How To Wire A Dual Voice Coil Speaker + Subwoofer Wiring Diagrams

Dual voice speakers (which are usually subwoofers) can be confusing, that’s for sure. To make matters worse, if you don’t know how to properly choose or wire a dual voice coil speaker you can get less sound & power than you expect!

To help you figure it all out, I’ve put together this friendly how-to guide with detailed diagrams, answers to several common questions, and more. You can download & print the subwoofer wiring diagrams if you like.

Want to know how to wire your dual voice coil subwoofer or match the right kind to your amplifier? Read on to find out more.

What is a dual voice coil speaker?

What is a dual voice coil speaker exploded view diagram labeled

Dual voice coil speakers are extremely similar to single voice coil models except for having a 2nd voice coil winding, wire, and wire terminals. They both use a small gauge wire tightly wound on a speaker “bobbin” (tube) that rests inside a magnet attached to the cone. They produce sound when a musical signal is supplied.

Dual voice coil (DVC) speakers, which are most often subwoofers, are almost the same as standard single voice coil speakers. The difference lies in their design & how they’re used.

What is the difference in dual voice coil and single voice coil subwoofers?

Standard speakers or subwoofers have the following parts:

  • A metal basket in which the speaker parts are housed and a magnet is attached to
  • Large permanent magnet
  • Speaker cone surround
  • Speaker cone surround & dust cap
  • Voice coil bobbin (tube where the coil is made)
  • A “spider” which is a stiff but flexible material that suspends the voice coil assembly
  • Voice coil: tightly wound small gauge wire of a large length (this is suspended inside a gap in the magnet)
  • Voice coil wire leads & connection terminals

Single voice coil subwoofers have only one speaker voice coil winding while dual voice coil models have a 2nd voice coil of the same Ohm rating (impedance) added in the bobbin.

A 2nd pair of wire leads and speaker wire terminals are added, too.

Do dual voice coil speakers have performance differences?

There aren’t any direct performance differences between a single and dual voice coil model of the same design. However, there are definitely some really nice advantages I’ll explain later.

In most cases, dual voice coil subwoofers are slightly more expensive than the same model with single voice coil design – but not by very much. Power handling ratings are usually very similar (always double-check to be sure) but might be a bit different.

If you’re into speaker box design, it’s helpful to know that dual voice coil speakers often have slightly different Thiele/Small parameters. Thiele/Small parameters are just the highly detailed technical characteristics of a speaker that help know how it behaves in certain speaker boxes or audio crossover designs.

Single vs dual voice coil subs: which is better?

Single vs dual voice coil subwoofer comparison article section image

There isn’t a “best” choice when it comes to single or dual voice coil speakers & subwoofers.

When it comes to choosing one or the other, the answer is “it depends.” Whether or not you should use single or DVC subwoofers depends on a combination of things:

  • The minimum speaker load (Ohms) rating of your amplifier
  • Whether your amp is stereo only or bridgeable
  • How many speakers/subwoofers you’ll be using

Most, but not all, higher power car amplifiers are bridgeable while home stereo amplifiers in many cases aren’t. As a reminder, never assume your amplifier is bridgeable – always check!

Dual voice coil subwoofer advantages

Diagram showing examples of dual voice coil subwoofer advantages

It’s true that standard (single voice coil) subwoofers are fine for many systems. But without question, a lot of people are limited by using them, while dual voice coil subwoofers offer some great flexibility & advantages.

1. Maximum amp power output

These days, most car amplifiers have certain power ratings (in Watts) at a specific speaker load Ohm rating. For example, a mono amplifier might have the following power ratings:

  • 350W RMS at 4 ohms speaker load
  • 600W RMS at 2 ohms
  • 1,000W RMS at 1 ohm

Let’s say you’d like to use a single (mono) bass setup and only one subwoofer. Ordinarily, you’d be limited to getting a maximum of 600W from the amp since you’ll usually only find 2 ohms or higher subwoofers available.

While you could add a 2nd 2 ohm subwoofer and wire both in parallel, that would mean having to get a bigger box, spend more money, use more installation space, and so on.

A 2 ohm DVC subwoofer could be used and wired in parallel to allow the amp to put out its full power. Otherwise, you’ll never reach the power capacity you paid for with your amplifier.

