How to setup your subwoofer with the right subwoofer wiring diagram

Learn how to correctly set up your subwoofer wiring diagram the first time.

Need to learn how to properly wire those subwoofers?

EbenLee Audio ELA-4 subwoofer

Depending on the power of your sub amp you need to present the correct load to the amplifier. This is done by making sure the sub drivers are wired correctly.

Two different wiring techniques

We will use a combination of series and parallel wiring to achieve our goals. When wiring multiple subs the more subs you use, more possibilities will (and complexities) arise.

Parallel wiring

will the impedance of each subwoofer’s resistance. So if you a set of 2 ohm subs and wire them in ‘parallel’, you now have a 1 ohm load for the amp.

This is done by wiring the positive of the amp to the positive of both subs. This works for dual voice coil subs too. Just wire the positive to the positive of both drivers. This will essentially halve the ohm load resistance of each coil.

This makes a much harder load for the amp, so be sure your amp can handle (half of whatever each coil’s resistance is alone). So two 4 ohm subs in parallel will be a 2 ohm load.

Series wiring

If you wire those same subs in ‘series’ you would have a 4 ohm resistant load.

This is done by wiring the positive the amp channel to one positive of one driver. Then take a wire from the negative of that same driver and jumper to the positive of the next driver. Then take a jumper and go from the negative of the second driver back to the negative of the amplifier.

This is double the load of the two subwoofers. So if you are using two 4 ohm woofers. You now will have a 8 ohm load when wiring in series.

You can chain many different drivers together in this way by using a combination of series and parallel while adding drivers and getting a load impedance your amp is capable of driving.

Just remember, you can’t necessarily get a load that will work with all amplifiers and all drivers.

The same is true for dual VC (voice coil) and 4 VC voice coil subwoofers. Each coil is considered on its own, so you must wire them correctly or you could damage both the driver or the amplifier pushing the speaker.


Wiring the sub into the rest of your system

connection to the receiver

Step 1: Look for a sub pre out on the back of the receiver or processor. This would be a small RCA jack, often black in color that says sub. It would be under the heading outputs or pre-out. This is the output that will send the audio signal to your sub using sub woofer cables.

This RCA jack will send audio from your receiver to the subwoofer using the built in crossover of the receiver. By using these connectors you will not need to use the crossover that is built into the subwoofer itself.

If your subwoofer cannot disable its own crossover just set the crossover knob to its highest setting. You don’t want two crossover filters to be used at the same time as using both of these will double the slope for the subwoofer, making the bass roll off too steep at the selected frequency range.

Step 2: Setting up the crossover within your receiver or processor

Within your menu system you will need to set the crossover to the correct setting that your main speakers and subwoofer can handle. For small speakers, this will be between 100Hz and 200Hz. Many small speakers cannot handle bass lower than 150Hz or so. If you do not send the correct signal damage to your voice coils may occur. Try our ELA-1 subwoofer kit, its affordable and offers all the performance of the ELA-1 sub for less investment.

subwoofer box plans and custom speaker boxes cabinet plans

You can also use the stereo outputs and run stereo signal to your subwoofer. For this you will need a set of stereo RCA cables and connect to both the right (red) and left (white) jacks on the back of the subwoofer.

Here’s what the signal flow will look like:

Just follow the signal flow beginning with the DVD player.

• From; DVD player outputs (can use digital or multi-channel outs)

• To; Receiver inputs digital or (can use multi-channel inputs also)

• From; receiver subwoofer output (or sub pre-out)

• To; subwoofer input (you may have both a red and white RCA jack, just connect to one of them)

Where some users get confused

The receiver actually has its own amplifiers built in and also drives the main speakers. So the receiver serves double duty. It directly drives the main speakers and also provides the signal for the subwoofer, but the subwoofer itself amplifies the signal from the receiver. The receiver should just be performing the crossover of the subwoofer only in this installation.

For some installations you may wish to have the subwoofer x-over perform the filter slope for itself. When you have large main speakers and do not need to keep the bass out of the mains, then use the crossover on the subwoofer only.

Summary for subwoofer wiring diagram

The signal will run from the outputs of one machine to the input of the next machine. You need to establish the source components which are the DVD player or computer, then to the receiver, and finally the subwoofer.
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