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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.

  • Jessi Gilley from Akron

    Posted on 5/6/2023

    Hi I have the Rockford fosgate t1000-1bdcp amplifier, it's a mono , 1 channel amp but has 2 speaker input/output. So I'm confused on your guys wiring diagram for 1 channel amps cause your diagram shows 1 speaker input/output. I'm trying to figure out my options for wiring my two 12 inch P3D2 Rockford fosgate speakers ? What options do I have? Can they be wired to 1ohm? 2ohm? 4 ohm? Or if all ways which way would give me the most deep breath taking bass. Please help. Its the two speaker a and b outputs that confuse me , I was told that no matter how I plug them in the amp automatically figures out the ohms? But I know that can't be true cause of the different ways the speakers can be wired, like sieres or parallel. Is there a specific guide for wiring speakers to this amp with 2 speaker input/output but only being a 1 channel amp? I originally had the original box and birth sheet and instructions but I had an issue with my amp and the shop which I bought it at which is an official Rockford fosgate dealer ( century 2000 in Akron ohio) sent it out to be repaired and when I picked it up it was in a plain brown box without my original box ,birth sheet, and instructions . I didn't think about it or realize it until days later which sucks, but that's a separate issue. Can you please help me understand how the 2 speaker input/output works when wiring my Rockford fosgate P3D2 12inch subwoofers for different ohms ect. Thanks so much

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 5/8/2023

    Jessi, Most mono, 1-channel amplifiers have 2 speaker output terminals that are wired together inside the amp. The second speaker output terminal is there 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. In your case, you can wire each DVC 2-ohm sub as a 4-ohm load to each terminal, and the amp will see 2-ohms as its total load.
  • Anthony Aldana from Hanford

    Posted on 5/4/2023

    I have two 4 ohm 12 inch subs 1 is dvc and the other 1 is svc can I wire them up together just like if you had 2 dvc subs and if I can what would be the best way to wire them?

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 5/5/2023

    Anthony, One of your subs is 4-ohms and the other can be 2- or 8-ohms. Even if you knew and accounted for the subs' sensitivities and power ratings, you should never wire different impedance subwoofers together to the same amplifier because the lower impedance sub will get twice the power of the higher impedance sub, possibly under-powering one while over-powering the other. That's a recipe for blowing subwoofers. Get separate amps for your different impedance subs.
  • luis

    Posted on 4/25/2023

    I have 2 12 4 ohm kicker comp Qs with a kicker 1800.1 amp. What would be the best way to wire them?

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 4/26/2023

    Luis, The only safe way to wire that gear together is like this wiring diagram.
  • Luke from Bedale

    Posted on 4/17/2023

    I have 4 db audio xtinct 12s that I'm wanting to wire up to a edge xtreme series 10000w amplifier I believe the impedance is 2 ohm but it can go to 1ohm my question is am I able to do this as the rms power on one sub is 1500w and max is 5000w would I be best running 2 of these amps on 2 separate subs cheers

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 4/18/2023

    Luke, If your subs are the DVC 2-ohm models, you can wire them to that amplifier like this diagram.
  • Ryan Powell from Muskegon mi

    Posted on 4/10/2023

    I have 2 alpine type 4 dual 4ohm 10s and I have a CT Sounds CT-1000.1D Compact Class D Car Audio Monoblock Amplifier, 1000 Watts RMS. What's the best way to get most power for my tens I don't know what I'm doing really lol

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 4/12/2023

    Ryan, Alpine makes a lot of different subwoofers, but none labelled "Type 4." 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.
  • MrTom

    Posted on 4/8/2023

    I have a Memphis SRX250.1 2 channel 250 RMS amp with a 250 RMS 10" 4 ohm DVC speaker. By default the box was wired in parallel to create a 2 ohm speaker. Would there be any benefit in wiring each channel to a 4 ohm VC, or keep it as bridged 2 ohm? My amp manual says "RMS Power/CH 4ohm = 150W x 1" and "RMS Power/CH 2ohm = 250W x 1". What does this mean? At dual 4 ohm would I be giving each VC 150W, so the speaker total would be 300W RMS?

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 4/10/2023

    Tom, Your amplifier's a mono, 1-channel amp that has 2 sets of speaker output terminals, wired together internally, 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 the amp sees on its output in half. You don't need to do that with your subwoofer because the impedance-halving wiring has already been done inside the sub enclosure. The specs mean that the amp can put out one channel of 150 watts RMS through a 4-ohm load or 250 watts RMS through a 2-ohm load.
  • Lucy

    Posted on 4/3/2023

    Hi I have 2 DS18 GEN-XX12.4DHE 12's and I want to run them at 4ohms, with a mono lock amp how much 4ohm rms power do I need? Is it just 2x so 800? Im not sure how that works.

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 4/3/2023

    Lucy, When I looked up the specs on those subs I found they are rated for 600 watts RMS each, so two DVC 4-ohm models wired together as a 4-ohm load would work well with an amplifier that can put out up to 1200 watts RMS at 4-ohms, like a Soundstream Reserve RS1.8000D.
  • jake

    Posted on 4/1/2023

    On a JL audio RD900/5 would it be a good idea to have 2 jl audio 10w3v3-2 subwoofers in a ported box for a final load of 4 ohm to an amp plus later in the summertime i plan to install mids and highs either JL audio c1 or c2 Or 2 10w3v3-4 subwoofers in a vented box for a final load of 4 ohm to JL audio RD900/5 amp plus adding mids and highs later either JL audio c1 or c2 ***Currently I have 1 10w3v3-2 ( I am kind of stuck since I would like to have another 10w3v3 but I would need to buy 2 10w3v3-4 ohm load for final 2 ohm for better output or just buy another 2 ohm and have less output on the rd900/5 ) How would the output compare from 2 10w3v3-2 to a 2 10w3v3-4 in ported box on a JL audio RD900/5 amp???

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 4/5/2023

    Jake, The impedance of a sub has no bearing on its tone - only how it reacts power-wise with an amplifier counts, its loudness.
  • Branden

    Posted on 3/30/2023

    I have a 4 channel 1200w amp, infinity front and rear and just purchased a JL 8 inch. Should I hook up the component speakers to Channel 1 and 2 and the Woofer to 3 and 4? Is there any other options for this? Hello, I have an Planet Audio Amp AC1200.4, Infinity Kappa X61 in the fronts, Infinity Prime pr65 in the rears, and JL audio 8W1v3. Thank you

  • Branden

    Posted on 3/30/2023

    Hello, I have JL audio 8in W1v3, Planet Audio AC1200.4, Infinity Kappa 62xi, and infinity prime PR65 I have a 4 channel 1200w amp, infinity front and rear and just purchased a JL 8 inch. Should I hook up the component speakers to Channel 1 and 2 and the Woofer to 3 and 4? Is there any other options for this?

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 3/31/2023

    Branden, I don't know what exactly you're trying to accomplish, but, of course, you can hook up two speakers to two of that amp's channels and run a 4-ohm sub off the other two channels bridged together - and run your rear speakers with the receiver's built-in amp. Or, you could run your four speakers with the amp's four channels and get another amp for the sub.

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