How to wire a push-pull subwoofer

Written by nichole liandi
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A "push-pull" subwoofer, sometimes referred to as an "isobaric" subwoofer, is a subwoofer set-up that's capable of producing enormous quantities of bass output. But to work at it's true capability, an isobaric push-pull subwoofer must be wired properly for the application at hand.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Speaker wire, at least 14 gauge
  • Amplifier
  • isobaric subwoofer set-up

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  1. 1

    Choose the right amps for your subwoofer set-up. Perhaps you already have the amplifiers you'll be using in your push-pull subwoofer set-up. If not, be sure your amps are up to the task. Choose an amplifier that has an RMS power output of at least 75% of the subwoofer's RMS power rating--more is better.

  2. 2

    Run speaker wire from the amplifier(s) to the push-pull subwoofer. A push-pull subwoofer set-up uses two subwoofers, so you'll need two amplifiers or two amplifier channels to power the subs. From each amplifier or channel, run heavy gauge speaker wire (at least 14 ga) to each subwoofer.

  3. 3

    Connect the speaker wire from the amplifier(s) to the subwoofers. As the name suggests, a push-pull subwoofer works because while one sub is pushing air, the other is pulling it in. Therefore, the subwoofers must be wired "out of phase." Wire the first subwoofer as such: positive terminal of the amp to positive terminal of the sub, then negative terminal of the amp to the negative terminal of the sub.

  4. 4

    On the second subwoofer, wire the positive terminal of the amp to the negative terminal of the subwoofer, and the negative terminal of the amplifier to the positive terminal of the subwoofer. While it seems counter intuitive, this arrangement allows the two subwoofers of a "push-pull" arrangement to work in harmony.

Tips and warnings

  • Follow the wiring instructions exactly.

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