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Author Topic: Speaker selection switch  (Read 3850 times)

Scott McDonnell

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Speaker selection switch
« on: March 21, 2011, 07:00:17 am »

Hi,

Our small church has recently had a pair of speakers donated to us.  What we would like to do is add these 2 speakers to our hall allowing us to use a side orientation, i.e.

x1 Powered Mixer (rack mount) with only L & R outs.
x2 Speakers (A&B) currently FOH Left and Right
...adding x2 Speakers (C&D) Side Hall Left and Right

Utilisation - I hope this makes some sense:

                                              [          ]  =====[A]
                                              [          ]  =====
Mixer AMP (Spkr Out) L/R====[Switch]        or       
                                              [          ] =====[C]                     
                                              [          ] =====[D]

So the switch needs to allow the end user to select either A/B (Front Speakers) OR C/D (Side Speakers).

The amp is rated as 500W per channel and each speaker 400W (all 4).

I am happy to make a switch but am unsure as to how I go about this.  Thanks for any assistance.
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Mike Spitzer

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Re: Speaker selection switch
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2011, 08:06:37 am »

Hi,

Our small church has recently had a pair of speakers donated to us.  What we would like to do is add these 2 speakers to our hall allowing us to use a side orientation, i.e.

x1 Powered Mixer (rack mount) with only L & R outs.
x2 Speakers (A&B) currently FOH Left and Right
...adding x2 Speakers (C&D) Side Hall Left and Right

Utilisation - I hope this makes some sense:

                                              [          ]  =====[A]
                                              [          ]  =====
Mixer AMP (Spkr Out) L/R====[Switch]        or       
                                              [          ] =====[C]                     
                                              [          ] =====[D]

So the switch needs to allow the end user to select either A/B (Front Speakers) OR C/D (Side Speakers).

The amp is rated as 500W per channel and each speaker 400W (all 4).

I am happy to make a switch but am unsure as to how I go about this.  Thanks for any assistance.

You'd probably want a monitor switch. I've used this one:

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/MS6R/

which will handle up to 6 speaker pairs.

I also noticed this one while on the site:

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/SwitchWitch/

which will handle up to 4. I haven't used it, but I've never had a problem with Pro Co and it's a good bit cheaper. Look around for monitor switches and I'm sure you can find some more options.

-mS
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Matthias Heitzer

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Re: Speaker selection switch
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2011, 11:40:20 am »

The "Switch Witch" is an active monitorswitch for line levels, don't connect it to a speaker cable!

The MS6R could work, since it's a passive device, but it was also designed for Line levels. the current will most propably be too much for the switch.



Ps:

I'd use two of these:
http://www.pollin.de/shop/images/article/big/G420545.JPG

Connect the amp output to the two prongs in the middle and the two speakers to the outer prongs.



« Last Edit: March 21, 2011, 11:47:34 am by Matthias Heitzer »
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Tom Young

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Re: Speaker selection switch
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2011, 11:59:30 am »

You'd probably want a monitor switch. I've used this one:

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/MS6R/

which will handle up to 6 speaker pairs.

I also noticed this one while on the site:

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/SwitchWitch/

which will handle up to 4. I haven't used it, but I've never had a problem with Pro Co and it's a good bit cheaper. Look around for monitor switches and I'm sure you can find some more options.

-mS

The OP appears to have a powered mixer that he is attempting to switch between 2 sets of (what appear to be) non-powered speakers.  Both of the  devices you recommend are for self-powered speakers and work at line levels........ not speaker levels.

In the days of old (10+ years ago) there were a few speaker-level switchers. I'm not sure if anyone makes them anymore.

One could "roll there own" simply by buying a 4PST switch that handles enough current. 20A-30A should be sufficient. These may be available through well known electronics parts suppliers such as Mouser and DigiKey. But one can probaly find them cheaper via the internet surplus electronics sellers.

google on "surplus electronic parts" and similar key words. 

If I was doing this I would prefer a heavy duty toggle switch.

This can also be accomplished by using 4 standard electrical power (wall type) switches which are more readily available, cheaper (probably) and are rated for well over the levels produced by this amp. Enclose these in an electrical box and make sure all terminations are done neatly and safely. Label the switches clearly. The only real down side is that the users must ensure that only one pair of speakers are on at one time.
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Tom Young
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Mike Spitzer

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Re: Speaker selection switch
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2011, 12:15:42 pm »

The OP appears to have a powered mixer that he is attempting to switch between 2 sets of (what appear to be) non-powered speakers.  Both of the  devices you recommend are for self-powered speakers and work at line levels........ not speaker levels.

Sorry about that; you're right. I've always used them to feed a signal to an amp. Didn't think about that.

-mS
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DonSneed

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Re: Speaker selection switch
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2011, 11:01:23 pm »

Scott, there is a couple of ways to do this, a parallel wiring with a 100-watt  L-Pad this is the cheapest, or the simplest is to use a small amplifer for these speaker only. I normally install a 40-100 watt mixer/amplifier such as a Penton Audio, Bogen GS series, or a Toa. Using a second amplifier will allow total control over the hall spks......if a budget is a problem, them use a high wattage L-Pad (from parts Express) in case you do not know what a L-Pad is, it a wall mount volume control in mono or stereo that keeps the impedence the same when the control is turn up/down, the amplifier see the same load at all times....if you are using two spks now in L/R mode.....then add a L-Pad to the C & D spks (the amplifier will operate as 4-ohms per channel which is OK).....But use an high power L-pad, tap off the main speakers.......personally, I do not like using an L-Pad, I prefer to have a small amplifier to run any spks outside the sanctuary, I rather not mess with the main spks, I rather leave them to operate as wired...but I have wired in parallel with an L-Pad with no problems.....& there is still a third way which is 70-volt line, but again a amplifier, & a 70-volt speaker transformer has to be use.... 
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Brad Weber

