You must wire the subwoofer correctly in case you wish to make sure that the subwoofer works without any glitches on your current sound system. Ideally, you follow the instructions & diagrams provided by the manufacturer.
Ensure that you have read the manual and the instructions provided by the manufacturer before you begin to join the wires and assemble the subwoofer to be able to work with your home theatre system.
It is not too easy to understand wiring diagrams, and hence, we are trying to share some tips to help you with Wiring Subwoofers.
1. You need to plan how to manage the wires which have are very long. It is apt to choose a cable run for the various tangled wires. Combining cable to create a single run will make the place look less messy and tangled as most of the wires are attached to the devices.
2. Take a look at the various ports and terminals located at the rear of the main speaker system, and you will find terminals resembling switches while others will look like basic ports.
You need to figure out which terminals are to be used for connecting the subwoofer relying on the instructions provided by the manufacturer. Only then can you move on to the assembling of the subwoofer.
3. The main subwoofer is not too complex, and before connecting the subwoofer to the main speakers or the sound systems, you will have to find out whether you will have to connect additional wires at the rear of the subwoofer. The majority of the latest subwoofers include inbuilt wires; however, you may require a couple of extra wires while installing it manually.
4. Can you explore the sound system without damaging it? Yes, you may do so, but it is not advisable. You need to stick to the basic instructions in the initial stages and later on modify them as you gain more skill.
5. The new subwoofer’s impedance must match that of the main speaker. The basic ratio is 500:1.
This indicates that in case the subwoofer’s impedance level is 500 watts, then it is ideal to set the main speaker to 1 ohm. Compare the impedance if you are not sure about the apt setting. Then it is recommended to get in touch with the manufacturer of the sound system or the subwoofer. Any one of them will assist you in completing the wiring process for the subwoofer system.
6. Wiring kits that have been designed especially for installations in cars can use utilized to ease the process of including a subwoofer in your vehicle. You will find a host of websites that deal in these wiring kits, and you can easily browse through them. You can also take feedback from other users who have included the new subwoofers in their present amplifiers and speakers.
7. Be cautious while handling wires, which will be used in the subwoofer and the main speaker as if wired incorrectly, it will result in a short circuit.
Beginners Wiring Guide for Subwoofers
When you have ensured that you have wired your subwoofers correctly and logically, it goes a long way in making sure that your aural experience from them remains the best of their ability, and you also get the most out of your speakers.
You should make sure that you are following the manufacturer’s recommendation first. Therefore, a quick look at the user manual is an absolute must, so that you know what the manufacturer is trying to tell you there, about the features of the sound system and its compatibility.
It’s not an easy job to manage the wiring diagrams and derive the best out of them. Worse, many people are not comfortable with it. In the following section, we will take a look at the same.
1. The very first thing that you will realize from the wiring diagrams and the actual inspection of the wires is the fact that they are very long, and managing them can be very difficult. You will have to work with wire trays that can make the whole job quite neat, and in the process, your cabling problem also gets simplified.
2. Make sure that you check with the back of your subwoofers and the speakers and see what you find there. Sometimes you will see switches like things, and other times, you will come across numerous ports.
The instructions from the manufacturer will tell you which port belongs to which wire, and accordingly, you can set up the connections any way you want. It is important to familiarize yourself with all the different arrangements of the setup by reading the manual.
3. One of the least pains in the setup process will be the subwoofer itself, and it will be relatively easy to sort out its wiring arrangement. The messy parts are the speakers and their cabling. You may, however, want to check at the back of the setup and see if you need to install any more wires, although modern subwoofer systems will have wires built into them. But it’s always a good idea to check.
4. The next question that comes to mind is that whether or not we can experiment with the setup of the sound system. In a concise answer, it is indeed possible, but its actual implementation is highly discouraged. The recommendation is that the setup should be followed from the book, as that usually gives out the best sound no matter what. You can, however, play around once you have got the hang of it all.
5. The next thing that you need to make sure of is the impedance of the subwoofer, and it should match that of the speakers. Generally, the ratio is fixed at 500:1. This means that if the impedance of the subwoofers is 500 watts, then the speakers should be set to a value of 1 ohm. You should contact your manufacturer if you are not sure about the impedance ratio that would be ideal for your setup. Still, generally, the idea that is followed is given above.
