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What are dual voice coil subwoofers?

Dual voice coil subwoofers are a popular choice among car audio enthusiasts who want more flexibility in wiring their sound systems. 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.

Rockford Fosgate subwoofer

Rockford Fosgate's DVC subs can handle lots of power, so you can enjoy bigger bass

The key difference between single and dual voice coil subwoofers is the multiple wiring options DVC subs offer:

  • 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 two DVC subs to a 4-channel amplifier — one voice coil per channel. Just make sure the signal going to each coil is exactly the same, or the differences will cause distortion.

DVCs and high-performance amplifiers

Rockford Fosgate T1000-1bdCP amplifier

Look for an amp that's stable at 1 ohm, like this Rockford Fosgate T1000-1bdCP.

Some amplifiers are designed with an unregulated power supply — these amps are favored by mobile audio competitors for their superior performance. An unregulated amp's power increases dramatically when it sees a lower impedance load. For example, an amplifier that produces 75 watts RMS x 2 channels at 4 ohms would double its power to 150 watts x 2 with a 2-ohm load. DVC subwoofers (particularly the dual 2-ohm models) give you the flexibility to wring every bit of power out of this type of amplifier.

Also, if you choose to add an unregulated amp as a power upgrade to your existing DVC subwoofer system, you can simply rewire your subs for optimum impedance. Remember that most car amps are stable down to 2 ohms in normal operation, and to 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.

A DVC sub offers the same performance whether it's wired in series or parallel. Its power handling levels, frequency response, and other specifications do not change — the only difference is the impedance presented to the amplifier. As a result, you'll need to use the enclosure that's recommended for your sub, no matter how it's wired.

  • 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.

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    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

  • Commenter image

    Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/16/2017

    Shaun, this article will lead you to the wiring diagram you need, just follow the prompts.

  • Commenter image

    Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/16/2017

    Evan, we don't have quite enough info here to help. Try this article to find the right wiring diagram for you, or if you bought your gear from Crutchfield, you can call Tech Support for free help troubleshooting your system.

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