How to hook up a subwoofer to a stereo receiver

If you’ve ever wondered how to connect a subwoofer to a stereo receiver? If you have a brand new shiny subwoofer that is just crying out for some tinkering or just seeing what it’s like to set something like this up, then this is for you. With any new set up, it’s good to know what to expect. Happily, this is a simple process if you can tell the difference between your plugs and sockets.

Before you start

As always, here are the warnings for the dangers of electricity. Please ensure that you are protected by having the right protective equipment and if you’re ever not sure about something be sure to contact a qualified electrician. While there is always that urge to dive headfirst into a new piece of kit try to remember no piece of equipment is ever worth your life.

With that morbid stuff out of the way, we get into the fun things. Be sure to research for your gear. If you don’t have the manuals for a model of each device just to get a better understanding of the devices, you’ll be working with. While this may bore you and admittedly a little tedious at first it’s much better to do this and not risk breaking anything!

The reason for doing your research is also important is that it’s going to depend pretty much entirely on whether you’re setting up one or two speakers, or what the connectors in the back are. Today, I’ll be going through two types of connections, but it will depend on your setup.

How to hook up a subwoofer to a stereo receiver – LFE Connections

Step 1

Check for the label on the back of your subwoofer for either a ‘SUB OUT’ label or ‘Subwoofer’ label

Step 2

Check the back of your Stereo Reciever for a ‘Line IN’ label. This will look like a headphone jack.

Step 3

Connect your LFE (Low-Frequency Effects) cable From the Sub OUT to the Line IN

Step 4

Turn everything on and check the controls at the back for any minor tweaks you need to do.

How to hook up a Subwoofer to a Stereo Receiver – RCA or Speaker Level Connections

Sometimes there simply won’t be an LFE cable or port available. In these instances, you’re better off going with an RCA cable or similar. RCA cables are the same cables we’ve talked about in our How to connect integrated Amplifier to AV receiver article and the steps are really simular.

Step 1

Check for the label on the back of your subwoofer for either red, white or yellow ports (but sometimes there is a black one too depending on your unit). These should have the tag of Line IN on the subwoofer.

Step 2

Check the back of your Stereo Reciever for a ‘Line Out’ label. The ports will usually be red, white or yellow.

Step 3

Match the cable colours to the ports on both machines. (So, Red and White on the Subwoofer and Red and White on the Stereo Reciever)

Step 4

Turn everything on and tweak as appropriate to your tastes.

Video Tutorials

We have a selection of tutorials to make the connections as easy as possible. A lot of the videos include some older models of stereo receivers which will be useful for some of you who want to get some new life out of old tech.

https://www.lifewire.com/connect-a-subwoofer-to-receiver-or-amp-3135132

Conclusion

It’s simple to connect a subwoofer to a stereo receiver once you know what you’re looking at. Once you know what you’re looking for, you will be up and running before you know it. Do you have any tips or tricks that we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments.

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