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What are dual voice coil subwoofers?

Let's learn about DVC subwoofers and how you can adapt them to your own system

In this article we'll discuss dual voice coil (DVC) subwoofers and how the flexibility of dual voice coil subs helps you get the most out of your system.

V

oice coils are the part of a speaker that drives the speaker cone to produce sound. While typical subwoofers have a single voice coil, dual voice coil (DVC) subwoofers use two separate voice coils, each with its own connections, mounted on one cylinder, connected to a common cone.

Subwoofer voice coil

A close look at a subwoofer voice coil

Dual voice coil subwoofers give you additional flexibility when wiring your sound system and can let help draw more power from your amplifier.

What's the difference between SVC and DVC subwoofers?

Broadly put, lower speaker impedance lets your amp deliver more power. Given a bass system with one subwoofer, an SVC (single voice coil) sub can only be connected to your amp in one way. DVC subs allow for multiple wiring options to help you get the most power possible out of your amplifier. This flexibility is even more helpful when configuring multi-subwoofer systems.

A DVC sub offers the same performance whether it's wired in series or parallel. Its power handling levels, frequency response, box requirements, and other specifications do not change. The only difference is the impedance presented to the amplifier.

Illustration of single voice coil and dual voice coil.

In a DVC sub, the second voice coil is wound over top of the first coil.

There are three wiring options for dual voice coil subs:

  • Parallel: A dual 4-ohm voice coil subwoofer with its coils wired in parallel presents a 2-ohm load to your amplifier. Since an amplifier produces more wattage at a lower impedance, the parallel connection ensures you'll get the most output from your amp. In the same fashion, if you have a stereo amplifier and two DVC subs, wire both subs for 2-ohm impedance (one per channel) for maximum output.
  • Series: Series wiring lets you configure multiple woofers to one amplifier at an acceptable impedance. Wire both coils in series for an 8-ohm impedance, and then wire two 8-ohm subs together in parallel for 4-ohm total impedance (perfect for most 2-channel amps bridged to mono operation). Another example: if you have a high-powered 2-channel amplifier, wire four 8-ohm subs per channel (each channel sees a 2-ohm load).
  • Independent: You can wire each voice coil to a separate channel of your amplifier, if you prefer not to bridge your amp. Independent wiring is a nice option if you're wiring a pair of DVC subs to a 4-channel amplifier using one voice coil per channel. Just make sure the signal going to each coil is exactly the same, or the differences will cause distortion.

For the specifics on wiring up your DVC subs, check out our Subwoofer Wiring Diagrams article.

cutaway of speaker on yellow background

Adding an amplifier

If you choose to add an new amplifier as a power upgrade to your current subwoofer system, you can simply rewire your existing DVC subs for optimum impedance. Remember that most car amps are stable down to 2 ohms in normal operation, and 4 ohms in bridged mode. It's important to check your amp's manual for its operating parameters before hooking up a DVC sub that's wired for low impedance.

Read our Amplifier Buying Guide to learn more about choosing an amp.

As we stated above, the performance specs of a DVC subwoofer are the same whether it's wired in series or parallel. Its power handling levels, frequency response, box requirements, and other specifications do not change — the only difference is the impedance presented to the amplifier.

To learn more

For further information, check out our Subwoofer Buying Guide and our full selection of dual voice coil subwoofers.

Our friendly Crutchfield Advisors are here to help you decide which sub is right for you.

  • adam lee from Glasgow

    Posted on 10/16/2023

    my sub is a dvc sub dual 4ohm 550w rms now is this 550wrms per coil or 550wrms overall

  • George Byers from Va

    Posted on 8/7/2023

    I have a 2008 Nissan Titan with factory Rockford fosgate audio I need to replace my under the seat Rockford subwoofer it has DVC which subwoofer should I purchase?

  • Dan from Las Vegas, NV

    Posted on 8/27/2022

    I have a high current amplifier that is 1 ohm stable and rated as follows: 2 x 25 watts rms in 4 ohms, or 2 x 50 watts rms into 2 ohms, or 100 watts rms into mono 4 ohms, or 200 wpc mono into 2 ohms. If I wire a single voice coil 4 ohm woofer in mono to this amplifier the output is 100 watts rms. If I wire a dual voice coil woofer rated at 4 ohms per coil it will apply 25 watts to each coil, but a total of 50 watts rms to the shared woofer structure. I could possibly wire a dual 2 ohm dual voice coils sub in stereo to get 50 watts to each coil resulting in 100 watts rms to the single woofer structure. However, it sounds like I would get the most output by wiring a single voice coil woofer rated at 2ohms in mono using this particular amplifier since the theoretical output would be 200 wpc rms. Does this sound correct? This amp is also tri mode capable. I could wire a 4 ohm component set on each channel (left and right) and then run a 4 ohm woofer single voice coil. Since the sub would be passively crossed low pass at 80hz it seems like each component set would receive typically 25 watts rms to the left, 25 watts rms to the left, and the sub would recieve 100 watts mono at 4 ohms. Does that sound correct? Any thoughts would be helpful I am still deciding what to do. And yes I am set at running only this one special high current amp.

  • Armen from Brandon

    Posted on 3/26/2022

    Crutchfield has excellent equipment and return policies I like the fact that they have a technical department. I would not buy equipment from anybody else. Before you call the tech department research research research do your own due diligence before calling them I've talked to different technicians and they all have their own opinions basic radio amp speaker is a pretty broad brush but cars motorcycles and boats are different very different so know your stuff before you talk to a tech guy or you will end up doing things twice again I think Crutchfield is great and they have a good business ethic I'm just a little disappointed in myself for not doing my due diligence and blindly taking the word of a technician who was probably trying to do me a favor and help me accomplish what I was trying to do in the least expensive way I would have to say a lack of communication totally took me in the wrong direction I'm sure they will take care of me . When I call I am retired I do enjoy working on my bike and I look forward to making it correct

  • Alfredo Felix from Ontario

    Posted on 3/21/2021

    Will it be safe to wire two 600watt RMS (SWR-1243D) 12" alpine type R subwoofers to a 2200Watt Memphis 1CH amplifier?

  • Ryan Harrison from Ashland

    Posted on 3/12/2021

    When wiring the dual coil into your sub box do you need to wire up both sides into parallel? Or just the amp to the box in parallel?

  • Joseph Tyler Savage from Macon

    Posted on 4/19/2020

    Diagrams would be a big help for the electrical challenged like me.

    Commenter image

    Alexander H. from Crutchfield

    on 4/20/2020

    Joseph, totally understandable. You may find this wiring diagram article helpful.
  • sdJoe from san diego

    Posted on 2/25/2020

    I'm more visual... can u show a diagram for wiring?

    Commenter image

    Alexander H. from Crutchfield

    on 2/28/2020

    Joe, if you'd like to see wiring diagrams, check out this article.
  • Eric from Saint Louis

    Posted on 12/20/2019

    Is it safe to say a DVC model handles more power than an SVC since the power is split among two voice coils?

  • Robert Coffey from Riverton

    Posted on 6/11/2018

    I have one dual voice coil 4 ohm 10 inch Planet Audio 1500 watt speaker I want to know if I can still hook that up to my 2-channel 1200 watt amplifier bridged as a 4 ohm load

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