Subwoofers offer dramatic low-frequency effects to audio from movies, broadcast sources and CDs. Active subwoofers add plug-and-play convenience to existing entertainment components, eliminating the need for an extra amp. RCA jacks are typically used for active subwoofer audio connections. In many home audio systems, placement of the often bulky subwoofers is a challenge. Third-party wireless solutions aid in optimal placement, whether your priorities are aesthetics or performance.
Wireless subwoofer operation requires an audio amplifier at the subwoofer location. The wireless element of operation transmits only the audio signal. Active subwoofers incorporate dedicated amplifiers matched to the speakers within, usually including crossover filters for optimal subwoofer performance, making these ideal candidates for adapting to a wireless system. An active subwoofer is not completely wireless since a wall outlet is needed to supply power to the amplifier. A passive subwoofer requires a separate power amp at its location, increasing the complexity of the subwoofer system.
Wireless Subwoofer Adapter
The wireless subwoofer adapter converts the Low-Frequency Effect (LFE) signal from your stereo or surround system to a low-level digital radio signal and broadcasts from the transmitter to the receiver. The receiver converts the radio signal back to audio, and the audio signal then supplies the active subwoofer. Wireless subwoofer adapter kits are available from companies such as Episode Speakers, Sunfire and Soundcast Systems.
Connecting RCA Jacks
Connect an RCA cable to the LFE or Subwoofer RCA jack on the back of your amplifier or receiver, and connect the other end to the input of the wireless adapter kit's transmitter. Repeat the process between the RCA jack on the adapter kit's receiver and the RCA audio input on the subwoofer. Both the transmitter and the receiver will have power supplies. Connect these as directed in the user manual. You may need to synchronize the transmitter and receiver. Follow the instructions provided with your kit.
Completing the Wireless Installation
Some subwoofer adapter kits may have adjustable latency controls. Latency refers to the delay time between the audio signal at the amplifier and the subwoofer output. Latency times of 15 to 20 milliseconds are indistinguishable to the human ear, so adjust down if you have that option. Longer times are used for advanced installations, usually involving larger rooms than encountered in most homes.
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