How to Connect a Single RCA Plug Subwoofer to a Receiver

Updated April 17, 2017

Adding a subwoofer to your home theatre stereo system is one of the easiest ways to increase your listening pleasure. The low-frequency sounds that a subwoofer is able to produce can fill a large room with bass. Regardless of whether you are listening to music or watching a movie, smaller speakers simply cannot produce the lower frequencies that a subwoofer can. A subwoofer with a single RCA input is a characteristic of a powered subwoofer. A powerd subwoofer has a built-in amplifier. Because it is only a single cable connection, adding a powered subwoofer is a very simple procedure.

Unplug the receiver and subwoofer from the electrical socket. Both the subwoofer and the stereo will have their own individual plug.

Locate the Low Frequency Effects (LFE) output on the back of the receiver. The LFE output signal is non-amplified and utilises the receiver's crossover instead of the powered subwoofer's crossover. Generally speaking, most receivers featuring an LFE output also feature a built-in variable crossover that gives the user tuning options. In order to access your receiver's crossover, call up the speaker menu through the receiver's on-screen menu. Usually there will be a question regarding whether or not you have a subwoofer connected to the system and what crossover frequency you want to use.

Run the RCA cable to the powered subwoofer. Plug the RCA cable into the RCA input on the subwoofer.

Plug the receiver and subwoofer back into the wall outlet.


If your receiver does not have an LFE output, use a Y-connector and the line-level outputs on the receiver to connect the subwoofer. Doing so will utilise the subwoofer's built-in crossover.


To prevent electrical damage, be sure both the subwoofer and receiver are unplugged before connecting the subwoofer.

Things You'll Need

  • RCA cable
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About the Author

Ryan Carter began writing in 1996. He has created content for television, radio and online publications. Carter holds an Associate of Arts in psychology from Delta College and a Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing from Saginaw Valley State University.