Audio Technology | How To's | Tips

Nominal Impedance

The most important thing to understand about Impedance is that is varies with frequency and power – it is not a set value.

Impedance (Z) is the calculated value of Inductance (L), Capacitance (C), and Resistance (R). 

There are two specifications for Impedance: 

Nominal which is more or less an average value, and minimum, which is a critical value to know when matching loudspeakers to amplifiers.  Typically, the lower the frequency the lower the applied impedance the loudspeaker presents to the amplifier. Under normal conditions a speaker’s impedance may fluctuate from 3.2 Ohm Z to as high as 17- or 18-Ohm Z.

Rule of Thumb:

A 4Ω amplifier can drive an 8Ω loudspeaker but it will produce 50% less power.  Conversely an 8Ω amp driving a 4Ω loudspeaker produces 50% more power.

You CANNOT measure the Impedance of a loudspeaker with a DC Ohmmeter and get an accurate reading.  All you can check for is open or short circuit.

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