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If you are new to the world of stereo system setups, you may wonder how to wire a subwoofer without an amp. Many of the best speakers, after all, are subwoofers, and these speakers require adequate connections to a home stereo for optimal performance. So what are the various methods for wiring the best subwoofers to other components of your stereo system without relying on an external amp? Keep reading to find out.
When learning how to wire a subwoofer to a home stereo, you sometimes come across setups that do not feature a dedicated amp or preamp. When learning how to connect a subwoofer, you have to account for power, as most are passive. Don’t fret, as there are many options here to fix this little hiccup, so you won’t have to wonder why your subwoofer is rattling.
Remember to use a ground wire if connecting to a receiver with standard speaker wires.
Here are some common methods to connect a subwoofer without an amp so you can move on to learning how to tune a subwoofer.
Just because you lack a dedicated external preamp does not mean you have no amplification options to get the subwoofer up to the optimal line level. Amps and preamps are often hiding in other stereo system components. Check your stereo receiver, as this likely includes a preamp of some kind that will integrate nicely with a subwoofer. Many modern speakers have amps built in to simplify the connection process, and so on.
While many subwoofers are passive, modern designs accentuate active speakers. In other words, using an active subwoofer means you do not need an amp at all. The line level coming out of the subwoofer will be amplified enough to integrate with any speaker or receiver you throw at it. Powered subwoofers tend to be pricier than passive models, but the cost may be worth it to eliminate another connection.
STAT: Home-cinema subwoofers are given their own channel, called the .1 or the LFE output (low-frequency effects). (source)
The simplest option is just to add an amplifier into the mix. There are dedicated subwoofer preamps and plenty of stereo receivers with built-in preamps. There are also many power amplifiers out there that are built exclusively for stereo equipment. In other words, you will be able to get things going without spending too much money and without too many connection-related headaches.