How To Connect A Subwoofer To A Receiver Without A Subwoofer Output

A subwoofer is a speaker designed to reproduce low-frequency audio signals from 20 Hz and below. It provides the main power for bass notes in movies and music.

Two Types of Subwoofers

To connect a subwoofer to a receiver correctly, you must first understand your sound system’s subwoofer type. They are separated into two categories; our sound engineers will detail them below.

●      Passive Subwoofer

There are passive subwoofers, which require an external amplifier to work well with your stereo speakers to function properly. These models are similar to traditional speakers and offer users more customizability and control over their home theater system.

A passive sub requires more research on the subwoofer and receiver compatibility. Since they do not have an amplifier built-in, a non-powered subwoofer is generally lighter and more compact.

●      Active/Powered Subwoofer

These subs are referred to as active subwoofers or powered subwoofers. What are the benefits of an active sub? It will work with your main speakers right out of the box without you connecting it to an amp. Powered subs will save you a lot of time when you connect a subwoofer to a receiver and other speakers.

There are downsides to an active sub, one of which is the weight and size. Since they house an amplifier, this type of subwoofer is much larger and heavier than the alternative. Active subs are also the more common model available on the market.

Methods to Connect the Subwoofer

One of the following approaches can be used to connect the subwoofer if your receiver lacks a subwoofer output:

1. The subwoofer is connected to your receiver directly using a different amplifier and speaker cable. You will need an amplifier that has an RCA input or line-level input. It requires additional equipment, but it is often the best way to get the best sound out of your subwoofer.

2. Use a powered subwoofer, which has its amplifier built-in. Just plug it into an AC wall outlet and connect it to your receiver using a speaker or RCA cable. It is the easiest method but only sometimes the best for achieving optimal audio quality.

3. Directly connecting the subwoofer to your receiver requires a special subwoofer cable.  It is the simplest method, and it typically works well when using a smaller powered subwoofer with a built-in amplifier.

4. An AV receiver’s line-level input or preamp output should be connected to the subwoofer. It is an ideal solution if you’re using a larger, more powerful subwoofer with an external amplifier.

5. Experiment with the location of your subwoofer to achieve better sound quality and lower distortion levels. Place it close to the main speakers for optimum performance and balance.

6. Adjust its settings once you place your subwoofer and connect it to the appropriate inputs. The most important setting is the crossover frequency, which determines the frequencies sent to the subwoofer versus the main speakers. You can use the numbers provided by your receiver manufacturer or employ a more precise method using an SPL meter.

7. Consider adding acoustic treatments to your room if you need more than the sound quality. These can help reduce unwanted reflections and dampen sound-degrading standing waves that could be causing distortion.

8. Finally, maintain good cable management in your home theater setup. Poorly routed cables can easily impede the performance of your system. Invest in quality speaker wires and ensure that all connections are secure to maximize the sound quality from all connected components.

What Speaker Wire Is Used to Connect a Subwoofer to a Receiver?

1. Begin by connecting the left and right speaker output terminals on your receiver to the corresponding input terminals on your subwoofer. Ensure you’re using high-quality speaker wire with solid and secure connections.

2. Connect an AC power cable from a wall outlet to your powered subwoofer if you have one.

3. Set the receiver’s crossover frequency to match your subwoofer’s specs. This step is necessary for optimal sound quality and bass response from the subwoofer.

4. Now, turn on the receiver and powered subwoofer and adjust the volume levels according to your preference.

5. Finally, ensure the subwoofer’s phase setting syncs with the other speakers connected to your receiver. It will ensure that sound waves travel in the same direction for optimal performance and audio quality.

You can also use an audio test disc or app to check how different settings affect the sound from your subwoofer. Now you can enjoy better bass and fuller audio from your home theater system.

Alternative Methods for Attaching a Subwoofer to a Receiver without a Subwoofer Output

1. Connect a powered subwoofer and amplifier directly to your receiver’s speaker outputs.

2. Purchase an external amplifier for low-frequency sounds and use it to connect your passive subwoofer.

3. Connect the line-level output from your receiver to an active crossover, then route the low-frequency signals to your subwoofer.

No matter which option you choose, be sure to adjust the settings on your receiver or crossover as needed to ensure optimal sound q

Finally, remember that a good subwoofer should blend seamlessly with the rest of your home theater system for a powerful, rich sound that brings your movies and music to life. You can enjoy outstanding bass performance without spending a fortune or taking up too much space with the proper setup.

Passive Subwoofer Connection to Receiver

To begin with, you’ll need an amplifier to power the subwoofer. Then, you can attach the output of the amplifier to the input terminals on the subwoofer’s own back. After that, you’ll need a subwoofer cable, which will connect the output terminals on the amplifier to the input terminals of the receiver. Finally, plug in your passive subwoofer and power it up – you’re ready to go!


For a home theater with surround sound capabilities, subwoofers work really well. If your device lacks a subwoofer output, that’s okay because most such devices will have preamp outputs. Your system can still function without the sub-out if you have an RCA input or speaker-level connection.


I am the person behind, and my name is Elena. If you're a speaker lovers, I share information about speakers on this website to help you to choose best sound system.

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