Pairing Soundbar and subwoofer: Add a Subwoofer for bass

Pairing soundbar and subwoofer enhances the bass output and gives that much-needed excitement from that boomy sound.

Let’s be honest, subwoofers not only enhance the sound quality but also helps to give proper even sound when paired with a soundbar.

Improper installation of subwoofers can greatly reduce or distort the quality of sound.

The good thing is you can get it right the first time (when installing a subwoofer with a soundbar).

In this article you’ll learn:

  • How to install a subwoofer with a soundbar? (Includes different types of subwoofer)
  • Some best practices to get good quality sound.
  • And more…

Let’s dive right into the concept of pairing the subwoofer with the soundbar.

Can a subwoofer be added to a soundbar?

In most cases, it will be difficult to pair a different subwoofer with a soundbar that is sold together with the subwoofer as a package, as they are natively designed to work together.

That being said, there are alternative methods to connect a subwoofer to certain types of soundbars.

Although these methods may not be universally applicable, they can offer potential solutions in specific scenarios.

One option is to use RCA cables if both the soundbar and the subwoofer have RCA input and output jacks.

You can connect the soundbar’s LFE or SW Out RCA output to the subwoofer’s RCA input to get low-frequency sound.

Another option is to utilize auxiliary (aux) cables if the soundbar has aux input ports (more on that later).

However, it is important to note that these alternative methods are not widely supported by all soundbars and subwoofers, and compatibility issues may arise.

Therefore, it is advisable to refer to the user manuals or consult the manufacturer’s guidelines to determine the specific connectivity options available for your soundbar and subwoofer combination.

Understanding the components

Grasping the elements of a soundbar and subwoofer setup is paramount for perfect audio quality.

Familiarizing ourselves with them will guarantee seamless integration and improved sound.

Let’s look at them in a table:

ComponentDescription
SoundbarSpeaker unit that plays mid-range and high-frequency sounds.
SubwooferDedicated speaker for low-frequency sounds, like bass.
AmplifierIncreases the audio signal from the soundbar/receiver to drive the subwoofer.
Audio cablesWires to transmit audio signals between components.
Power cordsCables to provide electrical power to components.
SMPSMay be needed if your subwoofer runs on DC current
RCA Y SplitterMay be needed if your Soundbar does not have dedicated LFE
3.5mm Aux splitterIt is required to connect the RCA Y cable to make the external subwoofer work.
External Bluetooth device with 3.5mmYou will need this if you want to connect a Bluetooth device. Your soundbar’s Bluetooth will not make the subwoofer work if it does not have LFE, as the subwoofer will not have the audio source.

Further, let’s discover more details.

  • Knowing how soundbars work helps us understand their role in the setup. Soundbars use multiple speakers in one enclosure, creating surround sound without extra wiring or speakers.
  • Subwoofers are designed for low-frequency sounds and powerful bass effects in movies and music. The wired or wireless placement provides flexibility to find a spot for maximum impact.

Also Read: Subwoofer parts explained (Anatomy of subwoofer speaker)

Before you attach the subwoofer to your soundbar

  • Confirm compatibility and compatible connections like Bluetooth, HDMI ARC, or subwoofer output.
  • Check if your Subwoofer is an active subwoofer or if it’s a passive one. The connection will vary depending on the subwoofer type.
  • If the Subwoofer runs on DC current, you will need SMPS to convert the AC to DC current.
  • Also, experiment to locate the subwoofer in a place that produces even bass tones without overpowering other frequencies or vibrations.
  • Finally, adjusting settings on the soundbar and subwoofer can significantly enhance performance.
  • Once the sub is set up, explore equalizer presets or manual adjustments to tailor the bass response to your preferences.

Comprehending the components of a subwoofer and soundbar setup, optimizing placement, and adjusting settings will create a smooth audio experience and immerse us in sound.

Also Read: Difference between woofer and subwoofer

How to connect subwoofer to soundbar? (Pairing Soundbar and subwoofer)

Connecting a sound bar is easy if it has a dedicated slot for LFE (Low-Frequency Effects).

