If you want to add a subwoofer to your home theater system, you’ll need to know how to connect the subwoofer to the receiver. there are a few different ways to do this, and the method you choose will depend on the type of where to connect the subwoofer in the receiver you have. in this article, we will show you how to do it. Let’s start with more information below.
what is a subwoofer?
A subwoofer simply means a speaker that produces bass and lower frequency sounds. Reproduces LFE (Low Frequency Effect) and provides the bass effect needed for movies and music. One of the most essential components of a home theater is its subwoofers.
Reading: How to connect subwoofer to reciever
home stereo subwoofers
There are two types of home stereo subwoofers: one powered (active) and one non-powered (passive).
Self-powered subwoofers work with a low-end signal that is amplified by the speaker’s amplifier, power supply, and crossover. These subwoofers are the most popular and can be connected to receivers using an RCA input jack.
Passive (unpowered) subwoofers are simply subwoofer speakers that sit inside the bass enclosure. they can be connected directly to the speaker terminals or to a passive crossover. these alternates are rarer.
how subwoofers produce bass
Subwoofers work by placing them inside a box designed for them. produce deep bass when listening to music with deep sounds.
A low-pass crossover allows only the low frequencies to pass through and through to produce clear-sounding bass response. it is difficult to connect a subwoofer with a signal that does not have crossover.
A receiver’s subwoofer output jack is usually limited to passing bass, whether it’s coming from stereo music production or from the “.1” subwoofer channel (dedicated subwoofer content) of a sound system envelope.
when you see references to “5.1” and “2.1” speaker system or movie surround sound system (or surround sound), the first number is the number of main speakers. the “.1” is used, which is used to indicate a sound channel that only allows the use of subwoofer or bass.
what is a low level subwoofer connection?
svs uses the term line level instead of low level. it’s the same.
A low level subwoofer input is most commonly used when using an AV receiver for surround sound audio.
Most AV receivers have a subwoofer output on the back. this subwoofer will be labeled sub (or lfe).
the av receiver will send two types of low frequency sound to your subwoofer.
1. the lfe track in movies with surround sound. lfe is for low frequency effects. multichannel soundtracks are usually 5.1. they can be 7.1 sometimes. it’s called a special life track that contains low-frequency special effects.
When the soundtrack is mixed, there is an audio channel that is reserved for bass sounds and rumble. this is the lfe track. this channel is usually sent to the subwoofer, which is a speaker specifically designed to reproduce low-end sounds. if you don’t have a subwoofer, the full range speakers will play the lfe track.
2. Bass management is another feature of AV receivers. You can set up an AV receiver to send low frequencies to the subwoofer from any other surround speakers in the room. why? To improve the sound quality of surround speakers, send low frequencies to a speaker specifically designed for low woofers. 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 turn on bass management on your AV receivers, most people do.
You don’t need to limit listening to surround sound movies. many people love to listen 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 av receiver’s bass management will pass some low frequencies to the subwoofer.
for example, the kick drum or the low notes of the bass.
some people love stereo music that uses the subwoofer driver to fill out the bass. 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 A/V 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 subwoofer output.
- 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 on the back of a subwoofer.
This is usually speaker wire terminals, similar to the connections on the back of an amplifier.
a neutrik speakon connection is another popular type of high level connection. this is how it looks:
A high-level subwoofer input connector has the advantage that both the speakers and the subwoofer receive exactly the same audio signal.
There are no phase problems between the low and mid frequencies. the sound signature of one amplifier will still be heard on both signals.
Usually you would use the high level connection to connect 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.
If you have a stereo amplifier and speakers for listening to music or movies and would like a system with a subwoofer and a 2.1 system, you can connect the subwoofer to the high level jack to filter out low frequencies.
There is another option.
Even if your AV receiver has bass management and sub outputs, you may want to use the low level connection for movies and the high level connection for music.
Some people may prefer a high level subwoofer connection as it can produce a more natural sound. instead of using digital filtering in the receiver to send low frequencies to the sub, if:
stereo amplifiers are used without subwoofers or preamps.
an av receiver or stereo amplifier is used. however, you prefer the sound of music over a high-level connection.
It doesn’t have to be just the 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 does not offer bass management or lfe channels.
you should not use an actual subwoofer. Acoustic rel recommends that you use a high level connection for your movie audio and its low level lfe input.
There are many ways to groom a cat, as the saying goes (not that I’ve tried it, cat lovers). you decide which one you like.
how to connect the subwoofer to the receiver
connect using subwoofer lfe output
You can connect a subwoofer using the output of a receiver with an lfe (low frequency effects) cable. this is the preferred method. this type of output is found on almost all home theater receivers and processors, as well as some stereo receivers.
lfe is a dedicated subwoofer output. may be labeled subwoofer or lfe.
5.1 channel audio is a medium like dvd or cable tv. has a dedicated channel output that contains bass-only content and may be best reproduced with a subwoofer. This is done by connecting the LFE (the Subwoofer Out jack) on the receiver/amplifier and the Line In (or LFE In) jack on a subwoofer. it is usually a cable with rca connectors on both ends.
stereo rca (speaker level outputs)
This type of connection is useful if your subwoofer does not have an lfe input or the receiver does not have an lfe output. stereo rca connectors are required for subwoofers. If that is the case and your receiver also uses stereo RCA connectors, then you will need to connect an RCA cable between the two devices.
