Receiver Has Single Subwoofer Output But Subwoofer Has Left and Right Inputs

Receiver Has Single Subwoofer Output But Subwoofer Has Left and Right Inputs

As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases made on our website.

Last Updated on: 9th November 2021, 10:35 pm

How To Connect A Receiver With A Single Subwoofer Output To A Subwoofer With Left And Right Inputs

Do you have a receiver with a single subwoofer output and would like to wire it to a subwoofer with both left and right inputs? Confused about how to make the connection? Do not worry, we have prepared this article to guide you through the step-by-step process. 

You can easily connect a receiver that has a single output to a subwoofer that has left and right inputs using a Y splitter or mono. You can use an RCA Y adapter or simply connect to the input marked mono (normally L input).

We explain more below. 

Why Do Some Subwoofers Have Left And Right Inputs?

Since subwoofers are mono devices, you may be wondering why some subwoofers have left and right inputs. In other words, stereo? It is more common for subwoofers to have singular LFE (low-frequency effects) input that uses an LFE cable to connect with a receiver.  Subwoofers Have Left And Right Inputs

However, in some cases, the subwoofer’s low-frequency signals are sent through left and right channels using left and right RCA connectors. This type of connection sends low frequencies through the left and right channels of the subwoofer. 

Can I Connect A Receiver With A Single Subwoofer Output To A Subwoofer With Left And Right Inputs?

Connecting receivers to subwoofers require compatible connectors. In this case, both the receiver and the subwoofer should have ports that are compatible with a single type of connector. This will make the connection much easier without involving an adaptor device. 

Yes, receivers with a single subwoofer output can be connected to subwoofers with left and right inputs. Here is an example:

The receiver has a single RCA jack labeled “Subwoofer”.
The subwoofer has two RCA input jacks, labeled Left and Right.
The subwoofer came with a single RCA cable.

Quick Methods To Connect A Receiver With A Single Subwoofer Output To A Subwoofer With Left And Right Inputs?

  1. Use A Splitter: Use a splitter or an RCA male-to-male Y adapter. This “Y adapter” or “splitter” so that a single cable can feed both subwoofer inputs. This is a good idea if you have a processor with very low output so you can use a Y-splitter. You can easily grasp a splitter off amazon like the Poyiccot RCA Splitter or the FosPower RCA Y-Adapter. You need to check whether your subwoofer has male or female inputs and choose a splitter based on that. If the sub has female inputs, then you need a splitter like the Amazon Basics 1-Male to 2-Female RCA Y-Adapter Splitter Cable. You can also learn more about subwoofer splitters to understand why you need one.
  2. Use Mono LFE: Remember, subwoofers are mono audio devices, even though your sub has a left and right input. In this case, even though the sub has two RCA input jacks, one of them would be labeled MONO. This is where you would plug in a single LFE_OUT. In its absence, you are welcome to use a Y cable as mentioned above.

Let’s go into details about how to complete this connection using a splitter. 

How Do I Connect A Receiver With A Single Subwoofer Output To A Subwoofer With Left And Right Inputs?

Wiring a subwoofer with left and right inputs to a receiver with a single subwoofer output is a simple process.


You need to set up the subwoofer, receiver and have the right RCA cables. The right RCA cable has a male plug on one end and a pair of female RCA jacks on the other end.

The female jacks should have molded connector housings together with strain relief boots to make the connection more secure. Follow the steps below to set up the connection. 

Step 1: Position The Equipment To Make Connection Easy

Begin by positioning your receiver on a stable place and the subwoofer near it to make the connecting easy. The subwoofer should be placed a few inches from the walls to reduce low-frequency signal absorption by the walls. 

Step 2: Connect The Male End Of The RCA Cable To The Receiver

Connect the male pin jack to the subwoofer output on the receiver. The male pin is the one appearing by itself. It should only go into the connector port on the receiver. Some receivers will have the output labeled as a subwoofer. Insert the male jack and make sure the connection is stable. 

Step 3: Connect The Female End Of The RCA Cable To The Subwoofer (Or Male End Depending)

Connect the two female connectors of the RCA cable to the inputs of the subwoofer. If your sub has RCA male inputs, then make sure you use a male-to-male splitter to make the connection. Be sure to match the colors so that the left and right channels are properly wired to the receiver. The connection should be secure and stable. 

Step 4: Power The Connection

Connect the receiver to the mains supply. If you have an active subwoofer, connect it to the power source. A passive subwoofer will however not require to be connected to the mains supply. You should check the type of subwoofer you are using before attempting to connect it to a power source.

Step 5: Test The Connection

At this stage, you can now test your connection. Switch on the receiver and the active subwoofer. You can then play some music on the receiver system to check if the subwoofer produces the sound. Enjoy your listening! 

