Learning, Wiring,

How to Wire Dual Coil Subs (3 Steps and Tips)

I’ve always loved increasing the volume until my empathy for the neighbor kicks in. And when it comes to getting that deep, rich bass from your sound system, nothing does it better than dual voice coil subs.

Dual Voice Coil (DVC) subwoofers are a type of subwoofer with two voice coils, each with its own set of terminals. This design offers several advantages and flexibility compared to traditional single-voice coil (SVC).

Quick Summary: For wiring your DVC:

  • Step 1: Measure the DC Resistance of each coil.
  • Step 2: Identify the target impedance for your setup.
  • Step 3: Select the appropriate wiring method.
    • Use Series Wiring to achieve higher total resistance.
    • Opt for Parallel Wiring to lower the overall resistance.

In this article, I’ll cover everything you need to know about properly wiring dual voice coil subs. I’ll detail all the steps so you won’t miss a beat. Whether you’re an audio enthusiast looking to upgrade your system or just someone curious about DIY electronics, there’s plenty here for you.

Let’s dive deeper into the details below.

Subwoofer Showdown: DVC vs. SVC Explained

Did you know the kind of subwoofer you choose plays a massive role in your experience?

In this handy comparison table, let’s break down the differences between Dual Voice Coil (DVC) and Single Voice Coil (SVC) subs.

Feature/AspectDual Voice Coil (DVC) SubsSingle Voice Coil (SVC) Subs
Number of Voice Coils2 (Dual)1 (Single)
TerminalsTwo separate sets (for each coil)One set
Wiring FlexibilityCan be wired in several ways for varied impedanceLimited to one wiring option
Matching with Amp (Impedance)Crucial for performance; offers flexibilityCrucial but less flexible
Power HandlingIt can be wired in several ways for varied impedanceTypically less than DVC
Heat DistributionBetter (due to dual coils)Standard
LifespanPotentially longer due to heat distributionStandard
Sound Quality (When Powered Right)Comparable to SVCComparable to DVC

Preparation and Safety Precautions

Before we dive into the world of dual voice coil subs, let’s take a moment to prepare ourselves.

Tools Needed

  • Wire stripper
  • Speaker wire
  • Your chosen subwoofer
  • Amplifier
  • Electrical tape or wire nuts (optional for securing connections)

Safety Precautions

I can’t stress this enough: safety is paramount when dealing with any electrical equipment. So here are a few necessary precautions:

  • Always power off your amplifier before connecting or disconnecting your subwoofers.
  • Keep all liquids away from the work area. Spilling water on electrical components is dangerous and could potentially damage your gear.

Understanding the Basics

  • When dealing with dual voice coil subs, matching the total impedance load with the amplifier’s output impedance is essential for optimum performance.
  • Don’t forget about polarity! Always connect positive terminals to positive and negative to negative.
  • Keep track of where each wire goes; getting wires crisscrossed can lead to shorts and damage to subwoofers and amplifiers.

Two diagrams showing how to wire dual voice coil subs
Video | Alpha Sound

Types of Wiring Configuration for DVC Subs

Wiring dual voice coil (DVC) subs can be a bit of an adventure, but is the outcome worth it? Let’s dive headfirst into some key configurations.

Wiring ConfigurationDescriptionImpedance OutputPower OutputProsCons
Series WiringCoils connected one after the other. Likened to a marathon relay race.HighLower due to high impedance– Simplifies wiring
– Increases overall impedance
– Less power from the amplifier
– Might limit bass output
Parallel WiringBoth coils are hooked up directly to the amp. Imagined as friends sharing earbuds.LowHigher due to low impedance– Increases power output – Can achieve deep bass response– Amp might get hotter
– Reduced lifespan of the sub

Step-by-Step Guide to Wiring DVC Subs

Let’s get down to business and guide you through the process.

Step 1: Use a voltmeter to test the DC resistance

Using a voltmeter to test the DC resistance of a Dual Voice Coil (DVC) subwoofer is a step to ensure the subwoofer functions correctly and to verify its impedance specifications.

Step 2: Determine Desired Impedance

  • Set the voltmeter (or multimeter) to the resistance setting, usually indicated by the symbol “Ω” (for ohms).

  • Place one probe of the voltmeter on the positive terminal of one voice coil and the other on the negative terminal of the same voice coil.

  • Read the resistance on the voltmeter. The number should be close to the impedance rating provided by the manufacturer (e.g., 2 ohms, 4 ohms).
  • Repeat the process for the second voice coil.

Step 3: Wiring your DVC

Series Wiring:

  • Connect the positive terminal of Coil 1 to the negative terminal of Coil 2.

  • Now connect both coils’ free positive and negative terminals with the amplifier.

Parallel Wiring (For Maximum Bass):

  • Hook up all positive terminals together.

  • Do the same for all negative ones.

  • Connect them with an amplifier.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

There are some common mistakes we need to steer clear of. Let’s dive in and explore these pitfalls.

