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In-Car Audio – Connecting your subwoofer

7 July 2010 11 Comments

Once you have followed the instructions in our first tutorial (In-Car Audio – Setting up your stereo) you have the basic knowledge to connect your subwoofer to your amplifier.  Today we will be explaining on how to connect your subwoofer to your amplifier the correct way.  There is however a few things that you need to know before connecting your subwoofer.

The power required by your subwoofer is very important in choosing an amplifier.  If your amplifier is not strong enough to power the subwoofer your soundsystem will not play to it’s optimum.  Then, of course, you get different types of subwoofers, namely, Single Voice Coil (SVC) and Duel Voice Coil (DVC).  An SVC subwoofer means that it only has 1 channel to connect the subwoofer to the amplifier whereas the DVC has 2 channels.  Sounds pretty self-explanatory until you have to choose an amplifier.

There are different types of amplifiers and the most common of these are monoblock, 2-channel and 4 channel.  A monoblock amplifier means that there is only 1 channel available for connecting your subwoofer and a 2-channel amplifier has 2 channels available for connecting your subwoofer/s.  Same goes for 4-channel amplifiers.  This is where it is important to know which type of subwoofer you choose on running from your amplifier.

Let me give you a more practical explanation on how the above affects your choice of amplifier and subwoofer.  Here are a few examples:

SVC Subwoofer to Monoblock Amplifier

SVC to Monoblock Amplifier

SVC to Monoblock Amplifier

You have a 1000 watts, monoblock (1-channel) amplifier and you want to connect a 1000 watt, svc subwoofer.  This means that you have 1000 watts available to power your subwoofer from a single channel. So, you connect your 1000watts svc subwoofer (positive to positive and negative to negative) to the monoblock (1-channel) amplifier, which will be 100% correct.  You have a balance between amplifier power output and subwoofer power output and you have optimum usage of the power.

SVC Subwoofer to 2-channel Amplifier
You have a 1000 watt, svc subwoofer and you want to connect it to a 1000 watt, 2-channel amplifier. This means that you have 2 channels available providing you with a 1000 watts of power devided by 2 channels.  In other words, you can connect 1 X 500 watts, svc subwoofer to each channel. This means your amplifier can power 1 X 500 watts, svc subwoofer from each channel.  However, there is a connecting techniques called bridging, which we will explain below, that will allow you to connect 1 X 1000 watts, svc subwoofer to a 1000 watts, 2-channel amplifier.

DVC to 2 Channel Amplifier

DVC to 2 Channel Amplifier

DVC Subwoofer to 2-channel Amplifier
You have a 1000 watt, dvc subwoofer and you want to connect it to a 1000 watts, 2-channel amplifier.  This means your amplifier provides 500watts from each channel and your subwoofer requires 1000 watts of power to both it’s terminals (voice coil).  Connecting each terminal (voice coil) of the 1000 watts, dvc subwoofer to each channel of the 1000 watts, 2-channel amplifier means that your amplifier is providing the subwoofer with 1000 watts of power.  This is then the optimum usage of the amplifier.

SVC/DVC Subwoofer to 4-channel Amplifier
The above connecting techniques (DVC Subwoofer to 2-channel Amplifier) applies to connecting the svc/dvc subwoofer to the 4-channel amplifier.  Always keep in mind that you have to divide the wattage of the amplifier by the amount of channels of the amplifier.  In the examples above we used a 1000 watt amplifier but different amplifier’s power output differs and is normally printed on the amplifier.

Bridging techniques

Bridging techniques

Bridging techniques to your amplifier
Connecting a 500 watt subwoofer (svc or dvc) to a 1000 watt, 4-channel amplifier can become difficult in providing the subwoofer with enough power to run at it’s optimum because the amplifier is only delivering 250 watts to each channel.  This means the subwoofer needs to run from 2 channels (svc) and 4 channels (dvc).  To connect the subwoofer to your amplifier using the bridging techniques, connect the negative (-) from the subwoofer to the negative (-) of channel 1 on the amplifier.  Then, connect the positive (+) of the subwoofer to the positive of the amplifier on channel 2.  This means the subwoofer is using 2 channels from the 1000watt 4-channel amplifier and 50% (500watts) of the amplifier’s power output.  If you have a Duel Voice Coil (dvc), 500watt subwoofer and you want to connect it using the bridging techniques then you can apply the above mentioned example on the  channels 3 and channel 4.  The main objective is to power the 500 watt subwoofer to it’s optimum.  The amount of channels only means that you can connect more speakers or subwoofers to the amplifier, provided, it supplies sufficient power to the connected speakers.

Tips
It is important to know that if you have 2 terminal/voice coils (dvc) available on your subwoofer, it is advised to connect them separately to each channel on the amplifier.

You can connect a Duel Voice Coil (dvc) subwoofer to a monoblock (1-channel) amplifier provided that your terminal (channel) on the amplifier is big enough to carry the wires but remember that the more connections the less sound quality you acquire.

Always make sure that your connections are securely connected and that your terminals are clean at connection point.

For more explanatory tips please check out “In-Car Audio – Fault Finding”.

Please do not hesitate to comment should you have any questions on this issue.


11 Comments »

  • Cath said:

    Greetings, I love your blog. This is a nice site and I wanted to post a comment to tell you, nice job!
    Thanks,
    Cathy

    [Reply]

  • jomacher said:

    Thanks Cath for the kind words. Please do not hesitate to comment should you have any queries.

    [Reply]

  • Chantel said:

    Helo daar, wats se size subwoofers kan ek gebruik vir my ford

    [Reply]

  • Joe said:

    Hi Chantel. As jy nie aan kompetisies gaan deel neem nie is enige size subwoofer maar reg. Dit hang maar af van hoe groot jou boot is en hoeveel jy van die boot wil gebruik. Jy kan ‘n 10 inch, 12 inch of 15 inch insit. Dit hang maar van jou af. Gaan lees my vorige artikel, “setting up your stereo” Die grootte subwoofer hang natuurlik af van watter amplifier jy het. Ek hoop dit help. Laat weet as jy nog enige verdere vrae het. Ek help graag.

    [Reply]

  • Qwinten jacobs said:

    super cool audio blogs guys!

    [Reply]

  • Paula said:

    this post is very usefull thx!

    [Reply]

  • Timothy said:

    Hi there this blog was very helpfull, but I’d like to know how do I connect a 3500watt dvc star sound subwoofer to a 3200watt monoblock single channel star sound amplifier? Do I connect both positive channels on the voice coils to the positive channel on the amplifier and the same with the negative or is that wrong, also is the wattage going to be enough to play my woofer at optimum level connected like that? Keep up the good work!

    [Reply]

  • marvin said:

    Hi thnks 4 the advice,iv gt 1 3500w dvc and a 6000w mono block amp,is it beta to connect sub in series for best results or do I connect each coil seperate to give me the best sound?

    [Reply]

  • HEIN said:

    How do I connect a targa dvc sub to a 2400w 4channel targa amplifier.

    [Reply]

  • Kyle said:

    Hi there, just wanted to make sure… Is it better to connect my starsound 3500w dvc sub to a 2 channel amplifier? What size amplifier will I need?

    [Reply]

  • jarryd said:

    Hi there, I got a 1000watt 4 channel amp and a 500watt svc sub, I’ve bridged my amp to 2channels and plugged in my sub to 1channel.. Now how do I connect both my 6x9s to the amp with only 1 500watt channel left? Thanks

    [Reply]

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