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

More helpful articles

I’ve got some great (and very detailed) guides to help you with your audio needs:

Your comments are welcome!

  1. Hi Matty, I could really do with some advice here. I’m repurposing an old Creative S750 7.1 system subwoofer that is a Triple voice coil. I am attempting to power it from an Denon AVR X2600H that has 2 subwoofer outs. The amp outputs 150W per channel, power output is said to be 60-95W. The Creative system outputs 3x70W, i.e. 210W to drive the sub and other 7 satellite speakers, using 3 amplifiers. The sub is 8ohms on each connection.

    Question 1. Is can I connect just 2 coils out of the 3 voice coil and get sound? I connected the amplifier’s 2 sub outs connecting 1 to each coil and… it’s silent. Maybe I need to do all 3?

    Q2. If all threee, from your helpful diagrams I can see the if I connected them in parallel I get 2.67 ohms at the speaker and if in series I would get get 3 x 8 = 24ohms, right? If I wanted to utilise both amplifier sub channels, how would I connect those to the 3 voice coils without blowing the amp or the sub? What would the calculation be?

    How it’s an interesting challenge for you and we can find a way to hook these two up!!

    Thanks in advance,
    Philip, Devon, UK

    Reply
    • It’s hard to say without seeing the subwoofer if you’re saying it has 3, not two, voice coils. I assume you mean you’ve removed it from the Creative subwoofer enclosure, correct?

      Yes, under normal circumstances you’ll have 3×8Ω = 24Ω in series. But it’s not clear to me how you’re wanting to use the Creative subwoofer as the Denon’s subwoofer outputs are line level (RCA) and not speaker level. If you’re not going to use the Creative’s amp to drive the subwoofer anymore you’ll need to provide amp channels for it.

      So I’ll have to have some more (and specific) information in order to help more. Best regards.

      Reply
      • Hi Marty, thanks for your response.

        The main problem for me is not blowing a (for me) expensive amp while repurposing a good subwoofer (would love to also start speccing a car system after this!).

        More on the Creative S750 system: I found a good site that goes through all the problems that that system has as it was prone to faults.. cheap capacitors, interference from the degraded glue etc. And I decided there’s no way I need that hobby! But I remember the sub was a good sub, and not wanting to waste, I cut out the rest of the amps and circuitry all stored within the sub enclosure, just leaving the downward-firing sub in place, which has 3 pairs of red + and black wires connected around its edge at about 120’ apart. I also read that this is a (fairly rare) 3-voice coil.

        Re my Denon amp, I’m embarrassed to say that the 2 sub-outs on the Denon AVR are in a section called Pre-Amp, which IO noticed after posting and which you also spotted, so I guess those ‘outs’ are intended to be sent out to a powered sub.

        I wonder if my Denon home cinema amp has the power to drive the sub? Perhaps I could repurpose 2 of the 7.1 speaker-level outputs. I haven’t yet learned the electrical power maths to be able to calculate it. As I understand it, although the amp is a 150W per channel amp, the RMS is likely to be 60-90W at 8 ohms. That sounds like it could be powerful enough to drive the sub, but I may be missing something and I definitely don’t want to blow the amp.

        If I want to drive the subwoofer via a dedicated amplifier (fed from the home cinema pre-amp) I’ll need to spec that too. How much does an RCA plug output?

        Seeing how multi-voice coils are made, they seem to be glued on top of each other 1 layer on top of the other, so I imagine electromagnetic forces moving 1st or 2nd coils would conceivably move an unpowered 3rd coil, maybe more sluggishly though because they’re carrying the 3rd coil as extra ‘baggage’?

        It looks like there’s an enthusiastic crowd out there winding their own sub/woofer coils, building their own car sub/woofers. I know I’m talking home cinema here but I think this makes sense for this Home Cinema group as well to get their hands dirty and try doing it themselves? Marty, it would be great to have some simple diagrams and maths that works for both the car and home cinema amps to work out how to approach driving these speakers – as clear as your other diagrams are?

        Grateful thanks!

        Reply
        • Hi, I think you might be overthinking things. Here are some things to consider:

          – Line level outputs are a very low voltage signal, say 0.5V-2V or so depending.
          – You can drive the subwoofer using the receiver’s speaker channels but you’ll need a passive subwoofer crossover. I think the receiver will probably be plenty of power for it.
          – I’m not sure about the 3rd voice coil but what you can do is use a test meter to measure Ohms across each pair of terminals and in between the terminals to see what you’re dealing with. I would assume you’ll ignore the 3rd one when using the subwoofer.

          Best regards.

