Wireless Subwoofer: What is it & How It Works?

Wireless Subwoofers can receive audio signals from a soundbar or an audio source without connecting the cables (wirelessly).

Since the power cannot be transferred wirelessly these subwoofers have built-in amplifiers to power the driver.

It simply means that most wireless Subwoofers are active or powered Subwoofers and need a standard power outlet to plug and play.

Hence you will need to place them in your room closer to power outlets.

However, to overcome the power transmission wirelessly some Subwoofers also come with built-in rechargeable batteries.

These built-in batteries supply enough power to these units that they can perform for longer.

In this article, we will discuss the functions of wireless Subwoofers, and answer a few frequently asked questions.

What are wireless subwoofers?

Wireless subwoofers are bass-producing units and are the same as standard wired subwoofers in terms of functionality, the only difference is the way of transmitting audio signals.

These units transmit audio signals wirelessly through radio waves using Bluetooth as the most common connectivity method.

In general, most modern subwoofers and sound systems use both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi technologies to connect wirelessly.

These cordless units minimize the tedious task of connecting audio systems using messy cables.

Wireless subs and speakers offer you the liberty of portability and can be placed anywhere around the room but within the transmission range.

How is sound transferred through Bluetooth?

Bluetooth technology uses radio waves to transmit information between two or paired devices.

The audio signals sent from the receiver or the source are in a compressed form with a certain codec. 

This specific codec is already supported by both the receivers and the senders using Bluetooth for connectivity.

The sender or the source devices include your phone, tablet, TV, laptop or computer, amp or AV receiver, etc,.

The receiving devices are the wireless subwoofers, speakers, headphones, etc., also referred to as ‘sink’ devices that receive the sound wave in the form of a codec through Bluetooth.

Since Bluetooth’s function is to transfer encoded audio signals without alteration, the sound produced by a wireless subwoofer or speaker is identical to that of wired subwoofers and speakers.

How do the AV receivers transmit sound wirelessly?

AV receivers typically use a built-in radio transmitter to send sound signals wirelessly in the form of radio waves to the subwoofers and speakers.

However, most modern AV receivers include built-in support for different wireless technologies such as multiroom audio, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, AirPlay, Chromecast, etc,.

Modern technologies have made it possible to run audio systems seemingly without the need for complex wires and cables.

How do you power a wireless Subwoofer?

Wireless subwoofers are powered subwoofers with built-in amplifiers that automatically adjust the sound frequencies according to the music notes.

When it comes to electrical power supply to the wireless subwoofers and speakers, most units use AC adaptors and can be plugged into an ordinary power outlet.

The added benefit of some wireless sound systems is the built-in rechargeable batteries that make them completely wireless (Not all subs will have a built-in battery, if a built-in battery is a priority it’s recommended to read the specification first before making a buying decision).

How to connect Wireless subwoofers?

Wireless subwoofers are typically active units that do not need an external amp and can be connected to various audio sources such as Soundbars, Smartphones, TVs, AV receivers, etc,.

Let us quickly understand the standard ways of connecting a wireless subwoofer to different audio systems.

Connecting a wireless subwoofer to a soundbar

Connecting wireless subwoofer to soundbar

Most wireless soundbars come with paired subwoofers that connect automatically after you power them up.

It makes it easy to wirelessly connect a soundbar to a subwoofer.

You will need to use the soundbar and the subwoofer of the same brand for auto pairing.

However, in some models, you will need to tap the ‘Mode’ or ‘Bluetooth’ or ‘Pair’ or ‘Link’ button to activate the Bluetooth pairing mode.

Connecting a wireless subwoofer to a television

To connect a wireless subwoofer or speaker to your television make sure your TV supports wireless connectivity.

You can simply go through the settings option on your TV and search for network and wireless connectivity.

You can refer to the image below which displays the standard settings menu on a television.

Connecting wireless subwoofer to TV

The most common wireless options are Wi-Fi and Bluetooth in most television sets.

Additionally, make sure the wireless frequencies are similar which is typically around 2.4 GHz to 5 GHz in most audio systems.

Set the TV and subwoofer in pairing mode and select the wireless subwoofer from the list displayed on your TV using the remote control.

Allow the two to pair successfully before playing your favorite movie or music notes.

Note: The pairing options will vary depending on the different television brands. However, there’s always a helping hand in the form of a ‘quick start guide’ or you can refer to the user manual to understand the settings of your television.