If it does not have one, then you may need to connect the subwoofer strategically.

Let’s take a quick look at the different connection methods below based on specific scenarios.

Different connection methods

Wireless connection is one option for connecting the subwoofer and soundbar.

This offers flexibility and eliminates the need for extra cables.

But bear in mind that not all soundbars and subwoofers are compatible.

If wireless isn’t your thing, a wired connection can be made with an RCA cable.

Here are a few ways to connect your soundbar to an external sub.

Soundbar with LFE output

If your soundbar has LFE output, simply connect the male-to-male RCA cable to the LFE out port, and the other end should be connected to the LFE input in your subwoofer.

While doing so, check if the subwoofer is active or passive.

If it’s active, you simply need to connect it to the power source, and it should be good.

On the other hand, if the subwoofer is passive, you may need to connect it to an amplifier.

For passive subwoofers, the LFE input may be located at the backside of an amplifier (in most cases).

This is how the LFE output from the soundbar looks (pic from my soundbar).

LFE Out or SW out of our soundbar

And this is how the RCA male-to-male connector looks.

This is how the RCA cable looks like

Here’s what the Ideal setup would look like if your Soundbar has an LFE/SW Out port.

Ideal setup for soundbars with LFE or SW Out port

Connect Soundbar with a subwoofer that does not have LFE or SW output port

Connecting a sub with the soundbar that does not have an LFE/SW Out port can be a bit tricky, especially if it’s a wireless model.

However, there is still a way to get this done.

You will need to look for an Aux input.

If your Soundbar has an aux input that looks something like this (a picture of my soundbar’s aux input):

Aux input of our soundbar

You can simply connect one end of the aux cable to the aux input slot as shown above and the other end of the aux cable to the aux splitter.

Similarly, for connecting the subwoofer, you will need an Aux-to-RCA cable.

One end of the Aux cable will go into the RCA Y Splitter, and the other end of the RCA cable will go into the subwoofer input.

The aux splitter further connects to the audio source.

Here’s how the setup would look (diagram showing how the setup will look):

Connectivity of subwoofer that does not have LFE or SW out

Also Read: Subwoofer Low Pass Filter (LPF ) Explained

Connecting Subwoofer that runs on DC connection

In order to connect a subwoofer that runs on a DC connection, you will need a subwoofer, an RCA cable, SMPS, and wires to connect to SMPS.

Setting up the SMPS

This is my SMPS at home, and I have taken a 12-volt, 40 AMPS DC output SMPS as it is sufficient to keep my sub running.

our smps that converts ac to dc

And here’s how I connected my active sub to this SMPS.

our smps connection with sub
Step 1: Connect the AC input to AC input slot

You will need two wires for this.

My SMPS shows the input as “L” and “N”.

So, if you have a similar setup, attach the AC input to the SMPS, and the other end should go into the plug.

Next, you will need to give power to your subs.

Step 2: Connecting wires to sub for power
connecting wires to sub that runs on DC current

Get two wires and connect one wire to the negative and the other to the positive output of the SMPS.

The other end of the wires should connect to the subwoofer’s power input.

If your subwoofer has a ground connection, cut a small wire and attach one end to the ground and the other end to the positive (+12V in my case).

This is how the connection on the subwoofer side would look (my subwoofers connection):

Connection on the backside of the subwoofer will look like this
Step 3: Connect the RCA cables

The next step is to connect the RCA cable to your subwoofer so that it can receive the sound signals from the audio source.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Connect the RCA cable to your subwoofer, and the other end should be connected to the sound output.
  • If your sound output is in the form of a dedicated LFE or SW Out port, then you will need an RCA Y splitter (Male 1 RCA to 2 RCA). Simply connect one end to the LFE port and the other end to the subwoofer.
  • If your sound output is in the form of AUX, i.e., if you decide to use an Aux Y splitter similar to the diagram shown above, then you will need an Aux to RCA splitter. Simply connect one end to the aux output, and the other end should be connected to the Subwoofer (RCA port).

