anything fancier. It allows a simple configuration:

  • One set of speakers to be connected
  • Two amplifiers to be connected
  • You can run individual speakers off individual (separate) amplifiers (not sure why you would want to but…a/b testing?)
  • Takes up to 12 gauge wire
  • This unit has a power rating of 100w (or 200w RMS). My Yamaha RX-V373 is about 100w per channel and the Denon is rated at 50w (although it sounds more like 100w it’s so big).

The second option is more expensive but offers more control

TC-7220 2-Way Amplifier Speaker Selector Switch Switcher Comparator Crossover Router

This TC-7220 unit available here has been around as a standard for home HiFi enthusiasts for a while. Like the Specialty AV unit, it allows switching but it’s a little more advanced (and a touch more expensive).

The TC-7220 allows the following:

  • Two amplifiers can be connected
  • Two sets of speakers can be connected
  • You can switch between speakers and/or amplifiers. You might have two sets of speakers and two amplifiers in your living room that you want to multi-switch between.
  • You could run two zones also. Have a set of speakers in your office and one in the lounge and change the speakers using the switch, and the amps as you like. This would require having a wired set up though which sounds a little like hard work.
  • Takes up to 12 gauge wire (same as Specialty AV unit)
  • Power up to 200w RMS (same as Specialty AV unit)

That’s about it really. The overall set up is pretty straight forward. These don’t require power so it’s easy to get them wired in quickly and off you go.

Speciality AV SP-71 Unboxing

Any questions? Let me know in the questions below.

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