That’s especially true today since modern class D amplifiers have ratings like this and some are 1 ohm capable.

2. Amplifier channels and special setups

As I mentioned earlier, not all amplifiers can be bridged. That’s a big problem if you’ve got a single 4 channel amplifier, for example. How can you add a subwoofer and supply it with enough power without having to buy a second amp?

With a dual voice coil subwoofer, you could use one channel for each of the voice coils to drive the subwoofer with enough power. Likewise, for truly powerful systems, it’s possible to one amp per each voice coil for single or multi-subwoofer systems.

3. Multiple subwoofers/amp impedance matching

When you’re wiring several subwoofers to the same amplifier channel or mono bridging two channels, the Ohms load you amp sees depends on the series or parallel wiring combination of the subwoofers.

Dual voice coils subs offer several more options as they let you choose more total Ohm load combinations that can better match your amp’s minimum rating.

4. Ability to use them for home for car stereo systems

Ordinarily, it’s not possible to use 8 ohm subwoofers efficiently for car audio since they can’t produce the same power as a 4 ohm speaker of the same kind. Car subwoofers with 2 or 4 ohm ratings can’t be used with home stereo amplifiers because they’re below the minimum amp spec.

They’ll cause a home amp to overheat, shutdown, and even become damaged permanently.

Dual voice coil speakers have a unique benefit here as you could use a dual 4 ohm subwoofer for both car or home use:

  • Wired in series for 8 ohms for home stereo use
  • Using a single 4 ohm or parallelled to 2 ohms for car stereo amp use

It’s especially nice if you’re able to get a great price on speakers as you’ll be able to use them when otherwise you couldn’t.

How to choose & match a dual voice coil subwoofer to your amp

Choosing the right dual voice coil subwoofer

To get the right dual voice coil subwoofers, you’ll need to note a few things:

  • The minimum speaker load (Ohms rating) of your amplifier at the power level you’re interested in
  • How many subwoofers you’d like to use

The rest is relatively easy! Just use my wiring connection diagrams below and you’ll find the right subwoofer(s) configuration you should use.

You’ll need to check the owner’s manual (or labeled printed) for the amplifier to get the minimum speaker load you can use along with the maximum power rating Ohm load. Then pick the right number of dual voice coil subwoofers that can be wired to match that required by the amp.

If you’re unsure of anything feel free to ask me by commenting below or sending a message.

4 Ohm dual voice coil sub wiring diagram

4 Ohm dual voice coil subwoofer wiring diagram

Click here to download the .PDF version you can view or print

2 Ohm dual voice coil sub wiring diagram

2 Ohm dual voice coil subwoofer wiring diagram

Click here to download the .PDF version you can view or print

8 Ohm dual voice coil sub wiring diagram

8 Ohm dual voice coil subwoofer wiring diagram

Click here to download the .PDF version you can view or print
About the author

Marty is an experienced electrical, electronics, and embedded firmware design engineer passionate about audio and DIY. He worked professionally as an MECP-certified mobile installer for years before moving into the engineering field. Read more »

Your comments are welcome.
  1. Hi currently I have an ab amplifier rated 2000 watts peak 1000 rms, with 2 enclosed 12, rated 500 rms each sub single voice coils. If I decide to add another woofer with same specs or 2 more. I would have to get another amp with double power I suppose? What could be the best route for me to go as in which amp and wiring setup? I love bass. Had a single powered sub rated 300rms, but wanted more and got these 2 subs rated 1000 rms combined power but I want more. Your input will be welcomed and greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    • Hi, I need to know the min. Ohms rating for your amp, the power ratings at the rated specs (Ohms), and the impedance (Ohms) of the subwoofers also. Otherwise I can’t give a specific helpful answer.

      Long story short, you’ll get the most from the amp with a total Ohms load that’s whatever the amp is rated for at its maximum rated RMS power output. That will be however many speakers in parallel that will work in your case. Best regards.

  2. I have 2 8ohm 12in. svc subs I would like to know if I can wire them with either my 4ohm dvc or my 2ohm dvc and there 12s as well.
    If possible a wiring diagram. Thanks and God bless.

    [EDIT: added 2nd comment info] Sorry almost forgot my amp is a 1 ohm stable. It’s a kicker cxa1200.1 mono

    • Hello Travis. Ignore my previous reply if it pops up. I just saw your 2nd comment w/ the amp info I needed and deleted my original reply.

