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3 No Fail Steps On How To Test Amplifier Output With Multimeter

by Nicola

Multitester or multimeters are electronic devices that are used to measure numerous key components of an electrical circuit. A standard item in a professional electrician’s tool kit as well as a hobbyist’s arsenal, the multimeter can easily be purchased from electronic stores.

According to my research, a multimeter can measure currents, voltage, and resistance. It is also very useful in determining whether there is a problem with your amplifier. Here is a list of the common problems to look out for

  • Amplifier output is distorted
  • Amplifier does not switch on
  • Amplifier switches on but has zero output
  • Amplifier switches on and off on its own
  • Amplifier goes on safety or protection mode

Personally, I have found it initially the idea of using a multimeter to test my amplifier output as a complicated task. Curiosity however got the best of me, eventually I did some reading up and have found that armed with the proper tools and some patience, learning how to test amplifier output with multimeter is in fact a simple enough activity.

Things you need

  • Multimeter
  • Amplifier
  • Some patience


The speaker setup I have is fairly straightforward, if you happen to be one of those people who have at least eight speakers then it is best to be armed with a lot of patience. The whole task although doable is time-consuming since it likely needed for you to test each unit to find any faults. Keep in mind that if the main component lights up and works, the issue may very well be correlated with the external amps. Now let’s start!

Step 1: Configuring the Multimeter

Start by configuring the multimeter. As a noob I was a little worried, I would have trouble with this. I was pretty relieved by how easy it was to do. The COM as it is labeled is the common socket, this is where the black probe must go into. The socket labeled A or amperage is where the red probe hooks into.

Sometimes there are two varying sockets for amperage, one is for his amperage while the other one is a bit more sensitive. As a rule of thumb, users can try out the highest rating socket first. With the central dial on the device, turn to amperage setting that corresponds with the socket. If for example the circuit is estimated at 5 amps, instead of selecting 1 amp, go for the 10 amp setting. A setting that is too low can actually overload a multimeter.

Step 2: Amplifier Test

Because each manufacturer will design their amp a little differently from the others, checking the manual is a must. There should be a diagram for wiring that tells users which wires are used for testing along with the characteristics you should expect from a functioning amp.

There are amplifiers with several plugs, if for some reason the diagram does not specifically state which is the main one,  for the most part it is standard to have the main amp is labeled 12V+.

Step 3: Multimeter Reading

Using a series configuration, place the multimeter leads into the circuit. The idea is to have an electricity flow that is redirected in order to obtain an accurate multimeter reading. The currents should move towards the red lead and then exit through the black one.

Note the amperage amount that is displayed on our multimeter. It is always best to put the selected current range into consideration when looking at the reading number. This means, that the number “10,00” may show only 0.01 amps on one setting while indicating a 10 amps reading on another if the multimeter is set to a higher milliamps radius.

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