Single vs Dual Voice Coil Subwoofer

Single vs Dual Voice Coil Subwoofer
Single vs Dual Voice Coil Subwoofer

Single or Dual Voice Coil Subwoofer, which one is better? Many people question about the advantages and disadvantages of single and dual voice coils while purchasing subwoofers. To properly understand the difference between these two types of subwoofers, a better understanding of an amplifier is required.

Comparison chart for Single Voice Coil Subwoofer vs Dual Voice Coil Subwoofer

Whenever the Single and Dual Voice Coil Subwoofers are compared, we can not start the discussion without mentioning the wiring advantage of DVC over SVC. There is only one possible combination for a single voice coil subwoofer to be wired with an amplifier. Whereas, dual voice coil subwoofer offers two possible combinations of wiring for a single DVC.

Single Voice Coil Subwoofer

Dual Voice Coil Subwoofer

Offers less wiring combination

Offers more wiring combinations

Must match the rated value of the amp

Can be adjusted to rated value of the amp

Preferable with a mono amplifier

Used with both mono and stereo amplifier

Difficult to configure in bulk

Easier to configure in bulk

As the number of subwoofers increases, these possible combinations also increase for both types of subwoofers. However, DVC always has an advantage over SVC for offering more possible combinations.

Application in Cars

In cars, the typical load resistance for the audio signal is between 1 and 4 ohms. Hence, this low impedance combined with the amplified signal voltage results in a relatively large amount of currents that flow through the voice coil of the speaker.

This flow of current gives rise to magnetic fields. Hence, the principle of electromagnetism is utilized in the voice coils in the presence of a stationary magnet on the speaker.

Single vs Dual Voice Coil Subwoofer

Based on their designed manufacture, subwoofers are divided into two types,i.e., single voice coil and dual voice coil. The current is applied form the amplifier to produce sounds through the coil wiring of the subwoofers.

Subwoofers in the Market

While looking for subwoofers in the market, the important thing to notice is the difference between its two types. Two identical-looking subwoofers with all the same specifications apparently, may have different price tags.

Looking closely, you may notice the difference that one subwoofer is Single 4 Ohm while the other one is a Dual 4 Ohm subwoofer. Hence, the difference between dual and single voice coil subwoofers must always be kept in mind while purchasing a subwoofer.

To decide which type of subwoofer to buy, one must know two things beforehand. The amplifier load in ohms and the number of subwoofers you are going to use. A combination of subwoofers is used for wiring the voice coils together, resulting in an impedance matching the amplifier’s ohmic value and getting the required power level.

To better understand this concept, one must have an idea about the basis of a voice coil in a subwoofer.

What do you mean by Voice Coil?

A voice coil found in a sub is known as a wire coil through which current flows generating a magnetic field around it. This coil of wire termed as the winding is wrapped over a metallic cylinder called former. The third major component of the voice coil (the first two being winding and former) is the collar, which is sometimes wrapped around the winding.

Principle of Operation

The voice coil accepts the amplifier current, which in turn produces a magnetic field. This magnetic field reacts with the magnetic field of the permanent magnet attached to the speaker’s frame. This magnetic interaction results in the back and forth motion of the former.

The former one is further fixed to the cone of the speaker, which produces so many changes in the air pressure after its move, creating sound waves. A voice coil is always attached to the apex of the speaker cone.

Types of Voice coils

A voice coil can be designed for both single and double windings. Therefore, there are two different types with two different wiring connections:

Single Voice Coil (SVC)

It is a length of wire wrapped around a metallic cylinder called former. Consequently, an SVC subwoofer has only two terminals, i.e., a positive (+) and a negative (-) terminal.

Double Voice Coil (DVC)

It has two coils of wire wrapped around the former resulting in two positive and two negative terminals. Both the coils are mounted on a single former. The price is slightly higher than a single voice coil subwoofer as it uses an extra coil.

Choosing a Subwoofer

DVC subwoofers offer the same performance as the SVC under the same conditions. Factors like frequency response, power handling, and other specifications do not change. The only difference is the impedance presented to the amplifier due to different wiring options.

