How To Connect Subwoofer To Receiver Without Subwoofer Output - 3 Steps

There are lot of people these days who are looking for adaptable ways to connect their subwoofer to their receiver, but they don’t have a subwoofer output on the back.

Some receivers will have pre-amp outputs that can be used for this purpose, but many don’t. If you’re looking for some help with connecting your woofers and want to do it without an external amplifier or special cables, then keep reading!

How about passive (non-powered) subwoofers? In order for the subwoofer to function properly, a receiver can only transmit signals and cannot deliver power. These days, passive subwoofers are not very common, and most of them are powered. An external amplifier is needed if you have a passive subwoofer. A receiver is connected to an amplifier, and then a subwoofer is connected to the amplifier.  

How To Connect Subwoofer To Receiver Without Subwoofer Output

Here are three possible methods for establishing connections after determining which connections are available. The following applies to your current situation: Connecting a passive sub with an external amplifier. Using Stereo RCA outputs to connect an active sub. Using Speaker Level Inputs to connect an active sub. 

Using Stereo RCA Connectors

How To Connect Subwoofer To Receiver Without by speakerjournal.comSubwoofer Output

If your subwoofer has the left and right (L and R) stereo RCA connections, you can connect it to your receiver with them.

However, if you’re using RCA cables to connect your subwoofer Line IN and receiver subwoofer out, this technique is viable.

To connect using RCA connectors

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Speaker wire connections using RCA connectors.

  • Connect your subwoofer’s left channel connection to the receiver’s Line IN Left.
  • Connect your subwoofer’s right channel connection to the receiver’s Line IN Right.
  • If the wire is spliIf the wire is split into blackt into two separate red and white wires, then you’ll need to join them into a single colour.
  •  and yellow, this means that it’s not being used for stereo RCA connections, so leave these as they are.
  • If your receiver features a preamp output, connect this to your subwoofer’s Line IN.
  • If the receiver doesn’t have a dedicated output for subwoofers, make sure that you switch it off when connecting and disconnecting your wires!

Keep in mind that you’ll probably need RCA inputs for this, so check with your local electronics store before trying anything else!

Using Speaker-Level Outputs

How To Connect Subwoofer To Receiver Without by speakerjournal.comSubwoofer Output

What if your receiver doesn’t have the preamp output as well? In this case, you’ll have to connect your sub as a speaker.

Most receivers come with spring clips similar to those found at the back of standard speakers.

Using these receiver’s speaker outputs, you can connect it to an under-seat subwoofer or a free-air subwoofer you recently added to your car or home theater audio system.

Just like the speaker wires, connect your RCA inputs cables to them.

If you don’t want to cut or strip any of your receiver’s wiring, you can use a special adapter that will let you plug into these spring clips without modifying anything.

One way is to purchase an adapter known as “Speaker Wire Adapter”, which features RCA male/male connectors on one side and bare wire connections on the other.

Another way is to purchase a “Speaker Wire Adapter”, which features an RCA female-to-female cable with bare wires on the other end, so you can solder them yourself!

If you’re using speaker-level outputs for this purpose, it’s important to remember that they won’t be as powerful.

In some cases, the sound system may even distort when turned up too high or low on your receiver. If a preamp output is available, it is probably best to use it!

This Is How You Connect Your Subwoofer Via Speaker Level Outputs

  • Connect the speaker terminals of the receiver to the corresponding line input terminals on the woofer. Make sure that they’re connected securely and won’t come loose easily!
  • If you’re using speaker wire, make sure that the positive and negative terminals match up. If you need to switch them around, so they do, use a small screwdriver to do this.
  • Connect a cable from the woofer’s line output terminal (which may be labelled SPK or SUB OUT) to your receiver subwoofer input. Make sure that the cable is securely connected and won’t become loose over time.
  • If your receiver doesn’t have a dedicated subwoofer input, connect it to a regular Line IN connection on the back of your device instead.

Now you’re all set up!

Test out how well everything sounds by playing some music or movies through your speakers. If it doesn’t sound system like you think it should, make sure that your receiver isn’t on and try again.

If this still doesn’t work, check the connection once more to see if there are any loose wires or something is in the wrong place!

If these steps don’t work out for you, then consider contacting an electronics specialist to see if they can give you any advice!


Now Connecting your sub to a receiver without the “SUB OUT” option will no longer be difficult.

If you want to connect your subwoofer to your receiver and start hearing those low frequencies in all of your favorite songs, there are three options: You may use RCA connections or speaker level outputs.

Connecting your subwoofer to a receiver can be tricky, but hopefully, this article has helped show you how it’s done!


What Do I Need To Connect A Subwoofer?

You will need speaker wire, RCA cables or both. A “Speaker Wire Adapter” may also come in handy for this!

How Can You Connect Your Receiver Without Using The "SUB OUT" Option?

There are several options when it comes to connecting your receiver without the “SUB OUT” option! You can connect via speaker level outputs or RCA cables.

What Is A Speaker Wire Adapter, And How Does It Work?

A “Speaker Wire Adapter” features an RCA female connector on one end and bare wires on the other, so you can solder them yourself!

Can You Connect A Subwoofer To A Receiver Without Subwoofer Output?

Yes! You can do this in a variety of ways, depending on your system. You can use RCA cables or speaker level outputs, so either one will work for you.

Does The Type Of Connection I Choose Affect My Sound Quality?

Depending on the connection you use, your sound quality may be different. If this happens to you, try playing around with your receiver’s settings and see if that solves the problem!

How Do You Connect A Subwoofer Through A Speaker Level Output?

You can connect a subwoofer by making sure they match up correctly from positive to positive and negative to negative. If you need to switch them around, use a small screwdriver for this!

How Do You Connect A Subwoofer Through The Speaker Wire?

You can simply plug in your “Speaker Wire Adapter” to your receiver’s line output terminal and then attach it to any of the corresponding terminals on your woofer. Make sure that they’re attached securely!

For a passive subwoofer, is an external amplifier required?

Absolutely. Only your receiver can transmit signals to your subwoofer. Your passive subwoofer cannot be powered by the receiver. If your subwoofer is an active one, you will not need an external amplifier. An active subwoofer comes with its own amplifier.