Have you ever skimmed the pages of car audio magazines or browsed the aisles of a local electronics outlet, only to come across references to “single” and “dual voice coil” subwoofers?

If you ever shopped for car subwoofer to install in your vehicle, or perhaps a loaded subwoofer enclosure encompassing a box with the woofers, you probably never considered anything beyond brand, style, and price – after all, around (or, in some cases square, such as the subs the Kicker company offers) woofer is supposed to do one thing and one thing well…deliver ground-shaking bass, right?

Should you be getting serious about handling a mobile sound installation yourself, you need to be aware of the differences between so-called single and dual voice coil subwoofers, as knowing which one is right for your project can mean either tight, punchy and impressive bass or a complete waste of your system’s amplifier power.

In this article, we’re going to explain the key difference between single and dual voice coil subs so you can achieve the car audio system of your dreams.

So, What Are The Main Differences?

Car subwoofers are manufactured with either a single voice coil (referred to by pros as an SVC) or dual voice coil (DVC), with the primary difference being that the dual voice coil subs offer more wiring options to better match or take advantage of the connected amplifier.

This approach, of course, can sometimes result in subwoofer products that are slightly more costly, but the upside is that they provide multiple impedance connections that can yield more power from the amp – or better match the available amp’s impedance options.

What Is Voice Coil?

Let’s backtrack for just a moment and define what an actual voice coil is.

A voice coil is the coil of wire around the tube attached to the apex of the speaker cone.

The voice coil provides the motive, or force, to the cone via a magnetic field’s reaction to the current passing through it. From the perspective of single/dual voice coils, a single voice coil boasts one winding coil while a dual voice coil boasts two separate windings; since both coils are energized, they perform identically with no difference save for wiring connection options.

What Are The Advantages Of Dual Voice Coil Subs?

Okay, so as we hinted at previously, the primary difference between single and dual voice coil subwoofers is the multiple wiring options DVC subs offer. In a nutshell, these include:

Parallel Wiring – A dual four (4)-ohm voice coil subwoofer with its coils wired in “parallel” presents a two (2)-ohm load to an amplifier, and since an amp delivers more wattage at a lower impedance, this parallel connection ensures you get the most power output from the amp.

Series Wiring – So-called “series” wiring allows you to configure multiple woofers to one amplifier at an appropriate impedance, with both coils typically wired in series for an eight (8)-ohm impedance and two eight (8)-ohm subs wired together in parallel for a four (4)-ohm total impedance (a situation ideal for most two-channel amps bridged for mono operation).

Independent Wiring – If you are not bridging your amp, you can wire each voice coil to a separate channel of the amplifier, otherwise known as “independent” wiring; this is a good option if you’re wiring two DVC subs to a four-channel amp (thus one voice coil per channel).

This video explains everything there is to know about wiring subwoofers with regard to single and dual voice coils.

Conclusion

One of the most essential features in a mobile audio subwoofer is the voice coil, as this component is solely responsible for generating sound waves from the input signal. We hope this article has shed some light on understanding the differences between single and dual voice coil subs, but if you have any further questions, feel free to ask them in the comments section.

Image by: Quality Mobile Video

Vincent Talbot