Connecting a wireless subwoofer to a smartphone

connect wireless subwoofer with smart phone

One of the most popular devices compatible with wireless subwoofers and speakers is smartphones.

It’s easy to connect any wireless device to smartphones that use Bluetooth and Wi-Fi as the mode of pairing them together.

For pairing the two devices simply turn on the Bluetooth mode on the wireless subwoofer and your smartphone.

Your smartphone will locate the available devices within seconds and you can simply click on the wireless subwoofer to pair.

You can also control the volume as desired and customize your playlist using the phone.

The above settings are applicable to both smartphones and tablets.

Connecting wireless subwoofers with a laptop or computers

Similar to smartphones laptops and computers are an easy source to connect to your wireless subwoofers and speakers.

Make sure to have a built-in Bluetooth in your system which most laptops and desktops do.

All you need to do is simply turn on the Bluetooth on your systems and let it search the available wireless devices.

What’s Next? Start pairing by following the instructions and enjoy your music with your work.

Some people prefer to play games over laptops and desktops with boomy (bass) sound effects.

An Important Note

Once the sub is connected to any audio source, it won’t play all the frequencies of a conventional speaker.

Subs are designed to play only the low-frequency output, so connecting to any audio source will only give you Low-frequency output.

Therefore, it is important to ensure that you have the speakers connected in an appropriate manner in order to get a balanced sound output.

How far can you place wireless Subwoofers?

Wireless subwoofers and speakers can be placed within a set range from the receiver paired with Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.

It depends on the type, size, signal strength, etc., of the sound system and sync sources.

Additionally, the transmission range will vary with the connecting sources, For instance, the distance between the two paired devices using Bluetooth will differ from devices connected using Wi-Fi.

The typical range is usually around 10 feet (about 3 meters) to 30 feet (about 9 meters) between the two devices that are connected wirelessly.

If you place your subwoofer too far or away from the Bluetooth range, it will result in losing the connectivity and the sound will start dropping out.

Additionally, there will be delays in signals resulting in late responses and interruption in the running music.

Hence it is essential to keep the two units paired using Bluetooth within their set range.

Can you place a wireless Subwoofer in a Cabinet?

You should avoid placing wireless subwoofers in a closet, cramped sheff, or closed cabinets especially if the pairing source is Bluetooth.

The Bluetooth signals can be interrupted by closets and cabinets especially made of metals.

However, you can try setting them up in the cabinets of your room and check if there’s any interruption in the music.

Final Thoughts

Wireless subwoofers are easy-to-port bass-producing units and can be paired with different audio systems.

These units transfer audio signals wirelessly in a coded form through radio waves which is further decoded by the paired device.

To get the best sound quality these units should be in a dedicated range from the paired devices.

Wireless subwoofers and speakers come in a variety of sizes and shapes, and most units are portable with a battery backup for power.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use my Wi-Fi to connect a Wireless Subwoofer?

If your subwoofer speaker supports Wi-Fi connectivity you can simply turn on the settings and connect to your smartphone to enjoy music wirelessly. Additionally, some brands that support Wi-Fi will allow you to install a supporting application on your smartphone to sync with the audio system.

Do you need Internet for a wireless subwoofer?

Wireless subwoofers and speakers that use Bluetooth as a medium for pairing will not need the internet. However, it will be applicable to your smartphone if you want to connect it to the audio system and play online music.

Can you connect a wireless subwoofer using a mobile hotspot?

Mobile hotspots typically act as an alternative to a Wi-Fi router using which you can share internet to other devices from your phone. If the mobile network has a good strength it should not be a problem for sharing the internet to wireless devices.

What happens if you place the wireless subwoofer too far?

If the wireless speaker and subwoofer are placed too far from the source device it will interfere with the connectivity. You will notice music dropouts, and late responses, and can also face disconnection from the paired device or source.

Can I connect a wireless subwoofer with cables?

Most wireless subwoofers give you the choice of connecting them through wires and cables and playing your favorite music. The cables can be the standard ones used to connect wired subwoofers or similar to the headphone jacks.

Armed with a Diploma in electrical engineering and a remarkable 12 years of expertise, he excels in rejuvenating music systems, washing machines, dryers, and laundry-related appliances. Manish's profound insights and practical know-how establish him as a credible authority in appliance and music system repairs. Contact: manish.singh (at) subwooferblog.com. He's always ready to lend a helping hand!