Adding a subwoofer to your home theater setup will require you to know how to connect subwoofer to receiver. There are several ways to do this, and the one you choose will rely on the type of where to plug in the subwoofer on receiver you have. This guide will show you how. Let’s start with more info below.
What Is A Subwoofer?
A subwoofer simply means a speaker that produces bass and lower frequencies sounds. It reproduces LFE (lower frequency effect) and provides the necessary bass effect for movies and music. Subwoofers are one of the most important parts of a home theater system.
Subwoofers For Home Stereo
There are two types of home stereo subs: one powered (active), and one non-powered (passive).
Powered subwoofers work by amplifying a low-signal signal using the speaker amplifier, power source, and crossover. Most people use these subwoofers, which can be hooked up to speakers via an RCA input jack.
Passive subwoofers (non-powered), are simply subwoofer speakers that are placed inside the bass enclosure. They can be wired directly to the speaker terminals, or a passive crossover. These subs are rarer.
How Subwoofers Produce Bass
Subwoofers work by being placed inside an enclosure that is designed for them. They produce deep bass when listening to music with low-end sounds.
A low-pass crossover allows only bass frequencies to pass and be produced in order to produce a clear-sounding bass response. If a signal doesn’t have a crossover, it’s hard to add a subwoofer to it.
Whether it’s stereo music or a surround-sound system’s “.1” subwoofer channel, a receiver’s subwoofer output jack passes bass.
When you see references to the “5.1” and “2.1” speaker systems or surround sound audio systems for movies (or surround sound), the first number is the number of main speakers. The “.1”, which is used to denote a sound channel that only allows for subwoofer or bass use, is used.
What Is A Low-level Subwoofer Connection?
SVS uses the term line level instead of low-level. It is the same thing.
Most of the time, a low-level subwoofer input is used when using an AV system for surround sound.
Most AV receivers have a subwoofer pre-out at the back. This subwoofer will be labeled as either a sub (or LFE).
Two types of low-frequency sound will be sent by the AV receiver to your subwoofer.
1. The LFE track in surround sound movies. LFE is for low-frequency effects. Multi-channel soundtracks are typically 5.1. They may be 7.1 at times. A special LFE track containing low-frequency special effects is called.
When the soundtrack is mixed, there’s a channel of audio that is reserved for low-end sounds and rumbles. This is the LFE track. Usually, this channel is sent to the subwoofer, which is a speaker made to play low-frequency sounds. If you don’t have a subwoofer, full-range speakers will reproduce the LFE track.
2. Bass management is another feature of AV receivers. You can set an AV receiver to send low frequencies to the subwoofer from any other surround speaker in the room. Why? To improve the sound quality of surround speakers, send low-end frequencies to a speaker specifically designed for low bass. By setting a crossover frequency, bass management can be done for each surround speaker.
This will filter any frequencies below the crossover frequency from the main speaker to the subwoofer via the low-level output. You can have a different crossover frequency for each speaker or one. Although you don’t need to enable bass management on your AV receivers, most people do.
You don’t need to limit your surround sound movie listening. Many people love listening to music through their stereo speakers and subwoofer.
This is a 2.1 speaker system.
These rules still apply. Although there is no LFE channel for music, the bass management of the AV receiver will transmit some low-end frequencies to the subwoofer.
For example, the kick drum or low bass guitar notes.
Some people love stereo music that uses the subwoofer driver to fill in the low-end. I love it.
Some people don’t like the sound and prefer to hear the natural sound balance provided by their stereo speakers.
The low-level subwoofer connection can be used for more than just an AV receiver.
You can use the subwoofer’s low-level inputs if you have a stereo amplifier that has left and right pre-out connections or a dedicated sub-out.
- An AV receiver is used with a pre-out subwoofer
- A stereo amplifier is used with a pre-out subwoofer
- Stereo amplifiers with stereo pre-outs are being used
What is a high-level subwoofer connection?
This is the high-level connection at the rear of a Subwoofer.
It is often speaker wire terminals, similar to the connections at the back of an amp.
A Neutrik Speakon connection is another popular high-level type of connection. This is how it looks:
With a high-level subwoofer input connector, both the speakers and the subwoofer hear the same sound output.
