Connecting Wired Subwoofer to Soundbar

Connecting Wired Subwoofer to Soundbar

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 set ups.

Different kinds of subwoofers and speakers possibly connecting and wired to soundbars
Photo by Pedro Martin on Unsplash

If you already have a soundbar, you might be interested in connecting subwoofers for a better listening experience. But before you can get anything done your soundbar should be properly placed so you are getting the most out of it.

Related: How to Power a Passive Subwoofer

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. 

Knowing how to set up your home theatre will make all the difference.

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. 

How to Properly Position your Soundbar
Image by Bru-nO from Pixabay

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. 

You may also consider mounting it on the wall. 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 a few key things you should consider.

#1. Soundbar Connections

Some soundbars have proprietary outputs that make connecting a wired subwoofer impossible. If you want to expand your home theater audio experience, 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.

#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

Most users will even say that no home entertainment center is complete without an added sub for that high-quality audio experience everyone wants to have.

Why Should You Add a Subwoofer to Your Soundbar
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

In the case that your sound bar already came with a built-in sub, it’s understandable to want more bass. 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.

Proper Size

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 our sound bar offers a subwoofer output on one end. Always check for this option before choosing a soundbar for your home! If you have limited space, consider adding a smaller and compact subwoofer. We’ll talk you through the process below.

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.

Once you’ve got all these items, 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.

Conclusion

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 so you can truly enjoy high quality audio at home.

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How to Power a Passive Subwoofer

How to Power a Passive Subwoofer

Working with both powered and active subwoofers is easy, but passive subwoofers require an external power source.

This article will tell you how to connect a passive subwoofer to a receiver by using speaker wire connectors and an external amplifier.

How to Power a Passive Subwoofer

Passive Subwoofers

Passive subs are built without their own built-in amplifiers, so they function much like old loudspeaker units. If you have a passive subwoofer, you need to connect it to an external amplifier to power it.

On the other hand, active or powered subwoofers are self-contained. It features a speaker or amplifier configuration in which the characteristics of the amp and subwoofer speaker are optimally matched and encased in the same enclosure. For this type of sub, you do not need an external amp.

Passive Subwoofers

Are Passive Subwoofers Better Than Powered Subwoofers?

There are pros and cons to each type of sub, and it really depends on many factors, such as your budget, the sound quality you are looking for, and the space you have.

Passive subwoofers are more lightweight since they have fewer components. They are also easier to maintain. But the truth is that a subwoofer’s performance is not determined by whether it is powered or passive.

Some users may argue that powered subs are better because their built-in amplifiers allow you a worry-free experience. However, active subwoofers are more popular because they produce a deeper, more impactful sound without requiring extra components.

Meanwhile, the passive subwoofer is generally a better choice if you will place it in a small room with limited space, and you won’t be needing the powerful sound. It is easier to transport and move around since it’s smaller and less bulky. Even if you plug the passive subwoofer into an external amplifier, you can still reposition the amp in the future to improve the sound quality.

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Is it Dangerous to Connect a Passive Subwoofer to a Receiver?

It can get dangerous because passive subwoofers require a lot of power to reproduce the bass. As a result, there is a possibility that your receiver may not deliver the required power for your subwoofer to function optimally. Keep in mind that you might even blow the receiver if you are not careful with your sub! The chances of this happening are definitely higher for older and lower quality gadgets, though.

Where to Connect the Subwoofer to the Receiver

Receivers are made with many switches, ports, and toggles. Wiring is definitely required to complete the connection between a subwoofer and a receiver.

First, check the back of your receiver and look for the setting for either “Yes” or “No,” which is linked directly to your passive subwoofer. This is referring to whether or not you have an active or a passive sub. Since you have the passive sub, be sure that the setting is on “Yes.” By doing so, you are telling your receiver to send all of the bass information through the sub-out connection on the back. All of this information is then transferred down into your passive sub.

Speaker Connector

You will need to have your passive subwoofer wired to one of the speaker connectors. Then you can connect the speaker wire to the speaker line of the subwoofer. There will be ‘Speaker In’ ports on your passive sub.

Be very careful that your sub is not pulling too much power beyond what the receiver can supply. This can result in overheating and become flammable.

Zone 2 Connectors

Another quick and easy way to connect passive subs to your AV or audiovisual receiver is the use the Zone 2 ports on the receiver.

The typical setup goes like this:

#1. Loopback the sub’s pre-out to phono (analog line) in.
#2. Activate the Zone 2 port.
#3. Enter the AVR’s setting and configure the receiver to play the phono input. This will now become the sub via your Zone 2 connection.
#4. Set the Zone 2 midrange (and up) frequency attenuated down. This allows you to use the AVR itself as a crossover.

However, some of the Zone 2 receivers do not have a crossover. Instead, it supplies a full-range signal. If this is the case for you, then use the power in Zone 1 for your sub.

Receiver Sub out

The sub-out port is popular on most older receivers. This port can power your passive subwoofer, and it is usually located on the bottom half. You can then use the receiver’s cutoff to control the audio frequencies sent to your passive subwoofer.

Subwoofer Wireless Connections

Recent subwoofers in the market now allow for wireless connections. There are two major types:

  • Wireless subwoofers with built-in wireless receivers. These receivers connect seamlessly to the subwoofer line output of your home theater receiver. So if you happen to have this sub, all you need to do is connect the receivers to the line output. No need for extra tools, connectors, and equipment!
  • The second method is a wireless transmitter that connects to any home theater receiver and a powered subwoofer with a line output. You should opt for this if your subwoofer does not have a built-in wireless receiver.

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How to Connect a Passive Subwoofer to a Receiver

Step #1: Check the Subwoofer

Before attempting any wired connections, inspect the kind of passive subwoofer you’ve got. Next, check whether it has a dual or single voice call woofer system. Double voice call woofers have multiple wiring options compared to single voice call ones.

Depending on what you’ve got, read the manufacturer’s manual and recommendations before moving forward. The last thing you want is to break your sub or your receiver.

Step #2: Double Check That You Have the Right RCA Cables

The most commonly used connectivity cables between subwoofers and receivers are RCA. But this connection depends on the type of subwoofer available, either a mono or stereo transmitter.

If your subwoofer is a monotype, you only need one RCA cable between our passive subwoofer and receiver. But if you are using a stereo subwoofer, you will need two RCA cables in your setup.

In this step, you will need to confirm that the color of the cables matches the ports on your subwoofer where the connection should be made.

Step #3: Connect The External Amplifier

Since passive subwoofers allow you to work with any amplifier, you are free to experiment with any external amp. But be careful before attempting to connect it to the amplifier.

Start by ensuring that your passive subwoofer is switched off. Then wire the RCA cables to the sub and ten to the external amplifier. The jack on the amp where your RCA cables are connected should be labeled subwoofer output or LFE (low-frequency effects).

The same goes if you are connecting more than one subwoofer.

Step #4: Connect The Amplifier To The Speakers

Once the external amplifier is wired to the subwoofer, it is finally time to connect the speakers!

Check the rear side of the amp for output jacks labeled ‘Front’ or ‘Main,’ then use the outputs to connect the speakers to the amp. Ensure that the right and left speakers are connected appropriately during this wiring step.

If your speakers are not labeled left or right, check for the polarities label instead. The negative terminal of the speaker should be connected to the negative terminal of the amplifier, and the same goes for the positive terminal.

Step #5: Switch On The Sound System And Fine Tune The Sound To Your Liking

Once you have connected everything and the subwoofer and speakers are properly wired to the receiver, switch on the main power supply and receive. As you test this out, make sure that the volume is not too high. Then use the bass management on the receiver to control the sound performance. This is the perfect time to customize your home theater and listen for any distortions or errors in the sound quality so you can adjust accordingly.

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How to Connect a Passive Subwoofer to a Receiver

The Bottom Line

If you are an audiophile or movie enthusiast, you surely will not regret investing in a subwoofer over traditional speakers. Unfortunately, the typical loudspeakers you get in a home theater system cannot reproduce all the sound frequencies they receive. So, essentially, you miss out on a better sound experience whenever you watch movies or TV at your home.

Listening to music alone is already an improved experience with subwoofers. The extra bass, instrumentals, underlying vocals will shine through thanks to the LFE or low-frequency effects that are pretty much the specialty of subwoofers.

Lastly, if you enjoy gamers or watching sports, the subwoofer will improve the audio experience. You will be even more immersed in the game or match because of the sound effects that your speaker system will reproduce.

Make sure that you purchase a passive subwoofer or powered subwoofer that fits all of your needs. Be sure to check all the wires and ports too. These should be in good condition to ensure proper connections to an external amplifier or AV receiver if needed. Not to mention, the size and structure of your home theater are important in determining if a front-firing or down-firing sub is best for you. Finally, the surrounding sound and low-frequency range will be worth the price and setup. Once you tick all of these boxes, get ready to enjoy the high-quality sound in your home theater.

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