How To Connect A Subwoofer To An Old Amplifier?

The subwoofers are an indispensable stereo device for music lovers that brings you higher-quality soundtracks. Do you want to pair an old amplifier with a subwoofer to level up your listening experience with sharper low-end bass?

However, you may struggle when pairing these two devices together in your home theater system. This post will discuss “how to connect a subwoofer to an old amplifier” and provide you with step-by-step instructions.

Follow the steps carefully; you will get the job done with ease and minimal effort!

What Are Stereo Subwoofers?

A subwoofer is a specialized stereo device that can be added to your home stereo system to increase the diversity of the soundtrack. It produces mainly low-frequency bass and sub-bass sounds (20 -125 Hz).

A regular speaker cannot play the deep bass sounds with sufficient vibration and authenticity. When reproducing low-frequency waves, the speakers will distort the sound or create an audio gap.

Subwoofers are designed to handle these low tones to help you feel the sound better and increase your entertaining experience. It is often combined with other woofers or speakers to set up a complete audio system.

There are hundreds of subwoofer brands on the market that come with different price ranges and qualities. A good subwoofer gives you more bass and increases the clarity and vibration of the sounds.

The woofer must work in perfect harmony with your main speaker to achieve the best result. When correctly integrated, you won’t be able to identify the sound generated by the subwoofer.

Some reputable subwoofer brands are REL, Sonus Faber, and Wilson Audio. They offer woofers products ranging from $1000 to $10000 with different frame sizes and designs.

how to connect a subwoofer to an old amplifier- Subwoofer model

Subwoofer model 

What Are The Types Of Stereo Subwoofers?

There are two main types of subwoofer that serve different purposes: active and passive woofers. From these two categories, the device will be divided into multiple styles.

Active Subwoofer

An active subwoofer or powered woofer has a power source or a built-in amplifier. This device is ideal to set up in single woofer configurations.

The main advantage of an active subwoofer is that you don’t have to add an extra amplifier. It is a complete device for many home audio systems.

Setting up an active woofer is also relatively easier compared to the passive ones.

Although they don’t need many cables to set up, powered woofers consume more electricity.

An active subwoofer comes at high price ranges due to the integrated amplifier and optimization in every component.

Supplemental information: How To Connect Subwoofer To Car Stereo Without Amp?

Passive Subwoofer

A passive subwoofer can only operate when connected to an external power source such as the amplifier. This device is suitable for large audio system setups like theater or conference halls with many speaker units.

Due to these reasons, a passive subwoofer is more complicated to set up. You have to connect it to many audio units and an extra power source to sustain its operation.

With this device, you can spread the bass sound generated from many units in a large room for a large number of audiences.

How Do Stereo Subwoofers Work?

When a subwoofer is connected to the audio source or amplifier, it will process the current and give out amplified sound.

A regular woofer contains four main components:

  • The voice coil: A bobbin connected to the main core with wires.
  • The basket: A frame that contains the other components of the woofers.
  • The pole piece: Concentrate the energy of the coil.
  • The spider: Vibration-absorption and handling the cone’s movement.

The Basket

Like a PC case, the basket is a skeleton that contains and covers all the components of a subwoofer. This item has several vents or even small fans to reduce the heat and cool off the inner system.

The Voice Coil

The voice coil is the heart of a subwoofer that handles audio signals received from the other devices.

This item contains multiple copper wires and the main cylinder (the former).

It will process the electric currents to generate magnetic fields and eventually give out the sounds.

The Spider

Underneath the cone is the spider, which plays as a bridge between the voice coil and the basket. This item is made of hard fabric that can absorb shocks and control the cone’s movement.

The spider also covers the inner voice cole and protects it from dust and vibration.

Read more: How to Test a Subwoofer With a Multimeter? (5 Easy Steps)

What Are The Differences Between New And Old Amplifiers?

New amplifier models have an advanced feature called audio electrolytic capacitors. This system helps produce more accurate and authentic bass sounds than the old amplifiers.

Vintage amplifiers also generate more noise than the old rectifiers, but the difference is inconsiderable.

The biggest advantage of new models is an upgraded power supply and more advanced components. These strengths enable them to produce sounds with better clarity and virtually no distortion or gaps.

