Wiring subwoofers is a tricky thing to do, if you didn’t done it before. There is always been a confusion between watts, amps and impedance which directs you to the ohms law and hence subwoofer wiring. 

Amplifiers provide electrical output in a circuit which allows subwoofer to respond to the signal. Subwoofer provide the load measured in resistance, and watts measure how much power is been released from the subwoofer through the amplifier.

OHMS LAW

            V = I X R

      (VOLTAGE)      (CURRENT)      (RESISTANCE)

The first step to wire the subwoofer is that they match your amplifier specifically the power rating and the impedance. You cannot wire any kind of subwoofer to any amplifier and hope that it will work properly. 

Characteristics of subwoofer

 Voice coils

 Impedance (Ohms)

They will determine how you will wire it to the amplifier and what kind of load you will get. the load is the final impedance which you will get from the amplifier to play the subwoofer. The subwoofer impedance should match your amplifier impedance handling capabilities. If the subwoofer does not match the amplifier impedance rating it will not be stable and will go under protection mode when to try to play it.

Voice coils

The voice coils are the heart of every speaker and the subwoofer comprised of coils of wire wrapped around centre of the subwoofer or speaker which accepts the amplifier current. They are the devices which puts up the electrical resistance. If the subwoofers or speakers are played at a level where they are receiving distortion, these voice coils are damaged which make the speaker go blown up. The smell of burnt speaker or subwoofer is actually the smell of a burnt voice coil. 

Current from the amplifier react with the stationary magnet moving the coil up and down. The coil is attached to the speaker cone which produces changes in air pressure when moved while making sound. 

Resistance Property = Impedance (Ohms)

Single Voice Coil has a one length of wire wrapped around the former, which means it will have only two terminals on the subwoofer which will be one positive and one negative. 

Dual Voice Coil has two lengths of wire wrapped around former, which means it will have two positive and two negative terminals on the subwoofer for each coil independently. 

Performance and specifications are identical but the key difference between a single voice coil and dual voice coil is dual voice coils provide multiple wiring options for easier amplifier loading.

Lower impedance (Ohms) will lead to a greater amplifier output and higher impedance will lead to less amplifier output.

Amplifier Power Output on Subwoofer Amplifier

2 Ohms                                    4 Ohms

600 Watt RMS                         300 Watt RMS

Runs Warm                              Runs Cool

Thats why you should always look at the amplifier load handling capabilities before wiring it.

1 Ohms and 2 Ohm are easier to match and wire. 

Parallel Wiring

It has more than one path for electricity to travel, the current travels parallel to each other. 

WIRING SUBWOOFER IN PARALLEL

Series Wiring 

The amplifier current will travel in series to the voice coils. Series wiring creates higher amplifier load which keeps amplifier cool.

WIRING SUBWOOFER IN SERIES

Parallel Wiring of a DVC Subwoofer

You take both the positive terminals of the subwoofer and connect it to the positive terminal on the amplifier and both the negative terminals of subwoofer to the negative terminal of the amplifier. It will give you 2 ohms if it is a 4 Ohm DVC subwoofer and 1 Ohm if it is 2 Ohm DVC Subwoofer.

Series Wiring of a DVC Subwoofer

Take one pair of terminals of the subwoofer and wire it to the amplifier and the other left pair of terminals will be wired together which will create a series wiring circuit. It will have only one path for the electricity to flow. A 4 ohm DVC Subwoofer will give you a final load of 8 Ohms in series and 2 Ohm DVC subwoofer will give you a 4 Ohm final load in series.

Parallel Wiring of SVC Subwoofer

Single voice coil subwoofers are easier to wire as they have only one set of terminals to connect.

For parallel wiring, just connect to positive terminal of subwoofer to the positive terminal of the amplifier and negative terminal to the negative terminal of amplifier. Same goes for the multiple subwoofer setup as well, just connect them to the final impedance load of the amplifier.

Series Wiring of the SVC Subwoofer

 For Series Wiring, this can be only done when you have at least two SVC Subwoofer. For connecting them in series, connect positive terminal of the amplifier to the positive terminal of first subwoofer and then connect negative terminal of the first subwoofer to the positive terminal of the second subwoofer, the negative terminal of the second subwoofer will be connected to the negative terminal of the amplifier.

Impedance Formula

Parallel

1         1          1

___ = ___  +  ___

RT      R1       R2

Series

RT = R1 + R2

R= resistance (Voice Coils)     RT= Total Ohms

How to physically check the impedance on the speaker or subwoofer?

Take a Digital multimeter and set it to impedance mode and connect it to the terminals of the subwoofer disconnected from the amplifier and it will give the resistance of your setup. A few signs of bad subwoofer wiring which leads to less bass output, distortion, clipping is mainly caused due to overloading of the amplifier which can create over heating or can catch fire as well. Some amplifiers can detect the over loading or clipping and stop working until the problem is fixed caused due to bad wiring issues. 

You may also like Mistakes to avoid in car audio.