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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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