How to Tell if Speaker Cable Is Positive or Negative With an Ohm Reader

Using a speaker is the most common form of entertainment that most individuals use either at home or in the car. Speakers are better audio tools that can get you the best bits and volume for your music to work with your mood for the day. Checking the speaker cables if they are positive or negative mostly happens when you fix new speakers in the system or make changes with them.

When you mix up the wires without measuring the quality of sound from the speaker it will not be worth it. Therefore, you need to always check the wires, and in this case, we are using the ohm reader, which is the multimeter.However, there are other ways you can use apart from the one above.

This article contains the tips you will follow when testing the positive or negative wires and any other relative information you need to know. There will be the conclusion at last with the frequently asked questions.

How to tell if speaker cable is positive or negative with an ohm reader

how to tell if speaker cable is positive or negative with an ohm reader

Before using the multimeter to test the positivity or negativity of speaker cables using an ohm reader, you need to understand how the audio system works and how to use the ohm reader to measure the direct voltage of the cables. The idea of how the setup of an audio system helps the user get to know all parts of the speaker, from the power source to the amplifier.

Techniques to use;

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Checking direct current voltage with an ohm reader

Checking direct current voltage with an ohm reader

It is good to check the direct current of the speaker with an ohm reader. We are using direct current since most speakers use the batteries to run and produce quality sound in most cases with cars. Measuring the current is an important point in the process.

To measure the current follow the following steps:

i. Plug the standard test leads into the ohm reader.

ii. Check the setting with the ohm reader that can measure the voltage quickly

iii. Hold each lead with the battery terminal and check the value it will produce.

Steps of telling the speaker cables if they are positive or negative using an ohm reader

Steps of telling the speaker cables if they are positive or negative using an ohm reader

i. Disconnect the speaker cables from the speaker

The first step here is disconnecting the speaker cable from the speaker, which is good for safety and practicality. Therefore you need to prepare the workplace by disconnecting the speaker cables from the speaker.

Consider taking an image of the normal structure of the connection before disconnecting such that when you are reassembling the parts, you will find it easy to fix the issue.

ii. Fix the speaker cables to the battery or any power source

After disconnecting everything with the system, get the battery or the power source out. After that, you need to remove the speaker cables for a speaker from the receiver and the speaker. On the receiver, cover each wire around the end of the battery.

iii. Test the speaker cables using a multimeter

When testing the speaker, you need to ensure the flow of current. In this case, we are using the battery to ensure the flow of current through the wires that you need to touch with test leads. If the test leads and the polarity of the cable match, then the screen should be positive.

Moreover, when you are testing, and the negative test leads touch a wire, and you note a positive reading, the speaker cable is negative. The vice versa of the processes is the same.

iv. Label the speaker wires

When labeling the wires, you now need to use the tape that you mark the positive cable with a tape and connect to the speaker and connect the negative wire and connect back everything in place, referring to the picture you took at the first step.

Different ways of testing if speaker cable is positive or negative

Different ways of testing if speaker cable is positive or negative

When checking the state of the speaker cable, you need to check on the colors of the wires. The difference in color shows that one wire is positive while the other is negative. Below are the other ways of testing the speaker cables:

  • Stripes

Stripes are part of things. You will take a look at the wire and know its state. In most cases, when you check the speaker cable and see that it has stripes on it, we assume that the wire is negative.

In some cases, the difference exists with the ridges or rather the texture of the wire. One of the wires can have ridges or bumps, while the other has a smooth texture.

  • Using 9 volts battery

A nine-volt battery is a tool that you can also use when working with speaker cables such that all you need to do is match the battery clips. Consider choosing the speaker cable and fix to the end of the speaker and the other cable to a different side of the battery.

When the connection is right, there will be a scratching sound that you will hear, but if you fail to hear anything, then there is a mistake with the connection of the cables to the battery.

Frequently asked questions;

  • What shows that the speaker wires are connected correctly?

When you need to confirm the connection of the speaker wires, consider checking for the following factors: color-coding, listening for the screeching sound, testing, and checking the state of the connection.


The process of telling the positivity or negativity of speaker cables with an ohm reader is an easy thing that you can perform by yourself with little knowledge. The article above shows the steps you can follow in coming up with what you need successfully.

It would be best if you took your good time working with the speaker cables to avoid damaging or cutting them that can make them not work perfectly. The steps above are easy to follow. There is also some information necessary for you to follow before using the ohm reader. 

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