There are no phase issues between the low and mid frequencies. The sound signature of an amplifier will still be heard in both signals.
You would typically use the high-level connection for connecting a subwoofer or amplifier without a dedicated subwoofer output.
This would normally be a stereo amplifier, although older home theater receivers may not have subwoofer outputs.
Some stereo receivers have a subwoofer output, but many don’t.
You can filter low frequencies by connecting the subwoofer to the high-level connector if you have a stereo amp and speakers for music or movies.
There’s another option.
Even if your AV receiver has bass management and sub outputs, you may want to use the low-level connection to watch movies and the high-level connection to listen to music.
A high-level subwoofer connection may be preferred by some people as it can produce a more natural sound. Instead of using digital filtering on the receiver to send low frequencies to sub, If:
Stereo amplifiers are used without subwoofers or pre-outs.
An AV receiver or stereo amplifier is used. However, you prefer the sound of music through a high-level connection.
It doesn’t have to be just music you hear when you use the high-level inputs on your AV receiver.
You can also watch movies. The only problem is that the high-level connection doesn’t offer any bass management or LFE channels.
You should not use a REL subwoofer. REL Acoustics recommends that you use a high-level connection for movie audio and their LFE low-level input.
There are many ways to groom a cat, as they say (not that I have tried it – you cat lovers out here). You decide which one you like.
How To Connect Subwoofer To Receiver
Connect Using The LFE Subwoofer Output
A subwoofer can be connected using the output of a receiver with an LFE (Low-Frequency Effects) cable. This is the preferred method. This type of output is found in almost all home theatre receivers and processors, as well as some stereo receivers.
LFE is a subwoofer-specific output. It may be labeled SUBWOOFER or LFE.
5.1 channel audio is media such as media on DVDs or cable TV. It has a dedicated channel output that contains bass-only content and can be reproduced best by a subwoofer. This is done by connecting the LFE (the subwoofer output jack) on the receiver/amplifier and the LINE IN (or LFE IN) jack on a subwoofer. It is usually one cable with RCA connectors at both ends.
Stereo RCA (Speaker-Level Outputs)
This connection type is useful if your subwoofer doesn’t have LFE input or the receiver doesn’t have LFE output. Stereo RCA connectors are required for subwoofers. If so, you’ll need an RCA cable to connect your receiver, which uses stereo RCA connectors.
RCA cables usually have left and right ports. You must match these on the receiver and subwoofer. For this purpose, you can also use subwoofer-Y connectors.
Subwoofers with only RCA inputs can be connected to a receiver without subwoofer output using a line-level converter.
What does a line-level converter do?
Line level converters can be small devices that accept speaker wire connections. They then scale down the speaker signal to a low-level signal (RCA Jack) that the subwoofer can receive. These are very useful in-car stereo because they allow you to connect a stereo to an amplifier without RCA outputs.
Even though home stereos don’t use them as often, they can still be very helpful.
What is the cost of line-level converters?
Line level converters are priced between $15 and $25 for a good one. They are connected to the speaker leads on a radio receiver or amplifier. The RCA cables can then be connected to the provided jacks. The internal electronics reduce the output voltage of a receiver’s speaker and help to prevent noise from the audio path.
If your speaker only has one RCA input jack, you may need an RCA-Y adapter. This will allow you to combine the receiver channels on each side of the output into one.
Subwoofers that have 2 (stereo-RCA jack) inputs will require a standard male/male RCA cable.
This means that if you have 2 sets of spring clips (speaker out and speaker in) on your sub, this means that speakers can be connected to it, which connects to a receiver to transmit the audio signal.
To connect using RCA connectors:
- Connect the RCA cable to your subwoofer and select L or R port.
- If the cable splits at one end (i.e. it’s a “y”-cable for either your L or R ports on your sub), you will need to plug them both in.
- You should plug in both the left and right RCA plugs on your receiver for sub-out.
Wireless connections are crucial since wireless subwoofers are becoming more popular.
Two major subwoofer wireless connection types exist:
Many wireless subs have built-in wireless receivers. These receivers can be connected to your home theater receiver’s subwoofer line output. You don’t need any additional tools to connect these subs to your home theater receiver.
