Will Speakers Work If They Are Wired Backwards?

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It’s easy to make a mistake when wiring speakers, especially if you cannot differentiate the speaker wires by color. That can cause sound distortion and many other problems. In this article, we are going to talk about speakers, how to wire them, and we are going to answer the question: Will speakers work if wired backwards?

Let’s dive into the topic.

Speaker connection basics

Transmitting an audio signal requires correct wiring between the amplifier and speakers. Correct wiring means that the positive and negative terminals are connected on both ends. This will cause perfect synchronization between the audio signal and the movement of the speakers that create the sound. The sound will be of the best possible quality, because the audio signal matches closely to how the speaker is moving to create sound.

Wiring a speaker backwards

If you wire a speaker backwards, that means that you connect a positive speaker wire with a negative terminal of the amplifier, or vice versa. That will cause unsynchronized speaker operation and they will be out-of-phase. This is called inverted speaker polarity. When speakers are out-of-phase, the audio signal from one speaker won’t be received at the same time as the audio signal from another speaker. Simply put, one sound might be delayed compared to another and the frequency output would be distorted.

Wiring speakers backwards won’t necessarily damage your speakers, but will likely affect the sound quality.

Why would the wiring get reversed?

Many people will attempt replace the positive and negative poles of the speakers, so they will seek help online when they notice that something is wrong with the sound. Sometimes, they won’t even notice the difference between changing the poles, but sometimes it will cause many problems.

How should speakers be wired?

Wiring speakers in the correct way means that you connect the right wire to the right terminal.

The red wire is positive and the black wire is negative. Positive is associated with the + symbol, and negative is associated with the symbol.

The red wire needs to be connected to the positive terminal of the amplifier, and the black wire to the negative terminal. Basically, you just need to match the color of wires and terminals.

If your wires come in different colors, the black wire is always the negative, and the other one is positive.

Some wires are not differentiated by color, but rather a white strip. The wire with the white strip is positive.


Yes, speakers will work if they are wired backwards. However, this may impact sound quality due to phasing issues. Wiring a speaker backwards won’t necessarily cause damage to the speaker, but it should be avoided. If you can’t tell which wire is positive and negative, refer to the color or any striping on the wiring. Black and/or unstriped means negative, red (or other color) and/or striped is means positive.

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