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Re: Speaker selection switch
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2011, 07:44:01 am »

There are a number of speaker switchers intended for the consumer/residential market, however I have not found any that are rated to handle 500W per channel.  However, it might help to know the actual mixer amp and speakers involved since  the impedance of the speakers and the actual ratings of the amplifier (e.g. is it 500W into the speaker impedance or possibly 500W maximum into the lowest recommended load) could have a bearing on whether some of those might work.
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Scott McDonnell

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Re: Speaker selection switch
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2011, 07:56:44 am »

Thanks for all the great replies.

To answer the question above:

- Mixer AMP: Behringer PMP 980S http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/PMP980S.aspx
- Speakers: Prostudio PS 424P spkrs rated 400W / 8ohms

Edit:

Could this do the job http://parts.digikey.com/1/parts/1711198-switch-toggle-dpdt-solder-lug-s333r.html

So one side on = A/B speakers and opposite side on C/D?
« Last Edit: March 22, 2011, 08:10:55 am by Scott McDonnell »
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Brad Weber

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Re: Speaker selection switch
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2011, 04:14:32 pm »

- Mixer AMP: Behringer PMP 980S http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/PMP980S.aspx
- Speakers: Prostudio PS 424P spkrs rated 400W / 8ohms
Typical, they advertise the PMP980S as a 900 or 1,000W mixer/amp (depends on where you look) but the specifications then say 400W per channel into 4 Ohms and don't even identify a per channel 8 Ohm rating.  However,m it could mean that some of the higher rated packaged speaker switchers, say rated over 200W per channel at 8 Ohms rated, might work.
 
The switch you noted appears to be a DPDT (double pole, double throw) switch with on-off-on action.  In plain English, it will switch two wires and has three positions (A on, both off or B on).  I can envision someone freaking out if they had no sound because the switch was left in the off position, so what you might want is a 4PDT switch with on-on operation, one that switches four wires (+ and - for each speaker) to either the A or B position with no center off position.  You might also want to look at screw terminal rather than solder terminations, those might be easier to work with especially if the speaker wire is larger gage.
 
You would wire it with the four conductors (+/- left and +/- right) from the amplifier coming to the center or common connections, the wires from one set of speakers to the corresponding +/- left and +/- right connections on the 'A' side of the switch and the other speakers to the corresponding +/- left and +/- right connections on the 'B' side of the switch.  The simply switch between the two.  I would be careful to try to make the switch with the system off, I'm not sure how the mixer/amp would like being run even momentarily with the speakers in parallel or with no connection.
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Jonathan Johnson

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Re: Speaker selection switch
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2011, 11:50:20 pm »

Would there be any problem with switching the speakers when the amp is powered on?
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Arnold B. Krueger

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Re: Speaker selection switch
« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2011, 03:49:31 pm »

Hi,

Our small church has recently had a pair of speakers donated to us.  What we would like to do is add these 2 speakers to our hall allowing us to use a side orientation, i.e.

x1 Powered Mixer (rack mount) with only L & R outs.
x2 Speakers (A&B) currently FOH Left and Right
...adding x2 Speakers (C&D) Side Hall Left and Right

Utilisation - I hope this makes some sense:

                                              [          ]  =====[A]
                                              [          ]  =====
Mixer AMP (Spkr Out) L/R====[Switch]        or       
                                              [          ] =====[C]                     
                                              [          ] =====[D]

So the switch needs to allow the end user to select either A/B (Front Speakers) OR C/D (Side Speakers).

The amp is rated as 500W per channel and each speaker 400W (all 4).

I am happy to make a switch but am unsure as to how I go about this.  Thanks for any assistance.
Quote

What you need is a 4PDT switch with sufficient voltage and currrent carrying capacity.

Ideally, 30 amp contacts would be good, but contacts rated at as little as 10 amps could give good life, depending on actual duty.

Here's an example of an appropriate 10 amp 4PDT switch:

http://www.allelectronics.com/make-a-store/item/STS-70/4PDT-ON-ON-TOGGLE-SWITCH//1.html

Basically, you wire the center row of 4 terminals up to the 4 speaker terminals fromyour active mixer, and hook the 4 wires from each pair of speakers to one of the outer rows. Be sure to match up the plusses and minuses and lefts and rights in the columns of contacts.

Swtching between paris of speakers while the music is playing full blast into low efficiency, low impedance speakers will stress the swtich contacts. Only changing speakers when the volume is low or off will greatly extend their life.
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Brad Weber

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Re: Speaker selection switch
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2011, 06:54:48 am »

Would there be any problem with switching the speakers when the amp is powered on?
That depends on the switch and the amp.  A 'make before break' switch would end up momentarily having both sets of speakers in parallel.  A 'break before make' switch would momentarily be driving an open circuit.  Some amps may be fine with either situation as well as the sudden changes, but the amp in a Behringer powered mixer may not.
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Nick Bair

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Re: Speaker selection switch
« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2011, 09:25:06 am »

Radio Shack makes a post-amp speaker selector with 4 stereo outputs:

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062682

We have one in our church and it works fine. You shouldn't have to cut power to switch, but I would turn down the master volume when switching to avoid pops.
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