How to Hook Up a Subwoofer to Speakers

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Home theater enthusiasts might want to connect a powered subwoofer to speakers for added bass. A subwoofer delivers low-frequency sound that you can feel as well as hear. If your receiver does not have a dedicated subwoofer jack using an RCA-type plug, you can connect the receiver to the sub, then wire the subwoofer to stereo speakers. In this setup, you adjust the crossover knob on the subwoofer so that it receives only low-frequency bass signals from the receiver. The remaining audio signal passes along to the speakers you've connected to the sub. These connections only work if you have a self-powered subwoofer, meaning the sub has a built-in amplifier to drive itself, as well as any external speakers you might attach.

Things You'll Need

  • Powered subwoofer
  • Stereo speakers
  • Receiver
  • Speaker wire
  • Wire strippers
  • Dedicated subwoofer cable with RCA-type plugs.
  • Disconnect the sub and the receiver from the electrical outlets.

  • Strip 1/2 inch of insulation from the ends of the speaker wire.

  • Connect the wires to the back of each speaker using the wire with black insulation for the negative terminal and the wire covered with red insulation for the positive terminal. Make the connection either by unscrewing the two posts on some speakers and wrapping each wire around a post, or by lifting the spring-loaded clips to expose holes for the speaker wires.

  • Attach the other ends of the speaker wires to the left and right High Level Output connections on the back of the subwoofer. Again, make sure the black wire goes to the negative terminal on the sub and the red wire connects to the positive terminal.

  • Connect speaker wires from the Low Level Input terminals on the back of the sub to a free set of speaker connections on the back of your receiver, or plug a dedicated subwoofer cable with an RCA-type plug from the Input jack on the sub to the subwoofer "Out" jack on the back of your receiver.

  • Restore power to the equipment.

  • Adjust the frequency crossover knob on the back of your subwoofer to achieve the desired balance between the heavy bass sounds the sub will produce, and the high and mid-range frequencies that will pass on to the stereo speakers you've just connected.

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