Subwoofer wiring diagrams
Which wiring option will work best for you?
In the 1950's, I'd take the family television's vacuum tubes down to Willow Grove Radio and TV Repair, check them with the giant tester machine, buy new replacement tubes, and reassemble the repaired television, so my mom and dad could enjoy their precious, respectively, Dean Martin and Red Skelton shows. In the 1960's, I studied radio and electronics at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. After college, in the early 70's, I joined a rock 'n roll band as the soundman, learning how to operate the electronics that make music sound good. Then, I worked in a music store in Austin manufacturing, installing, repairing, and operating sound systems and components for recording studios, nightclubs, and touring bands. I moved back to Charlottesville permanently in 1984 and opened a little demo recording studio. I also attempted to put to practical use the creative writing degree I had picked up along the way. In 2006, I finally came to my senses and got this job at Crutchfield where they actually pay me to ramble on, rant, and explain the things I love about music, electronics, and getting good sound.
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There are many ways to wire subwoofers and amplifiers. The idea is to match subs, amps, and their relative impedances to maximize their power capabilities. In this article, we'll help you find the best subwoofer wiring diagram for hooking up your system.
NOTE: Some low-impedance subwoofer system diagrams are included. In order to take advantage of the higher power output of these systems, your amplifier must be capable of driving loads as low as one ohm per channel. Attempting to drive a load lower than what your amp was designed to handle will lead to overheating and possible damage to your amp and subs.
Single Voice Coil (SVC) or Dual Voice Coil (DVC): If your component subwoofer has 4 wiring terminal posts, it's a DVC. If it has 2 terminals, it's an SVC. Subwoofer voice coils usually come in 2-ohm, 4-ohm, and 8-ohm impedances.
Impedance: Impedance is the amount of electrical resistance a sub puts up against an amplifier's output. A sub's impedance is often printed on its magnet. 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.
Amplifiers: An amplifier puts out more power to a low impedance sub than it does to a higher impedance sub. But not all amplifiers can drive low impedance systems safely. Refer to your amp manufacturer or owner's manual to determine whether or not it can handle a low impedance load.
Bridged mode: Bridging an amplifier combines two of its 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.
Wires: 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.
CAUTION: Be sure to maintain proper polarity to prevent damage to your amplifier/subwoofer system.
How many channels does your amplifier have?
|Mono Amplifier Configurations (close)|
|2-Channel Amplifier Configurations (close)|
|4-Channel Amplifier Configurations (close)|
How many subwoofers do you have?
|One Subwoofer (close)|
|Two Subwoofers (close)|
|Three Subwoofers (close)|
|Four Subwoofers (close)|
Start building your system today
Now that you've seen how subwoofers and amplifiers fit 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. Give us a call 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.