  • Mismatched Subs & Amp: You could damage both components if they’re not correctly matched. For instance, if your amp is too powerful for the subs, you’ll likely blow them out.
  • Incorrect Wiring: When wiring your subs in series or parallel, ensure you’ve got it down pat before proceeding. One wrong connection can result in poor performance or even damage.
  • Overloading happens when you push your subwoofers beyond their limits due to high volume over extended periods—doing so will harm your equipment.
  • Neglecting Box Specs: The box’s size and design are crucial in how well your subs perform—they’re not just containers for your gear!
  • Neglecting Polarity: Failing to connect positive terminals to positive and negative to negative can cause the subs to be out of phase, leading to reduced bass response.
  • Overpowering the Subs: Even if an amplifier and sub are matched, turning the gain or volume too high can push the sub beyond its limits, potentially damaging it.
  • Ignoring Impedance: Not understanding or miscalculating the final impedance that the amp sees after the DVC sub is wired can lead to either poor performance or damage to the components.
  • Skipping Fuse Protection: Not using a fuse between the battery and the amplifier can lead to potential fire hazards if there’s a short.
  • Forgetting Break-in Period: New subwoofers usually have a break-in period that should be played at moderate volumes to allow them to loosen up. Ignoring this can lead to premature wear or failure.
  • Improper Grounding: Not grounding the amplifier properly can introduce noise into the system and be a potential safety hazard.
  • Using Low-Quality Connectors: Skimping on quality for connectors or terminals can lead to poor connections and degraded sound quality over time.
  • Using Inadequate Wire Gauge: Using a wire gauge that’s too thin can lead to power loss, heat buildup, and even potential fire risks.

Testing and Troubleshooting

Let’s dive into the final part of our journey: testing and troubleshooting. If you’ve followed my steps correctly, your dual voice coil subs should perform smoothly.

Let’s cover a few common issues you might face.

Troubleshooting StepsDescriptionPossible Solutions
The sound produced is unclear, or there’s a rattling noise from the subwoofer.The subwoofer is silent despite being powered on.– Ensure all connections are secure.
– Check if the amplifier is working and properly powered.
– The coil might be damaged and needs replacement.
2. Distorted Sound or RattlingSound produced is unclear, or there’s a rattling noise from the subwoofer.– Ensure connections are properly made.
– Inspect the cone for visible damages.
– Ensure the impedance of the sub matches that of the amplifier.
3. Subwoofer Gets Excessively HotThe subwoofer becomes unusually warm or hot to the touch during operation.– Ensure the amplifier isn’t supplying excessive power.
– Ensure proper ventilation for the subwoofer box.
– One of the coils might be damaged.
4. Intermittent Sound or FadingThe sound from the subwoofer cuts in and out or fades away intermittently.– Check for loose connectors.
– The amplifier might be intermittently cutting off power.
– Possible damage to one of the voice coils.
5. Reduced Bass ResponseThe bass response from the subwoofer is noticeably weaker or muddier than usual.– Ensure correct polarity of terminals.
– The subwoofer’s box might not be optimal for its design.
– Check for damage to the subwoofer’s surround.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I connect my DVC subwoofer to a mono amplifier?
  • Why is impedance matching so crucial for DVC subs and amps?
    • Impedance matching ensures that the amplifier works efficiently and within safe operating conditions. Mismatched impedance can lead to underpowering, overpowering, or even equipment damage.
  • Can I mix DVC and SVC subwoofers in the same system?
    • While technically possible, it’s generally not recommended because it can complicate impedance matching and lead to uneven power distribution.
  • Do DVC subs need a special type of box compared to SVC subs?
    • No, the type of voice coil doesn’t dictate the box requirements. However, each subwoofer model will have its own specific box requirements for optimal performance.
  • Why do some DVC subs have uneven impedance coils (e.g., 2 ohms and 4 ohms)?
    • Some manufacturers produce DVC subs with uneven impedance to offer additional wiring flexibility for specific system needs.
  • Are DVC subs more durable than SVC subs?
    • The durability depends more on the build quality, power handling, and usage than the number of voice coils. However, DVC subs often have better heat dissipation due to dual coils, potentially increasing lifespan.
  • Can I use a home audio amplifier with my DVC subwoofer?
    • It’s possible but not always ideal. Car audio subs and amplifiers are designed for 12V systems, whereas home audio is designed for 120V/240V systems (depending on the country). Impedance and power ratings must be considered.


Website Resources:

Video Resources:

Unofficial Audio


Quality Mobile Video

Sonic Electronix

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About Robert Gibson

Robert GibsonRobert Gibson is a skilled handyman and a trusted consultant in the home improvement realm, currently spearheading content creation for ToolsWeek. With a rich background in practical hands-on projects, spanning over two decades, Robert has mastered the art of troubleshooting and solving household challenges.

Known for his knack for breaking down intricate home improvement tasks into easy-to-follow steps, Robert is a vital asset to the ToolsWeek community. His well-researched guides and insightful articles have become a go-to resource for both seasoned professionals and eager DIYers looking to enhance their skills and tackle their projects with confidence.

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