What is the Best Way for Me to Hook Up My Subwoofer?
The optimal connection for a standard powered subwoofer is to use the RCA (Phono) "sub" or "woofer" line out found on home theater receivers and pre-amps. Some subwoofers offer "High Level inputs" (speaker wire connections) for use with a receiver or pre-amp without a sub RCA connection.
Just as receivers and pre-amplifiers are different across brands, different subwoofer brands will sound different from each other as well. In addition, every room is unique in the way it supports or cancels low frequency information. Also, different amps or receivers may have different subwoofer settings from each other, changing the sound even further. Because of all these discrepancies, experimenting with different subwoofer and amplifier/receiver settings is important to make sure you are getting the most out of your system.
In some cases, you may find an RCA connector marked LFE (Low Frequency Effects) on a receiver or pre-amp. Hooking up the "LFE" jacks usually only sends bass special effects of a 5.1-encoded movie to the subwoofer. In that case, when music is played on a two-channel source (for example, a CD), the subwoofer may not receive any signal at all. That situation would call for a hookup of both the "LFE" jacks and the speaker terminal jacks to a subwoofer, in order for the sub to produce bass with all sources. In addition, you would need to set the main speakers to "large" in the receiver or pre-amp set-up menu. If you have both LFE and sub out connections on a receiver or preamp, your best choice would be to use the ‘sub out’ connector, because the LFE signal should still be mixed in with the sub channel.
Be sure to check the owner’s manual that came with the subwoofer about connecting to both LFE in and speaker wire inputs. With some older subwoofers, this was listed as "optional", and it's fine to connect to both. However with most subs today, this is not recommended, as it may damage the sub electronics. So double-check the manual or contact our tech support department to clarify any questions regarding Klipsch subs. If you would like assistance on contacting us, please see our article - How to Submit.
In the end, it comes down to what sounds best to you, given your equipment and your individual tastes. It takes some time and experimentation, but a good and balanced subwoofer signal is well worth the extra effort.