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Quick guide to matching subs & amps

How to put together the best amp and sub combo

Subwoofers and an amplifier

When you're ready to add a subwoofer and bass system to your vehicle, there are a lot of options to choose from. Once you get past the basic question of the size and number of subs you want in your system, you need to decide on the type of sub(s) and the type of amplifier(s) you'll use.

When choosing subwoofers, you can choose between single voice coil (one set of terminals) and dual voice coil (DVC) models (two sets of terminals). Dual voice coil subs give you more wiring options than single voice coil models. Usually, but certainly not always, dual voice coil models are built for higher power handling and performance.

When choosing an amplifier, the most important thing is to pick one with the right amount of power for your subs. Once you've decided how much power you need, you'll need to decide which type of amp to use. For most bass systems, you'll want to choose either a mono (single-channel) amp or a 2-channel amp.

To get you on the fast track to big bass, let's look at four common combinations of subwoofers. We'll check out the advantages of each, the best wiring configuration, then discuss the type of amp to choose. We'll even show you how to hook 'em up!

If you already have either an amplifier or the subwoofers and need help choosing the other piece, be sure to check out our more in-depth article about matching subs and amps

One single 4-ohm voice coil sub

Simplicity, price, and compactness are the big advantages of a single sub system. A single sub is pretty easy to hook up, there are a lot of reasonably priced models to choose from, and it won't take up too much room (although a 15" sub isn't exactly small!) You may not knock over small buildings with one sub, but you can still get a lot of solid bass.

The right type of amp to use
This is a perfect place for a 2-channel amp. By bridging the output of the amp, you'll get lots of power for a relatively low cost. Avoid using a mono amp here — they work best at a lower impedance than 4 ohms.

SVC sub

A single 4-ohm SVC sub, connected to a bridged 2-channel amp.

One 4-ohm dual voice coil sub

Don't be confused about dual voice coil (DVC) subs — having two voice coils simply gives you more ways to hook them up. In addition to wiring flexibility, the advantages of using one dual voice coil sub are power handling (most dual voice coil subs are built for heavy-duty use) and compactness.

The right type of amp to use
This is a perfect situation for a mono sub amp. Why? Mono amps are built to provide the most power at lower impedances, typically around 2 ohms. By wiring the voice coils in parallel, we can present a 2-ohm impedance to the amp and get maximum power output. Check the diagram below for how to hook it up.

DVC sub

A single 4-ohm DVC sub — best when connected to a mono amp.

Two 4-ohm single voice coil subs

When you're looking for big bass, having two subs makes a lot of sense. After all, sound is just the movement of air, and with two subs you can move lots of air! As before, price can be an advantage when selecting 4-ohm single voice coil subs. Sure, two subs will take up more room, but what do you want — trunk space or bass?

The right type of amp to use
This setup is perfect for a mono sub amp. By wiring the two subs in parallel (see the diagram) you'll show a 2-ohm impedance to the amp. Mono amps are built for just this kind of situation, so you'll get maximum power output from your amp investment. Check the diagram below for how to hook it up.

SVC subs

Two 4-ohm SVC subs — a great place to use a mono amp.

Two 4-ohm dual voice coil subs

Wiring flexibility is the key here. You've got lots of different ways to hook up this combination. With two subs, this is a great way to get the pounding bass you're looking for. Hook 'em up and hold on tight!

The right type of amp to use
This is a great place to use a 2-channel amp. When you wire the subs as shown in the diagram below, the total impedance will be four ohms. A bridged 2-channel amp can provide plenty of power at a reasonable price. Get some good subs and a good amp and let it rip!

DVC subs

Wire two 4-ohm DVC subs this way, add a 2-channel amp, and your car will be the "Temple of Boom!"

Want to see more options for subwoofer wiring?

These examples are just the starting point. If you want to explore other ways to wire and configure your subs and amp, check out our subwoofer wiring diagrams. Just select the number and type of subs you have, and we'll show you how to wire them to your amplifier. For more information about how to choose the right subs, read our subwoofer buying guide. And as we mentioned above, if you already have one or the other, check out our more in-depth article about matching subs and amps.

