How to Set Up a Subwoofer

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Updated October 17, 2022

If you are new to the world of stereo systems, you may wonder how to set up a subwoofer. Many of the best speakers, after all, are subwoofers, and these speakers benefit from a proper installation process. So why properly set up the best subwoofers, and what are the various steps to do just that? Keep reading to find out.


  • Properly setting up your new subwoofer is crucial to ensure you get the best sound quality when using the subwoofer output.
  • Start by making all of the appropriate connections and looking for loose wires from power cables to subwoofer cables to avoid any annoying crossover frequency or an incorrect crossover setting.
  • Subwoofers must be placed correctly and should be broken in for two or three weeks. This includes those connected to theater receivers.

Why Properly Set Up a Subwoofer?

You want a proper installation when learning how to connect a subwoofer to a receiver. This means it needs a reliable and effective setup, especially if you are learning how to tune a subwoofer. Properly setting up your subwoofer ensures your whole system sounds its best, which is useful when learning how to make a subwoofer louder.

Insider Tip

When breaking in the subwoofer, do not play it at a higher-than-average volume to avoid distortion and minimize the risk of blowing the speaker.

Learning how to properly wire a subwoofer is a primary step in getting it to work, so you can start enjoying music. It can also let you know the limitations of your system if you are learning how to hook up two subwoofers.

How to Set Up a Subwoofer With Speakers

Here are some tips worth considering when hooking up a subwoofer to a pre-existing stereo system.

Proper Connections

Your first step is to make all of the necessary connections. This varies depending on the design of your speaker and the rest of your system but typically requires standard stereo wires or speaker wires going from the sub to a receiver or preamp. Make sure to go slowly here and be on the lookout for loose connections. Also, have replacement cables on hand in case any are faulty, including speaker wires, power cables, and any other connection cables.

Proper Placement

The proper placement is key when setting up a subwoofer. Play your stereo system, subwoofer included, and move it around the room until you find the perfect location for the sub to rest. There is no right or wrong way to do this, as it is up to your personal preferences and the sound you are looking for. Some people place the sub directly between the two stereo speakers, while others put it off to the side.

STAT: All powered subwoofers require two connections: power and signal. (source)

Breaking-in Period

Just like any speaker, a subwoofer requires a suitable breaking-in period to sound its best. This takes ten or 12 hours of regular use as you listen to music at a low to moderate volume. After around two weeks of one or two hours each day, you will start to notice a difference in sound.

Subwoofer Setting Up FAQs

How do you set up and calibrate a subwoofer?

See the above to learn how to set up a subwoofer. After that, look for internal crossovers by adjusting your listening position and fine-tuning any phase or resistance knobs on the back.

How do I budget for a home theater system?

Just start slowly and purchase according to your needs. Start with powered subwoofers or a wireless subwoofer, and then purchase a receiver and other speakers. After that, perform listening tests.

How do I choose a home theater receiver?

Choose based on your desires and preferences, but make sure the theater receiver includes a dedicated subwoofer output, along with outputs for tower speakers and the like. Having a knob for phase control never hurts here, either.
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