Here’s how the setup would look:

For subwoofer that runs on DC Entire setup will look like this

Note: If your subwoofer is a passive one, the connection diagram shown above will still be the same. The only thing that changes is that instead of attaching the wire into the subwoofer, the wires will go into the amplifier.

How to pair a Samsung wireless sound bar with subwoofer? (Automatically)

In order to connect the Samsung soundbar with the subwoofer, follow the below steps:

Step 1: Connect the power cord

Begin by ensuring that the power cord of the soundbar is securely connected to the back of the device.

Next, make sure the power cord of the subwoofer is properly connected to the back of the subwoofer unit.

Step 2: Connect the power source

Take both the power cords of the soundbar and the subwoofer and connect them to either wall outlets or a power strip.

This will provide the necessary electrical power to both devices.

Step 3: Look out for Blue LED lights

On the subwoofer, keep an eye out for a blue LED LINK light.

Once everything is set up correctly, this light will begin to blink, indicating that the subwoofer is searching for a connection.

At this point, it’s time to exercise some patience.

Allow the soundbar and the subwoofer a little time to establish a connection between them. This process typically takes a few moments.

If the connection is successful, the blue LED LINK light on the subwoofer will cease blinking and instead emit a steady blue glow.

This indicates that the soundbar and the subwoofer are now connected and ready to deliver immersive audio.

Also Read: Subwoofer Magnet Fundamentals

How to Pair Samsung soundbar and subwoofer manually? (Manual process)

Step 1: Connect the power cords

Start by connecting the power cords of both devices to their respective ports at the back.

Once the connections are secure, plug both power cords into a wall outlet to provide them with power.

Step 2: Locating the ID set button

The next step is to locate the ID SET button on the back of the subwoofer.

Once you have located the ID Set button, take a small pointed object, such as a toothpick or a pen tip, and press and hold the ID Set button.

Keep holding it until you see the STANDBY indicator on the subwoofer turn off and the LINK (Blue LED) start blinking rapidly.

Step 3: Pairing the Subwoofer

Now it’s time to pair the soundbar with the Subwoofer.

While the soundbar is powered off, grab the remote control that came with it.

Press and hold the Mute button on the remote control and keep holding it until you see “ID SET” appear on the soundbar’s display.

Please note that some soundbar models may have a dedicated ID SET button on the soundbar itself.

If that’s the case, you can use the button on the soundbar instead of the remote control.

If pressing the Mute button doesn’t trigger the ID Set process, try holding the Up button on the remote control instead.

If none of these options work, refer to the user manual of your soundbar for specific instructions.

Step 4: Finalizing pairing

Once “ID SET” is displayed on the soundbar, it’s time to finalize the pairing.

Turn on the soundbar while the Blue LED on the subwoofer is still blinking.

If the pairing process is successful, the soundbar and subwoofer will establish a connection, and the Blue LED on the subwoofer will remain solid.

However, if the Blue LED continues blinking, it means that the pairing process has failed.

In such cases, turn off the soundbar, and retry connecting.

If nothing works, reach out to the service center, as there may be issues with the connectivity.

Also Read: How to build subwoofer box for deep bass?

Optimizing audio settings

Consider the room’s acoustics! How your room is set up can really influence sound quality.

Move and angle your subwoofer until you find the ideal spot.

Adjust the crossover frequency to decide which frequencies go to the subwoofer and which ones are taken care of by the soundbar speakers.

Increase or decrease the crossover frequency until the two join together perfectly.

Fine-tune bass levels using the soundbar’s built-in equalizer or sound settings. Boost for a booming effect, or lower for a subtler one.

Test the surround sound modes available on your soundbar.

Use room correction technology if your soundbar has it. This will automatically analyze the acoustics and tweak the audio settings accordingly.

Experiment with different media types, such as movies, music, and gaming. Make sure your settings work across all content types.

Invest in extra accessories such as speaker stands and acoustic treatments for even better sound.

