How to Wire Subs: Series/Parallel, Ohms, and Single vs. Dual Voice Coils (With Diagrams)

Probably one of the things people have the most trouble with when installing multiple subs or dual voice coil subs is when it comes to wiring them to the amp. This post will explain what series and parallel wiring is, a little bit on Ohm’s law, the difference between single and dual voice coil subs, and how to wire subs to different Ohm loads.

If you don’t care about the technical stuff and just want to get to wiring, click here to be brought to the wiring diagrams page.

Series and Parallel Wiring

Series

Series wiring for speakers means you are connecting the speakers like a chain. The positive terminal from one speaker to the negative terminal of the next speaker. Then the positive of that speaker to the negative of the next speaker. You can do this with an infinite number of speakers. In this arrangement, if one part of the circuit is removed, nothing will work.

In the case of speakers/subs, series wiring will add the impedance of each speaker together. For example: if you had three 2 Ohm speakers wired in series, the total impedance would be 6 Ohms. This will be explained in greater detail when I get to Ohm’s law.

For series wiring: Total Impedance = Sub Impedance x Total # of Subs

Parallel

Parallel wiring connects all of the positive terminals together and all of the negative terminals together. This means if part of the circuit goes out, all of the rest will still be connected.

Parallel wiring of speakers reduces the resistance seen by the amp. So instead of adding all of the impedances together, the total impedance will be reduced further and further with each speaker added to the circuit. For example: if you wire two 4 Ohm subs together in parallel, you will get a total load of 2 Ohms.

For parallel wiring: Total Impedance = Sub Impedance / Total # of Subs, so if you have 4, 2 Ω SVC subs all wired in parallel, the total impedance will be 2 Ω / 4 subs = 0.5 Ω

Ohm’s Law 

Ohm’s law is the governing equation for all electrical circuits. The equation is: V = I x R where V=voltage, I=current, and R=resistance. For car audio, voltage is constant (12V), resistance is constant (the total impedance your speakers are wired to), and current will change depending on your impedance and the power your amp is capable of.

We can rearrange the equation to read I = V / R. Basically what this tells us is that if resistance is decreased, then the current the amp is pulling will increase, which in turn will increase the power output of the amplifier because of the power equation P = V x I. This is why wiring subs to lower impedances will get you more power out of your amp. This is also why a lot of amps don’t like seeing too low of an Ohm load since it will try to overpower the amp by pulling too much current.

This is a great Ohm’s Law chart to quickly see all the equations for power, current, voltage, and resistance:

Image Credit: Matt Rider, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Single vs. Dual Voice Coil 

The only reason to get one over the other is for wiring options. Many people think DVC subs are more powerful than SVC or vice versa, but this is not the case. They make so many different versions of the same subs so you can get the total Ohm load you need no matter how many subs you plan on connecting together. Right out of the box, a  single DVC sub has two different wiring options, whereas a SVC sub only has one.

Single Voice Coil (SVC)

Single voice coil subs are subwoofers that only have one voice coil. The impedance of a SVC sub will only be what that sub is rated at. For example, a single SVC 2 Ohm sub can only be wired to  2 Ohms.

Dual Voice Coil (DVC)

Dual voice coil subs have two voice coils. A single DVC sub can be wired to two different Ohm loads right out of the box. You can either wire it in series or parallel. For example: a single 4 Ohm DVC sub can be wired to either 2 Ohms (parallel) or 8 Ohms (series). The Ohm rating on DVC subs is actually the rating per voice coil, so you cannot wire a 4 Ohm DVC sub to 4 Ohms.

How to Wire Subs to Desired Impedance

So now that you know what series wiring will raise total impedance and parallel will drop total impedance, I will show you how this is used in subwoofer wiring. Whenever you have 2 SVC subs of the same impedance, series wiring will always double that number, and parallel wiring will always half that number. For all other cases, some math is needed especially when wiring DVC subs since you can have a mixture of series and parallel wiring in the same circuit.

For example: this circuit of two DVC 2 Ohm subs wired to a total load of 2 Ohms at the amp has the voice coils of each sub wired in series, but the two subs are then wired to each other in parallel. Wiring a DVC 2 Ohm sub in series gives you 4 Ohms. Then wiring two 4 Ohm subs in parallel will give you 2 Ohms. Hopefully that makes since.

If you have a multimeter, it is always best to double check your impedance after wiring before connecting your subs to the amp. I personally use this one from Amazon and it has worked great for me.

