Subwoofers are a great way to enhance your sound experience at home by making you feel the low-frequency sounds in music, movies, or games. These are excellent additions to your home and are easily part of mid-range and high-end setups.
If you already have a soundbar, you might be interested in connecting a wired subwoofer (or two) for a better listening experience. Know that a jack and cable setup is necessary to connect a wired subwoofer to your soundbar, as most wired subs do not come with wireless connectivity options. So if your soundbar doesn’t have the input and output jacks, you may want to invest in a wireless sub instead.
But before anything, your soundbar should be properly placed so you are getting the most out of it.
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How to Properly Position your Soundbar
Before you go out and connect a sub to your sound bar, make sure it is properly placed. If it is slanted and you are sitting anywhere but directly in front of it, your listening experience will surely be compromised.
In pretty much any home theatre set up, you will notice they are almost always lined up with the TV. Soundbars can have pretty large dimensions, and some people will find that their TV stand does not have the space for the soundbar’s best placement. You will risk placing it at an awkward angle or position and this defeats the purpose of upgrading your audio quality.
Seating is also important when it comes to soundbars. Their long and straight nature ensures an even sound experience for listeners or an audience seated in front of it, not off the side.
If you are working with limited space, a good option is to hang the speaker on a wall directly above the TV. Brackets are easily found online or in-store for this purpose. Just make sure you don’t place the speaker too far above the TV to avoid audio delays.
Once you have a properly placed soundbar, it’s time to look into adding a subwoofer for the ultimate home theatre experience.
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Five Tips When Choosing The Best Subwoofer For Your Soundbar
Before purchasing the best subwoofer for your soundbar, there are a few key things to consider.
#1. Soundbar Connections
Some soundbars have proprietary outputs that make connecting a wired subwoofer impossible. It is essential to look for a soundbar that accepts a cable (like the SVS SoundPath RCA Audio Interconnect Cable) or something comparable. Cables like this should work with almost any subwoofer, including all SVS models.
Unfortunately, using a jack and cables is necessary if you want to connect a wired subwoofer to a soundbar. Otherwise, you might need to get a sub that offers wireless connections.
#2. Cabinet Size
One of the biggest factors for choosing a soundbar for your home is the visual impact. If you want it to have a minimal visual impact in a room, you will likely want a compact subwoofer that can be concealed or discreetly integrated into the interior of your space. Most people opt for a sealed cabinet sub because they have smaller cabinet dimensions and footprints than their ported sub counterparts.
#3. Your Listening Preferences
Of course, your personal preferences for audio quality are a key factor in choosing a soundbar. Soundbars by nature can’t match the output of a 5.1 home theater surround sound speaker system or Dolby Atmos. With this, you don’t need a massive subwoofer to significantly improve bass response and impact. But if you want a more immersive experience – especially for listening to intense music, watching action movies, or intense games – then a larger and more powerful subwoofer will be right for you.
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#4. Room Size
Similar to cabinet size, the room size where you intend to place your sub is important. If you have an open concept living room or maybe a massive home theater in your basement, the bass from a small subwoofer will probably lack the ability to energize the entire space with seat-rumbling bass. A bigger space needs a larger subwoofer, or even two small subs, to get even bass response throughout the listening area. Meanwhile if you are placing your sub in a small bedroom or game room only, there is no need for purchasing the largest one in the market. Smaller subs are also more convenient to set up, move around, and customize.
#5. Subwoofer Accessories
Lastly, one way to reduce visual impact and open up speaker placement options in a room is to install a wireless subwoofer kit. This will be useful if the sub is on the opposite side of the room from the soundbar because it removes the need for a subwoofer interconnect cable as we mentioned earlier. Although rare and possibly more expensive, it is possible to run dual subwoofers out of a single sub output on a soundbar by installing an RCA Y-adapter.
It may seem like added work and expenses, but there are many benefits to having a sub at home.
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Why Should You Add a Subwoofer to Your Soundbar
Adding an external sub will undoubtedly give your listening experience an upgrade. Only a sub will provide the rumbling bass that completes battle scenes or EDM songs!
Here are three reasons why you should connect a subwoofer to your sound bar:
Depth of Sound
Imagine watching an action movie at the theater and wishing your sound system at home could reproduce the heart-thumping rumble you felt. Well, once you add a sub, you can recreate that experience. The sub can recreate the low bass signals that your sound bar can’t.
Subwoofers have their limitations too and they are not quite as powerful as monster speakers or those with Dolby Atmos, they can still recreate the cinematic feeling you get in the movie theater because of the new technologies.
We all know the struggle with adding furniture in a small room. But because low frequency sounds are largely omnidirectional (meaning you can’t exactly tell where they’re coming from), there are always lots of options when it comes to the placement of your subwoofer. To maximize the audio quality experience and take up minimal space, people opt to place their sub on the floor – usually next to the entertainment center, where the sound bar is underneath the TV, wall-mounted or placed on a cabinet.
Look and Feel
Subwoofers are designed to blend in well with virtually any home environment. Typically, they appear as a simple black box below your line of sight, and they don’t need to be at the heart of your space. You can tuck it away in a corner or beside another piece of furniture, like a bookshelf, where it gets less attention. There are plenty of options to choose from and you are free to pick the sub that will be a perfect fit for your home theater as most subs can be mounted horizontally or vertically.
If you are ready to get your hands on an external sub for your sound bar, you will first want to make sure that it is compatible with the sound bar you’ve already got at home. You can easily do this by checking the back of your sound bar for a subwoofer output jack. If it has one, it will work perfectly with any powered subwoofer in the market.
Making the Connection
Fortunately, it is relatively easy to gain the benefit of the additional bass information that a subwoofer provides as long as your sound bar offers a subwoofer output on one end.
The process of connecting a wired subwoofer to a sound bar is simple. All you need is a mono or monaural audio cable with the appropriate connectors on the other end. As long as you have the input and output jacks, your wired subfoower and sound bar should work properly. But if not, then you may want to opt for a wireless subwoofer that is likewise compatible with your sound bar.
As we mentioned, this jack and cable setup is necessary to connect a wired subwoofer. Most wired subs do not come with wireless connectivity like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or voice automated channels (like Google Alexa). The most common sound bars with sub-out jacks are those from Yamaha, SVS, and Denon.
Now follow the three easy steps.
#1. On your sound bar, locate the subwoofer out jack. It is usually located on the rear of the unit.
#2. Locate the input port on your subwoofer. Similar to step 1, it is usually on the rear of the unit.
#3. Plug one end of the mono cable into the soundbar’s subwoofer out jack and the other end into the subwoofer’s input jack.
Easy as that!
Once connected, your sub and sound bar will work seamlessly with each other. The sound bar will reproduce most of the audio frequencies while the sub will handle the lowest bass and rumble frequencies. However, you will need to manually adjust the volume for each. There is no way to control the sound bar and subwoofer volume in the same control.
Since many soundbars do not include the ability to hook up a subwoofer, it is most important to check if your speaker has this functionality. If not, you may want to look into other soundbars that either come with a built-in subwoofer or officially support them through wireless connections so you can truly enjoy high quality audio at home.
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John Fleming is the senior editor for Audiophilez.com, covering everything from headphones to smart speakers. He is a graduate of Music Production and Technology. Before Audiophilez, John began his career as a staff writer for two different magazines, where he became a skilled storyteller across different mediums. When he isn’t writing, he can be found biking, reading books, and playing the piano.