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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.


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


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.


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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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 2-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.

  • Sean from Lafayette

    Posted on 9/23/2023

    Hello, how do I calculate what my amps RMS per channel would be? I have a Quantum QPX 2800.4 (3600 watt) 4 channel amp, and a Hypnotic HYP2800D (2800 watt) monoblock class D. I recently purchased an 08 Hummer H3 with the monsoon system. Ill be installing my Kenwood DMX9707s , Ive already purchased the RP5-GM11 harness adapter. I have read and re read everything you offer here concerning my vehical and everything seems to lead to me needing to replace all my speakers as well. In Hummer forums, owners relate that the sound after a head unit swap is horrible but due to cargo space being limited, i do not want to run my 12"s. I also dont want to spend $900 on JL audio's stealth box. Therfore Im attempting to figure out what speakers and sub or subs (8"s,10"s?) my amps will run without destroying them or breaking the bank. Ive read a little bit about wiring things to be 2 ohm rather than 4ohm, creats a better sound, but thats greek to me lol, Im a tattoo artist, not a mathmatician or electrical engineer.Installers here in Indiana are not being cooperative in any way. They wont just give me straight answers, or they want me to buy whatever they think is bigger and better...I just want loud clear sound with heavy bass. I listen to EDM, heavy metal and a little hip hop here and there . Any help in direction or understanding what to do would be greatly appreciated.

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 9/25/2023

    Sean, You don't calculate an amplifier's output - you look up its specifications in its owner's manual or online. With questions like you have, it's always better to have a conversation with a real live human. Give us a call and talk to one of our Advisors. We can help you choose the right gear and give you the right advice on how to install it.
  • Candace from Englewood

    Posted on 9/20/2023

    Sorry to update my last comment they are single terminal dvc setup with an integrated impedance selector 1ohm -4 ohm option SKU V122DV2 Sub size 12" Nominal impedance (ohms) 2O RMS Rating 450w Max Power rating 1300w SPL (db) 84.8 Re ( ohm )[series] 2.0 / 2.0 I will have to take them out of the box to see what impedance they are set at could you still show me the wiring diagrams for each impedance setting?

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 9/20/2023

    Candace, Set each subwoofer to 4-ohms and then wire the two subs together like this diagram. We don't have a diagram for the other settings, but it would result in the same final impedance and resulting power output.
  • Candace from Englewood

    Posted on 9/14/2023

    I have a kenwood excelon x500-1mono amp and two 12inSVC Cerwinvegas 450 rms 2 ohm stable what wiring diagram do I use? thanks !

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 9/15/2023

    Candace, As far as I can tell, Cerwin Vega doesn't offer a single voice coil sub in the configuration you describe. Not knowing exactly what subwoofers you have make it dangerous and irresponsible to give advice on how to wire them together. If you want a question answered about your system, you must identify all the gear by model numbers as well as brand names.
  • Enrique from Ansonia

    Posted on 8/26/2023

    Hi, I'm am trying to replace my factory sub which is a dual 1.2ohm sub. Can I use a dual 2ohm sub as I am unable to find a dual 1.2ohm sub? I'm trying to replace my factory Ford explorer sub and keeping the factory sub at the same time. Thanks for any info

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 8/28/2023

    Enrique, You can't replace and keep a subwoofer at the same time. Maybe you mean to add a sub to your system, in which case you'll need an amplifier for it as well. We do not recommend replacing the factory sub with an aftermarket sub, as the factory amplifier won't have enough power to produce much bass. Give us a call, so an Advisor can help you pick the right gear for your system.
  • Jack from Canada

    Posted on 8/12/2023

    I have a 12" Audiobahn Immortal sub with Quad 2ohm Voice coils. How do I wire it properly to 2 ohm for a mono block amp? The Sub is confusing because the positive and negative terminals are doubled at each location.

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 8/15/2023

    Jack, You can use this diagram as a guide. Two pairs of coils are each wired together in parallel and then the two pairs are wired together in series.
  • Tateo from Tacoma wa

    Posted on 8/1/2023

    How to wire two amp

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 8/1/2023

    Tateo, Use a separate wiring diagram for each amplifier, and Y-cord RCA input signal connections if necessary. Never ever wire the outputs of amplifiers together - they'll try to destroy each other with their output power flowing into each other's electronics.
  • Lashawn Jones from Jackson

    Posted on 7/30/2023

    I need you to give me a call tomorrow

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 7/31/2023

    Lashawn, Crutchfield does not solicit business by phone. If you need help choosing the right gear, give us a call, so an Advisor can help you. 1-800-955-9091. Monday-Friday: 9 am - 8 pm; Saturday-Sunday: 10 am - 7 pm.
  • Steve

    Posted on 7/25/2023

    Hello! I have an AudioControl D-4.800 4 channel amp. It is currently wired with channels 1 & 2 feeding four satellites (each 4 ohms). They are wired in parallel, two to each channel. Channels 3 & 4 are bridged & wired to a single SVC 4 ohm sub. If I wanted to add a second sub (same as the first), should I do one to each channel (3 & 4), or can I wire them in series to the bridged channels (8 ohms total)? I would prefer the two in series, as this is on a boat, and fishing a new set of wires will not be easy. But I don't want to break anything, or under-power the subs. The amp is 400 watts into 4 ohms when bridged, and the sub (JL Audio M3-10IB-C-GW-4) is rated for 175 watts RMS, so I am concerned that I am overpowering the sub. I'm hoping that putting two in series would prevent that.

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 7/26/2023

    Steve, In this case, it'd be easier and safer to just wire one sub to a channel than it would in any other configuration. Powering a 175 watts rated sub with 125 watts should not be a problem, and I doubt you'd hear a difference.
  • James Downs

    Posted on 7/21/2023

    I have this amp connected to the back of my ILX head unit: Alpine-KTA-450-Power-Pack. I have this sub I am going to be hooking up: Kicker-CompR-48CWR104. Its a 4ohm sub, and only doing a single. The amp is 4 channel. What is the best way for a single Sub on a 4 channel amp in this configuration?

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 7/21/2023

    James, If your KTA-450 is connected correctly, it's running your four car speakers, so to add a subwoofer will require also adding an amplifier to power it.
  • Tyler from Denver

    Posted on 7/17/2023

    I have two DS18 12inch 4 ohm subwoofers, they are both rated for 800 rms each. What would be the best amp to run them both at their rated rms, in a two terminal box?

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 7/17/2023

    Tyler, If you have two SVC 4-ohm subs rated for 800 watts RMS each, a good amp to drive them would be able to send them up to 1600 watts RMS at 2-ohms, like a JL Audio RD1500/1.

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