6. There are specialized wiring kits that can be found on the internet for people looking to wire the speakers and the subwoofers in the cars. It is generally good and recommended the idea to get the hang of these websites and try out the kits that are available out there for all types of wiring and a variety of car models. These kits ensure that all your wiring problems are duly sorted out.
7. You should be extremely careful while dealing with the wiring of your subwoofers and ensure that they are adequately insulated. This will ensure that possible mishaps are prevented.
Subwoofer cable – Quick starter guide
As a subwoofer lover, you have just paid so much to enhance the sound quality that you can fully enjoy. When you have come this far, you would not want to ruin the quality nor damage your existing sound system by not learning how to wire a subwoofer correctly. So hold on to your excitement for just a few more minutes and take your time to read the manufacturer’s instructions and diagrams.
Even though you might already have previous experience in subwoofer wiring, different subwoofer models have different specifications and requirements. Manufacturers issue their manual to give you the exact instructions on what type of cables to use and how to wire them together. So before turning on your home theater system, read the manual carefully.
While some manuals might not show the wiring diagrams clearly, today, we will share with you some tips that give a better understanding of the wiring procedure.
1. First, if you plan to run multiple long cables for a bigger subwoofer system, you would want to organize the cables better. For example, you can use a cable run approach in which different cables are packed into a single larger cable. That surely avoids damaging and making the smaller cables run all over the places. The smaller wires are only exposed on both ends. The single bigger cable will be hidden or placed nicely along the path.
2. Your theater system, amplifier, and speakers usually have lots of different ports or terminals at the back. You need to identify the input and output ports. In some cases, there are dedicated channel outputs for the subwoofer. There are two popular types of ports, plug-in type (such as RCA or Banana plug) and switches clip-in (or Push Terminal) type. For the plug-in type, the standard of terminals corresponding to the plug segment is fixed. For switch type, you have to verify which one is Ground, which one is Signal. Again the manufacturer manual will help you identify the terminal on the subwoofer.
3. Most new subwoofers have built-in wires to your sound system. If you do not have one, you can easily get one from an online or local store selling sound system accessories. If you are replacing old subwoofers, the cables that were connected could be compatibly reused for the new subwoofers. Note that I said “compatibly” because most built-in cables, although they work, are low quality. You would need to buy high quality, such as gold plated material for maximizing the sound signal transfer quality and reducing noise.
4. You might be tempted to try out the sound system by experiment simply. While you could do that, it is highly discouraged because the sudden glitch sound could damage the speaker, subwoofer, and sound unit. You need to familiarize yourself with the basic schematic diagram first and tweak it later.
5. Often on subwoofers, the label will show two types of output ratings. Watt peak and RMS (root mean square). Watt peak is the highest power subwoofer can handle in a short boost. More importantly, RMS rating is the continuous power that is given out by a subwoofer.
So if you want to ensure the subwoofer with your amplifier, make sure you check the RMS label or the manufacturer. No guessing around. Subwoofers perform the best when they’re powered by an amp. RMS rating from the amp should be close to or slightly higher than the total of all the subwoofers.
For example, if you want to run two subs with RMS ratings of 200 watts each, you will need 400 watts RMS of power. If you are still confused with all these terminologies but already narrowed down a few favorite choices, contact the manufacturer’s technical support. They will gladly help you choose which model works the best with your existing system
6. If you are getting a subwoofer for the car, it is a little different setting, given the limited space in the car. So the best way to get started is to look for pre-made wiring kits that are built explicitly for car installation. (
Click here to see different car wiring kits) If you are not picky about a specific subwoofer and amplifier, you can get an entire set for less than $200 to start. The package includes the cable, subwoofer, and amplifier
If you are new to this, here is a typical specification requirement:
- For a factory radio, 50 to 200 watts RMS of power for the bass would be sufficient.
- For an aftermarket receiver, go for 200 to 300 watts RMS of power.
- For an amplified speaker with 50 watts RMS per channel, multiply it by the total number of speakers. e.g. 4 channels x 50watts RMS per channel = 200. So getting a subsystem with 250 to 500 watts, RMS will be a good starting point.
- A system with 100 watts RMS per channel, go for at least 1,000 watts RMS, depending on the number of channels.
7. Check the cable specification. Using insufficient load rating (i.e., gauge) cables causes sound not only distortion but also causes damages to the speaker and subwoofer. So be sure to validate the specification. If in doubt, always ask the subwoofer’s technical support to receive a firm answer before turning on the switch button.