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Subwoofers give you the kind of thrilling and immersive low-frequency impact you need when you’re watching a home movie, playing a video game, or listening to music.
That is why for those who have a soundbar but want a better bass and surround sound experience, connecting to two subwoofers seems like a good idea. But is it even possible?
You can connect 2 subwoofers to a soundbar, but it depends on the brand or model. There are a few soundbars that are expandable and can be connected to subs other than the one it came within the box. So, you’ll need to check its ability to accommodate two subwoofers and their compatibility.
This article will talk more extensively about the limitations of connecting certain soundbars and subwoofers. You will also learn how to tell whether a soundbar is compatible with multiple subwoofers, and how you can go about connecting two subs to one soundbar for a more surround sound system experience.
Do Soundbars Come With a Built-In Subwoofer?
Many soundbars come with a built-in subwoofer or with their own partner subwoofer unit. However, some would find these partner subs as producing less-than-satisfactory bass and their sound having a potential for distortion and with a muddying effect.
Another common complaint against soundbars with built-in subs is that they produce a front-heavy sound.
That is not to say most soundbars have poor sound quality. It’s just that those who know what an excellent subwoofer can do would be able to tell the difference. The best subwoofers are those that can smoothly hit deep bass notes and deliver thundering output.
Why Add a Subwoofer to Your Soundbar?
A subwoofer augments the low-pitched audio tones created by your loudspeaker.
So if you want a more emphasized rumbling bass and deeper low-frequency sounds to add power and punch to a movie you are watching at home or to a battle royale game you are playing instead of a flat sound, a subwoofer will do the trick.
In other words, a subwoofer would make a stormy scene out of a movie sound more realistic, as if the thunder is roaring right outside your house.
Scenes of motorcycles revving up would sound so realistic that you would be transported to the highway, and the sound of guns during a gunfight would make you want to duck and hide behind the couch.
As such, soundbar owners who set up an entertainment system in larger or irregular-shaped rooms would want to take their audio system to the next level and try connecting two or even more subwoofers to get a fuller and more robust audio experience.
Connecting 2 Subwoofers to a Soundbar: Is It Possible?
In most cases, you won’t be able to add a standalone subwoofer to a soundbar. Connecting a separate subwoofer to a soundbar is only doable, however, when both come together in a box and are designed to be paired.
Sometimes, connecting an additional subwoofer is also possible if both the soundbar and the subwoofer are from the same manufacturer. Soundbars and subwoofers can be compatible if they belong to the same branded line.
There are even manufacturers that give customers the option to upgrade their soundbars with additional subwoofers as long as they are using certain products that are recommended.
One example is Sonos soundbar. You can expand it by getting the compatible Sonos Wireless Subwoofer (Amazon link).
How to Connect 2 Subwoofers to a Soundbar
If you are installing an entertainment system in a large room or an irregular-shaped one, you can expect that you will need a multiple-speaker or multiple-subwoofer setup.
This is the best way to ensure that you get a truly immersive audio experience. As such, be proactive and just buy a soundbar that comes with dual subwoofers or expandable.
Soundbars that are sold with two subwoofers include the Nakamichi Shockwave Ultra soundbar (Amazon link) with dual wireless subwoofers and four rear surround-sound speakers.
With soundbars like the Bose Soundbar 700, you can just add a second subwoofer. However, you may find it difficult or even impossible to pair two subwoofers with the soundbar wirelessly or to pair one sub wirelessly and the other sub through the plug-in cable.
The video below recommends using a 3.5-millimeter Y-split adapter to connect the two subwoofers to the soundbar via cable:
1. Connect Non-Matching Subwoofers
Pairing one subwoofer with another subwoofer from a different brand is not recommended because it can lead to sound distortion or a negative sound experience in general.
Even if you make sure that the non-matching subwoofers have similar impedance and that the other measurements are the same, there is no guarantee that they would deliver the same audio quality.
The different specs of your subwoofers that can negatively affect their pairing include their amp power and the size of their drivers.
Moreover, rigging together two subwoofers of different brands may not just impair sound quality, but it could end up damaging them. Worse, it could end up damaging other components of your sound system too.
So, make sure to match and pair up your two subwoofers properly.
Using dual subs of the same brand and model will help give you the kind of sound experience you were hoping for because it ensures that specs like the drivers, power output, and frequency range are the same. Plus, similar brands means they are modeled to work with one another.
2. Connect Matching Subwoofers to a Different Soundbar
While subwoofers should not be a mix-and-match kind of thing, it is different with a soundbar. You can connect a pair of same-brand subwoofers with a sound system or soundbar from another brand.
It will be a little tricky, but not impossible, and the task has to be done with lots of caution to protect the equipment.
It is very important to check the specs of both your soundbar and subwoofers to ensure that they would be a good match.
To match the subwoofers with a different brand sound system or soundbar, be sure to check the specifications of each. You will need to look at their amps, sensitivity, and impedance.
You also need to make sure that the soundbar has a preamp output. You can use an RCA Y-adapter to transmit two parallel low-frequency signals to separate subwoofers.
However, if your soundbar connects to the sub wirelessly, there are now wireless subwoofer adapters available in the market, and you can try it out. These adapters can transmit audio signals to two, even four, wireless compatible subs.
It is nice to anticipate your audio needs and be proactive about it. Take a look at the size of your space or room and study its acoustics.
You should also know your personal preferences when it comes to home entertainment and audio experience. Knowing these things will help you determine the kind of sound system you need to get.
However, if you already have a soundbar and just decided to add a pair of subwoofers, check if connecting them is possible. See if you can add a sub wirelessly or if it has an output for a cable. If it has, you can use a split adapter to connect them.
If your soundbar was made with a built-in sub and cannot accommodate external ones, whether wirelessly or via a plug-in, then you may want to just invest in a new and expandable soundbar.
Check out my top picks for subwoofers