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Subwoofer wiring diagrams

How to hook up your subs for powerful bass

In this article, we'll help you find the best way to connect your subs to your amp. We begin with some basic – and important – subwoofer and amplifier terms. But if you want, you can skip straight to the wiring diagrams.

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There are many ways to wire subwoofers and amplifiers together. The ideal setup is when subs and amps match their impedance and power capabilities to optimize performance.

Power with care

The diagrams show wiring configurations for amplifiers and subwoofers that have already been matched for power capabilities. You should never connect subs to an amp that could give them more power than their total watts RMS power ratings. Doing so could damage the subs or the amp. See How to match subs and amps for further guidance.

Here's an example diagram for connecting two 4-ohm DVC subs to a mono-channel amplifier:

2 DVC-4

Wiring terms you need to know

The diagrams are below, but first let's explain a few important terms.

SVC

A single voice coil sub with two wiring terminal posts, one marked positive and the other marked negative.

DVC

A dual voice coil sub with four wiring terminal posts, two positive terminals and two negative terminals. This gives you more options for wiring the sub in different situations.

Ohms

The impedance load, or resistance against the amplifier's output signal, of a subwoofer coil. Subwoofer voice coils usually come in 2-ohm, 4-ohm, or 8-ohm impedances. The value is often found printed on the magnet, if you're unsure of what you have.

Series wiring and parallel wiring

These terms refer to two ways of routing the speaker wires to properly manage the overall impedance load. Whether you need to use a series wiring configuration, parallel wiring, or a mix of both, our diagrams will show you exactly the best way to wire your speakers, without using confusing technical terms.

When you wire dual voice coils and multiple subs together, the resulting total impedance is not always simple to figure out or practical to use. In the example diagram above, the voice coils of each sub are wired together in series, while the two subs themselves are wired together in parallel.

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Amplifier output

An amplifier will put out more power through a low-impedance sub than it will through a high-impedance sub. But a lower impedance also means more stress on the amp. Some amplifiers (marked “low-imp” in the links below) can even drive a 1-ohm load safely, and achieve maximum output. Refer to your amp manufacturer or owner's manual to determine whether or not yours can handle a low-impedance load.

Bridged mode

Bridging an amp combines two amplifier channels into one, to get more power. The disadvantage of bridging is that bridged channels can't drive impedance loads as low as they can when unbridged. The proper way to bridge the amp is usually indicated at the amp's speaker wire terminals. For more information, read our How to bridge an amplifier article.

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Wire

All the wires depicted in the Subwoofer Wiring Diagrams are speaker wires. For wiring subwoofers, we recommend using wires of 12- to 16-gauge in size.

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Woman installing a car amp

Find the right wiring diagram

Now, let's get those subs hooked up! All of our wiring diagrams are listed below. Select the diagram for the number and type of subs you have. Depending on your gear, there might be more than one way to safely wire the subs.

A note about multi-channel amplifiers

5-channel amplifiers are a popular way to get "full system" power in one box — four channels to drive your four speakers, plus a fifth, higher-powered channel for your subwoofer. 6- and 8-channel amps are similar and offer even more flexibility. When it comes to connecting subwoofers to these amps, keep it simple:

  • If you're connecting your sub(s) to the subwoofer channel, treat it like a mono-channel amplifier.
  • If you're bridging two channels of your amp, simply treat it as a bridged 4-channel amp.

Start building your bass system today

Now that you've seen how to wire subwoofers and amplifiers together, you can knowledgeably shop Crutchfield's extensive selection of subwoofers and amplifiers. We also carry amp wiring kits, speaker wire, RCA cables, capacitors, and much more.

Contact us by phone, chat, or email and an Advisor will help you get what you need. If you want to learn more about amplifier systems, check out our Amplifier Installation Guide.

Last updated 5/19/2022
  • Scotty D from Utah

    Posted on 11/24/2022

    @ Jason d from Ofallon First, Happy Thanksgiving! I doubt Buck will reply today. I'm commenting because after reading the article I thought power sharing should have been touched on in the article. It might be mentioned in any of the 1,185 comments prior to yours Jason d from Ofallon, but digging for it could prove time consuming and perhaps fruitless. If this type of question is commented frequently please consider editing the article to touch on this principle. If you have any number of subs of identical resistance/impedance/ohms then the power delivered to the group will be divided equally among them. 1000/4=250 Your question / example is, "So if you are going to hook up 4 subs to a mono amp The amp should be 1000 watts if your speakers are 250, is that correct? Or 4000 watt amp and 1000 watt subs?" Yes it is correct, but there are parameters and considerations relating to ohms and watts as well as RMS and peak. If the four subs are 250 watts RMS at 4 ohms and you wire all four in parallel to a mono amp rated 1000 watts at 1 ohm you've got a good match. Talk to the Crutchfield Team! Purchase from Crutchfield for lifetime tech support! Hope this answer helps you for the holiday.

  • Jason d from Ofallon

    Posted on 11/24/2022

    So if you are going to hook up 4 subs to a mono amp The amp should be 1000 watts if your speakers are 250, is that correct? Or 4000 watt amp and 1000 watt subs?

