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Best Way To Connect A Subwoofer To An Old Amplifier

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Best Way To Connect A Subwoofer To An Old Amplifier

Got a classic amplifier or receiver? When it comes time so as to add some nice low-end bass you is likely to be scratching your head questioning how – and if – you may add a subwoofer. The nice information is that there are a number of methods to attach a subwoofer to an outdated amplifier or classic receiver. Even higher, it won’t value lots, both! Read on and I’ll share with you 3 methods to attach a subwoofer together with clear subwoofer diagrams anybody can perceive.

How does a subwoofer work?

An amplifier boosts the low-level input sign with the intention to drive the subwoofer’s voice coil with ample power and transfer the speaker cone, producing sound. As the cone strikes the air inside a specifically designed enclosure (speaker field) deep bass, contained within the musical input sign, is produced. They’re designed for only low-end bass and never voice or different musical instrument frequencies.

A powered subwoofer contains an amplifier already contained in the subwoofer enclosure. It additionally has a built-in low-pass crossover to dam increased sound frequencies with the intention to produce clear and great-sounding bass only. For non-powered subwoofers the issue comes whenever you join one to an amplifier or receiver’s outputs without a crossover – it sounds horrible!

Old amplifiers and classic receivers vs new receivers

Unlike older amplifiers, extra fashionable residence stereos and particularly residence theater receivers have a subwoofer output jack (or pair of jacks) dedicated to this bass sign a subwoofer makes use of to create sound. This is often from stereo music indicators or the subwoofer (“.1”) channel sound in multi-channel surround sound materials akin to Dolby Digital or DTS.

For instance, you may even see phrases like “5.1” or “2.1” speaker methods or surround sound audio listed for films. In this case, the primary quantity represents the variety of primary speakers. The “.1” is used to characterize a sound channel restricted to only bass for subwoofer use. Older amplifiers and receivers don’t present a subwoofer output so we’ll want to attach a subwoofer utilizing another concepts.

Powered subwoofer inputs & controls to know

Powered subwoofer example with inputs and controls labeled Shown is an instance of a powered subwoofer’s rear panel with 2 sorts of inputs: speaker inputs and RCA (low degree) input jacks. Note that not all subwoofers supply speaker degree inputs, which means if yours doesn’t have them it’s a bit tougher to attach the bass sign input. Powered subwoofers often have just a few totally different inputs and controls. It all the time will depend on the actual model and model you purchase. Here’s what you’ll often discover on most:

  • Power input (AC outlet power)
  • On/off switch
  • RCA input jack or a pair of jacks
  • Subwoofer crossover adjustment
  • Subwoofer degree adjustment know (the amplifier’s sign increase degree)

In most cases, a subwoofer input jack, if you happen to had one on a receiver, is a “mono” (monaural, 2 stereo channels mixed into one) sign you join with a single RCA cable. Best Way To Connect A Subwoofer To An Old Amplifier Shown: What a receiver with a subwoofer output jack seems like as discovered on many more moderen receivers. These connect with the RCA input jack on the subwoofer, if current. Of course, if you happen to’re studying this it’s since you don’t have a receiver with a subwoofer output. In truth, a number of the information you’ll discover proper now on the internet says that you just have to purchase one other subwoofer if you happen to don’t have a receiver with an output jack.

That’s merely not true. Subwoofers with speaker degree inputs are nice to have for precisely this motive as you may join them on to an older amplifier or classic receiver’s speaker outputs. Even if you happen to purchase (or already personal) a subwoofer without speaker degree inputs, it’s okay – there’s one other solution to principally join it primarily the identical approach! Below you’ll discover a diagram displaying the right way to join an outdated amplifier or receiver without a subwoofer output simply.

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Diagram & examples: Connecting a subwoofer to an outdated amplifier or classic receiver


1. Connecting an outdated amplifier or receiver to a subwoofer with RCA input jacks

Best Way To Connect A Subwoofer To An Old Amplifier

Left: Example of a powered subwoofer with 2, as a substitute of the standard 1, RCA input jacks. Right: An RCA Y adapter that can be utilized with a line degree converter to hook up with a subwoofer with a single RCA input jack. If you’ve obtained a subwoofer with 1 or 2 RCA input jacks and no speaker degree inputs, right here’s a easy and high-quality solution to join it: through the use of a line degree converter.

What is a line degree converter and the way do they work?

Line degree converters (additionally referred to as RCA speaker degree adapters) are small digital units that connect with speaker outputs from an amp or receiver and scale down the higher-voltage sign to a low degree (“line level”).

The outputs are RCA jacks which might then be connected to any amplifier or subwoofer with RCA jacks. While you nearly by no means see them used for residence stereo methods, they’re extraordinarily helpful within the car stereo world as a result of they make it possible to attach a stereo without RCA outputs to any amplifier or powered subwoofer. Likewise, they can be utilized for residence stereo amps and receivers, too!


Best Way To Connect A Subwoofer To An Old Amplifier

Shown listed here are two examples of line degree/RCA speaker degree converters that work well for residence receiver/amp to subwoofer use.

How a lot do line degree converters value?

Line degree converters fluctuate in value a bit relying on the standard and features, promoting round $15-$25 or so in lots of retail shops and on-line shops.

