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LFE or RCA for a Subwoofer?


A subwoofer, one of the most important components of a multi-channel speaker system and integral part of the home theater with the effect of immersion, its presence is mandatory in the set of speakers for a home theater. However, we will not focus on the subwoofer itself, but if you’re interested, you can check out audio equipment reviews on theguruchoice.

We are more interested in the correct connection of the subwoofer to the audio system or home theater. Subwoofers are generally easy to connect because you usually only have to handle two cords: one for the power supply and one for connecting of audio input. It is more likely that you spend most of your time tuning the subwoofer to improve performance rather than connecting a pair of cables. However, not all subwoofers are so simple and understandable to connect, depending on the model.

There are several ways to connect a subwoofer to an amplifier or receiver. The most common method is to connect a subwoofer to the SUB OUT or LFE output of the receiver/amplifier. However, you may also encounter a subwoofer using RCA or wired stereo connections. If your receiver or amplifier is quite diverse, you can use most subwoofers.

What is LFE?

LFE /Low-Frequency Effect – is the Dolby Digital format for low-frequency sound effects, such as explosions, a dedicated channel is allocated. The 5.1 channel configuration has a dedicated channel output with bass-only content that is best reproduced by a subwoofer.  And the preferred method of connecting a subwoofer is through the Subwoofer Output of a receiver using an LFE cable.

Almost all home theater receivers have this type of subwoofer output.  Setting up this requires connecting the LFE (or sub out) jack on the receiver/amplifier to the ‘Line In’ or ‘LFE In’ jack on the subwoofer. It’s usually just one cable with single RCA connectors on both ends.

What is RCA?

This is the oldest connection type currently in use. Stereo RCA cables are supplied in pairs and are used for stereo sound transmission: white for a mono audio signal or the left channel of a stereo audio signal, red for a right channel of a stereo audio signal.

Active subwoofers (with built-in amplifier) ​​are connected by RCA – RCA coaxial cable. One end of the cable into the subwoofer, the second to the analog panel on the receiver into the connector labeled Subwoofer. If the RCA connectors on the subwoofer are 2 (L and R – In) or 4 (L and R – In and Out), then use the white connector.

However, also, there may still be a third connection option. Sometimes you may notice that the receiver/amplifier or subwoofer does not have an LFE subwoofer output. Instead, the subwoofer may have left and right stereo RCA jacks (R and L). Or it could be the spring clips you see on the back and connection is carried out in a similar way, as it would be with the speakers.

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