Can I Use A Subwoofer Cable Instead Of RCA Cable To Finish The Connection?

Usually, subwoofers will have both a right and left channel. They may be labeled R/L or not. You may however get subs with mono connector and are labeled either mono or LFE.  

If the ports are not labeled at all, a Y-splitter cable can be used to improve the performance of a receiver with a mono output. 

Subwoofer cables come with a standard RCA connector and are much thicker than standard RCA cables. It can be used to connect a receiver to a speaker to reproduce low-frequency sound signals.

Most subwoofers require a single long cable with an RCA connector. Where a standard RCA cable is not available, a subwoofer cable is recommended because it offers more shield and resolution. 

Audio And Video Receivers

 A/V receivers are consumer electronic components that are used in home theaters to receive both audio and video signals from sources.

They process the signals received and provide the power amplifiers to drive loudspeakers. Similarly, they route the processed video signal to the TVs or video projector.

Also known as stereo receivers, receivers with a single channel allow only one channel connections to a speaker and will output adequate surround sound through your speaker system. 

What Is RCA Input In A Subwoofer?

If you have a subwoofer with both left and right inputs, then it may not have an LFE input connection. In that case, you will use the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) connection that comes with both the right and left jacks to input to your subwoofer. 

This type of connection is however less common and is, therefore, more often less preferred. This may be because it requires two cables instead of one. It however works perfectly well and achieves the desired connection much faster. 

RCA cables are designed with both the left and right input side cables. Some RCA cables split the inputs with a y-cable making it much easier and convenient to transmit low-frequency sound signals to the left and right channels of a subwoofer.

As opposed to the LFE input cable that combines the audio signals, RCA inputs the signals in specific locations, right and left channels of the subwoofer.

If your subwoofer has both RCA and LFE, you may be tempted to use the LFE for convenience. In this article, we focus on subwoofers with left and right inputs that are particularly compatible with RCA cables. 

Can You Wire A Subwoofer To The Both Right And Left Channels?

Yes, you can wire a subwoofer to both left and right channels. You can do this by using a Y splitter or if connecting to powered speakers, you can use the speaker level inputs and tap the red right and white left wire. 

Why Does My Subwoofer Have Speaker Inputs?

There are many active subwoofers that have built-in crossovers.  In such cases, we feed the speaker-level signals from the receiver to the subwoofer.

The subwoofer then filters the input, using the low frequencies to drive the subwoofer, while the highs are fed out through the “speaker out” terminals to the speakers.

Why Are There Two Inputs On My Subwoofer?

The majority of subwoofer designs in production possess a dual subwoofer signal input. This serves a number of purposes and some are highlighted below;

  1. For audiophiles who have only one subwoofer but have a stereo sub signal. The dual input capabilities make down mixing of stereo signals in two channels into a mono signal. The mono signal retains all the information contained in the original stereo signal.
  2. If you happen to own two subwoofers, you can use a Y-split LFE signal from the subwoofer processor output. The dual input feature on your subwoofer allows you to reproduce LFE mono + stereo audio.
  3. It is also possible to connect the sub placed on the left side to the main-out left from the processor (the output can also be used to connect external effect block to the left front speaker).

A subwoofer possesses dual input capabilities as this allows the subwoofer to make minute, important adjustments. Under normal circumstances, it would be enough to use a mono LFE subwoofer signal from the processor.

By using both inputs with the same mono signal, we can increase the sensitivity of the subwoofer output. This means it now needs only half the signal strength to drive it to full output.

Why Do Subwoofers Have Two RCA Inputs?

Subwoofers use RCA cables with right and left inputs to digitally transfer low-end frequency audio. The audio is then split between the right and left channels of your subwoofer system.

Is A Subwoofer Mono Or a Stereo?

Subwoofers are mono devices. This is why they usually only use a single Phono RCA connector connected to the LFE channel. This is the which makes up X.1 in the naming of a 5.1 or 7.1 surround setup.

However, some subwoofers have left and right inputs and so you may think it’s stereo. However, in this case, the same mono signal is sent through the left and right channels.

Why Use Stereo RCA Cables To Connect My Subwoofer?

These cables are used when connecting analog audio components. Most types of A/V devices use them.

Stereo RCA cables come in pairs. One for connection into the left channel, and the other for connecting to the right channel. 

What’s more, the cables are color-coded to ensure every connection is correctly done. Common color codes include black and red, white and red, and grey and red. For the stereo appliances, generally red means right. While these are the standard colors on most commercially made products, any cable with a different color can be used. The cable must however be compatible with the devices.


So, that’s how you can get set up when your subwoofer has two inputs while your receiver has one output. It is a very common situation that can be solved quite quickly and easily as you have e seen using a Y-splitter or just connect as mono.

To learn about other ways to do this, check our article on how to connect a subwoofer to a receiver without subwoofer output.