New models also possess more beautiful and compact designs, apart from the performance. They get smaller over time and consume less energy.

how to connect a subwoofer to an old amplifier- Amplifier Model

Amplifier Model 

How To Connect A Subwoofer To An Old Amplifier?

Here are some easy methods to connect each type of subwoofer to an old amplifier. You should choose the most suitable method depending on the configurations of your devices.

If Your Amplifier Doesn’t Include Sub-Outs, Use An Active Subwoofer Having A Speaker Input.

Some old amplifier models don’t include a sub-out designed for subwoofer output. In this case, check the back of the device and look for the speaker inputs, which should be available on any device.

Now you have to connect your active subwoofer with the vintage amplifier via the speaker cable. Ensure that you select the right connecting port, and the woofer will automatically process the received audio signals.

The task gets much easier if your amplifier includes sub-outs. Look for the connecting port labeled RCA inputs and plug in both ends of the RCA cable to the two devices.

If Your Amplifier Lacks Sub-Outs Or RCA, Use An Active Subwoofer Without Speakers.

Another option is to use active woofers without speakers when your vintage amp doesn’t support sub-outs or RCA inputs. You will need an RCA low-level line converter or adapter.

This item can optimize the signal voltage and transform high sound signals into RCA signals. Ensure that you have turned off the two devices before setting up the RCA connection.

If sub0outs or RCA inputs are available on your old amp, just use one or double RCA wires to pair the two devices. More than one connector may improve the quality of the sound.

Passive Amplifiers With or Without Speaker Inputs

A passive amplifier doesn’t include an amplifier or crossover. You need to set up extra amps for the two devices for parallel operation.

An additional low-pass crossover to remove high-frequency audio in your woofer is needed to achieve the highest sound quality.

If your amplifier doesn’t support sub-out input, you can pair the subwoofer with the old amp using the RCA adapter.

You can connect the two devices directly via RCA cable if the sub-out is available.

In Your Stereo System, Hook Up A Subwoofer To An Old Amplifier.

Consider using the pre-out outlet to integrate the woofer and old amplifier into your home audio system. It would be best if you used a high-level input woofer to work well with your main speaker.

Connect your amplifier to the woofer using an RCA converter. If the sub-out inputs are available, just use a direct RCA cable to set up the connection.

You can use both active and inactive woofers in this setup. If the integrated amplifier in your active woofer cannot process the heavy load, your vintage amplifier will do its work.

Without a pre-out amplifier, the sound produced may get distorted.

Use An Old Amplifier And A Stereo Sound System To Hook Up Your Subwoofer.

A common stereo sound system consists of two main speaker units on the two sides. Some advanced systems include up to five units to give out vibrating and immersive audio from all corners.

Yet, if your integrated subwoofer produces distorted sounds, it is a sign that the built-in amplifier is not strong enough to handle the heavy load of the system.

In this case, you will need to set up an additional amplifier as the pre-out let to handle the audio signals. Use the pre-out ports and suitable connecting cables to pair your subwoofer with the old amp.

how to connect a subwoofer to an old amplifier- RCA Connector

RCA Connector

Connect Your Subwoofer To An Old Amp Using Speaker Cables V/S RCA Cables.

The simplest solution is to use the RCA cable to pair your woofer with the old amp if both support the RCA connection. It is optimal to use more than one RCA cable to achieve better sound quality and a more stable connection.

Another option is the regular speaker cables, but they may cause distortion or interruption in the audio. It is because your main speaker is operating on higher signals than your woofer.

If you want more detailed instructions, consider watching the video below.

What To Consider Before Connecting A Subwoofer To An Old Amplifier?

Here are some required tools to prepare before you connect a subwoofer to an old amp:

  • Active or passive woofer
  • An old amplifier
  • Subwoofer box
  • Connecting cables or wires
  • RCA cables (more than one is better)
  • Speaker wire
  • An RCA adapter
  • Tools like a screwdriver, scissor

Depending on your devices’ configuration, you must select suitable connecting wires and ports. You should add an extra crossover to your home audio system to achieve the highest sound quality.

Final Thoughts

We hope that these simple methods can help you connect your woofer to the old amp with ease. These two devices will increase the audio of your stereo system and bring you a great listening experience. Thank you for reading!

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