Therefore, when choosing a subwoofer, one must be aware of the ohm or impedance value of the amplifier at the load end. This impedance value plays a key role as it must match that of the amplifier’s ohm value.

Ohm is a measure of electrical resistance offered by an amplifier. The less the resistance, the more power the amp will generate. Although, this power is limited by the amount of power supply attached and the load connected to the amplifier.

For example, an amplifier of 500 watts power will deliver most of its power when connected to a load of 1 ohm. However, this same amp will deliver only half the power when connected to a 2-ohm load.

A DVC subwoofer takes the lead due to its different wiring options and flexibility. For example, for an amplifier of 4 ohms, a DVC can offer two different ohmic values, i.e., 8 ohms for series wiring and 2 ohms for parallel wiring.

On the other hand, an SVC subwoofer can only be wired for the specific value of 4 ohms as there is only one coil and hence only one wiring option for an SVC.

Wiring a Subwoofer

A single amplifier can be connected to several subwoofers. Hence, wiring a subwoofer can sometimes become tricky, depending on the number of subwoofers attached to the amplifier. Subwoofers can be wired in either series or parallel with the amplifier. You can convert your speaker into a subwoofer.

Wiring an SVC subwoofer is pretty straight forward as it has only one voice coil and one set of terminals, i.e., positive and negative. On the other hand, DVC subwoofers have two sets of terminals resulting in both series and parallel combinations. You should clean your subwoofer regularly to maintain good results.

Let us take a look at the possible wiring combinations, the subs offer:

Series Combination

In a series combination of wires, the positive terminal of one voice coils connected to the negative terminal of the other. While the remaining two terminals, one from each coil, is connected to the amplifier. This type of combination is possible in a single DVC subwoofer. Whereas, to get this combination in the other type of subwoofer, two SVC subwoofers are needed.

Parallel Combination

In parallel wiring, the positive terminal of one voice coil is connected to the positive terminal of the other coil. Similarly, the negative terminals of each coil are also connected. It gives us two common positive and negative terminals, which are then connected to the amplifier. Two or more SVC subs can also be connected in parallel with an amplifier. You must add a power conditioner to your system.

Independent Wiring

Typical amplifiers have two channels to connect two speakers separately. In such a case, the wiring is said to be independent as the two coils are now connected to a separate channel rather than one.

This gives us an independent combination of wiring tow subwoofers with an amplifier. Amplifiers can also be designed for four channels or eight channels, depending upon the requirement and specification. This issue can cause problems and you can notice that your soundbar is not working with Netflix.

Preferable Configuration

A dual voice coil sub is not necessarily better than a single voice coil sub configuration. The DVC sub may offer more wiring options to better match and take advantage of the amplifier.

However, it doesn’t mean that a dual voice coil sub performs better than the same sub having a single coil. Therefore, the answer to which type of subwoofer is better depends only on the automobile requirement and size specifications of the subwoofer.

Upgrading the audio system of the car is one of the first things quality sound enthusiasts do by adding subwoofers. In this sense, local car audio retailers can also give an expert opinion to get better sound impact and dynamics. Retailers are specialized in designing a system that meets the performance expectations of the customer. You can add Sonos Arc Soundbar for a better experience.

Which option is better?

This is a common question while considering the purchase. The decision to buy a Single voice coil subwoofer or DVC subwoofer can only be made after determining the number of subs that you will be running and the total load an amplifier can handle safely.

Neither an SVC is better than DVC or a dual voice coil better than a single voice coil. Considering the same quality of subwoofers, an SVC will not produce better bass than a DVC or vice versa. It’s always more about producing the right value of ohms for the amplifier of your car.

A dedicated mono sub amplifier is a good choice when the load is matched with the rated value of the amplifier. As the low frequency is not as directional compared to the mid or high range of frequencies, so stereo is not essential, and a mono amplifier works fine.

However, if you use a stereo amplifier, the amp needs to be bridged. In this way, the amplifier sees half the impedance which has to be taken into account, and hence the power is increased for a particular channel.