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 11/25/2022

    Jason, Without knowing precisely what amp and subs you're referring to, we can't help you with accurate 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. Theoretically, identical subwoofers wired correctly to an amplifier will receive and dissipate equal shares of the power available. So four identical subs wired to an amplifier that's putting out 1000 watts RMS will each receive 250 watts RMS.
  • Jessi Gilley from Akron

    Posted on 11/13/2022

    Hi I have the Rockford fosgate t1000-1bdcp amplifier it's confusing me cause it Is a mono amplifier but has 2 speaker inputs? Your wiring diagram only shows 1 speaker input options with a mono amp. I originally had 2 P3d2 12inch subwoofers hooked to it. I wanted to know what wiring options I have with this amp and the 2 Rockford p3d2 subwoofers? Much appreciated

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 11/14/2022

    Jessi, Your mono, 1-channel amp has 2 sets of speaker output terminals, wired together inside the amp, for convenience, and if you hook a speaker to each terminal it would result in the two speakers being wired in parallel, cutting the total impedance in half. For your set-up, that's exactly what you can do: wire one sub to each set of terminals, like this. It's electrically the same to the amp as it would be wiring it likethis diagram.
  • Senica Robinson from Marion

    Posted on 10/20/2022

    I have 6 dc audio level 6 m5s that I'm about to get recones for what ohm load would I be at if I run dual .7s or dual 1s 3 subs per amp Trying to stay close as possible to .5 ohm with 3 per amp

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 10/20/2022

    Senica, Those subs come in 0.7-ohm, 1-ohm, and 2-ohm DVC models. Which you have will determine what load you can wire them to. Without knowing precisely which subs and amplifiers 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.
  • Michael Skoblin from San Marcos

    Posted on 10/13/2022

    Hi, my Sub EQ unit has a SUB OUT that is stereo, instead of mono. Is it O.K. to use a single DVC 4 ohm sub, with a 2 channel amp, where the left sub out goes to one of the 4 ohm voice coils, and the right to the other VC?

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 10/14/2022

    Michael, You can use a 2-channel amp the way you describe - but mono subwoofer amplifiers feature stereo, 2-channel inputs, so there's really no reason not to use one. There are very few benefits in using a 2-channel amp to drive a subwoofer system. Most 2-channel amps can't drive loads lower than 4 ohms when bridged, and don't have enough power to drive 2 subs. Mono, 1-channel amps are designed to work with a wider range of impedances, and have tone controls and filters specifically made to help reproduce bass.
  • Aleksi Torvi

    Posted on 10/10/2022

    Hi is it possible to put 3 DVC 4-ohm subs,with a mono amp: 2.0 ohm with the 2.7 ohm wiring guide or will i have huge powerloss with that?

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 10/11/2022

    Aleksi, Wiring subs like that diagram will produce a 2.7 ohm load - you can't change that. I doubt you will hear any power difference between what an amplifier will put out at 2.7 ohms versus what it will put out at 2 ohms.
  • Christopher Palacios from Mount pleasant

    Posted on 9/24/2022

    I have four kicker L7's 8 inch I want to wire them to 1 ohm stable amp a nemesis 1600 mono block what amp do you recommend? Or how do I wire to one ohm or what happens if I wire .8 ohms

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 9/25/2022

    Christopher, Kicker L7s come in DVC 2-ohm and 4-ohm models. Which you have will determine what total impedance they can get wired to and what amplifier will work best. Give us a call, so an Advisor can help you pick the perfect amp for your system.
  • Sirius Raycraft from Saskatoon

    Posted on 9/22/2022

    I have 2, 4ohm dual voice coil subs. And I want to wire them to 2 ohms of output from the amp. There wasn't a diagram to show how to do that. Is it even possible?

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 9/23/2022

    Sirius, Two DVC 4-ohm subs can only get wired together to form a one-ohm load, a 4-ohm load, or a 16-ohm load.
  • Benjamin from Sailsbury

    Posted on 9/16/2022

    Why can't you wire one subwoofer positive to positive negative to negative and then the other subwoofer positive to positive negative then negative run that positive off the first one to the amp run the negative off the opposite sub to the end and cross from negative to positive between subwoofers to make two two ohm into one ohm breaking point at the amp and that creates a parallel series between the two 2 2ohm subwoofers down to a one ohm amp

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 9/17/2022

    Benjamin, They say one picture is worth a thousand words - and your verbal description is incomprehensible. The subwoofer wiring diagrams shown in this article have been carefully researched, and are the only safe ways to wire subs to amps. If you wire your subs together in a manner not described, there will probably be power-matching and impedance-matching issues that will make that sub system inoperable. In order to find the right diagram for your setup, you must identify your gear (DVC or SVC, for instance) in order to find the right subwoofer wiring diagram for you.
  • Michael Merritt from Pennsburg

    Posted on 9/15/2022

    Hello, I have a Skar Audio RP-800.1DM 800 Watt Monoblock installed in my boat and was wondering if the Clarion CM2513WL 10-inch Marine Subwoofer 250W RMS power handling Dual 2 ohm would be a good match and what is the best wiring setup. Also would it be possible to add another of the same sub later? Thanks

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 9/16/2022

    Michael, That amplifier will probably blow that sub to smithereens, no matter how they're wired together. The RMS power ratings for gear are there for good reasons - if the amp's RMS power rating exceeds that of the sub, it could damage it. That DVC 2-ohm sub is rated for 250 watts RMS, and can only be wired as a 1-ohm or a 4-ohm load. That amp can put out 370 watts RMS into 4-ohms, 600 watts RMS into 2-ohms, and 1200 watts RMS into 1-ohm. You'll want to look at another sub to go with that amp. Give us a call, so an Advisor can help you pick the perfect sub for your system.

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