What amplifier needed for home speaker system setup?



Hello - any insight you can provide on my setup would be most appreciated.
I moved into a home with a a whole-house speaker system and am not sure what type of amplifier I need to use it.

The old homeowners left a Sima SSW-4HP, but I think this is just a speaker selector, it's not clear to me whether this will sufficiently power all the speakers and what form of audio I can input to it.

There are four two-wire speaker cables that come out of the wall, and I was able to determine the following:
-Cable 1: controls 1 speaker, measures 6.6ohm
-Cable 2: controls 3 speakers, measures 2.2ohm
-Cable 3: controls 3 speakers, measures 2.5ohm
-Cable 4: does not appear to control anything, measures around 0ohm

What specs do I need to look for in choosing an amplifier?
What amplifier would you recommend?

I do not plan on using it a lot so don't need a top-of-the-line system.
I would like to play music over it via my laptop, I guess by using the laptop's headphone jack as an audio-out port that inputs to the amplifier?

Thank you for your time.
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Audioholic Jedi
Yes that appears to be a basic speaker selector only, not an amp. Looks like that selector is intended for use with up to two channels of up to 100 watt power per the back panel but what impedance management it offers or other details I don't know, but didn't review the manual (if there is one, didn't look).

This sort of setup is usually called whole home or whole house audio. They tend to be undesireable IMO, especially mickey mouse setups left behind by previous home owners. Sometimes its just better to start off with better audio where you need it.

Amp considerations would also depend on the speaker as to their impedance characteristics particularly (as well as what that switch can do)....so can you pull them and check for make/model?

You might easily be able to go from laptop to a device either by wifi or bluetooth that would avoid a hard connection, too.

This subject is not a particular specialty in this forum (we're mostly about component home audio/visual setups), altho we do regularly get this kind of post.

Good luck!


Thank you for the response! Unfortunately the old homeowners painted over the wall speakers, so I can't seem to just pop them off without damaging the wall. Using a multimeter however, I can safely say these are 8 ohm speakers. They were installed when the home was built as the wiring has the same date as the construction year.

I noted the total ohm measurements for each speaker cable in my original post; it seems that two of the speaker cables each control three speakers wired in parallel, which suggests to me that I need an amp with a minimum rating of 2 ohms? Almost all I can find are rated between 4-8 ohms. I suppose I could wire these two sets of speaker cables in series, which would double the impedance so it is in the 4-8 ohm range. I realize these six speakers would then be controlled together, which is fine for me, I don't need to control them separately. Anyway would this configuration work well? I'm not sure of the wattage so don't know if there would be enough power in this channel for all the speakers.

Thanks again for any insight you can provide and what amplifier I should purchase. I'm hoping for a cheap solution; average sounding speakers that are functional would be fine for me. What about something like this?



Audioholic General
Impedance is a liquid beast. It changes depending on whats being pumped into the speakers. The DC resistance is a static number on a stationary cone. Wanna see something cool? Push the woofer in and out a little and watch the meter while you're doing it.

Check out Niles. Those amps are made for home integration (but actually work well for hi-fi too!). The SI-275 can be had used for 100 bucks or so, and is stable down to 2.7 ohms (which, incidentally, is three 8 ohm speakers in parallel)

Rip City Dave

If you really have 2ohm loads to drive, most amplifiers are not up to it.

  • RBHsound.com
  • BlueJeansCable.com
  • SVS Sound Subwoofers
  • Experience the Martin Logan Montis