Connect Subwoofer To Receiver Without Subwoofer Output

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

If your receiver doesn’t have a subwoofer output, you are likely wondering what you can do about it and not spend too much money. In this article, we will explain how you can connect your subwoofer to your receiver without subwoofer output. 

If you want a quick tutorial on how to connect a subwoofer to a receiver without subwoofer output, check out the video below:

Method 1: Connect With a Speaker Wire

You can use a speaker wire to enable your subwoofer to act as a speaker. It’s one of the easiest ways to connect your sub to your receiver without a subwoofer output. You’ll need to use the front and right speaker terminals to achieve this.

Here are the steps you need to follow to use your speaker wire to connect your sub to your receiver using this alternative:

  1. Run your speaker wires to join the subwoofer to the receiver
  2. Connect the wire to the left and right receiver’s speaker terminal
  3. Connect the right and left speakers to the subwoofer’s speaker terminal
  4. Check your connections and start your audio

Note: This option will work if your subwoofer has speaker-level capabilities. The good news is that subwoofers available in the market come with these functionalities. However, it would be best if you still verified whether this feature exists before making your purchase.

To learn more, check out our article on how to connect a subwoofer to speaker level outputs or how to connect a subwoofer with speaker wire to a receiver that has a jack or receiver has subwoofer output but subwoofer has left and right input.

If you don’t prefer to use a speaker wire, you still have other great options. Some of the most outstanding g ones are:

Method 2: Set Your Subwoofer’s Mains + LFE

This option is the best if you set your right and left main speakers to large. To connect your subwoofer to your receiver using this method, you should:

1. Study how your receiver’s bass management settings work

2. Ensure your receiver’s mains + LFE only sends bass to your subwoofer while the mains are set to large

You can set up the audio for two channels if the bass out feature in your receiver lets you do so.

Method 3: Set Up with the Preamp Output

If your receiver lacks the subwoofer output, you can connect with the preamp out. You can find this jack behind the amp/receiver on the connection board. Here are the steps you need to follow:

  1. Check in the receiver’s rear panel to see whether you can see ‘pre-out.’
  2. If you find it, use a couple of interconnects from the receiver to your sub
  3. If the receiver has a single RCA input, add a Y adapter
  4. Check each of your connections and power on your audio system

Method 4: With RCA Input Jacks and Line Level RCA Converter

If your subwoofer has at least one RCA jack, you can connect it to your receiver without a sub-output using a line-level converter. These converters accept speaker wire connections. They also scale down the speaker level signal to the kind that your subwoofer can take.   

It’s important to note that it could be best if you combined the output receiver channels into one if your subwoofer has a single RCA subwoofer input jack. You can do this safely by using a “Y” RCA adapter.

However, you’ll require a standard male-male RCA cable if your subwoofer comes with two RCA jack inputs.


Why Do Subwoofers Have Left And Right Input?

Many people learning how to connect their subwoofers to their receivers without sub out frequently ask this question.

Remember that a sub is responsible for bass or low frequencies. So, it requires a transmitter of the bass audio waves.

For your subwoofer to give you the desired experience, it should have the left and right channels combined in an LFE cable. The single cable evenly disperses the signals to the subwoofer, which you need to achieve your entertainment goals.

How Do You Hook Up a Subwoofer to an Older Receiver?

When you want to connect your subwoofer to your receiver, you’ll find that many things, including the age of your receiver, matter. 

As already mentioned, some of these devices may lack certain essential features that you need to complete the connection in minutes.

Since most subwoofers come with speaker-level inputs, you’ll find that you have nothing to worry about. You may need to use the speaker wire to connect the speaker inputs on your source and finally match the inputs on the sub. If you choose, you can power the speakers from the receiver at the same time.

Do Subwoofer Cables Make a Difference?

If you’ve followed the above steps but don’t receive quality sound, you might ask whether subwoofer cables can make a difference. The right answer is that these cables matter. They improve the quality of the sound you get through increased shielding.

Manufacturers of subwoofer cables shield them to help enhance the analog signal through the wires. The increased protection also reduces the audio hum that can interfere with the sound quality.

Can You Hook Up a Subwoofer Without an Amp?

We don’t recommend that you hook up your sub without an amp. We assume you need the deep, thumping sound. The amp will give your music more value.

To get the best music quality, you need to pair your subwoofer with an amplifier. However, if you can’t afford an amp, you can consider installing your audio system without one.

Are Dual Subwoofers Worth It?

Many audio experts suggest that you can get the most out of your audio system if you install two subwoofers instead of one. For example, they think you can follow the connection steps above to connect your subwoofer without a subwoofer output if that’s all you need to use two subwoofers.

Is it true that you require dual subwoofers for your basic audio needs at home? Yes, if you follow the right steps to connect your sub to your receiver, you’ll find they are worth the investment. These subwoofers will produce a highly refined sound experience. They do away with the ability to localize the experience.  

In other words, if you connect the subwoofers as required, your sound will have a more “surround sound effect.” Dual subwoofers can also eliminate the equalization of sound signals.

However, other than your ability to follow the right procedures to connect your subwoofers and your receiver, the method you also choose matters. For example, if your subwoofer doesn’t come with the left and right stereo RCA connectors, you might never be able to use stereo RCA connectors to connect them. Moreover, you can’t use speaker wires if the two subwoofers lack speaker-level capabilities.

How To Connect Subwoofer To Receiver With Subwoofer Output?

The most commonly used method to connect subwoofers to receivers is through the sub-output. The subwoofer output is mostly labeled as SUB OUT or SUBWOOFER. You can connect the subwoofer using Low-Frequency Effects (LFE cables).

If you are using 5.1-channel audio, you should notice that they have a dedicated channel output with bass-only content specific to subwoofers. To set it up, the LFE is connected to the LINE IN or LFE IN jack on the subwoofer.


A subwoofer is designed to improve the sound quality of your home theater audio system. So, you should not allow the lack of sub-output to hinder you from getting the kind of musical excitement you want. You now have all the essential details you require to realize your goal.

Share This Article
Norvan Martin is the founder of He is a professional Electronics Engineer and is passionate about home theater systems and AV electronics. BoomSpeaker was created as an online hub to share his knowledge and experiences as it relates to home theaters and home audio electronics. My email: [email protected]  Connect on Pinterest and Linkedin