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How Do I Hook Up... my non-powered subwoofer?

Non-Powered Subwoofer Connections

If your subwoofer doesn't plug into a power outlet, that means it isn't powered. Obviously! So how do you connect it?

The best way to go about it is through your front speakers. You'll need some extra speaker wire to do this.

Plugging Speaker Wire into your Subwoofer

If you haven't already read Running Speaker Wire, than you might not know a simple rule about speaker wire: length. When you run cable for the left and right channels (like your front speakers, or your rear speakers), you should keep the length of the speaker wire the same. For instance, if you use 8ft for the front left speaker, use 8ft for the front right, too. You can use different lengths for the rears as long as the rear speaker wires match eachother.

By that same token, you're going to need some speaker wire to go from your receiver to your subwoofer and then from your subwoofer to your front speakers. Its important to keep the pairs of wires equal in length.

The first step is running speaker wire from your receiver's front left and right speaker channels to the left and right speaker jacks on your subwoofer labeled "Input."

The next step is to run speaker wire from the subwoofer's left and right speaker jacks labeled "Output." The other end of these wires go to your left and right front speakers. Don't forget to keep the wires the same length.

Its also important to mind positives and negatives; your speaker wire connects a + and - wire to your components. You can use either end of the wire as positive or negative, just so long as you use the same pattern for both ends of the cable.

Consider Upgrading to a Powered Subwoofer

Connecting your speakers to your subwoofer results in less power to your speakers. That's how the subwoofer gets its power and generates bass in this configuration. Not only is the sub "gentle" compared to a powered subwoofer, but your front speakers will be weaker as a result of the bypass to the subwoofer.

Didn't understand some of the terms used above?
Check our our Home Theater Glossary to lookup some of the words you haven't seen before or don't fully understand. Its a great way to familiarize yourself with home theater connections and will help you make better buying and configuring decisions.
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Enjoy Your Home Theater - Get it Hooked Up with!