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

Additional reading + if you have questions

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

Got questions or need help?

If you’re still a bit confused on how to wire a dual voice coil speaker or subwoofer, just leave me a comment below with the details. You can also message me directly here. 

I’ll be happy to help!

Your comments are welcome!

    • Hi there. Yes you can, but generally it’s better to use speakers of the same type so they have the same amount of power to each.

      • Hi Marty my name is Troy and I have a question for you I inherited some kicker 10 inch subwoffers and I am curious on how to wire them.I’m not really for sure because two of the SVC kickers them are single voice coil 8 ohm and another one is a 10 inch 4 ohm single voice coil and then I have a kicker Comp VR dual voice coil that’s four ohm and then I also have one Infinity Kappa 1000 Mono 2 ohm amplifier and two Infinity Reference 1262W 12inch 2 or 8 ohm 300 watt sub also. I’m trying to figure out a configuration here that I could go with to make the best for my buck so I appreciate it so I just need to know how to wire them I’m not sure if I should series-parallel or series or what in the world to do here or which amp and subs to put together to make you something work.thank for your help.

        • Hello Troy. You left off a lot of information (how many subs you want to use, sub sizes, power rating, model numbers) so it makes it harder to help. I’ll try to make some general suggestions though:

          – Use the Infinity amp since it will provide excellent power at 2 ohms. The next important thing is then to match that 2 Ohm rating with the subs.
          – If you want to use 2 12″ then use two of the Reference 1262W 4 ohm subs, using one voice coil each. This will give 2 ohms total.
          – If you want to use 3 subs, you can wire the Reference 1262W voice coils each in series for 8 ohm each and do the same for the Comp VR DVC. Then wire all 3 in parallel for 2.67 ohms.
          – I wouldn’t use the MTX amp since it’s only 250W.

          Hopefully this helps.

  1. Hi Marty..My name is Rich I have a few questions maybe you can help me with.

    1. I have 2 12inch American Bass Elite dvc4ohm subs in a aeroport box tuned at 35hzwired at 1ohm with a Rockford fosgate Power 1000bdcp.I was recently told by a friend that I should just run all four voice coils same length of 8gauge speaker wire to one junction area for both positives[4] and negstives[4] and then from that junction add 1 Pos/neg 4gauge speaker wire and go to the class d amp..Im use to jumping each speaker to the next voice coil on each sub..does this make a big difference as far as speaker performance? Do I have a matching wattage going to all the voice coils?
    My ohm meter has me at 1ohm before going into amp..Thanks for your advice!

    Rich S.
    North Carolina

    • Hi Rich if you are measuring around 1 ohm total the way you’re currently using them (all voice coils in parallel), then yes, each one has equal power.

      If you’re already using a solid, clean connection and adequate wire size with your current setup (jumpering from one voice coil to the next) then that’s fine. Doing it the way your friend mentioned is nice and neat, but is overkill and you won’t gain anything by doing it that way.

      In fact, using 4 gauge wire like he mentioned is wasting money as 8 gauge wire or even 10 could be used from the amp to the subs (depends on the length). I can see how in some cases if the subs didn’t have good speaker terminals that it would be a good idea to do use a junction block/terminal block etc., but that’s not a problem with your subs.

      The main idea is to use a sufficient wire conductor and reliable connection to avoid a power loss. So it sounds like you’re fine if you’re using a good size speaker wire already.

  2. Hi Marty I have a few questions as im new to all the audio and don’t understand the ohms and all that yet but I have Rockford t2 12inch in a ported box and a jl amp its a g1700 700w class d mono amp whats the best way to wire my sub for maximum power

    • Hi Brandon. With that amp and that Rockford subwoofer, you’ll have to use only one voice coil in order to meet the 2 ohm load minimum. But that should still work well with box that’s matched well to your sub.


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