How to Connect a Subwoofer to a Receiver or Amplifier
(Last Updated On: November 8, 2020)

Having a good subwoofer that delivers deep bass makes your sound system sound so much better. However, subwoofers are only as good as the wiring and an important aspect of the wiring is the subwoofer connections.

In this article, we will discuss what you need to know about subwoofer connection types as well as the necessary steps to take in choosing them.

What is a Subwoofer?

Simply put, a subwoofer is a speaker that provides bass and lower frequency sounds. It helps to reproduce LFE (lower frequency effect) and also gives the needed bass effect for your movies and music. Subwoofers are one of the most important components of a home theater.

Connecting Your Subwoofer to an Amplifier

For subwoofers that do not come with an internal amplifier, it is necessary to connect them to one.amplifier with suboowfer input

For this purpose, you will be needing an amplifier, RCA cables, speakers, speaker wires, and of course your subwoofer. Connecting your subwoofer to an amplifier is pretty much straightforward. Here are the steps:

  1. First, you should make sure that the subwoofer and amplifier are both switched off, and not plugged in.
  2. Connect your amplifier’s out to your subwoofer’s input, using the RCA cable. For this purpose, the jack on your amplifier should bear the label “subwoofer output”.
  3. Once you have connected it, you can proceed to connect the amplifier to the speakers. There are speaker wires available for this purpose and you will find speaker outputs on the back of the amplifier. You can also connect the speakers to the receiver if you don’t wish to connect them to the external amp. In this case, your receiver will have output ports labeled either front or main to connect the speakers.
  4. Connect the speaker wires to the amplifier, making sure to put the left and right wires in the appropriate ports. After doing this, you can plug your devices and enjoy the great sound.

Note: Here’s how you can connect your subwoofer to an amp without a subwoofer out port.

Connecting a Subwoofer A Receiver

Connecting a subwoofer to a receiver is very easy and straightforward, provided you know what you are doing.

Once you become familiar with the requirement, it is no problem from then on.  Below are a number of ways in which you can connect a subwoofer to a receiver.

1. Connection Using the Low Frequency Effects Subwoofer Output

This method is used by most people. It entails connecting a subwoofer using the subwoofer output of the receiver via a low frequency effects cable.Connection Using the Low Frequency Effects Subwoofer Output LFE

Low frequency effect ports are specifically for subwoofers, so you can be sure to have no problem as long as your home theater has this port.

This method is quite common as most home theater receivers have this output. All you need to do to set this up is, connect the subwoofer output jack on the amplifier to the “LFE In” jack, which is usually on the subwoofer.

This is quite easy as it is usually only one cable having singular RCA connectors.

2. Connection Using Stereo RCA (Speaker Level Outputs)

This connection type comes in handy when your subwoofer does not have a LFE input, or the receiver lacks LFE output. In this case, your subwoofer should have stereo RCA connectors.subwoofer lint input for connecting to receiver

If this is the case, and your receiver uses RCA connectors as well, you simply have to plug in an RCA cable to both devices.

Usually, RCA connectors have right and left ports so you must be sure to match this on both subwoofer and receiver. You can also use subwoofer Y connectors for this purpose. 

Sometimes, you might come across a y-cable for both right and left ports. You should plug in both ports on the two devices. This process is very easy and swift.

3. Wireless Connection

There has bee increased usage of wireless subwoofers in recent times, making wireless connections very important.

wireless subwoofers connect to receiver

There are two major types of subwoofer wireless connections:

  • Some wireless subwoofers come with built-in wireless receivers. These receivers connect seamlessly to the subwoofer line output of your home theater receiver. For such subwoofers, all you need to do is connect the receivers to the line output, no extra tools required.
  • You can also get a wireless transmitter that connects to any home theater receiver and a powered subwoofer with a line output. This is useful for subwoofers without built-in wireless receivers.

4. Using A Y Splitter Cable

You can also connect your subwoofer to your receiver using a Y splitter adapter cable. This cable is normally connected fro the sub out on the receiver to the L and R inputs of the subwoofer. What Is a Y Adapter Cable and what is it used for

The main reason this is done is often to increase the decibel levels of the sub, increase the bass quality (for some subwoofers), reduce hum, and prevent the sub for chipping out on low levels when always-on is enabled.

 

Why Do You Need a Subwoofer?

Better Movie Experience

A lot of people wonder why they need subwoofer when they have traditional speakers. Most of the speakers you get in a home theater system cannot reproduce all the sound frequencies which they receive.

Why Do You Need a Subwoofer

This means that without a subwoofer you do not get the best experience, as some sounds like the lower frequencies are not present.

With a subwoofer, all the surrounding sound and low frequency give you a better movie experience with the 3D sound effect coming off perfectly.

Music Sounds Better

With a subwoofer, your music gets all the extra bass needed to enjoy your music better. With the low-frequency feature, you can be sure to hear all the instrumentals in the songs as well as underlying vocals.

You more or less get a full concert experience on your home theater using your subwoofer.

Better Gaming Experience

For gamers who enjoy playing sports and adventure games, having a subwoofer greatly improves the gaming experience.

The 3D sound effect makes the game soundtrack and in-game sounds come off nicely. With a quality subwoofer, you are in for a swell time playing the latest God of War and Call of Duty games.

 

Conclusion

In addition to all the information about subwoofer connections above, it is important that you make sure any subwoofer you choose tick all the boxes. Determine whether or not you can deal with an external amplifier before making a choice between a passive subwoofer and a powered subwoofer.

Be sure to check that all wires and ports are in good condition to ensure easy and secure connection. The size and structure of your home theater room is also very important in determining if a front-firing subwoofer or down-firing subwoofer is the best option for you.

Also, be sure of the connection type before setting up your home theater. Once you do all of these things, you can be sure to enjoy quality sound.