How to Hook Up a Subwoofer to a Home Stereo

by Joe Fletcher

A subwoofer can really enhance the sound of any stereo system. Even if you have high-end speakers and amplification, a subwoofer can add the deep bass that you may be missing.

Step 1

Connect using a line-out connection. This type of connection will send a nonamplified, low-frequency signal to your subwoofer. This is for powered subwoofers only (subwoofers with built-in amplification that you plug into the power outlet). Use RCA cable or subwoofer cable to connect from the "Sub Out" or "LFE Out" on your receiver, preamplifier or amplifier to the subwoofer input jack.

Step 2

Turn the subwoofer "On" on your receiver or preamplifer menu.

Step 3

Connect using speaker-level connections. Some receivers do not have a Sub Out jack, and passive subwoofers require external amplification and, therefore, a speaker level connection.

Step 4

Connect speaker cable from the main speaker outputs on your receiver/amplifier to the input terminals on the subwoofer. Correctly match corresponding speakers (left, right) and polarities (positive, negative).

Connect speaker cable from the speaker outputs on your subwoofer to the corresponding left and right speakers. Again, be careful to match the polarities. Turn the subwoofer "Off" and set speakers to "Large" on your menu.


  • Be sure that all components are OFF before making any connections.


  • LFE stands for "low-frequency effects" and is a home theater term, which relates to the ".1" channel of home theater soundtracks (think "5.1"). Using a connection labeled LFE won't direct low frequencies to the subwoofer for nondigital surround sound formats.

About the Author

Joe Fletcher has been a writer since 2002, starting his career in politics and legislation. He has written travel and outdoor recreation articles for a variety of print and online publications, including "Rocky Mountain Magazine" and "Bomb Snow." He received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Rutgers College.

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