How to use 1 set of speakers with 2 amplifiers

Switching between speakers with one amp. Picture of Speakers

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If you have 2 amps but only 1 set of speakers – here’s the solution.

And you don’t need to build, wire or blow anything up!

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.

Editor’s Pick
Specialty AV-71 Amp switch for 2 speakers pairs and 1 amp

Of all the models listed here the Specialty AV SP-71 is affordable, does a simple task well and is great quality. Set up is easy and it does what it says on the box. Unless you’re running very expensive valve amplifiers I can’t see why this wouldn’t suit all home theater enthusiasts.

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 few 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 for multiple amps with single speaker pair

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

1: 2-Way Amp Amplifier Receiver to 1 One Pair of Speakers Selector Switch Switcher Splitter Combiner – Specialty AV SP-71

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).

Speciality AV SP-71 Unboxing

Check out more reviews and pricing on the
Specialty AV Amp switch

The second option is more expensive but offers more control

2: 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)

Check out more reviews and pricing on the
TC-7220 Amp Switch

3: Dynavox AMP-S Amplifier/Box Switch Black (UK Only)

The Dynavox AMP-S available here seems to only be available in the UK. We’ll list it here for those of you who can get access to it. It’s nothing more or less special than the previous 2 recommendations.

  • Has the same rear poles as the SP-71. 1 x stereo speaker cable connection and 2 x 2 stereo amp connections.
  • No load is sent to the ‘off amp’
  • Easy rotator dial to choose which amp
  • Terminal poles are a screwable type to secure your speaker and amp wiring
  • 3 way switch has a ‘both off’ setting in the middle. Also means a full off before on connection when changing.

Check out more reviews and pricing on the Dynavox AMP-S Amplifier Switch

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.

Any questions? Let me know in the questions below.

Specialty AV Amp Switcher
Specialty AV Amp Switcher
Does what it says
Build Quality
Ease of use
Reader Rating0 Votes

Endless hours of experimentation, professional work, and personal investment in Home Theatre, Hi-Fi, Smart Home Automation and Headphones have come to this.

Former owner of Headphones Canada, a high-end headphone specialty retailer.

This post was last updated on 2024-05-19 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.

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43 thoughts on “How to use 1 set of speakers with 2 amplifiers”

  1. Great job and thanks for your service. You have saved a lot of music lovers a world of stress. My wife says “WHY”.. I say because I should be able to. Lol. I have an Onkyo 7.1 surround for TV and now temporarily for music in my upstairs den. I am moving my old Pioneer SX 1080 upstairs but want to pair some old Misubushi speakers in with the Bose 901’s that are connected now. I did a test and the hi sound of the Mitsubishi speakers and the reflecting sound of the Bose us amazing funneling out of that old Pioneer. This tip saved me some time, experimenting and having to double up on some hard to find audio junk as my wife calls it. Thanks again.

    1. Haha! Nice one Will. My wife says WHY all the time too. Sounds like the TC-7220 will be the unit for your testing then. You can change between 2 HiFI amps and 2 sets of speakers.

      I was happy when I figured this our also. Saved me a lot of time with a soldering iron for sure. In the future when I’ve won the lottery I’ll have a room that gives me a reason to use the TC-7220. ?

  2. I find it hard to believe that someone or some company hasn’t come up with a proper solution to this ‘problem’ long ago.
    I’ve been searching on and off for a good few years for this. I’ve got a very nice Hi Fi amp plus an AV amp and rather than having 2 sets of speakers, I just want 1 set with both amps powering them with some kind of switch isolating the 2 amps.
    Surely it must be a common problem?

    1. Yes. Agree Steve. It took me a long time find these solutions listed above but they do work perfectly. The SP-71 or TC-7220 list here will solve the problem for you.

      Unless you mean an automated switch? These two amp switching models do require you to manually switch the switches.

    2. I’m still not happy with the choices out there (which is almost none). For one thing, have you ever looked inside one of these boxes? There’s about two dollar’s worth of parts and technology in there. The enclosure is worth about another two bucks and yet they sell these things for way too much money. I’d rather look into making my own. It’s not that complicated.

      1. Hi Norm, thanks for the comment. I’d be more than interested in trying out anything you’re keen to manufacture. While these units might be basic and have low costs parts the main point is that they work. For those of us who have little interest in spending time making these things, it’s easier to buy something off the shelf that works, comes with a warranty and requires no effort to use. Perhaps there is a business here if you can lower the price, improve the performance and ideally produce something that operates on its own frequency and goes into auto-standby when not receiving a signal.

        1. Haha, I’m just gonna wire up a simple switch, and I just bought a 3d printer so I’ll make an enclosure!! The photos gave me a complete design in my head as soon as I saw them! But stumbling upon this thread…..ha, I needed a laugh!!! Thanks sooo much!!!! CHEERS to you all!

  3. Hi.
    Big sigh of relief and endless thanks!
    Sometimes a small sticking point can become a source of great frustration. At the cost of stretching your hospitality, are there any devices with more than 3 amplifier inputs?
    Thanks and cheers.

