Why Do Some Subwoofers Have Left and Right Inputs?

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What is LFE Input in a Subwoofer?

One of the features that add convenience and flexibility to a home theater system or a multi-channel audio system is a subwoofer output. Yes, there are multiple RCA cables coming out of your audio/video receiver, each carrying a stereo signal which is then transmitted to a pair of satellite speakers (front right and front left channels) and to a subwoofer channel.

This setup helps you position the bass-generating subwoofer in a spot where it can deliver maximum bass without generating annoying vibrations to the other components and furniture in your room. Although this setup is great, it usually results in only a pair of inputs on your receiver. This can create some problems, so manufacturers came up with one solution – a subwoofer output with easy access input (usually rear panel).

The problem was that each time you use this extra input, you need to change the corresponding input on your source component (cable box, DVD player, etc.), which is annoying.

A logical solution was to add another pair of inputs to the subwoofer channel. The problem was that doing so would add additional circuitry, which in turn would increase the cost of the receiver. Fortunately, the solution requires nothing more than a DIP switch. A DIP (Dual Inline Package) switch is a small chip with switches inside.

What is RCA Input in a Subwoofer?

RCA, which stands for “red,” “white,” and “yellow,” is a form of cable connector. There are three main types: RCA connectors for stereo audio, S-video connectors, and coaxial connectors for composite video.

In terms of audio cables, RCA connectors are the smallest. The cable itself consists of two twisted metallic copper wires with a plastic sheath surrounding the wires. The connectors are made of plastic and come in a range of colors, with red and white being the most common. These are all signal cables that carry a signal from one device to another.

RCA connectors are commonly found in home audio setups because they are the type of cable most often used to connect a device to a preamp or power amp. The RCA cables are usually long in length, so in order to reduce the length of the cable, it would be necessary to use a RCA input. You can also use an RCA output to modify the cable’s length and direction, some amplifiers allow you to choose whether you want the signal to originate from its inner or outer terminals.

What Cable Do I Need to Connect a Subwoofer to its Receiver?

If you are setting up a subwoofer for your home theater system or a home theater receiver, one of the first things you need to do is connect the subwoofer to the receiver. This process is usually pretty simple because most subwoofers have speaker level inputs, that is they have individual subwoofer cables so you don’t need to purchase an additional RCA cable.

But wait, what does that mean exactly? What is a subwoofer cable? What’s the difference between a standard RCA cable and an RCA cable for the sub? To answer these questions we need to take a closer look and compare the left and right channel speaker wires with the left and right channel subwoofer cables.

The most notable difference between a speaker wire and a subwoofer cable is the color coding. Standard speaker wires have 2 wires, a red and a black wire. The red wire is always positive (+) and the black wire is always negative (-). For the subwoofer cables, both the positive and the negative wire are white. The only thing that distinguishes these cables is the color of the wire.

For the standard RCA cable, the outer jacket is usually black whereas the RCA cables for your subwoofer have a grey or black outer jacket but they have the same red and white color coding.

Are Dual Subwoofers Worth It?

If you're looking to bump up the bass in your car, or you just want to turn up the volume, you should consider purchasing a subwoofer. To help you decide if you really need a subwoofer, we're going to take a closer look at the different kinds of subs and the specs you'll need to consider. We'll also do a little bit of myth busting about dual subwoofers versus one subwoofer.

Different Subwoofer Types

Subwoofers come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be fitted with different types of speakers. They run on different systems, and they're used for different purposes. Below is a list of the most common kinds of subwoofers.

Passive Subwoofers:

Passive subwoofers are relatively inexpensive, durable and require a lot less maintenance than powered subs. They run on a low-power amp and are generally integrated into a subwoofer box. Passive subs are constructed by utilizing polypropylene cones with rubber surrounds for the speakers. They can also have polypropylene cone woofers, and they can be constructed by using a long-throw or double-stacked configuration.

Powered Subwoofers:

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Ever wonder why we have left and right subwoofer terminals?

The reason has more to do with your setup than the type of subwoofer you have. Having left and right terminals allows placement flexibility when it comes to your subwoofer.

To get a full, well-balanced bass response, a pair of subs are placed in opposite corners, as close to the middle of your room as possible. This minimizes modal distortion and also creates an equilateral triangle shape. Having two identical subs that can be placed on either side of the room and fed the same signal is the ideal scenario for your home theatre.

But what if you only have a single subwoofer with only one set of terminals? We can split the signal into two subs using a multiple-output terminal distribution block or inline signal splitter plugged into the subwoofer out. An inline splitter can also be used to switch between two subs, or drive both subs at the same time.

By using an adapter that converts single-terminal outputs to dual-terminal inputs, we can use a single subwoofer with two subs. This is commonly achieved by using a Y-adapter or a splitter. The second subwoofer is plugged into the Y-adapter or splitter and can be placed in the opposite corner of the room from the first subwoofer and the same music file can be sent to both the left and right subs.