How To Connect Old Subwoofer To New Receiver: 2 Methods For Each Type

So you have your hands on an old subwoofer. You want to plug it in. But you’re confused about whether it will work or not. Or you probably are not aware of how to plug in a subwoofer 

If that’s your query then we’ve got you covered.

You must be wondering how to connect old subwoofer to new receiver? 

There are 2 methods to connect an active subwoofer to a new receiver. One is using a subwoofer LFE Output. And the other is using stereo RCA output. And, there are 2 ways to connect passive subwoofers. Using an external amp and not using an external amp.

We’ve discussed these methods elaborately throughout the article. So, stick with us till the end to find out more. 

Let’s begin

Why Do You Need Receivers?

The Audio/Video (AV) receiver is referred to as the core of your sound system.

AV receivers receive signals from different input devices. After determining what these signals are, the device amplifies them. Then the receiver sends the signals to output devices like your subwoofer.

The receiver also controls various audio and video resources. It contains a preamplifier part. This allows you to pick the audio or video source you wish to hear or see.

You’ll find a number of brands providing different types of receivers. Such as Denon, Yamaha, Sony, Pioneer, etc. 

But it’ll be useless to have branded subwoofers and not know how to connect them. You’ll not be able to connect your subwoofer to a Yamaha receiver. You’ll even be unable to connect your subwoofer to Denon receiver if you possess that. 

Types of Subwoofer

While establishing a connection to the receiver it’s important to know the types of subwoofers.

See you can find subwoofers of different sizes in the market. You’ll find 18 and 21-inch subwoofers. But regardless of the size, the types of Subwoofers are fixed. 

There are 2 types of Subwoofers. Here are the types. 

Active Subwoofer

The most widely used is the active subwoofers. A built-in amplifier is found in an active subwoofer. 

This provides you with a wider choice when it comes to connecting it to your receiver. Because it won’t have to be powered via that connection. 

Active subwoofers are often bigger and create a much louder sound.

Source: indiamart

Passive Subwoofer

Passive Subwoofers function very much like typical speakers. They require either an external amplifier or electricity from your AV receiver to operate. 

Source: amazon

A passive subwoofer is uncommon these days. Because they are significantly less prevalent than they once were.

Without the subwoofer output, you’ll need a few extra steps to connect your subwoofer. For that, you need to know how to connect a subwoofer to a receiver without subwoofer output. 

Ways to Connect Old Subwoofer to a New Receiver

Unlike connecting bose cube speakers to an amplifier, connecting an old subwoofer to a new receiver can be complicated. For the 2 types of subwoofers, there are 2 different sets of methods. You can use any method, depending on your type of subwoofer.

For Active Subwoofers

When you are using an active subwoofer you can follow 2 methods. The first one is using a subwoofer LFE output. And the second one is using Stereo RCA output. 

Let’s have a look.

Method 1: Using Subwoofer LFE Output 

The majority of today’s subwoofers come with an LFE input channel. This provides connectivity to your subwoofer to a receiver.

If your subwoofer has an LFE channel, you should use it. LFE channels improve the overall bass content of the music being played.

Here’s how you can connect a subwoofer with a receiver using LFE channels. 

  • You’ll require an audio cable with RCA connections on both ends
  • Connect the Sub-out ports on your AV receivers to the LFE input ports on your subwoofers.
  • Use a single audio cable, on both ends, with RCA connectors to connect.
  • The subwoofer output port will deliver low-filtered signals to your subwoofer after you have the connection.

Remember, the LFE port is a subwoofer-only output that is sometimes referred to as a subwoofer.

Method 2: Using Stereo RCA Output 

The LFE subwoofer output isn’t always available on a receiver or amplifier. And the LFE input isn’t always available on a subwoofer. 

Rather, the subwoofer could contain stereo RCA connections on the right and left sides. Denoted as R and L.

In this case, here’s what you need to do-

  • Use RCA Cable to connect. When RCA cables are used for the subwoofer’s Line-in. And the subwoofer out on the receiver.
  • The R and L ports of the subwoofer must be connected to the split end of the cable. 
  • Connect both to the receivers. When your receiver has both left and right RCA connections for subwoofer output.

For Passive Subwoofers

Now for passive subwoofers, there are also 2 methods available. Here they are-

Method 1: Using an External Amplifier 

It is not recommended to connect a passive subwoofer directly to the receiver. Instead, an external amplifier should be used. 

Before moving forward let’s clear one thing out. You could be confused between an amplifier and an AV receiver. Remember these are not the same. These are two different devices.

Now, here are the steps you should follow:

  • First, use an external amplifier to connect your passive subwoofer.
  • Second, use the pre-out slot of the subwoofer.
  • Finally, Connect your receiver to the amplifier’s input.

If you’re confused as to which amplifier to choose, here’s our recommendation.

  • To support various external sources like RCA inputs, you can check out Pyle Power Amplifier. It also has EQ controls in it.
  • For having a more electronically balanced RCA, you can choose Crown XLi800. It ranges from 300-1350 watts.

Method 2: Using no External Amplifier

It is possible to connect without an external amplifier. Although it is not recommended. In this method, you can directly connect the subwoofer to the receiver. 

Here’s how to connect a passive subwoofer directly to the receiver:

  • First, you need to connect the subwoofer directly to the receiver’s speaker output.
  • Then, open the receiver’s setup option
  • And finally, select the large front speakers without the subwoofers

And your subwoofer is ready. Be careful if the subwoofer rattles. You can also follow some tips while connecting subwoofers.

The method with an external amplifier should be used over the other. This will convert your passive subwoofer to a powered subwoofer. Additionally, make sure your subwoofer has adequate power to reproduce bass tones.


We’ve curated some of the most frequently asked questions for your consideration.

Is a Subwoofer better than a speaker? 

Yes, the subwoofer is better than most speakers. Subwoofers massively improve the overall sound quality. Subwoofers reduce the stress on the speakers. As a result, the volume can be increased to a higher level. Without having to face distortions. Sound quality gets clearer than full-range speakers.

Where to place a single subwoofer for the home theater?

The best place to put a single subwoofer in the home theater  is one of the front corners of the wall. Keeping it in front will help the sound to resonate back to you from the forward. And the corner of the wall will help to produce stronger bass.

How much does it cost to install a subwoofer in a car?

The cost of installing a subwoofer is usually around $100. This is because subwoofers are sometimes massive and heavy. And these are commonly mounted in hard-to-reach spots within the car. Because installing a subwoofer takes more time and effort, it is more costly to do it properly.

Wrap Up

Hopefully, by now you know how to connect old subwoofer to new receiver.

A bonus tip for you is that using multiple subwoofers could give you a better immersive experience. 

That will be all from our side. Hope to see you soon. 

Take care!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *