How To Connect A Subwoofer To An Amplifier: Audio Setup Guide
It is pretty easy to figure out how to connect subwoofer to amplifier as long as you have the right cords available. If your unit has no internal amplifier yet, a set of RCA cables with red, white, and yellow jacks can connect it to an external amplifier. A typical way to connect a subwoofer is to plug a linking cable to the Subwoofer Output of a receiver or amplifier. The Subwoofer Output is also labeled 'SUB OUT' on a receiver or amplifier. An LFE (Low-Frequency Effects) cable is used to connect to the SUB OUT or LFE output of a receiver or amplifier.
Using RCA Connectors
One tip on how to connect subwoofer to amplifier is to use RCA connectors. However, if your receiver or amplifier has no LFE subwoofer output, you might instead be needing stereo RCA connectors. Connections to receivers or amplifiers are via an RCA cable plugged into the 'Line In' subwoofer.
Some RCA cables are split towards a right channel and a left channel. If this is the case, plug both the right and left channels into the subwoofer.
Using Spring Clips
In other subwoofer models, the connectors are spring clips that you plug into the speakers' back or amplifier. You can plug these into the receiver's speaker output. This is another way on how to connect subwoofer to amplifier.
A subwoofer may either have one set of spring clips or two sets of spring clips. If there is only one set of spring clips, then the subwoofer has the same connections for a receiver and a speaker. Both the receiver and the speakers have common connections and may best benefit from banana clips.
However, if your subwoofer comes with two sets of spring clips, there are no shared connections between the speaker and the receiver. These spring clips are for 'speaker in' and 'speaker out.'
Plugging into Stereo Systems
Now that you've learned how to connect subwoofer to an amplifier, here's another common question: can subwoofers plug into stereo systems?
Subwoofers are typically built and used for home theatre systems and the cinematic, enveloping feel of the deep bass that makes a realistic movie. But how about using subwoofers for music? Could these be connected to stereo systems as well? In many instances, you can, but you have to read labels closely. You can't always expect to read 'subwoofer output' ports in stereo receivers. The key is to know which jacks to plug your cables into. Let's first start with some concepts on connecting subwoofers to speaker systems.
There are two ways to connect a subwoofer to speakers:
- The low-level connection, where we use the LFE or line-level connection.
- The high-level connection, or the speaker level connection.
So, in stereo amplifiers with no dedicated subwoofer outputs, you can plug speaker cables into your subwoofer's high-level connection. This connection is worth a try since adding a subwoofer elevates your music experience, with those low sounds you don't just hear but feel through you. Adding a subwoofer then is also very much a memorable tactile experience.
Taking a cue from some aficionados, they use the low-level connection or LFE for watching movies and use the high-level connection for listening to music for more natural sound output. Now, that leads us to another question: can I plug into and connect both the high-level and low-level connections all at the same time?
The quickest and most prudent answer would be to check your subwoofer's manual for best use, especially if your subwoofer has both high-level and low-level connection ports available. Based on experience, some do try to use both. However, many advise that it is not recommended to plug into both connections at the same time. This is because it may not produce the sound quality that makes for good, pleasurable listening. Although some contend that for movie watching, keeping both levels connected will also have all sorts of sound effects captured efficiently, it may not be a good idea to do this often. Using both levels simultaneously may also pose the danger of straining the amplifier and subwoofer, eventually damaging them both.
Finally, a word on cables: It is always best that you avoid using thin, cheap cable types because these may not handle or withstand the amount of power streaming through a subwoofer and amplifier. The recommended wire is a thick coaxial cable with enough shielding. Aside from durability, this thick cable type ensured better performance and minimized signal interference.
Learning how to connect a subwoofer to an amplifier may take a lot of work, so it is always helpful to stick to some hacks that help you avoid confusion. Sort through the mess and eliminate guesswork by writing connection instructions and important rules on a small sheet of paper and sticking this somewhere conspicuous, like the back of your equipment. It may also be convenient to label each plug with the ports' names that they should go into. After countless tries and safe experiments, it won't be so confusing anymore.
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