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How to Connect a Car Subwoofer to a Soundbar

In the world of audio, the quest for the perfect sound is a journey that never ends. Whether you’re a music enthusiast, a movie buff, or simply someone who appreciates high-quality sound, you’ve probably considered enhancing your audio system at some point. One common way to do this is by connecting a car subwoofer to a soundbar. But how exactly do you go about this? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the ins and outs of connecting a car subwoofer to a soundbar, providing you with practical tips and insights to help you achieve the best sound possible.

Understanding Subwoofers: Active vs. Passive

Before we delve into the specifics of connecting a car subwoofer to a soundbar, it’s important to understand the basics of subwoofers. Subwoofers come in two main types: active and passive.

Active Subwoofers

An active subwoofer is a ready-to-connect speaker unit with an amplifier and a frequency filter. The advantages of this device are that it does not require additional space, it has a wide range of settings, and it is easy to connect it to the OEM car stereo. However, its cost is significantly higher.

Passive Subwoofers

On the other hand, a passive sub is a single unit construction, with several speakers encased in it. In order to reproduce low-frequency sound, the subwoofer must be connected to an amplifier. The advantage of the passive version is its relatively low cost. The downside is the mandatory additional space due to the need to connect the connecting structures – amplifier and filter.

Where to Install the Subwoofer?

The location of your subwoofer can significantly impact the quality of sound it produces. If you’re dealing with a small trunk space, this can be a problem for a subwoofer installation, especially for a passive model. This situation is often found in sedans. In cars of this type, the best place to install a subwoofer is in the rear shelf or armrests. Minivan or hatchback has enough space in the trunk, so the question of finding a place for a subwoofer – disappears by itself.

How to Connect a Subwoofer?

The subwoofer is one of the important components of a multi-component speaker system, its presence is obligatory in a set of speaker systems for home cinema. The main classifications are: a) active subwoofer, b) passive subwoofer.

The subwoofer is a loudspeaker designed to reproduce low frequencies, which are at the lower threshold of human ear sensitivity. The term “Subwoofer” is used to describe a system with a low-frequency head in a separate enclosure.

Correct Connection of a Subwoofer

Any amplifier/receiver is usually equipped with a special RCA output that is designed to connect subwoofers. Some of them have two outputs. However, usually, one output is used, as the second one is usually intended for making it possible to connect a second subwoofer. To connect the subwoofer, you need an RCA cable to make its connection to one RCA input available on the receiver. Some subwoofers have a speaker with a double coil, the coil itself with two windings. There is a separate amplifier connected to each of the windings. If your receiver has one RCA jack for subwoofer connection, then the receiver (amplifier) is connected with the twin ends of the Y-cable (1 RCA to 2 RCA) to the two-line inputs of the subwoofer (its inputs are paralleled).

Connecting Two Subwoofers

If you are using 2 subwoofers, you need to connect them to the line output of the amplifier, using a Y-adapter RCA or connect to the output terminals of the amplifier (receiver) in parallel with the front speakers.

Connecting A Subwoofer to A Stereo

  1. A modern car, stuffed with electronic devices, having a high-voltage ignition system, is a source of electromagnetic interference. Analog electrical signals are very sensitive to them. Therefore, when selecting a cable for audio signal transmission, pay attention to coaxial shielded wires. The shielding braid of the cable connected to the car body reliably protects the center wire from induced interference.
  2. When buying a wire, you should not choose the cheapest one. Enterprising Asian manufacturers often sell aluminum wire under the guise of copper cable, which is coated with a thin layer of copper using modern technology. Such a wire looks very decent, you cannot tell it from a wire made of solid copper. If you can’t bite off the tip and examine the cut, you can compare the weight of the wire that is questionable. with the same length and cross-section, the aluminum wire is much lighter than the copper.
  3. Finished interconnecting wire kits always have a control cable. Its role is as follows. The auto speaker amplifier is usually located in close proximity to the subwoofer or integrated into it, if the subwoofer is active. The amplifier is powered by separate wires. To make it turn on with the stereo, there is a special input for the control plus, which is fed to the amplifier from the output of the stereo when it is turned on, usually, a blue wire in the harness, labeled remote.

Connecting to A Soundbar

To connect the interconnect wires, the wires in your boombox usually have two tulip outlets labeled SW. If there are no such outputs, you can find information on how to connect a subwoofer to the OEM stereo here. After performing the above procedures, it remains only to connect the wires transmitting the sound signal from the amplifier to the subwoofer, the sound after amplification has a lot of power, so the cross-section of the wires must be appropriate.

Automatic Connection to Subwoofer

Subwoofer and subwoofer connection is pre-set at the factory and if the first unit and the subwoofer are switched on, they will be connected automatically. When the units are interconnected, the blue link light on the subwoofer (LINK) stops blinking and stays on.

The Challenge of Adding a Subwoofer to a Soundbar

While it’s clear how to connect a subwoofer to a stereo, the challenge arises when you want to connect a subwoofer to a soundbar. According to an article from “The Home Theater DIY”, you can’t add a standalone subwoofer to most soundbars. It’s typically only possible when both the soundbar and the subwoofer are sold together and designed to natively connect to one another.

Soundbars and Native, Manufacturer-Paired Speakers

Many soundbars can connect with subwoofers that are within their branded line. For example, if you buy a Bose soundbar, you can purchase a Bose-compatible subwoofer to connect to it. This is a common practice among many manufacturers who give you the option of upgrading your soundbar with additional speakers and/or subwoofer, as long as you use the recommended products.

Soundbars Packaged with Subwoofers

Another option for connecting a soundbar to a subwoofer is by purchasing them together. Many soundbars are now packaged with a subwoofer and/or extra speakers to create a better surround sound experience. This is because a big critique of soundbars is that they have front-heavy sound and lack bass.

The Jerry-Rigged Method for Adding a Subwoofer to a Soundbar

There is a method for adding a subwoofer to a soundbar that involves using a receiver and a stereo mini mixer, along with your soundbar and subwoofer. This method, however, is not the most recommended as it may sacrifice some sound quality.

Conclusion

For many drivers, listening to music while driving is not just a way to brighten up the time, but something much bigger. To create high-quality best audio for your car with a soundbar, audiophiles are ready to sacrifice a lot of money and install the most modern equipment. An expensive car stereo solves many things, but without a properly selected amplifier, speakers, and, of course, a subwoofer, it is just a beautiful thing. So today we looked at exactly how you can connect a subwoofer to a soundbar and I hope this article was useful for you.

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