How to Connect a Subwoofer to Speaker Level Outputs

How to Connect a Subwoofer to Speaker Level Outputs
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What is a subwoofer? What does it do and why is it important? It is a component of a loudspeaker which is designed to reproduce low bass or low-pitched frequencies. If you know how to connect a subwoofer to speaker level outputs, then you also know that a subwoofer can be very effective and convenient when used and designed appropriately.

Poor installations of subwoofers may cause the whole set up to suffer from poorly defined or too much bass. In case you wonder about its difficulty level, let’s just say you would usually see one good installation out of nine unsatisfactory work. Normally, there is a hole in the frequency spectrum of the crossover region between the subwoofer and the satellite speakers, and this integration is what makes or breaks the whole system.

But do not let this get the best of you. Read on and let’s get that subwoofer up and running!

The Subwoofer Setup: Everything That You Need To Know

The fundamental idea of using a subwoofer is that it can reproduce low frequencies. However, it’s not just all about subwoofers. The room’s acoustic properties are also to be considered because you will get poor performance if you set up even a high-quality subwoofer in a room with poor acoustic properties. So aside from the subwoofer itself, you still need to consider some other factors before you do your set up so you can achieve best results.

Most home theater systems use subwoofers, but they are also known to improve the sound of speaker systems. They can give a foundation to the sound that only a few speakers can handle, so having them can enhance the sound of the entire system as a whole and not just add deeper and more bass. They usually get connected to your receiver’s speaker output jacks that are linked to your speakers, with the use of speaker cables.

Moreover, here are some of the things you need to know about your subwoofer setup:

  • Auto-Calibration
    The receivers sometimes include a calibration microphone which usually does a good job in adapting the sound to your environment, to make the best out of the speakers.
  • Setting the Size of the Speaker
    You have to go to the speaker set up on the menu so you can control the bass management of your right and left speakers.
  • Subwoofer Placement
    You may want to sit and listen when finalizing the placement of your subwoofer. Is it too boomy? Does it sound weak or strong? You may notice that the sound of the bass can dramatically change when you try to move it to a few different locations. So chill out, take your time and try different spots until you get the best.

How to Connect a Subwoofer to Speaker Level Outputs: The Ways

All subwoofers that are powered need signal and, of course, power, to get connected. Also, to guard against surges and for safety purposes, it is recommended that you plug your subwoofer into a power protection device. For the signal, you can connect using the LFE subwoofer output or use a stereo or speaker level outputs.

Connecting Using the LFE Subwoofer Output

This is considered the easiest and the simplest connection since it can work with any amplifier or receiver which comes with a dedicated subwoofer output. You only need a subwoofer cable so you can connect your receiver’s subwoofer output to the low-frequency effect input on the subwoofer. Almost all stereo receivers and home theater processors have this kind of output.

Tip: You will see the LFE port labeled as a subwoofer and not as LFE since it is a special output only for subwoofers.

Connecting Using Speaker Level Outputs or Stereo RCA

Not all amplifiers or receivers have the LFE subwoofer output or input, and this is when you will see a right and left stereo RCA connectors, or spring clips on the back of standard speakers. You simply need to plug the RCA cable to the right or left port on the subwoofer if the “Line In” of your subwoofer uses RCA cables. On the other hand, you will need to plug in both the right and left channels if the cable is split on one end.

If there are spring clips for you to use the speaker wire, then you can hook it all up using the speaker output of the receiver which is the same as connecting a basic stereo speaker. Some subwoofers have two sets of spring clips which mean other speakers connect to the subwoofer wich pass along the audio signal while they connect to the receiver. If there is only one set, the subwoofer will share the same receiver connections as the speakers.

Final Tweaks

  • Phase Switch
    Your subwoofer might be out of phase with your speakers if it feels a little off. You can try to change it to the other setting to see if you can get a better bass since most subwoofers are designed with a two-position phase switch on the back.
  • Level Control
    There are subwoofers which come with independent volume controls which makes it easy to dial back a loud soundtrack, but you may be required to make adjustments from one movie to another.
  • Put Your Subwoofer on a Platform
    You may get unwanted resonances that affect the sound of your bass if your walls, ceiling, and floor vibrate to the beat of your subwoofer. If this is the case, you might want to place it on a platform that is sound-absorbing to stop the vibrations.

The Verdict

After our discussion on how to connect a subwoofer to speaker level outputs and other things that we need to know about subwoofers, will you be able to do the set up on your own confidently?

The process and the steps may vary depending on the type of speaker or amplifier that you have, but consider the things we have stated above, and you will do just fine. Aside from that, you sure will also be able to get help by checking the manual that comes with it. However, if it seems a little more complicated than expected, you can also choose to call the manufacturer for technical assistance.

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