How to Hook Up Subwoofers to an Amp

By Joe Fletcher

The subwoofer is an excellent add-on component to any stereo system. It provides the deep bass that most speakers lack and enhances both music and movie soundtracks. Whether you have a powered or passive sub, you'll need to get it connected to your amplifier for it to work.

If your amplifier has a "Sub Out" jack, connect a subwoofer cable from the "Sub Out" jack to the RCA input jack on the subwoofer. This is a line level connection, which means it is not amplified. This connection is useful for powered subwoofers only.

Connect using speaker wire. If you have a passive sub or your amplifier lacks a "Sub Out" jack, you can connect the amplifier and subwoofer like you'd connect two speakers. Use the Main (Left and Right) speaker output terminals on the amplifier and connect to the subwoofer's speaker inputs. Be sure that the polarities of each individual wire strand are the same.

Wire the speakers. If you used the method in step two, wire the left and right speakers using the left and right speaker outputs on the subwoofer. The signal will be routed from the amplifier through the subwoofer and to the main speakers.

Adjust your stereo settings. If you used a "Sub Out" jack, be sure that the subwoofer is on. Set speaker size to large and adjust crossover frequencies to desired levels if you used speaker level connections. Refer to instructions for your specific sub or preamplifier for questions on available adjustments.