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Quick guide to matching subs & amps

How to put together the best amp and sub combo

Subwoofers and an amplifier

When you're ready to add a subwoofer and bass system to your vehicle, there are a lot of options to choose from. Once you get past the basic question of the size and number of subs you want in your system, you need to decide on the type of sub(s) and the type of amplifier(s) you'll use.

When choosing subwoofers, you can choose between single voice coil (one set of terminals) and dual voice coil (DVC) models (two sets of terminals). Dual voice coil subs give you more wiring options than single voice coil models. Usually, but certainly not always, dual voice coil models are built for higher power handling and performance.

When choosing an amplifier, the most important thing is to pick one with the right amount of power for your subs. Once you've decided how much power you need, you'll need to decide which type of amp to use. For most bass systems, you'll want to choose either a mono (single-channel) amp or a 2-channel amp.

To get you on the fast track to big bass, let's look at four common combinations of subwoofers. We'll check out the advantages of each, the best wiring configuration, then discuss the type of amp to choose. We'll even show you how to hook 'em up!

If you already have either an amplifier or the subwoofers and need help choosing the other piece, be sure to check out our more in-depth article about matching subs and amps

One single 4-ohm voice coil sub

Advantages
Simplicity, price, and compactness are the big advantages of a single sub system. A single sub is pretty easy to hook up, there are a lot of reasonably priced models to choose from, and it won't take up too much room (although a 15" sub isn't exactly small!) You may not knock over small buildings with one sub, but you can still get a lot of solid bass.

The right type of amp to use
This is a perfect place for a 2-channel amp. By bridging the output of the amp, you'll get lots of power for a relatively low cost. Avoid using a mono amp here — they work best at a lower impedance than 4 ohms.

SVC sub

A single 4-ohm SVC sub, connected to a bridged 2-channel amp.

One 4-ohm dual voice coil sub

Advantages
Don't be confused about dual voice coil (DVC) subs — having two voice coils simply gives you more ways to hook them up. In addition to wiring flexibility, the advantages of using one dual voice coil sub are power handling (most dual voice coil subs are built for heavy-duty use) and compactness.

The right type of amp to use
This is a perfect situation for a mono sub amp. Why? Mono amps are built to provide the most power at lower impedances, typically around 2 ohms. By wiring the voice coils in parallel, we can present a 2-ohm impedance to the amp and get maximum power output. Check the diagram below for how to hook it up.

DVC sub

A single 4-ohm DVC sub — best when connected to a mono amp.

Two 4-ohm single voice coil subs

Advantages
When you're looking for big bass, having two subs makes a lot of sense. After all, sound is just the movement of air, and with two subs you can move lots of air! As before, price can be an advantage when selecting 4-ohm single voice coil subs. Sure, two subs will take up more room, but what do you want — trunk space or bass?

The right type of amp to use
This setup is perfect for a mono sub amp. By wiring the two subs in parallel (see the diagram) you'll show a 2-ohm impedance to the amp. Mono amps are built for just this kind of situation, so you'll get maximum power output from your amp investment. Check the diagram below for how to hook it up.

SVC subs

Two 4-ohm SVC subs — a great place to use a mono amp.

Two 4-ohm dual voice coil subs

Advantages
Wiring flexibility is the key here. You've got lots of different ways to hook up this combination. With two subs, this is a great way to get the pounding bass you're looking for. Hook 'em up and hold on tight!

The right type of amp to use
This is a great place to use a 2-channel amp. When you wire the subs as shown in the diagram below, the total impedance will be four ohms. A bridged 2-channel amp can provide plenty of power at a reasonable price. Get some good subs and a good amp and let it rip!

DVC subs

Wire two 4-ohm DVC subs this way, add a 2-channel amp, and your car will be the "Temple of Boom!"

Want to see more options for subwoofer wiring?

These examples are just the starting point. If you want to explore other ways to wire and configure your subs and amp, check out our subwoofer wiring diagrams. Just select the number and type of subs you have, and we'll show you how to wire them to your amplifier. For more information about how to choose the right subs, read our subwoofer buying guide. And as we mentioned above, if you already have one or the other, check out our more in-depth article about matching subs and amps.

If you have any questions and want straight answers, contact our advisors. Just click on "Contact Us" at the top of any page on our site. 

  • Derek Baker from Hot Springs

    Posted on 12/23/2021

    Can you use 2 single voice coils subs and a 2 channel amp

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 12/23/2021

    Dekek, Depending on the impedance and RMS power of the subs and the output power of the amp, yes.
  • Rob

    Posted on 12/15/2021

    I have 2 single voice 15" subs rated at 8 ohms each. Does that mean, if I run them in parallel, I'd be OK with a 4 ohm sub? Of course, I need to match up the RMS, but I'm confused about the ohm requirements.

