How to connect an active and passive subwoofer to a TV


A subwoofer or subwoofer, as music lovers call it, is a speaker system for reproducing low and medium frequencies of the sound range. Whether you’re watching the latest movies or listening to low-frequency music, this unit enhances the overall sound quality, making it richer. Wanting to get high-quality, surround sound in their car or apartment, people often wonder how to connect a subwoofer to a TV.

Sub Sony

Types of subwoofers

High-quality reproduction of low frequencies on the speakers is possible only if their speakers are large and have high power. This entails an increase in cost and an increase in the dimensions of the acoustics, but the subwoofer allows you to separately output sound with low frequencies. Due to this, the speaker system can be made compact, which will make it possible to unload the space (remove the subwoofer anywhere in the room). In addition, the system with a subwoofer plays “cleaner”, since the sound from the speakers is not overloaded with bass.

By design

Subwoofers by design are divided into types:

  • closed;
  • strip;
  • phase inverter.

Enclosed subwoofers the most simple. The dynamic head is hidden in a personal case with insulation. Such models are large, expensive, but worth it. Due to the size, the bass is voluminous and rich.

Enclosed subwoofer

Enclosed subwoofer

Bass reflex models are a case with a speaker, but unlike closed models, they have a special hole. Due to this, the sound is still the same powerful, but louder.

Bass reflex subwoofer

Bass reflex subwoofer

Strip subs consist of two parts: a box with a phase inverter and a blind box. The minus of the system is in the frequency range, it is extremely modest here, but at the same time the sound pressure rises, which gives a rich bass at the output. This technique is difficult to tune, as errors can cause the frequency range to become even smaller.

Sub designs

Schematic design of subwoofers of various designs

By way of amplification

In relation to the power amplifier, low frequency emitters are divided into:

  • active;
  • passive.

Active has a built-in power amplifier, which allows you to remove the output load when playing low-frequency sounds. Most models are equipped with a crossover, which makes it easy to synchronize sound material with speakers.

Passive the emitter does not have its own amplifier, which directly affects the load of the output stereo channels. Because of this, the volume of the sound and its quality often decrease. The absence of a setup panel makes the subwoofer placement process more labor intensive.

The subwoofer is often found in acoustic multi-channel systems. It is quite simple to determine its presence — the presence of a subwoofer is indicated in the designation in the second place. For example, a 2.0 system has only two speakers, while a 5.1 system has five speakers and a subwoofer.

System 5.1

Acoustic system 5.1 SVEN HT-200

Connecting a powered subwoofer

If you are the owner of an active device, connecting to a TV will not be difficult. Choose a place where your device will stand and connect the corresponding «tulips» with connectors on the TV case. Next — configure through service menu TV.

Audio out connectors

Since active bass amplifiers have a dedicated settings menu, the process of selecting a location is greatly simplified.

Large technology companies such as Samsung and LG produce modern TV models with built-in automatic parameters for synchronization with additional devices. Connecting active models on such devices has an intuitive interface, so you will not have a question about how to connect your subwoofer to a modern LG or Samsung TV. By the way, between these brands there is a constant rivalry in the issue of superiority in the technology market. Learn more about the technologies in Samsung and LG TVs with our comparative review.

Connecting a passive device

Owners of a passive device can synchronize using an external amplifier or receiver. The method is labor intensive and the quality of the resulting sound is lower. This is due to the almost complete lack of the ability to properly position the subwoofer next to your TV. To get a connected sub, you must perform the following steps.

  1. Connect the wires of the amplifying device to the amplifier or receiver.
  2. When connecting, pay attention to polarity for better performance.
  3. Connect the subwoofer to the receiver so that it functions in parallel with front speakers.
subwoofer amplifier

subwoofer amplifier

The life of your device depends on the correct connection of polarities. This is especially true when listening to loud and low music, which can have a devastating effect on the amplifier.

Music center instead of a subwoofer

As a subwoofer for TV, you can use the music center. Speakers are connected to the center with standard cords, which are provided in the package. It remains to connect the player to the TV. To do this, you can use a two-way 2 RCA cable or a 2 RCA to 3.5 cord. In TV, the cable is inserted into the headphone or RCA output labeled OUT, which means output. In the center, you need to find the input, that is, a connector of a suitable type labeled IN or Audio In. You can learn more about connecting a music center to a TV in this article.

The nuances of connecting TVs of different brands

Depending on the TV manufacturer, the subwoofer connection may differ. The methods for modern devices of specific brands are described below.


LG TVs often do not have a 2 RCA connector. In this situation, help headphone jack, optical audio output or HDMI. Some subs have a wireless connection, but high-quality work (no desynchronization between picture and sound) is often achievable only when using devices from the same manufacturer. If none of the methods is suitable, then you can use the receiver.

LG TV connectors

LG TV connectors


Samsung also rarely has an analog audio output, so the connection can be made via HDMI, coaxial or optical output.

Other companies

On TVs Philips you can use HDMI marked ARC, optical, coaxial or headphone jack. Televisions from the Japanese company Sony are still equipped with tulips, so there are no connection problems at all.

Other manufacturers may have completely different sets of connectors, so it is best to study the case or instructions to find out how the manufacturer recommends connecting audio equipment to the TV.


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