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.
A line level converter is a good choice for subwoofers that only have one or more rca inputs (no speaker level inputs), as it allows you to connect them to a receiver without a subwoofer output.
what does a line level converter do?
Line level converters can be small devices that accept speaker cable connections. They then reduce the speaker signal to a low level signal (RCA connector) 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.
Although not used as often for home stereos, they can still be very useful.
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 wires in a radio receiver or amplifier. RCA cables can be connected to the provided jacks. internal electronics reduce a receiver’s speaker output voltage and help prevent noise in the audio path.
You may need an rca adapter and if you have a subwoofer that only has an rca input jack. this will allow you to combine the receiver channels on each side of the output into one channel.
subwoofers that have 2 inputs (stereo-rca jack) will require a standard male/male rca cable.
this means that if you have 2 sets of spring clips (output speaker and input speaker) on your subwoofer, this means that speakers can be connected to it, which connects to a receiver to transmit the audio signal .
to connect via rca connectors:
- connect the rca cable to your subwoofer and select the l or r port.
- if the cable splits at one end (i.e. it is a “y” cable for your l or r ports on your subwoofer), you will need to plug them both in.
- you must connect the left and right rca plugs on your receiver for the subwoofer output.
Wireless subwoofers have been used more and more in recent years, making wireless connections extremely important.
There are two main types of wireless subwoofer connection:
many wireless subwoofers have built-in wireless receivers. These receivers can be connected to the subwoofer line output of your home theater receiver. you don’t need any additional tools to connect these subwoofers to your home theater receiver.
A wireless transmitter can be connected to any home theater 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 and adapter cable can be used to connect the subwoofer and the receiver. The cable connects from the subwoofer on the receiver to the R and L inputs on the subwoofers. this is usually done to increase the decibel level of subwoofers, improve bass sound quality (for subwoofers), and reduce hum.
why do you need a subwoofer?
better cinematic experience
many people don’t know why they need a subwoofer when they already have speakers. most home theater speakers can’t reproduce all the sound frequencies they hear.
Without a subwoofer, you won’t get the best sound experience, as certain sounds, like lower frequencies, don’t exist.
A subwoofer can enhance your movie experience by combining low-frequency sound with surround sound to create a 3d sound effect.
music sounds better
A subwoofer will give your music the bass it needs to make it more enjoyable. you can hear the lyrics and the underlying vocals with the low frequency function.
Your subwoofer will provide a full concert experience in your home theater.
better gaming experience
A subwoofer is a great addition for gamers who love sports and adventure games.
game soundtrack and game sounds are enhanced with 3d sound effect. You will have a lot of fun playing call of duty and god of war games with a quality subwoofer.
may have subwoofer controls and inputs.
Although powered subwoofers are often equipped with multiple inputs and controls, it all depends on the model and brand. Here’s an example of what you’ll typically find:
- power input (AC outlet)
- on/off switch
- rca input jack, or a pair of jacks
- subwoofer crossover setting
- know the subwoofer level setting (the boost level of the amplifier)
The subwoofer’s input jack is usually connected to a mono (monaural) jack, which means both stereo channels are combined into a single output jack on a receiver.
some models include speaker level inputs so they can be used with both modern and vintage home stereo receivers without the need for a subwoofer.
Although this feature is nice to have, you would have to buy a subwoofer with the same features and spend more money.
You may find information online that says you should buy another subwoofer if your receiver doesn’t have an output jack. this is simply false.
There are many ways to solve this problem, as I explained at the beginning.
stereo and surround sound receiver output differences
It is important to remember that a subwoofer cannot be connected to a receiver without a subwoofer output.
may not be a problem. the surround receiver lfe (low frequency output) is optional, hence the “.1”. the downside is that the bass channel can sometimes be quite nice for certain movies, particularly action movies.
You won’t be able to get the same effect if you use a receiver that doesn’t have that output. 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.
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frequently asked questions
how do you connect the subwoofer to the pre out of the receiver?
First, make sure the plug is plugged directly into the outlet. Depending on the connection, choose your preferred cable. Once you’ve chosen your preferred cable, connect it to the receiver’s pre-out and your subwoofer. the other end should be connected to the subwoofer’s rca line-in inputs.
how do I connect a subwoofer to a receiver without preout?
If your receiver doesn’t have a preamp output, you can treat it like a speaker and connect it to the receiver’s speaker terminals for the front left or right speakers. the subwoofer speaker level terminals would connect 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 the subwoofer cables have RCA connectors. Subwoofer cables produce a deep, rich sound that is superior to typical RCA sound.
why do subwoofers have 2 rca inputs?
Dual input gives the subwoofer additional sensitivity adjustment. normally it would be enough to send a mono lfe signal from the processor to the subwoofer. a divider can be used on y if your processor has a very low output. subwoofer sensitivity can be doubled using both mono signals.
Subwoofers are a great way to improve the sound quality of your home theater system. however, how to connect a 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!