          Reply
  2. Hi Marty,
    I’m looking to power 2x dual 4ohm subs rated at 350w rms each
    If I wire them to a mono amp at 2ohm would I need to combine the power of the subs so a mono of at least 600w or just what each can handle so an amp of 200w?

    Reply
    • Hi, there’s no “perfect” way to wire those to a 2Ω stable amp. You’ll have to use:

      A. One voice coil each (2Ω total)
      B. Each sub wired in parallel, then both subwoofers in series (1Ω + 1Ω = 2Ω)

      I would use option B if you are wanting to get the max power from the amp. Then each subwoofer would get 1/2 the total power supplied from the amp, and you’re still fully using both voice coils on each subwoofer (unlike A).

      Reply
  3. Hi Marty…you have the best way of explaining subwoofer wiring. I have been doing the same for about 30 years and I have to say you tote me alot. I’m running 8 12inch dual voice coil subs in my front room…I won’t go into what’s pushing everything but I will say I have had 3 people puke while sitting on my couch…thanks for all the helpful information.

    Reply
    • Hi David. Thanks for your kind words. I’m trying my best and will definitely work on improving the info I share to help others the best I can.

      Wow, that’s awesome about your 12’s! Haha, well done my friend, and best regards!

      Reply
  4. Hi! I have a question. This set up will be ran in my truck. I have a two channel amp that is bridgeable. The specs are 2500 watts Max @ 4 ohms bridged, 1250 watts max @ 2 ohms at two channels, and 380 watts RMS @ 4 ohms at two channels (I pulled this strait from the spec sheet). The subs that I have are two Dual voice coil 2 ohm (per voice coil) subs that are rated at 800 watt max, 400 RMS.
    How would I wire the subs and amp to get the most power out of my amp with out destroying the subs?
    Thank you in advance!

    Reply
  5. Saludos
    Desde Rep.Dominicana ,gracias por la explicación bien clara y detallada ,he llenado aquí el vacío que tenían con los subwoofer los amplificadores y su conexión .
    Gracias mil

    Reply
  6. Please advise would like to know how to wire 2 cerwin vega 2 ohms dual voice coil model V102D to Cerwin Vega C2000.1D mono amp
    Thank you

    Reply
  7. I have a 4 channel amp and one side can be bridged with sub crossover, however the amp is only rated for 4 ohms when bridged. I have a dual 4 ohm sub, what is the best way to hook it up? run each coil to it’s own channel (Not bridged for a 4 ohm load each) or bridged with a mono 8 ohm load?

    Reply
    • Hi there. If you wire it for 8 ohms you’ll have up to 1/2 the power of a 4 ohm one. So yes, I’d use one voice coil per bridged pair yes or one 4Ω voice coil if you’re using the other two channels for stereo speakers.

      Ideally you’ll have a mono signal into the amp if you’re bridging 2 channels to each coil but it’s not critical.

      Reply
  8. I have 2 dvc 4ohm 4000 series 15” max 1500 watts audio dynamic. I would like to hook up my Taramps 5000.1 1ohm amp up. How should I wire them

    Reply
  9. Hi Marty,
    I’m not tech savvy at all, so here goes… I am putting 3 TIC GS4 DVC 8ohm 100RMS omnidirectional landscape speakers in my yard around the pool. The furthest speaker will be 95′ from the amp, the mid-distance speaker will be 45′ from the amp, and the closest speaker will be 20′ from the amp. I want to run the speaker wire through a single buried PVC for protection. (Q1) Does each speaker need the same gauge wire, or can the gauge be different based on each speaker’s distance from the amp? (Q2) Since each speaker gets 4 wires for the DVC, do they make a single 12-wire speaker cable so I could pull just 1 cable instead of 3? And (Q3)… I don’t have an amp/stereo yet, so what size/type should I shop for that will get the job done and not be overkill?
    Thanks, Dave

    Reply
    • Hello Dave.

      1. You’ll normally need to go up a bit in size for long distances. You can use my speaker wire gauge calculator here for that: https://soundcertified.com/speaker-wire-gauge-calculator/

      2. Yes I am fairly certain you can get a multi-conductor 12AWG wire. I’m not sure who carries it, however. I think they’re typically 2 pairs in those cables but there may be 4 pair styles too.

      3. You could use a multi-channel amplifier with 6 (or more) speaker channel outputs since you have 6 speakers to drive total. 45W/channel RMS or above would be good. It depends on what type of audio source you’ll be using as you can find some amps with a Bluetooth receiver built in and/or other features as well.

      Best regards.

      Reply

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