  4. This has been so helpful, only the final option seems to be available on Amazon UK but it should solve my dilemma. Thank you so much 😎

  5. Hubert François

    Don’t you think there should be a word of warning for those who want to use either of those switches to select between solid state VS tube amp. Tube amps always require a load when they are turned on. Switching to a “B” solid state amp would blow the “A” tube amp if left on. Do you know of a switch that has an integrated solution to this problem?

    1. Yes. Good point. These ideally focus on solid state amps. I’ll update to clarify but don’t have a switching solution to that one.

      Really though, as a mater of precaution I would not switch this with both amps on regardless – just feels like best practice not to.

      1. Glad I found this post – long journey in finding an amp switch box that also protects tube amps. Found this, which seems to fit the bill: Douk Audio

  6. Hi ,
    First thank you for the post it is really interesting and just what I am seeking,

    I have a relatively low budget but still want to add great 2 channel audiophile quality to my budget home theatre. The two channel source will be Rega Planar 3 turntable with a Schitt (Mani ) Phono AMP t. I am trying to get true HiFi quality i.e. imaging and creating a sound stage as if the artist is in my ounge .

    Currently I have a Sony Home theatre Amp (STR DN1060) 7.2 165 Wx7Ch amp. My front speakers are B&W DM604 S3. I have an Affinity Centre Speaker and a pair B&W DM602 as my rear. My wife is happy enough with the home theatre and wants to keep it :-). I am now going out to find and buy a great 2 channel amp either and integrated or pre-amp / poweramp combination to give me better 2 channel sound than what the current Sony can deliver. My home theatre’s current setup has the front pair B&W 604 speakers; Bi-Amped. So running the Sony in a 5.1. configuration with its front speakers(A&B) Bi AMP. Like to leave this setup as ai it.

    So do the switches handle Bi AMP and/or Bi Wiring?

    When I do add the additional 2 channel amp I expects watt rating will be 120-200 @ 8 ohm . Thinking possibly a Cambridge or Rotel unit.

    Is there any issue running separates (for my proposed additionally 2 channel HI FI setup) eg. a pre-amp and powerAMP ?

    Many thanks in advance.

    1. So, I’ve been dwelling on this one and I’m not sure why you couldn’t reverse a unit like this: Check here.

      I just need to get one to crack it open to see how the switches are wired to know if there are any resistors or similar at the amp level.

    1. It doesn’t change the HT amp set up. You use it to control your main front speakers (ideally) – so the Front Left/Right outputs from both amps goes to the switch. When you select the Front Left/Right speakers for the Home Theatre amp it doesn’t affect the other surrounds and subwoofer outputs. I’m not sure if I’ve explained that clearly – would it help if I did a diagram to illustrate?

  7. I was going to buy the Specialty AV SP-71 for $59.99 at Amazon to separate my home theater amp and stereo amp from 1 set of speakers. But having an electrical background, I realized that all you really need is a 2 pole, double throw, knife blade disconnect switch. Amazon sells the Tatoko Copper Plated 63A Double Pole Electric Brake Safety Knife Switch DPST for $13.99. Check here.
    May not look like stereo equipment, but will more than adequately do the job and there is absolutely no way you could connect the 2 amplifiers at the same time. I got one and it works great, have it out of sight behind my amp. stand. The wire terminals have no problem tightly securing the speaker wire. Check it out and save a few $$. And, if you need more than 3 amp. inputs, there are 3 pole switches out there as well. If you have a tube amp, I am sure you can solder in the necessary resistors.

    1. I love that you’ve built something to do it for cheaper, I just don’t have the time or inclination. For those who love a soldering iron and some DIY – this sounds like a great solution. Thanks for the comment.

  8. Hi, have you found a bulletproof system to safety switch between a solid state amplifier and a tube amplifier. I would like to play my marantz amplifier casually and then sit down in the evening to enjoy the valve system.

    1. Nothing as yet. You could still use the switcher but you need to ensure when you want to go tube you have already switched the switch to your valve amp before you power up so the load is distributed correctly.

  9. I have a Naim Superuniti DAC/streamer amplifier and a Denon A11 SACD player with a pair of Dynaudio Contour 2.0 speakers. I have recently ordered a Willsenton R8 tube amp and wondered whether there would any issues connecting both the amps to the Switch, as you mentioned caution about a serious tube amp being switched?

  10. Hi, I’m very close to buying the Speciality AV SP-71, but have a question/concern. It is only rated for 200w and I plan to switch between A)Yamaha AVR (90w@8ohm) and B)Carver PM700 (225w@8ohm) and am running a pair of Magnepan MMG’s that run at 6ohm, which would put me at even higher >200 watts on the Carver… I plan to use the Yamaha 90% of the time, but get the Carver into the mix for high-volume, crank it up listening (The Mags love the extra power).

