Multi-Room Situation


I have searched the archives and can't find a clear answer to my question. I have an older (approx. 8yr) Onkyo receiver. It has a A and B speaker output. The recommended speaker impedence for A or B is 8 ohm. A and B is higher - 16 ohm I think.

Anyway, I have one pair of big JBL speakers (8 ohm) hooked to B. On the A side I have an A-B-C-D speaker switch box with three pairs of 8 ohm bookshelf speakers hooked to it.

When using the switch box, I have a maximum of two pairs running. I know that technically I am underpowering the speakers, but am I running a risk of damaging the speakers or the receiver? The receiver does not run hot. This is mainly for background music. When I really want volume, I listen to the JBLs alone.

I have noticed that some particularly deep bass sounds aren't coming out clearly on the JBL's and some of the bookshelf speakers. So you suppose this is damage, or just a result of the set up?

Any suggestions would be appreciated.


Silver Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 121
Registered: Sep-04
I assume that when using the switch box you have maximum of two pairs running because the Onkyo can run two pairs (A and B). In other words, no matter what you're running, the JBLs are always on 'B'.

The worst situation is when you try to drive speakers with an amp which doesn't have the power to drive them. Why is this so? Well, the amp is more likely to distort since it runs out of power. Distortion breaks speakers more readily than overdriving them since it makes the drive units act in a way for which they were not intended.

That said, this is only a problem if you notice the sound distorting. Provided there is no distortion and the switch box is working correctly, there should be no problem electrically, especially if the amp isn't heating up (another side-effect of distortion).

In order to isolate the problem, I suggest you wire the JBLs on their own to the A speaker set and see if there is a difference in presentation. Then check again on the 'B' set, again with the switch box disconnected. If it sounds better this way, it's more likely that the switch box is interfering adversely with the operation of the amp, and I would suggest you don't use it - or at least have it checked out by a dealer or electrician. If the JBLs still don't sound right, it's more likely that the unclear bass sounds are something you hadn't picked up on in the past. Of course, if you're conscious of a change in the presentation, then I am talking rubbish and the damage is probably done!

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