      Ok, so it’s a little bit of an oddball situation, especially since 8Ω speakers will have 1/2 the power of 4Ω, but here’s what you can do:

      1. Option one: (3 total subs) Wire the two 8Ω SVC subs in parallel for 4Ω, then in parallel with the 4Ω DVC sub which is wired for 2Ω. The amp will see ~1.33Ω which is fine.
      2. Option two: (4 total subs) Wire the two 8Ω SVC subs in parallel for 4Ω, then in parallel with the 4Ω DVC sub which is wired for 2Ω, then the 2Ω DVC sub wired in series for 4Ω. The amp will see a total of 1Ω.

      If you want a diagram I might be able to help but I can’t do that here in the comments due to limitations. See my Contact page if you need to reach me & best regards.

    • Hi, I already have that shown in the article in a diagram under “2 Ohm dual voice coil sub wiring diagram.”

      Use the wiring setup for 1.33Ω total for 3x 2Ω DVC subs.

  3. Hi
    Amp…..1 ohm stable mono looks 2 channel output
    Subs….2 dvc 4 ohm

    Is it possible to get these playing at 2ohm load
    Can I get a diagram can’t make sense of the 1 above

    • Hi Leon. The only way to get a 2Ω load is to forgo using one of each sub’s voice coils, wiring the two 4Ω loads in parallel for 2Ω total. However, for a 1Ω capable amp, the ideal way is to wire them all in parallel for 1Ω total.

      The 2nd channel output on the mono amp is just for wiring convenience. They’re all connected together. See the “dual subs, parallel-parallel voice coil” wiring example I’ve provided in the diagram in the section “4 Ohm dual voice coil sub wiring diagram.” Best regards.

      • Hi, so it’s safe to wire the subs with only one voice coil each? In order to receive a 2 ohm load from two DVC4 subs

        • It’s not ideal, and you’ll have 1/2 the power capability of using both voice coils, but yes it’s safe. That’s the compromise you have to live with when using a DVC subwoofer that’s mismatched with your amplifier.

          If you prefer you can wire them in series and that will work too – buth with 1/2 to 1/4 the total power capability of using a DVC pair in parallel if the amp supports that total Ohms load.

  4. Hi Marty, this is a home system. I have a 4 ohm DVC subwoofer (2 4 ohm voice coils) and a Crown D-150A Series II amp. It puts out 155 watts per channel stereo into 4 ohms and 315 watts bridged mono into 8 ohms. Should I run it in stereo and connect each channel to a 4 ohm voice coil or should I run it in bridged mono and wire it in series into an 8 ohm load? Thanks in advance for your help!

    • Hi Matt & Happy Friday. :)

      In this case, you can do either and there shouldn’t be much of a difference since you’re fortunate enough to have an amp with about the same power output at 8Ω [bridged] as for a 4Ω 2x stereo setup. The one difference I can think of is that if you don’t have a mono bass signal, using it in bridged mode has a little advantage.

      In bridged mode, you’re guaranteed that the voice coils will get a mono/identical bass signal as opposed to two stereo channels sometimes being slightly different when driving the voice coils separately. Best regards!

      • Thanks for the quick response! The receiver has two subwoofer pre-amp outputs, as it’s a 5.2 receiver, but the content is identical, so I am thinking I’ll run it in stereo. Seems more natural for the amplifier. Sound good?

        • Sure, you can try it both ways anyhow and see if you notice any difference. It won’t matter to the amp in stereo vs. bridged, though. The signals are effectively combined into a signal channel when it’s bridged.

          When an amp is bridged it’s perfectly fine as long as the min. Ohms requirement is met. :)

  5. I have a punch 800a 2 channel amp and a single DVC 4 ohm I wired to 2 ohms and at amp bridged it’s shows 4 ohm is thus correct

    • Hi, you’ll need to either wire one channel per voice coil (this is better in this case) or use only one 4Ω voice coil if it’s bridged. You can’t bridge the 800a2 amp to a 2Ω load. Best regards.

  6. Marty,

    I have a question about speaker cable. When I built my home theater I made two 20 ft cable runs to the subwoofer. Each cable is 2 conductor 14 awg. Is there a benefit in combining the conductors in each cable and using one cable for positive and one cable for negative? Or could that cause problems? Thanks for your help!