    1. Well, the most important information there is ‘for high-volume, crank it up listening“. Technically, there is no major reason I can see why this won’t work for you but you’re asking more of the switch than it’s really designed to give – that said, it’ll probably give you more than you need before it’s just not nice to listen too. Will it disappoint, unlikely, but that is only in my opinion. There are a few other factors when it comes to true RMS type output so pure wattage isn’t the whole deal. Personally, I’d do it because I’m lazy, and I know few people who can actually push 200w through their systems enjoyably, even if their amp says it’s 200W, and still have good hearing. Those are more maximum outputs and are closer to jet engines/rock concerts – the ones that leave your ears ringing and losing frequencies.

      I might offer that if you really love your Mags you could invest in a separate power amp – maybe something second hand that does that one thing well – crank?

  11. Thank you Mark,

    I think the correct answer is to find a dedicated amp, the real issue here is that I had the Carver (commercial) laying around and wanted to see how the Mags handled the extra power as the Yamaha was being severely overdriven at higher listening levels. The big bummer about running the Carver (via pre-outs) is that is has an obnoxious fan that I am finding intolerable at low ambient. The switch was my “Lazy” idea of a fix, since the only time I really need the Carver is when doing some higher volume listening and the fan doesn’t matter at that point. The Yamaha is a critical cog for my HT / Atmos setup, so, I just need to find something silent to replace the Carver with that will drive the Mags with a little room to spare. Even the Carver is peaking during certain passages, that is with AVR gain at about 0db (so not trying to blow ears), but want super solid performance on the Mags for 2ch and HT application. I think I will hold off on switch in favor of finding a suitable 2 ch amp (any suggestions?)…

  12. Cheers Mark.
    I already found the solution elsewhere and am very happy with the Dynavox box – it looks and feels solid and I can’t hear a difference between connecting the speakers directly to the amp or to the box.

    But now I have a similar problem /question and the only answer I can come up with is to buy an RCA switch (which also exists from Dynavox). I want to use one subwoofer with my AVR and stereo amplifier. The plan is to connect both pre-outs to the RCA switch and then run it to the sub.
    The only concern is that I could not find any proof that this is a valid or popular solution.
    And, of course, I would have to switch two boxes.
    Any thoughts about that?

    Regards from Germany, Stefan

  13. Thanks for the review Mark, very helpful.

    I do have a quick question if you don’t mind
    I have a Denon AVR and an Audiolab stereo amp, both connected to the Beresford TC7220 mk iii, and a single set of speakers (fronts for the AVR).

    The TC7220 manual states:

    – Make sure that only one amplifier is On and selected
    – Never attempt to switch between two amplifiers when any of the amplifiers is switched On

    I’m rather worried about the someone either turning the receiver on when the amp is already on or vice versa.

    I’m not so worried about someone trying to switch between Amps on the TC 7220 (as this is hidden away from prying hands!!) but the accidental turning on of both is a big concern.

    If this happens is it likely to damage any/all of the equipment?

    Thanks in advance

    Best regards, Adam, UK

  14. Hi Adam. Great question. In theory these units have a disconnect before connecting switch – I checked with Specialty AV who said they definitely do. So they shouldn’t even cross power. That being said, I always switch off before switching as a precaution. It could be a warning to avoid any liability which unfortunately means it rests with your personal decision. Probably not super helpful I afraid but I also would hate to give a certainty and have a random event happen that damages anyones gear. Good luck though – nice set up!

  15. I learned something tonight thanks to you.
    I’ve got a Yamaha rx-v465 driving my home theatre, and a Yamaha rx-v800 with my record player plugged into it.
    This weekend I bought a new set of Polk Audio RTi A7 speakers, and I was so excited to have my two amps driving the new speakers.
    Luckily I didn’t have both amps on at the same time …. I honestly didn’t know that things can go bad.
    so thanks heaps for the info 👍
    Paul. New Zealand

    1. Thanks Paul, glad it helped. Let us know how you go with the new switch when you get it. How are you liking your Polk Audio RTi A7? The rx-v800 has plenty of omph surely to drive those.

  16. Thanks very much for this article.

    I have a stupid question.

    I would like to connect my AV receiver to a unit like this along with a stereo amplifier.

    I understand that I will connect the front right and left outputs from the AV receiver to this switch, and the stereo amplifier right and left outputs to this switch as well.

    From the switch I then connect to the front right and left speakers.

    My question is: how do I safely wire my surround speakers (in my case this is just a centre speaker) from the AV receiver? Do they not need the switch at all? Do I simply connect the centre speaker outputs from my AV receiver to the center speaker directly? And after this the switch will go between 1) the AV receiver playing both my centre and front speakers, and 2) my stereo amplifier playing just through the front speakers? And safely?

    I have zero technical knowledge so just being doubly sure. I’m worried about the centre speaker in this scenario not being connected via a switch to my AV receiver. And that because it will be hooked up “directly” from my AV receiver, that it is “exposed” in some way, and that it might open up the entire circuit to being shot/toast.


  17. Hi Mark,
    I’ve got a Yamaha 5 channel surround sound amp (left and right front, center, left and right rear). In addition, I have a quadraphonic sound amp (left and right front, left and right rear). Would it be possible to use the TC-7220 for the front and rear left and right speakers and connect the center channel directly to the Yamaha amp? Thanks!

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