Buy the UNI-T Multimeter on Amazon

Here are some more diagrams for the most common wiring configurations. If you don’t see the configuration you plan on wiring, post a comment or send an email and I can help you out. Here is a link to just the wiring diagrams for easier access: http://caraudioadvice.com/subwoofer-wiring-diagrams/

Single Voice Coil

Two 2 Ω subs wired in series to 4 Ω

Two 4 Ω subs wired in series to 8 Ω

Two 2 Ω subs wired in parallel to 1 Ω

Two 4 Ω subs wired in parallel to 2 Ω

Dual Voice Coil

One DVC 2 Ω sub wired in series to 4 Ω

One DVC 4 Ω sub wired in series to 8 Ω

Two DVC 2 Ω subs wired to 0.5 Ω

Two DVC 4 Ω subs wired to 1 Ω

One DVC 2 Ω sub wired in parallel to 1 Ω

One DVC 4 Ω sub wired in parallel to 2 Ω

Two DVC 2 Ω subs wired to 2 Ω

Two DVC 4 Ω subs wired to 4 Ω

 
 
 
 

55 thoughts on “How to Wire Subs: Series/Parallel, Ohms, and Single vs. Dual Voice Coils (With Diagrams)”

  1. Hi. I just bought 2 4 Ohm DVC Pyle subs and own an old Kenwood KAC-920 amplifier, it´s not brigdeable. How would I connect these 2 DVC subs to 1 amp (not brigded)?

    Reply
    • Sorry to take so long to get back to you. Have you found your answer yet? I saw on a forum that “left + , right – is the age old way to bridge”. If it isn’t bridgeable, I wouldn’t use it for subs. Does it say it is not bridgeable? Or just doesn’t say how to?

      Reply
    • I’m assuming you mean DVC subs? Because you can’t wire two 2 ohm SVC subs to 2 ohms. It is possible to wire them out of phase, but if you follow the diagram above they will be in phase

      Reply
  2. I have two 4 ohm single coil in a box and I have one 4 ohm dual coil in another box and I can’t get them in phase the two 4 ohm single coils in the box are ran parallel and the one 4 ohm in the other box only has one voice coil hooked up right now can you help? Lol

    Reply
    • Edit: you can run just one coil on the dvc sub, but it cuts the power handling in half.

      For this setup to work properly, you would need to make sure each sub is the exact same. Wiring up just one voice coil of a dual 4 ohm sub is not recommended and could possibly damage the sub. I would try to find a third sub is the same as the other 2 4 ohm SVC subs. Also, make sure the box volume is the same for each sub.

      Reply
    • No because each DVC 2 ohm sub can be wired to 1 (parallel) or 4 ohms (series). So 2 1 ohm loads can be wired to 0.5 ohms (parallel) or 2 ohms (series). 2 4 ohm loads can be wired to either 2 ohms (parallel) or 8 ohms (series). So your choices are either 0.5, 1, 2, or 8. Most monoblock amps are usually 2 ohm stable. It can almost definitely handle an 8 ohm load, but you won’t get as much power out of it. Some mono amps can handle a 1 ohm load, but very are 0.5 ohm stable.

      Reply
    • I came across something I didn’t know before, but apparently you can use just one voice coil of a dvc sub. So in your case, you could run these 2 subs together at 4 ohms but since you would have to use only one voice coil on each sub, it will cut the power handling in half.

      For this situation, I still recommend wiring to a final 2 ohm load as long as your amp is stable at 2 ohms

      Reply
  3. Can you wire one 4ohm svc to one 4ohm dvc on an amp? And if so would it be best to run them both at 2ohms parallel????? Or in a series for 8ohms to get the most out of my 2800 watt amp.

    Reply
    • Sorry, I just saw your comment. I wouldn’t recommend mixing different impedance subs like that. The dvc 4 ohm sub can either be wired to 2 ohms or 8 ohms, so if you wire that together with a 4 ohm svc sub, one will be getting more power than the other.

      You could also just use one could of the 4 ohm dvc sub to get a final 2 or 8 ohm load, but it will cut your power handling in half.

      Wiring to 2 ohms will get more power out of your amp if it’s 2 ohm stable. Wiring to 8 ohms won’t get as much power from the amp, but the amount won’t have to work as hard and will run cooler

      Reply
    • Edited: sorry, misread the question before.

