Wiring a subwoofer can be a challenge if you are so for the first time. You will need to know the type of wire to use and what impacts sound quality. Also, you will want to learn how to connect a subwoofer with a speaker wire.
This article will be helpful if you are having trouble with your subwoofer connection.
Using Regular Speaker Wire For A Subwoofer? It all depends on the following factors
If your subwoofer is active, you cannot use regular speaker wires. The active subwoofer has an inbuilt amplifier. They, therefore, use a particular type of wires covered with the cables.
On the other hand, the passive subwoofer can use regular speaker wires. However, regular speaker wires can pick radio signals because they do not have a cable cover blocking unwanted signals.
It would help to consider the capacitance, inductance, and resistance of a speaker wire and how each impacts sound quality.
Speaker Wires for Subwoofers: The Details that You must Consider
Before you rush buying just any speaker wires for your audio system, there are some small details that you must consider.
The type of subwoofer
Do your subwoofers have an inbuilt amplifier in them? There is the type of question you should ask yourself.
We have two types of subwoofers built: passive and active subwoofers.
- Active subwoofers have an inbuilt amplifier. This means you do not need speaker wires to connect the amplifier, the power source, and the speakers.
Active subwoofers require a particular type of wire for connection. Most of these wires are covered with cables to reduce interference.
- On the other hand, passive subwoofers are like regular speakers. You will have to connect the amplifier to the speaker and the power source.
Related: How Does A Subwoofer Work
Distance from the power source to the amplifier
The distance from the subwoofer to the media device affects the type of speaker wires you will use.
Measure the distance using a tape measure or a string. Using the string is the best method since a string is more thin and flexible. After approximating the distance, measure the size of the string on the tape measure.
When buying the subwoofer wires, add a few more inches of wire for the sake of proper connection.
Thickness of the wire
Do you know the thickness of the speaker wire affects the quality of sound produced?
AmericanWireGauge (AWG) is the standard measurement of wire thickness. According to AWG, speaker wires with small gauges are thicker, while those with large gauges are thin. Most of the efficient wires have a gauge of from 12-16.
- For a perfect bass quality, use a speaker wire with a gauge of 12.
- When using speaker wires to connect the speakers to different rooms, use wires with a small gauge.
- When using prominent home speakers or a car with a power level of approximately 50w and below and a height of about 25ft, use a speaker wire with a gauge of 18AWG. This will help you avoid losing more power.
- Use wires with 16AWG for moderate speakers with under 220W. You can also these speaker wires on home stereos speakers and cars. 16AWG wires will keep the subwoofer powered for long.
- For high-power applications and more extended speakers, use a 12AWG wire.
There is a pretty resourceful speaker wire gauges calculator that you can use to measure your wire gauge. To save you some cash, play around with length, speaker ohms, and power amount to determine the gauge of the speaker wire you should use on your speaker.
The thickness of the speaker wire is not the main factor used to gauge the quality of speaker wires. However, it has much more significant impacts.
Material of the wire
Different materials produce different qualities of sound in speakers.
- Copper wires work best as subwoofer wires compared to aluminum.
- A solid copper core coated with additional wires allows easy transportation of low-frequency signals resulting in a responsive, clear sound.
Capabilities of the wires.
The capabilities of the subwoofer wires are measured through their
- capacitance, and
One of the most critical measures of capability is resistance. Regular speaker wires and subwoofer wires differ in resistance.
- Wires with low resistance allow more powerful audio to pass from the source to the subwoofer.
This results in high-quality clear sound output. When the resistance in a regular wire passes 5% resistivity, the sound quality in a subwoofer can be felt.
Resistance of speaker wires is affected by the cross-sectional area of the wire and the length of the wire.
- Short wires have less resistance than longer wires.
This might be a challenge when there is a significant distance from the amplifier to the subwoofer. In such a situation, regular speaker wires are not ideal since they are likely to pick more useless signals.
A subwoofer wire with cable would work perfectly since the cable already reduces resistance.
The gauge or cross-sectional area of the wires is how thick the wires are.
- Thicker wires have a low resistance compared to thinner wires. We had discussed above that the best sound quality comes from wires with a smaller gauge.
Original speaker wires that come with the home theater system
All the above factors are to be considered when looking for subwoofer wires. However, how do you tell if the wires you bought are compatible with your speakers? Is the gauge indicated on the wires the accurate gauge, and is the material used to make the wire the best?
Connecting the subwoofer to your amplifier and power source is not very easy. If not done well the first time, you will fight more frustration before getting that right. But how do we eliminate the doubt that the wire is the one causing frustration?
Use the speaker wires that are bought with the home theater system. Most brands measure the wire size that can power their speakers; they use the best material to ensure fantastic sound quality.
Manufacturers test their wires for any issues. That is why wires bought with the speakers last longer and produce high-quality sounds.
If you can’t find enough original speaker wires, contact the subwoofer manufacturers to recommend good wires.
Related: Best Subwoofer Under 500
How to set up the Subwoofer with Speaker Wire
Now that you know which type to buy for your audio system, we will jump into how you set up your subwoofer.
Connecting subwoofers to your audio system are such a big hustle. However, I have simplified the process by giving you simple steps to give you a live performance vibe the next time you use your system.
Connect the subwoofer
If your subwoofer has an inbuilt amplifier, you will still make some connections.
Connect the subwoofer to the receiver using the speaker cables you got. Find an input labeled LFE on the subwoofer to insert the cable.
There is quite a lot to consider when connecting the subwoofer. Read this guide to help you reduce the struggle of connecting your subwoofer to the audio system.
The subwoofer’s leading role in an audio system is to smoothen or enhance the sound from the speaker.
If you take the frequency too high, the sound becomes too deep that you can barely understand any lyrics in a song, while if you reduce the frequency too low, the sound becomes too smooth.
Other advanced home theater systems have a room correction that balances the subwoofer and speaker volume.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Is it possible to convert regular speaker wires into subwoofer wires?
No. Subwoofer wires come with many specifications that make them ideal for subwoofer use. Subwoofer wires are covered with a particular type of cable that blocks other interferences like random radio signals. It is hard to make such types of cables at home.
- What does RCA stand for?
RCA is the Radio Cooperation of America and was designed in the 1930s.
RCA has two connectors a female plug known as an RCA plug and a male plug known as an RCA jack.
- How do I tell the gauge of a subwoofer wire?
Most subwoofer wires have a gauge of 12-18. The manual that comes with the wires is are all the speciation you need to know. However, it is difficult to tell if the indicated gauge is correct.
It would be best if you considered buying wires with a lower gauge since they are the thickest and the best for your subwoofer.
- What material makes the best subwoofer wire?
The material of the wire is a huge determinant of the wire thickness. And we know thick wire produces high-quality sound.
Copper wires are the most common and the best subwoofer wires. They have the right thickness and are durable.
Subwoofer wires are the regular RCA cables with technology to balance the sound and block unwanted signals.
If you don’t have the subwoofer wires that came with your subwoofer, ensure the speaker wires you are getting for your subwoofer have the required thickness and length. The extra length will be helpful in case you want to make some adjustments.
Copper wires are a better option for your subwoofer compared to aluminum.
If you can’t figure out the type of speaker wire to use, consult your home theater system manufacturers.
HI, John Andrew here. I’ve been an audiophile since I was a little kid. I’m an original member of myaudiolover . It emerged as a way for me to share my passion and knowledge for audio technology. If you’re looking for tips, techniques, and insights about audio-tech, that can enable your productions that professional edge, then MyAudioLover is the place for you!