How to Connect Subwoofers to a TV

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Updated December 2, 2022

For high-quality audio, users with premium speakers should understand how to add subwoofers to a TV. Whether you have a dedicated home theater room or a simple setup, a top-tier subwoofer output is paramount for low-pitched audio frequencies. Adding powered subwoofers to your current setup shouldn’t be too complicated, so stick around to learn how to connect a subwoofer to a TV.

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You need more than a standalone subwoofer for cinema or bass-heavy music, so investigate what a soundbar is. Top-rated soundbar systems offer premium sound quality, but you should learn how to hook up two subwoofers for deep bass sounds.

Insider Tip

Even better-than-average soundbars benefit from dedicated subwoofers, especially if you want impressive surround sound.

How to Hook Up Subwoofers to a TV

Basic setup instructions should work for most TV audio connections, but investigate how to connect subwoofers to a receiver without a subwoofer output. Your sound setup cannot maintain immersive audio without regular care, so learn how to fix a ripped subwoofer cone to ensure high-quality sound.

Method 1: Direct Connection

STEP 1 Find Your TV’s Audio Output Port

You should find an HDMI Audio Return Channel (ARC) port on the back of your television.

STEP 2 Find the HDMI-ARC Input

The HDMI ARC-labeled input should be a single port on the back of your subwoofer.

STEP 3 Connect the HDMI Cable

Plug the single HDMI cable into the TV and subwoofer to complete the setup.

Method 2: Converter Device

STEP 1 Connect the Converter

You need the converter method when you do not have a compatible subwoofer for your TV’s connections. For example, if your TV offers digital coax output, but your subwoofer uses HDMI, you need a converter. Connect your converter to your TV’s audio output jack.

STEP 2 Connect the Subwoofer

If you’re using a digital coax, the converter’s digital coax cable should offer an HDMI connection. Plug your HDMI subwoofer into the converter cable.

STEP 3 Check Your Connections

Ensure the audio cables are firmly connected to each device and the converter. You’ve completed the setup.

Method 3: AV Audio Connection

STEP 1 Connect the Reciever to the TV

Connect your TV’s audio output with the audio video receiver input port.

STEP 2 Find the Subwoofer Connection

Your AV receiver should have a dedicated subwoofer connection port. Connect the subwoofer’s audio input port to the AV receiver.

STEP 3 Turn On Both Devices

Power on the AV receiver and subwoofer, and test your TV audio. You should have working TV audio, but check the cable connections if you hear humming or underwhelming volumes.

Warning

Low-quality sound systems feature front-heavy sound and lack bass, and you may blow out the speakers at high volumes.

STAT: According to the CDC, about 22 million American workers experience hazardous noise levels each year. (source)

How to Connect Subwoofers to a TV FAQs

Are wired subwoofers better than wireless models?

Since wired connections support more data flow than wireless ones, most experts recommend wired subwoofers for the best audio. That said, wireless subwoofers create less visual noise, and they usually offer an easier direct TV setup than wired models.

Do soundbar units have a built-in subwoofer?

Some soundbars exist with internal subwoofers, and they're usually called standalone soundbars or sound bases. These units are generally larger than most external soundbars to make room for additional audio equipment compared to basic models.

Do I need separate subwoofers for surround sound?

While you do not need multiple subwoofers for surround sound, you will enjoy a fuller bass sound compared to single-subwoofer setups. With multiple subwoofers, the low-frequency bass sounds provide immersive surround sound for video games and movies.
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