      I wouldn’t recommend running one svc and one dvc sub together. The wiring will send more power to one sub. You could use just one coil of the dvc sub and wire the 2 together to either 2 or 8 ohms but since you would only be using one coil, it will cut the power handling in half

      Reply
    • If they are svc 4 ohm subs, then yes. Wire them parallel and it will give you 2 ohms. If they are dvc 4 ohm subs, I would recommend wiring to 4 ohms

      Reply
    • Unfortunately the only way to wire that sub to 2 ohm would to be only hook up one voice coil which cuts the power handling in half. I would wire it in series to 4 ohms total. This way your amp will be happier

      Reply
  4. I have 2 .Dual 2 ohm subs rms 1000 2000 max and a 2 channel 2600 amp can’t seem to figure the best way to hook it up I also have a 2000 watt max mono amp do u think u can give me some advice on which way to go one sub one amp two subs one amp then which amp .I bought single box ported and a dual box sealed I just want it to be done correct it ant cheap

    Reply
  5. 2 sound stream t5 12 and I over bought a plant audio 2600.2 and a boss 2000.m I jump the gun on buying should read ur site first just to bang so if I need to buy some thing else pls recommended .not rich but I need my beat thank you

    Reply
    • Dual 2 ohm subs can be wired together to 0.5, 2, or 8 ohm (each sub can be wired to 1 or 4 ohm). The 2 channel Planet Audio amp is only stable down to 4 ohm, so if you go with that one, I’d wire the subs to 8 ohms. If you do the Boss amp, it can handle 2 ohms. You’ll probably be around the same power either way. The Planet Audio is a little better amp, but they are both known for over rating their power. You could always try it both ways and see what you like best. Just don’t run the Planet Audio below 4 ohm or the Boss below 2 ohm, or you’ll damage the amps.

      Reply
      • Thanks. I guess ur right the only way is to do it and see what sound good do u know what amp would go better with what I got to get its full power thank you

        Reply
  6. I have 2 Rockford fosgate p3d2 12s. Powered by Rockford fosgate p1000x1bd amp. Can I wire them individually to the 1 ohm load and then connect both sets of + & – to the amp to get a 1 ohm load or would it be 2 ohms? The amp is 1 ohm stable I just don’t want to burn anything up, but want to get the most out of them but the amp isn’t .5 ohm stable.

    Reply
  7. I have 2 Rockford fosgate p3d2s with a Rockford fosgate p1000x1bd amp that’s 1 ohm stable. I k omw you can wire 1 of these speakers down to 1 ohm, but can you wire the coils the same way individually nd connect to the amp to get 1 ohm or would it be .5, or 2?

    Reply
    • Each sub can be wired to either 1 or 4 ohm, so together, they can be wired to 0.5, 2, or 8 ohms. I would wire it to 2 ohms total at the amp in this case to be safe.

      Reply
  8. Could you please help me? My dilemma: I have an audiobahn ultra excursion subwoofer. 2000w peak, 1000w RMS. Its a dual DVC 2ohm sub, which means it has 4 connection points (4+ &4-) so 8 in total. It’s also 1-4ohm stable. My question is what are all the different wiring options I have for this monster and how would I go about doing them. Could someone please help me out with the diagrams? Much appreciated in advanced!

    Reply
  9. I have two 12″ pioneer premier 4 ohm dvc subs I wanted to hook to my kicker zr600. I wired it series/parallel to get a 4ohm bridged state. I was left with a left + and a right – The amp has writing on it stating bridged mode is right + left – the terminals go + – + – (didn’t notice that till I went to hook them to the terminals) Can I just hook them to the appropriate terminals for bridging or will that be bad for the wire scheme? I’m thinking that’s not good but I don’t really know. If I can’t do that what’s the best way to hook them up if I can even do it with these subs. The amp is rated for 2ohm or 4ohm stereo and 4,2,1.33,and 1 ohm bridged.TIA

    Reply
    • Sounds like you got it. Don’t worry about the wires coming from the subs being left positive or negative or right positive or negative. As long as you have them wired right, you’ll have a positive lead and a negative lead coming from them. Just hook those up to the amp where it marks bridged input. Positive and negative won’t really matter. It’s actually common to swap the polarity on subs to see if you like how it sounds better. Hook it up and listen then swap positive and negative and listen again to see which sounds better.

      Reply
    • I couldn’t find much information on that sub, but it says dual 4 ohm. My guess would be they just include an extra set of terminals for easier wiring. Check and see if the 2 positives on one side are connected together. Same with the negatives.

