Subwoofers are a great way to enhance the sound experience of your content by making you “feel” low-frequency sounds. They are excellent for both movies and video games and are usually part of mid-range and high-end setups.
If you have a soundbar, you might be wondering if it is possible to connect a subwoofer for a better listening experience.
You cannot connect a wired subwoofer to a soundbar in most cases. Soundbars are typically made to be used as a standalone product and are designed to be a minimalistic way to improve your listening experience over TV speakers vastly. However, models differ, so check your model’s compatibility.
We will be going over why soundbars typically don’t offer expansion, but we will also recommend a few subwoofers if your soundbar does support them. We encourage you to read on if you’d like to learn more.
Also read: Can You Connect 2 Subwoofers to a Soundbar?
Why Many Soundbars Don’t Offer Expansion
It is widely known that TV speakers aren’t great due to the ultra-thin bezels they now have. There simply isn’t room to put high-quality speakers, they are mostly there for convenience purposes, but it is generally recommended to at least grab cheapo speakers to improve your listening experience.
Soundbars are one of the most popular ways to improve the sound quality of the content coming from a TV. They are designed to be easy to set up and fit in most entertainment centers due to their relatively compact size. They are also typically affordable, although you can find high-end models.
Most people aren’t thinking of expandability when purchasing a soundbar, so manufacturers typically do not have it.
Think of it akin to an all-in-one desktop vs. a traditional desktop. The all-in-one is designed to take up as much space as a monitor, but nothing more since the computer itself is built into the display.
The same idea applies to soundbars, they are the all-in-one option for home entertainment setups, and sometimes they even have a subwoofer built-in. They may not be the absolute best in sound quality, but they are more than good enough for most folks.
However, with so many soundbars on the market, you’ll be able to find a variety of features. Some models do let you connect third-party subwoofers, while others will include them in the package or built into the soundbar itself.
What You Can Do
First, check to see if your soundbar has the ports to allow a subwoofer to be connected– it will have a subwoofer out jack, and your manufacturer will typically list expansion as a feature.
This VIZIO SB2920 (see it on Amazon) supports third-party subwoofers proving that such soundbars do exist, and yours might have compatibility.
If you are unsure, you can ask around if your particular model supports subwoofers and what subwoofers will work with it.
If you don’t have this luxury and are still set on having a subwoofer, many soundbar models come with a proprietary subwoofer either in the box or built-in. We will be going over a few good ones that won’t break the bank.
If you’d like to see more general suggestions, we recommend checking out this article.
JBL Bar 2.1
When it comes to soundbars that come with a dedicated subwoofer, the JBL 2.1 offers a lot of value at an affordable price point. We feel it definitely punches above its weight and is an easy recommended for those looking for quality sound without spending $600+ for a high-end setup.
It features various listening modes such as virtual surround sound, powerful audio performance, the “oomph” of the subwoofer, and Bluetooth streaming.
Overall, this is a good first choice for those who don’t mind the extra space that a dedicated subwoofer takes up, and if you are reading this, you probably don’t mind! At the current price of $180 as of writing, it is one of the best deals on the subwoofer market.
Sony and sound systems go together like macaroni and cheese. They take audio quite seriously, and so you can be assured you are getting a great audio experience from their speakers.
The Sony HT-S350 is no different. This is similar to the JBL Bar 2.1 in a lot of ways. It features a dedicated, wireless subwoofer, Bluetooth capabilities, and, most importantly, excellent sound quality that is sure to please at this price point.
JBL Bar 5.1
The JBL 5.1 is essentially an upgraded 2.1. The main difference is the true surround sound capabilities due to the wireless speakers that come in the package.
It may not be what we’d call “affordable,” but it is a step above most all-in-one soundbars. When strategically placing the speakers, you’ll get an amazing listening experience that surrounds you with sound, as the name implies.
If this is something you’d like to incorporate into your home theatre setup, the JBL 5.1 won’t take up anywhere near the space of a large stereo setup.
If you like the idea of a built-in subwoofer to save space, the SONY HTX8500 keeps the spirit of a soundbar and offers a true all-in-one package that has powerful, high-quality audio.
Besides having a built-in subwoofer, this soundbar also has Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, a highly desirable feature in the soundbar world.
Without the need to place extra speakers, these sound technologies can provide a surround sound experience – all in a clean, minimalist package.
You also get other features you’d expect at this price, such as Bluetooth streaming and an app that allows you to control the soundbar with ease.
Also read: 13 Best Soundbars Without Subwoofer
Positioning Your Soundbar Correctly Is Key
Because soundbars are literally straight bars that output sound, positioning them is key. If it is slanted, you are sitting anywhere but directly in front of it, and your listening experience will likely be compromised.
This alone won’t help you get the bass you desire, but knowing how to set up your home theatre will make a difference.
- Ensure the soundbar is lined up with the TV. In pretty much any photo that shows off a soundbar, you’ll notice they are almost always lined up with the TV. Soundbars can get pretty large depending on the length and width, and some people find that their TV stand doesn’t have the space for proper placement and have the speaker at an awkward angle and/or position.
- Your seating should be directly in front of the soundbar. Seating is also important when it comes to soundbars since the long and straight nature of them won’t provide an even sound experience if you are sitting off the side.
- Consider a wall mount. If you are struggling for space on your TV stand, a good option would be to hang the speaker on a wall directly above the TV. You can use brackets such as this Excel Life Universal Soundbar Mount Bracket (Amazon) for this purpose. Just ensure that you don’t place the speaker too far above the TV to avoid audio delay.
While many soundbars don’t include the ability to hook up a subwoofer, some do, and it is important to check to see if your particular speaker has this functionality. If not, it is very much worth it to look into soundbars that either come with a subwoofer or officially support them.
At the end of the day, subwoofers are generally meant to be a non-modular experience; thus, what comes in the package is typically meant to be all that you use to get a great audio experience.
Jason is a home theater expert with over 10 years of experience in setting up home cinema rooms and systems. What started out as a hobby soon transformed him into an authority in the audio-visual field. He is passionate about providing readers with accurate and up-to-date information on the latest audiovisual technologies and their applications for home theaters. Read more about Jason.