If you have any questions and want straight answers, contact our advisors. Just click on "Contact Us" at the top of any page on our site. 

  • Brandon

    Posted on 1/23/2023

    I have a Alpine S-A60M and i wanted to use a Kicker 48TRTP82 subwoofer. is the amp too powerful for the subwoofer or will it be okay?

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 1/23/2023

    Brandon, That amp will put out 600 watts RMS at 2-ohms, which is twice the rating of that 300 watts RMS rated 2-ohm sub and will probably damage it.
  • Logan Pollock from Waxahachie

    Posted on 1/11/2023

    I plan on getting 2 VD-10 subs and should i get a RP-1200 1D or should i invest into something with more power like 2 SDR-10 instead of the VD-10 and get an amp that'll match that one

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 1/12/2023

    Logan, Those subs come in DVC 2-ohm and 4-ohm models. Which you have will determine what amp will work best with them. Give us a call and talk to one of our Advisors. We can help you choose the right gear and give you the right advice on how to install it.
  • John from Costa Mesa

    Posted on 12/11/2022

    I have (2) 6.5 pioneer/ (2) 6x9 pioneer speakers with (1) 12" kicker run by a (5 channel amp) 1320 watt kicker amp. Is the epic center (concert series) needed? Also, have XP750-CK running them all.

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 12/12/2022

    John, AudioControl's Epicenter processors synthesize and add low bass notes to your music. This is especially useful for older recordings where bass is lacking altogether. You don't need one - but they sure add some fun to the mix.
  • Larry Hubbard from London ky

    Posted on 11/28/2022

    Hands down the best artical I've came across yet. didn't have to buy any thing its self explanatorythank guys and gals great job!

  • K from Tyler

    Posted on 11/21/2022

    I have a Kicker CompVR CVR122 (43CVR122) 800W Peak (400W RMS) 12" CompVR Series Dual 2-Ohm Car What kicker amp should I hook it up to

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 11/22/2022

    K, Check out Kicker's 46CXA400.1T. It's almost as if they were made for each other.
  • Hamza from Pakistan

    Posted on 9/22/2022

    I have two 4ohm speakers and 2 ohm stable 2 channel amplifier How to connected for getting good result?

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 9/22/2022

    Hanza, You connect the positive and negative leads of each speaker to an output channel of the amp. The 2-ohm stable spec has no relevance in this setup.

    Posted on 7/29/2022

    Could you tell the best amp for a shallow .mount 12 in pioneer 4 ohm single voice coil.

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 7/30/2022

    Derrick, With questions like that, it's always better to have a conversation with a real live human. Give us a call and talk to one of our Advisors. We can help you choose the right gear and give you the right advice on how to install it.
  • Tyler Garner from Hobbs,Nm

    Posted on 7/8/2022

    Is it safe to use one voice coil on a dvc setup ? 4ohm bridged to a 4ohm dvc sub?

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 7/8/2022

    Tyler, No. When you only wire one of a dual voice coil sub's coils, you split the sub's power-handling ability in half, threatening to burn the sub out, and increase its distortion, because the sub has to push around the dead weight of the disconnected coil.
  • Matthew Dolleman from Grand Rapids

    Posted on 6/29/2022

    I have a lanzar vct2610 amp I want to get 2 soundstream t5 12in but should I get them in 2 ohm or 4 ohm?

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 7/1/2022

    Matthew, The best you can do with that gear is to get the DVC 4-ohm subs, configure each as a 2-ohm load (coils in parallel), and then wire each sub to a channel of the amp.
  • Cliff

    Posted on 5/1/2022

    To run 2 kicker L7T 12" 4ohm parallel on a cx1200.1 it would run at 1ohm right? And the amp will push 1200w at 1ohm or 2ohm?

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 5/1/2022

    Cliff, Those two DVC 4-ohm subs can get wired together as a one-ohm load, a 4-ohm load, or a 16-ohm load. A Kicker CX1200.1 amplifier can't handle a 1-ohm load, so you'd have to wire the subs to it as a 4-ohm load. Kicker's newer CXA1200.1 cam handle a 1-ohm load.

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