How to make use of a line degree converter

To convert speaker degree outputs out of your amplifier or receiver to RCA jack subwoofer outputs, you’ll join the offered speaker wire connections (marked by colours and striped) identical to you’ll common speakers. You then join RCA cables (or a single cable, relying in your explicit one) to your powered subwoofer. The inside electronics not only scale down the speaker output voltage from a receiver but additionally assist stop noise from the audio path, too.

Most, however not all, speaker degree adapters don’t want a power supply. If your subwoofer has a single RCA subwoofer input jack, you could wish to pick up a “Y” RCA adapter to mix each receiver channels on the output side right into a single mono RCA plug. Subwoofers with 2 (stereo) RCA jack inputs will want an ordinary stereo male-male RCA cable.


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2. Connecting a subwoofer with speaker degree inputs

Example of subwoofer speaker level inputs

A subwoofer with speaker-level inputs is very easy to hook up with your older amplifier or receiver! To accomplish that, simply connect with the speaker outputs on the supply unit utilizing speaker wire after which to the matching inputs on the subwoofer. You may even power speakers from the amp or receiver on the identical time. If your subwoofer has speaker degree inputs built-in you’re in nice form! Just join them on to your amplifier or receiver’s speaker outputs, both to unused speaker terminals or on the identical time (in parallel) with speakers connected to the receiver.

Just like an off-the-shelf line degree RCA converter I discussed earlier, the subwoofer’s inside electronics will scale down the speaker indicators to a a lot decrease line degree sign the inner amp can use. You can nonetheless anticipate very good sound high quality because the sign used is simply divided down and isn’t modified. Because speaker degree inputs have a really high input impedance (complete input resistance), in most cases it won’t harm to attach them to your receiver or amp on the identical speaker wire terminals the place speakers are already connected.

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To accomplish that, you’ll simply join them in parallel: constructive speaker inputs to constructive speaker outputs and adverse speaker inputs to adverse speaker outputs. Additionally, there’s a low-pass crossover built-in as well to supply great-sounding bass and no disagreeable elements of the music – simply pure, low-end bass.

Note: Subwoofers with speaker degree inputs and outputs present a solution to simply join each on the identical time. The outputs are internally connected to the input connectors, making it simpler so as to add speakers and the subwoofer to a receiver concurrently.

3. Connecting an amplifier’s speaker outputs to a passive (non-powered) subwoofer

Example of a passive subwoofer low pass crossover A passive subwoofer low-pass crossover, in contrast to an digital crossover, works utilizing capacitors and inductor coils as a substitute of digital elements to filter out the undesirable higher-frequency sound that may in any other case go to the subwoofer. This permits you to power the subwoofer with only a decrease bass sound just like how a powered subwoofer works. Using a passive (non-powered) subwoofer is unquestionably not as easy as a powered one.

The good information is that it may be finished, and comparatively simply, too. In truth, it you don’t have to fret about going broke, both, though you will want to do a little bit of procuring. To join your amplifier or receiver to a non-powered subwoofer as is proven within the diagram above, you’ll have to pick up a low move crossover that you just’ll join between the amp or receiver and the subwoofer. These will filter out sounds above the crossover frequency and supply only a pleasant bass sound to it.

How to decide on a subwoofer crossover

Speaker crossovers just like the one proven are bought each in a single (one speaker) or twin (2-speaker) fashions relying on the model & provider. They additionally need to be matched accurately to the impedance (Ohms ranking) of the sub.

For instance, for an 8 ohm subwoofer, you’ll want to make use of a crossover designed for 8 ohm speakers. Otherwise, the sound filtering is radically totally different and won’t sound correct because the speaker load will change how the crossover filters the sound quite a bit. Normally you’d select one with a low-pass frequency of near 100Hz or near that. You may have to buy round to take action.

Where to buy passive subwoofer crossovers

Speaker crossovers are bought the place speaker elements & associated elements are bought as well as marketplaces like Amazon or Parts Express. Other speaker specialty shops the place alternative speaker elements are bought could have them, too.

Stereo vs surround sound receiver subwoofer output comparability


Stereo vs surround sound receiver differences diagram Unlike older or normal stereo receivers, surround sound receivers have a singular output that comes from the surround sound film or music supply. However, in common stereo listening mode, they act the identical as common receivers. Just as a side observe, one factor to concentrate on is that whenever you join a subwoofer to an outdated amplifier or receiver you won’t be capable to get the separate dedicated bass sound channel (.1 channel) like you may with a surround sound receiver.

Those are in a position to extract the dedicated bass sound from a DVD or different media and route it to the subwoofer output jack. On the opposite hand, it won’t even be an issue.

Did you realize? The surround sound receiver “LFE” (low-frequency) output is taken into account non-compulsory – therefore the “.1” title.   Surround sound receivers and amplifiers are designed as a way to play almost all of the sound via the primary speakers if wanted.

In some cases, for instance, some films and music use the bass channel to actually draw you into the expertise. Using a receiver without that output means you can’t get the identical impact, however that’s only for surround sound mode.

The good information is that in stereo mode, each new and outdated receivers & amps have very comparable subwoofer conduct when connected as you’ve seen right here. In different phrases, you in all probability won’t actually miss it if you happen to’re utilizing an older receiver or amp. That’s simply one thing to concentrate on in case you’ve thought of upgrading sooner or later.

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