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Connecting a subwoofer up to powered speakers is a little bit more difficult than you may think. You can’t just plug the subwoofer into the speakers. You will need to purchase a bit of extra gear to get everything up and running. However, don’t worry. This gear can be pretty cheap.
On this page, we are going to tell you everything that you really need to know about getting a subwoofer connected up to your powered speakers. This includes telling you the equipment that you will need to purchase.
How to Connect Subwoofer To Powered Speakers
If you have a sub-out line on your powered speakers, then the job is fairly easy. Just plug the subwoofer into the sub-out line and you should be fine. Make sure you purchase the best cables that you can afford to ensure high sound quality.
The second option is to purchase an audio splitter. This audio splitter will be plugged into the audio source. The audio will then be split between the subwoofer and the powered speakers. Some people claim that this may remove a small amount of bass, but for most normal purposes, this is probably not even going to be noticeable.
Using a Digital Audio Converter (DAC) To Run Subwoofer and Powered Speakers
While you could quite easily use a Y-cable to split the sound between a subwoofer and powered speaker, the best option is to use a DAC. These are often used in home theater set-ups, but you can use them in any sort of audio set-up, assuming you have the right cables to hand.
A DAC will ensure the best split possible when it comes to audio. You will also have significantly more controls on your DAC than you would when you are just using a Y-cable. This should make adjustments much easier to make.
It is important to note that a set-up like this is only going to work if you have both active subwoofers and active speakers. If you do not, then you are going to need to introduce an amp into the process. Remember, even if you have active speakers, you will still need to ensure that the subwoofer is active or supplied by an amp, or you are not going to be able to hear anything out of it.
Connecting a Passive Subwoofer To Powered Speakers
If you have a passive subwoofer, you won’t be able to connect it straight up to powered speakers, even if the powered speakers have a sub-out connection on the back.
A passive subwoofer will need to be connected up to an amp. That amp will boost the sound heading into the speaker so you can actually hear something.
Thankfully, you shouldn’t have too many issues connecting that amp to your subwoofer. It doesn’t matter whether you are using a DAC or a Y-cable. You just need to put the amp between the DAC/Y-Cable and the passive subwoofer and you should be fine.
If you are connecting the passive subwoofer directly up to your powered speakers, then you will need to put an amp between the speakers and the subwoofer. Although, you may want to check the spec for your speakers too. Some powered speakers will have an amp that will already do the job for you (not the cheaper ones!)
Any amp is really going to work here. However, we suggest that you pick up the best quality amp that you can afford, just to ensure that you get the best sound quality.
How To Ensure The Best Sound Quality From Your Subwoofer
As soon as you start messing around with cables, the subwoofer sound quality will be impacted. If you want the best sound pumping out of your subwoofer when it is connected up to the speakers, then you will likely need to carry out a few adjustments.
We have already stated that you should always purchase the best equipment that you can afford. This will help to add less distortion to the sound.
What you have to remember is that the sound volume on both your subwoofer and your speakers can only go up so far before the sound starts to distort. So, make sure that you find the level of volume and gain where there is no distortion coming through the speakers.
On the subwoofer, you will want to remove those mids and highs. To do this, follow these instructions:
- Set your system to 1/4 volume
- Turn the value of the subwoofer up until the subwoofer is louder than the rest of the speakers.
- Ensure there is no distortion
- Adjust the low-pass filter on the subwoofer until those highs and mids are gone, but you can still hear the bassy notes.
If you followed those instructions, then your setup should sound decent. Perhaps not perfect, but you can make more adjustments later on.
Connecting a subwoofer to powered speakers isn’t too difficult. For the most part, it is a case of getting a Y-Cable or a DAC and splitting the signal from the audio source. In other cases, you can just connect the subwoofer to the speakers and you are ready to roll.
Do bear in mind that if you are using a passive subwoofer, you will also need to introduce an amp into the mix. The more cables and equipment you throw in, the more of an impact it is going to have on sound quality.
Remember, once you have managed to get everything hooked up properly, your job isn’t done. Neither your speakers nor your subwoofer is going to sound perfect “out of the box”. You are going to need to adjust the settings on both your speakers and your subwoofer to ensure the minimum amount of distortion while also boosting the quality of the sound pumping out of the speakers.
Remember, you will always want to ensure that you purchase the best equipment possible for the job. Cheap cables, amps, or speakers will make your job so much harder.