    • I guess my question is whether the reduction in resistance by doubling the gauge is worth the risk of induction or interference by not running the standard twisted pair, two conductors in one sheath.

      • Hi Matt. For average (good) quality speaker wire and only 20 feet of length, there’s not really any advantage unless you’re driving speakers with a TON of power. The resistance for 14AWG copper wire for 20ft of length is still very tiny.

        It could be useful however in other situations, like powering subwoofers with hundreds of watts or etc. Best regards!

        • Marty,
          Everything is set up and working great! Thanks so much for your help! Here is a quick summary of the system:
          – Sony STRDH590 5.2 Channel Surround Sound Home Theater Receiver
          – Crown D-150A Series II Power Amp Running in Bridged Mono (I had a ground loop hum which I addressed with a Subwoofer Isolation Transformer/Ground Loop Hum Eliminator, Blue Jeans Cable Brand from Amazon)
          – Dayton Audio RSS315HO-44 12″ Reference HO DVC Subwoofer in a 1.6 cubic foot sealed enclosure wired in series to present an 8 ohm load
          – BenQ HT2050A 1080P DLP Home Theater Projector

  7. Hey Marty I have a Kenwood self powered sub woofer SW-505D form my home theatre system. The original speaker runs at 4 ohms. The sub is blown, I have purchased a JBL GT5 – 10 D as a replacement. This is a DVC speaker . The ad said that the impedance for this speaker is 4ohms. When I received the purchase the box says 2 or 8 ohm impedance. Is it possible to wire this speaker to the 4 ohm rating.

    • Hi Chris. You’ll have to live with a compromise in order to use the JBL subwoofer in this case. Here are your options:

      1. Use only one voice coil on the JBL for 4Ω.
      2. Wire the JBL voice coils in series for 8Ω.

      Neither are “perfect” options but will work safely. Option #2 will decrease the total power delivered by 1/2 because of 2x the original impedance (resistance), but since the powered subwoofer amp has adjustable volume this may not matter.

      More than likely you’ll not hear any real difference and would go with option #1. (It certainly doesn’t hurt to try both and make your own decision). I hope that helps!

  8. Perfect Marty
    I will shoot you an update and let you know how I make out. I didn’t want to go through the hassle of returning if it will work. Appreciate the help and will spread the word about your help.

  9. I am running a skar rp 4500 monoblock amp and have 2 12″ dvc 2ohm subs. Will 4ohm final inpedence at amp sound cleaner bass than 1ohn at the amp. My subs are 800rms and 1600 max.
    My bass sounds boomey at 1ohm and 1 sub with my monster amp!
    Thank you.

    • Hi, the bass sound quality will be the same but the power the amp can deliver will be different. The speaker load generally won’t affect the sound, but the quality of the subwoofer enclosure and how well they perform in it or how well they’re matched to it definitely makes a big difference.

      > My bass sounds boomey I’m not sure what you mean here.

  10. Hi Marty
    I’m not sure of how to go about my setup as far as powering the subs goes I’ve got 2 dvc 4ohm subs 750rms
    I’m sure it’s best to wire up the best power load to match the subs .what would be your suggestion as far as a negative impact on cranking all the power on a 1 ohm load vs 2ohm

    • Hi Frank. Well the power rating for a given speaker Ohms load will be what is available, but not necesarrily what you need. For example, if the amplifier’s rated power output is the same or higher that what your subwoofers can handle that’s fine. You can always simply not use the extra power.

      Did you mean your subs are rated for 750W RMS total or is that per voice coil? In this case you can wire everything in parallel for 1Ω total which will give you access to the most power you can get from your amp. Hope that helps!

  11. I purchased a Skar Audio
    SDR-12 | 12″ 1,200 Watt Max Power/600 watt RMS 4ohm Duel voice coil Car Subwoofer. My question is would a 2 channel mono Bridged @ 4 Ohms: 1 x 1000 watt amp work for this sub.?

    I’m new to the Duel voice coil.

    • Hello, Mark. Unfortunately it won’t work unless you’re willing to use only one voice coil in that case. You’re better off wiring one voice coil per amp channel to the subwoofer.

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