How Do I Hook Up my subwoofer?

Hook up Powered Subwoofers: Receiver Pre-Outs

Before trying to hook up your subwoofer, you need to identify the connections it has. First, take a look at the back of your subwoofer.

You're looking for an AC power cord (to ensure its a powered subwoofer) and two RCA jacks labeled "Line-In". There may be more, but this is all you'll need to properly connect your subwoofer.

The last piece of prep work is for you to check your receiver. You'll need to find a section of RCA jack outputs labeled "Pre-Out", and one of them should be for "Subwoofer".

If you don't have this output, you won't be able to connect your sub this way. Refer to Connecting a Non-Powered Subwoofer to get your subwoofer connected.

Necessary Cables for Subwoofer and Pre-Out Connections

You'll need to obtain the following cables to complete your setup:

- subwoofer cable (an ordinary RCA cable will do, but for distances over 10ft, purchase a subwoofer cable)
- optional Y-adapter

And that's it! You'll want a Y-adapter to combine the two RCA jacks on the subwoofer into one. They are labeled Left and Right line-in inputs, but for a typical home theater, you only have one cable coming from the receiver to the subwoofer. If you don't have one or don't want to get one, you don't need the Y-adapter; just use the left or right input by itself.

Plugging in and Hooking up Your Subwoofer

If you have a subwoofer cable and a Y-adapter, this is the optimal setup for your sub. Just plug the subwoofer cable into your receiver's subwoofer pre-out and the other end into the Y-adapter on your sub (which is connected to the left and right RCA line-in inputs). Then make sure the power plug is connected to an outlet (hopefully in a surge protector) and you're finished.

A receiver's preouts. You would use the subwoofer pre-out to connect your receiver to your sub Here's a picture of a receiver's preouts.

Notice the one labeled Sub Woofer. It is typically purple in color, but that's not always the case.

You should see a similar jack on your receiver, and 99% of the time of it will be in a group labeled pre-out.

If you're not using a subwoofer cable, a composite audio cable will work up to about 10ft. If you have a pair of red and white (or even red, white, and yellow) composite cables, just pick a color and let the other wires dangle.

Enjoy your Subwoofer and all the Bass it has to Offer

That's all there is to it for connecting your powered subwoofer. If you followed the steps above, you've properly hooked up your subwoofer. Consider checking out our other How-To Guides to learn how to hook up the rest of your home theater.