      Reply
  10. I got Kicker 1200 watt mono class D amp with 1200 watt 2 ohm stable kicker 10 inch. With a bass control, the bass is not separating from the the radio like the alpine amp I had had previous, it doesn’t even sound as good as I was hoping, bass is weak Any suggestions ?

    Reply
    • Sorry for the late response. You could do that if you wanted to see how it sounded, but one sub will be getting more power than the other and may sound odd. Just don’t wire them in parallel to 1.33 ohms. Wire them in series to 6 ohms. If the amp is only stable down to 2 ohms, wiring it lower could damage it.

      Reply
    • (3) 2 ohm subs wired in parallel would result in 0.67 ohms. I wouldn’t recommend it as it could damage the amp.

      Reply
  11. Hi. I am struggling. I have 2 fosgate t1s1 10s. 1 ohm. Do i have to run these in series and bring them to 2ohm for them to work. Is there a way to keep them at 1 ohm. Running fosgate t1000 bd amp

    Reply
    • Yes, you would need to run them in series at 2 ohms since they are single voice coil subs. The only other way to wire them would be 0.5 ohm, but the amp probably wouldn’t be very happy with that.

      Reply
    • I wouldn’t recommend doing that. It will send more power to one sub than the other. It’s best to try to trade one or get another that matches.

      Reply
  12. (2) 4ohm DVC L7s powered by 2800w db amp. top of the line at the time. says its stable to .5ohm. I should be good to wire them down to 1ohm right? Not that I could with those current speakers, but I don’t think I’d want to push it at .5ohm. Its 2 channel, I’d still want to bridge it correct?

    Reply
    • Yeah, if it’s stable to 0.5 ohm, you’re fine running it at 1 ohm. I haven’t heard of many 2 channel amps that are 1 ohm or 0.5 ohm stable, though. What amp is it? It may be a monoblock with 2 sets of inputs. Just makes wiring easier, but not 2 channels.

      Reply
  13. you are correct. sorry. lol. its a DB drive 2800 monoblock. I bought it like 6-7 yrs ago and had it all hooked up, sounded great but the car it was in blew the motor and I haven’t hooked it back up since. well,…its that time. lol.

    Reply
  14. Correction yet again. It IS 2 channel. Its a DB drive okur and pro2800 class ab. It IS bridgeable. If I bridge it, won’t that cut my ohms as well? And should I even do that?

    Reply
    • Ah ok. Looking at their website, it looks like it’s only stable down to 4 ohms bridged, so you could try wiring your subs to 8 ohm and bridging. I wouldn’t run subs stereo though. You’ll have too much cancellation if they share the same airspace. You’ll get close to the same power to them either way: (1) 4 ohm sub on each channel in stereo or (2) subs wired to 8 ohms and the amp bridged. You could try both ways, but I would recommend bridging.

      Reply
      • Its 440w at 4ohm and 880w @ 2ohm, and, im mistaken once again, its 1 ohm stable. according to the specs in the manual.
        I’ve got 2 12 L7s DVC in seperate compact sealed enclosures. I’m way more focused on quality than quantity. Should I still run then bridged? Bridging does reduce clarity correct? I was thinking running them all parallel in stereo, with a dip, is cancelation still goingnto be an issue? Sorry to hit you with a million questions for every one you’ve answered, I do appreciate the help!

        Reply
        • Oh their website must not have all the info on it then. It said 1800W at 4 ohm bridged which usually means it’s only 4 ohm stable since they didn’t have other ratings. I forgot you said dvc. So yeah I’d run them bridged at 4 ohms. Make sure you set the gains properly though. I think those subs are rated 750w each.

          Reply
  15. I have 2 rockford fosgate r2d4 12 inch subs. I have a jl audio e1200 monoblock full range amp as well as a pioneer 1000 amp model gm/a5702. My head input is factory so I’m also running an loc. What would be the best wiring for this system?

    Reply
    • With (2) 4 ohm DVC subs, you can either wire them to 1 ohm or 4 ohms. That JL amp only puts out 120W at 4 ohms. The Pioneer amp puts out 480W bridged at 4 ohms. Those subs are rated 250W rms, so I’d recommend going with the Pionner amp bridged. That’s just about perfect for 2 of those subs. Depending on what car you have, check out the AudioControl LC2i LOC (https://amzn.to/36o3TqE) especially if you have a car that cuts bass frequencies at higher volumes.

      Reply

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