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 12/15/2021

    Rob, Two SVC 8-ohm subs can be wired in series as a 16-ohm load, and in parallel (negative to negative and positive to positive) as a 4-ohm load. Any subwoofer amplifier will drive a 4-ohm load. Just make sure it won't send your sub more than its RMS power rating.
  • Adam from Iowa

    Posted on 12/4/2021

    Hi. I'm looking at purchasing 2 skar audio VD-12's they come in dual 2 ohm and dual 4 ohm. What would you recommend 2 ohm or 4 ohm and after that, what amp would best suite the pair of subs. Thanks!

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 12/6/2021

    Adam, Give us a call, so an Advisor can help you pick out the perfect gear for your system.
  • Justin Black from Bastrop

    Posted on 11/13/2021

    I bought 2 memphis mjp1222's I am trying to find recommendations on amps for best sound and out put for these. My current amp in my humble opinion isn't really compatible as I once thought. Currently using a Skar rp 1500.1 D which is 1500 + 1ohm stable or 900 2 ohm stable or 550 at 4 ohms. So trying to see what is the best amp for the best output with my current subwoofers thank you very much

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 11/15/2021

    Justin, Your two DVC 2-ohm subs rated for 750 watts RMS each will work best with an amplifier that can put out up to 1500 watts RMS at 2 ohms, like a AudioControl LC-1.1500.
  • Christopher Brouillette from Richardson

    Posted on 8/24/2021

    Q Class L7 12 2 ohm Rms watts 900 Looking for amp recommendations

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 8/25/2021

    Christopher, That DVC 2-ohm sub rated for 900 watts RMS will work well with an amplifier that can put out up to 900 watts RMS at 1- or 4-ohms, like a Kicker CXA1800.1T.
  • Jason from Madrid

    Posted on 8/16/2021

    Why are you not showing the plug-in on the app are you going up on the side of the app or Flop those sites it's very hard to tell pretty sure that in bridging you put positive on one side and then the negative to the other side of a 2 channel amp and then run to Jumpers between the speakers

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 8/16/2021

    Jason, It sounds like you're a bit confused about bridging an amplifier. For help, check out How to bridge a car amplifier.
  • Waleed from Melvindale

    Posted on 8/2/2021

    Single Amp Orion Hcca 8000.1D pushing two 12s 4ohms or two Orion hcca 3000.1DSPLX pushing two 12s 2ohms

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 8/2/2021

    Waleed, At first glance I'd say that 8000W will be louder than 6000W, if that's what you want. But without knowing precisely what subs you're referring to, we can't help you with advice. If you want a question answered about a system, you must identify the gear by brand names and model numbers so we can get the right information to you.
  • Aviel Garcia

    Posted on 7/25/2021

    So I have two 8 inch massive hippo subs 4-ohms dvc pushing 700 watts rms each sub 1400 watts rms in total . And I have two mono block amplifiers I can use one of them is a hifonics zg.2400.1d it pushes 2400 watts rms @1 ohm, 1200 watts rms @2ohms, and 600 watts rms @4ohms. My other amplifier that I can use is a hifonics zg.3200.1d it pushes 3200 watts rms @1ohm, 1600 watts rms @2ohms, and 800 watts rms @4ohms. I know that I can wire them either at 4 ohms or at 1 ohm, what impedance should I wire them to and what amplifier should I use

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 7/26/2021

    Aviel, Hifonics rates their ZG-2400.1D amplifier at 2400 watts RMS at 1 ohm, but judging by its 100A fuse, it'll most likely put out only up to about 1100 watts RMS - so you can wire your subs to it like this.
  • Dominic DeMarco from Ellendale DE

    Posted on 7/25/2021

    I'm having difficulties figuring out the best wiring set up for a single Rockford P2D4-12 (Dual 4ohm, 400w-800peak) to a Pioneer GM d8601 1600w amp. I'm new to this and I'm just trying to see if I'm overthinking it too much. Don't wanna short anything out! All help is appreciated

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 7/26/2021

    Dominic, You wire one DVC 4-ohm sub to a mono subwoofer amplifier like this.
  • Chris Riggs from Corydon

    Posted on 7/23/2021

    I have an alpine pdr-v75 amplifier and a 15 inch kicker comp subwoofer in a Toyota Avalon that came with factory JBL door speakers and a stock amplifier mounted under the passenger seat that I assume is to power the jbl door speakers. I had this hooked up & it did not hit very hard at all for me no matter what. Is this a bad set up or have I done something wrong?

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 7/23/2021

    Chris, Even though I don't know how your amplifier's 4-channel outputs are connected in your system, its subwoofer output of 250 watts RMS is matched perfectly with that 4-ohm sub's power rating. If you want it louder, you'll need a higher-powered sub and amplifier.