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Choosing Between Single Voice Coil and Dual Voice Coil Subwoofers

view of subwoofers along the door of a luxury vehicle


Learn the pros and cons of each type of subwoofer

You may be unsatisfied with the quality of sound coming from your vehicle’s audio system. Or, perhaps, you have thought about upgrading your equipment to improve what you hear. If either of these is the case, you should consider adding a subwoofer to your vehicle. Subwoofers can improve your audio experience in many ways, and come in two varieties: single voice coil and dual voice coil.

It’s important to know the difference and consider which one will benefit you more.

What is a Subwoofer?

A subwoofer is a speaker cabinet that can be attached to your vehicle’s audio system. The main speakers of an audio system are typically only able to play high and mid-range sounds, as low sounds, like bass, use up a larger speaker capacity. Adding a subwoofer to your audio system will allow it to access the full range of sounds. Subwoofers can be purchased individually, and come with a handful of benefits. Plus, without a subwoofer, playing bass can damage your audio system.

What Are the Benefits of a Subwoofer?

There are plenty of benefits to adding a subwoofer to your vehicle’s audio system. Speakers that are built to handle bass properly are typically large and expensive, so many vehicles come with cheaper speakers that cannot handle bass. Adding a subwoofer is a cheaper solution that gives you customizable options while allowing you to access your audio system at its full potential. Subwoofers offer many other benefits.

Better Sound Clarity

You may think that adding another speaker to your vehicle will improve its audio system. However, having too many speakers could lead to problems. If too many sound waves from speakers hit each other, the audio may come out as uneven.

Alternatively, a subwoofer should improve the quality of your sound system. Quality subwoofers are precisely designed to reproduce bass clearly.

Reduced Distortion

A subwoofer will allow you to play music at high volumes without hearing a distorted sound effect. Subwoofers reduce the acoustic demands on the audio system’s speakers, creating a distortion-free sound.

Better Bass Response

Many aspects of sound are not audible when music is played from a regular set of speakers. Specifically, car speakers will usually produce weak sounds that are at or under 50Hz. A quality subwoofer, meanwhile, can reproduce low frequencies at 20Hz or even lower. Therefore, including a subwoofer can give your music the full depth of sound it deserves.

SVC vs. DVC Subwoofers

When selecting a subwoofer to install, you have options to consider: you may choose a single voice coil subwoofer (SVC) or a dual voice coil subwoofer (DVC).

What is a voice coil, exactly? It’s an important component found in subwoofers. There is a cylinder in subwoofers called a “former” that is responsible for accepting currents from the amplifiers. This is part of a larger reaction that produces changes in air pressure – leading to the production of sound. The voice coil is a coil of wire wrapped around the former.

The difference between the two categories of subwoofers is, as the name suggests, the number of voice coils in the subwoofer.

Single voice coil

A single voice coil subwoofer wraps a single piece of copper wire around its former. It uses one positive and one negative wiring terminal.

Dual voice coil

A dual voice coil, meanwhile, uses two pieces of copper wire, and uses two positive and two negative wiring terminals. A DVC subwoofer offers multiple wiring options.

Specifically, these are:

  • Parallel wiring: This option ensures you get the most power output from your amplifier.
  • Series wiring: This option allows you to configure multiple subwoofers to one amplifier.
  • Independent writing: This option allows you to wire each voice coil to a separate channel of the amplifier. You may choose to do this if you are wiring two subwoofers to a four-channel amplifier.

Note that you should use both coils should you install a dual voice coil subwoofer. Read more about how to configure a dual voice coil subwoofer here.

Pros and cons of each

Single voice coil subwoofers are typically offered at a slightly lower price than dual voice coil subwoofers. However, dual voice coil subwoofers give you more wiring flexibility.

Which one should you choose?

Ultimately, neither option is generally agreed upon as superior. Both kinds of subwoofer provide the same performance quality and power specifications, so the choice should depend on whichever option is more appealing to you. Keep in mind that DVC subwoofers will allow you to give you more options if you should be interested in customizing your sound system in the future.

Other Important Components to Consider Adding to Your Car Audio System


Attaching an amplifier to your audio system can increase the power and volume of your audio. If you are wiring multiple subwoofers together, you’ll want to consider giving each one its own amplifier. It’s important to carefully match subwoofers and amplifiers together in order to retain the best sound quality – click here to learn more.

Head Unit

A head unit is a radio-like unit that operates as the command centre for the rest of your vehicle’s audio system. This tool gives you the control to select an audio source, set volume, and browse between songs or radio stations. It’s likely that your vehicle has a head unit of some kind, but you may consider upgrading it.


You may also choose to upgrade the speakers in your car’s audio system. Depending on what speakers you select, you can optimize traits like sensitivity and power-handling.

The Takeaway

Ultimately, a subwoofer can improve your vehicle’s audio setup in a variety of ways. By weighing the pros and cons of a single voice coil subwoofer against those of a dual voice coil subwoofer, you will be able to select what works best for you.