A wireless transmitter can be connected to any home theatre receiver as well as a powered subwoofer that has a line output. This is for subwoofers that do not have wireless receivers.
Using A Y Splitter Cable
A splitter Y adapter cable can be used to connect your subwoofer and receiver. The cable connects from the sub on the receiver to the R and L inputs of subwoofers. This is usually done to increase the decibel level of subs, improve the bass sound quality (for subwoofers), and reduce hum.
Why Do You Need A Subwoofer?
Better Movie Experience
Many people aren’t sure why they need a subwoofer when they already have speakers. Most speakers in a home theater setup can’t play back every sound frequency they hear.
Without a subwoofer, you won’t get the best sound experience because some sounds, like lower levels, don’t exist.
A subwoofer can make your movie experience better by mixing low-frequency sound with the surround sound to make a 3D sound effect.
Music Sounds better
A subwoofer will add the bass to your music that you need to enjoy it more. You can hear the lyrics and the underlying vocals with the low-frequency feature.
Your subwoofer will make your home theater sound like a full show.
Better Gaming Experience
A subwoofer is a great addition to gamers who love playing adventure and sports games.
The 3D sound effect improves the game’s music and in-game sounds. You will have a great time playing Call of Duty and God of War games with a quality subwoofer.
You may have subwoofer inputs and controls.
Although powered subwoofers are usually equipped with multiple inputs and controls it all depends on the model and brand. Here is an example of what you will usually find:
- Power input (AC outlet)
- On/off switch
- RCA input jack, or a pair of jacks
- Subwoofer crossover adjustment
- Subwoofer level adjustment know (the amplifier’s boost level)
The subwoofer input Jack usually links to one mono. This means that both stereo channels are combined into a single output jack on a receiver.
Some models have speaker-level inputs so they can be used with both new and old home radio receivers without needing a subwoofer.
Even though this feature is nice, you would have to spend more money on a subwoofer with the same features.
You might find information online that says you need to buy another subwoofer if your speaker doesn’t have an output jack. This is simply false.
As I said at the start, there are many ways around this problem.
Stereo Vs Surround Sound Receiver Output Differences
Remember that you can’t add a subwoofer to a receiver that doesn’t have a subwoofer output.
It may not be an issue. The surround sound receiver LFE (low-frequency output) is optional, hence the “.1”. The downside is that the bass channel can sometimes be quite enjoyable for certain movies, particularly action.
If you use a receiver that doesn’t have that output, you won’t get the same result. However, this is only true for surround sound mode. The good news is that in Stereo mode, both old and new receivers have very similar subwoofer behavior when connected.
Some related articles:
- How To Connect Soundbar To TV Bluetooth?
- How To Connect Bose Soundbar To Tv?
- How To Connect Two Wireless Subwoofers To One Soundbar?
- How To Connect A Subwoofer To An Old Amplifier?
- How To Connect A Powered Subwoofer To Passive Speakers?
How do you hooking up subwoofer to receiver pre-out?
First, ensure that the plug is connected directly to the power outlet. Depending on the connection, choose your preferred cable. Once you have chosen the wire you prefer, connect it to the receiver’s pre-out and the subwoofer. The other end should be connected to the sub’s RCA line-in inputs.
How do I connect a subwoofer to a receiver without pre-out?
If your receiver doesn’t have a preamp output, connect it to the front left or right speaker terminals. The subwoofer’s speaker level terminals would be connected to the front speakers.
What is the RCA cable for the subwoofer?
These cables can be used to connect any media device with a coaxial (S/PDIF-compatible) audio interface. Both ends of subwoofer cables have RCA connectors. Subwoofer cables produce a rich, deep sound that is superior to the typical RCA sound.
Why do subwoofers have 2 RCA inputs?
Dual input gives the subwoofer additional sensitivity adjustment. It would normally suffice to send a mono LFE signal from the processor to the subwoofer. A Y-splitter can be used if your processor has a very low output. The subwoofer’s sensitivity can be doubled by using both mono signals.
Adding subwoofers to your home theater setup is a great way to make the sound better. However, how to connect powered subwoofer to a receiver can be a bit tricky. In this article, we show you the best way to connect a subwoofer to a receiver. Thanks for reading!