How To Connect Subwoofer To Receiver Without Subwoofer Output?

How to connect subwoofer to receiver without subwoofer output? You can try one of these methods:

  • Speaker-level outputs
  • RCA outputs
  • An external amp

We will discuss each method in detail and give you step-by-step instructions. Let’s follow our post and be ready for the awesome sound system!

Why Should You Integrate The Subwoofer Into Your System?

Why would you want to add a subwoofer to your sound system? You will understand it once you listen to the sound released.

The sub can deal nicely with the low frequencies on the audio spectrum for enhanced overall sound quality from the front speakers.

Moreover, the sub delivers more precise tones in low frequencies to add depth to the audio content.

Thanks to this addition, you don’t have to be an audiophile to enjoy the different levels of music that the device can bring to the spotlight.

You won’t realize what you’ve been losing until you’ve heard the entire sound spectrum. You will have a smooth listening experience when the whole system works with no timing problems at all.

how to connect subwoofer to receiver without subwoofer output- The subwoofers can upgrade your sound system

The subwoofers can upgrade your sound system

How To Connect Subwoofer To Receiver Without Subwoofer Output?

There are three methods you can try for this task. If one doesn’t work, you can go for the other.

However, the first thing to do is to determine the type of your device and what connectors are compatible.

Step 1: Determine the type of your subwoofer

Before figuring out which connectors to employ, we need to determine what sort of subwoofer we’re working with.

There are two popular types of the subwoofer: active (or powered) and passive (or non-powered).

  • Active

The most frequent form is active subwoofers. This model features a built-in amp. It offers you a lot more options for connecting it to the receiver because you don’t have to power it.

  • Passive

Subwoofers that are passive work more like conventional speakers. They require either an external amp or electricity from an AV receiver to work.

Since users have to find a power source for these models to work, they have become uncommon.

It is often simple to distinguish the two. Active subwoofers are often bigger and deliver much louder sound than passive ones.

If yours is the passive sub, you need to take more steps to have it connected without the output.

You can learn the differences between active vs. passive subwoofers right here.

how to connect subwoofer to receiver without subwoofer output- Start by determining the type of sub you have

Start by determining the type of sub you have 

Step 2: Determine the alternative connection

Plug the sub into a connector marked “Subwoofer Out,” “Subwoofer,” or “Sub Out.”

According to some websites, if your receiver does not have any of the labels, you will need to purchase a new unit.

You have a few more alternatives depending on the sort of subwoofer you have and the channels the receiver allows.

Step 3: Insert RCA cables

In most cases, receivers allow you to use the preamp outputs instead of the sub outputs.

Your sub may have Right and Left (R and L) stereo connectors. You can use them to play your music at low tones.

To do so, try out these steps:

  • Obtain a pair of RCA wires. If your sub only has one RCA connection, you need an RCA Y-Adapter.
  • Connect the male ends of the cables to the sub input and the female ends to the receiver’s preamp port.
  • The Y-Adapter can convert one input into two, allowing users to access both channels.

Unfortunately, this approach requires the use of RCA connections for both your sub and your receiver.

If your sub doesn’t include RCA inputs, you’ll have to use a conventional speaker to attach it to receivers.

how to connect subwoofer to receiver without subwoofer output- Both of your devices must have RCA connections

Both of your devices must have RCA connections 

Step 4: Connect to Speaker Level Outputs

Speaker-level (also called high-level) outputs can be a good alternative if you can’t link the two via RCA cables.

Check for spring click connectors on the back of the receiver, similar to those found on the backside of a regular speaker.

You may connect your sub to them as if they were your speaker.

The instructions for connecting to the speaker level output are as follows:

  • Connect the AV receiver to the rear of your sub using speaker cables.
  • Connect the right and left spring-clip connector wires on the receiver.
  • Connect the right and left spring clip connectors on the subwoofers.

This method is easy, but you should also be careful. The sub may come with two sets of clips: speaker out and speaker in.

These features help you run the speakers through the sub. You can easily connect both to one receiver speaker-level port, but make sure that you go with the right port.

If your subwoofer has one set of connectors, you’ll have to utilize the same setting for both speakers and sub.

Finally, only a limited number of subwoofers have speaker-level inputs. However, if yours doesn’t feature any preamp inputs, it’s a helpful addition.

how to connect subwoofer to receiver without subwoofer output- Check for the speaker-level input and output of your devices

Check for the speaker-level input and output of your devices 

Step 5: Connect the subwoofer with the external amp

There are several methods to deal with your active sub. However, if yours is passive, the options turn out more limited.

This model requires an intermediary amp to avoid draining power from the receiver, making it harder to work with.

A transmitter can transmit data to your passive woofer, but it won’t be able to provide the electricity it requires to function correctly.

As a result, preparing an external amplifier is strongly advisable. This method effectively converts your passive sub into an active version, allowing you to apply the methods we have mentioned earlier.

To make it happen, all you have to do is simply connect the back of the sub to the previously attached amplifier.

The subwoofer’s audio quality will suffer if you can’t get an external amp. It also runs the risk of draining the AV receiver’s power supply.

What’s worse, this issue may require you to withstand an overall deterioration of your audio system’s performance.

how to connect subwoofer to receiver without subwoofer output- You can use external amps for passive subwoofers

You can use external amps for passive subwoofers 

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Safety Tips To Bear In Mind

Before you add a sub to your receiver that doesn’t feature an output, be sure you know what kind of amplifiers are in the setup.

You may begin modifying levels between each amplifier channel and the receiver once you have connected everything properly and turned them on. Then, they all can be at a volume that’s pleasant to your ears.

Before putting the systems back on after attaching them, test the subwoofer and speaker inputs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you want to explore deeper into this topic? If yes, please check the following questions and their answers accordingly.

1. Do I need an external amplifier for my passive subwoofer?

Yes. Passive subwoofers earn their name because, like traditional loudspeakers, they need an external amp to run.

Consider attaching passive subs to a powered source component if you don’t have the amplifier. The component, such as a powered mixer, should have a built-in amp.

For more information:

2. Can you hook up a subwoofer without a subwoofer output?

If your receivers don’t have the preamp output, you may use the sub as a speaker.

Try to connect the receiver’s output terminals for the front right and left speakers using speaker wire.

3. Why do some receivers not have a subwoofer output?

Many AV receivers don’t have this feature because most modern subwoofers are powered and need a line-level connection.


There are methods to have your speaker set up and outputting great quality regardless of the sort of sub you have or which connectors are accessible to you:

  • If you have passive subs, you may use an external amp to attach it to the receiver.
  • If you have active subs, you may link them to the receiver using the RCA output or the Level Inputs from your speakers.

Hopefully, the guide we have shared can help you handle your sound system at ease. For any further information, please feel free to ask. Thank you for reading!

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