Also Read: Subwoofer Placement Ideas for deep bass (Find the best spot)

Additional tips and considerations

When connecting a subwoofer to a soundbar, there are a few must-know tips.

Here are a few:

  • Positioning: Place the soundbar and subwoofer in different spots to get the best sound.
  • Settings: Adjust the volume level and crossover frequency of your subwoofer.
  • Wiring: Use the right cables to connect the subwoofer to the soundbar.
  • Compatibility: Check if your soundbar and subwoofer are compatible.

You may also need to explore specific requirements or features of your equipment.

Also Read: 2 ohm vs 4 ohm subwoofers (differences explained)

Wrap-Up

Finally, the journey to link a subwoofer to a soundbar is complete.

Make sure both devices have compatible connections.

Then, adjust its settings as desired.

Positioning matters too; the right spot can boost sound quality.

Every system is unique, so extra adjustments could be necessary.

It’s also important to consider the type of connection before you even plan to attach the soundbar to the subwoofer.

Some soundbars have a special subwoofer output, while others need RCA or HDMI. That’s why it’s important to check the input and output ports so that you can use the right one.

Also, certain subwoofers need a power supply. So, check if it has one and make sure it’s powered up.

Lastly, remember that experimentation is key to getting the best audio. So, stay curious and explore different setups.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I connect Bluetooth subwoofer to soundbar?

A Bluetooth subwoofer cannot be connected to the sound bar if the soundbar and subwoofer are from different manufacturers. This is due to the fact that soundbars and subwoofers are typically purchased and used in tandem, and hence are built to work seamlessly with one another. However, if your subwoofer has an LFE input and your soundbar has an LFE output, you can connect them through an RCA cable.

Why is my soundbar not connecting to my subwoofer?

Check if the subwoofer is compatible with your soundbar. If your soundbar is designed to connect natively to the subwoofer that’s sold with it, then it won’t connect to other subwoofers. And if the subwoofer came with the soundbar and it’s not connecting, then it’s likely due to a faulty connection, a power supply issue, or bad Bluetooth connectivity (if it connects via Bluetooth).

Do you have to connect subwoofer to soundbar?

Soundbars can work without subwoofers, and connecting subwoofers is not a compulsion. However, connecting subwoofers to the soundbar helps enhance the sound, as subs produce low-frequency output.

Does the subwoofer automatically connect to soundbar?

If the subwoofer and soundbar came as a pair, they will automatically connect once they are powered on. However, if the soundbar and subwoofer are from different manufacturers, you will need to explore other connectivity options.

Is soundbar with subwoofer good?

Yes, a soundbar with a subwoofer is a good option as they are designed to work natively with each other and produce even sound. Also, there is less likelihood of connectivity issues.

Can I connect any subwoofer to my speakers?

Technically, you can connect any subwoofer to a speaker as long as the subwoofers have LFE input and the audio source where the speaker is connected has an LFE out port.

Can I mix subwoofer and speaker brands?

Yes, it is possible to mix subwoofer and speaker brands if the subwoofer and the audio source have the SW or LFE ports.

What is the best connection for a subwoofer?

The best way to connect a subwoofer is through an RCA cable, as most subwoofers have an LFE or SW Input port.

What types of connections are available for connecting a subwoofer to a soundbar?

The most common types of connections include wired connections using an RCA cable or a dedicated subwoofer output, as well as wireless connections using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi technology.

How do I know if my soundbar has a dedicated subwoofer output?

You can check the specifications of your soundbar or refer to the user manual to see if it has a dedicated subwoofer output. It is usually labeled as “SUB OUT”, “SW Out”, “LFE” or “SUBWOOFER” on the back of the soundbar.

Meet the maestro behind our subwoofer symphony - Hemant Sarkar. With 15+ years of experience in speaker and home appliance troubleshooting, Hemant's expertise shines through in every word he shares. For all things subwoofers and sound systems, you can trust his seasoned guidance. Contact Hemant at hemant (at) subwooferblog.com.