If you want to get a more booming low end from your home audio system, you may have wondered if you can connect multiple subwoofers to your soundbar. Using two subwoofers can add a lot to your audio. But before you start searching for the perfect set, check your manufacturer’s recommendation. Not all soundbars are alike, and some are better suited for dual subs.
You can connect two subwoofers to a soundbar, however, this will depend highly on the type of soundbar you are using. Brands differ in their compatibility, and some may not be capable of the full potential that two subs produce.
Adding two subs to your system can be a move you never go back on. For audiophiles, it means a whole lot more than just more bass. For instance, when two subs work together, they can increase the dynamic range and provide a fuller, richer sound. But there is more to the benefits than just these features.
Why Would You Want 2 Subwoofers?
To put it simply, they would just sound better. With proper placement and configuration, your subs can add a lot to the sound in a room. Here are some things that two subs do better than just one, including the first: they offer a smoother frequency response; they have better imaging with dual-channel systems; they have increased dynamic range; they hide the locality inherent in subs, and they can help with interior design limitations.
When you use one subwoofer, it’s possible to run into some issues. Of course, the low-end of your system will be better, but only in some locations. For instance, if you are not in the “sweet spot” for your sub, you will not hear some frequencies as well. This reduces the frequency response of your system. In contrast, adding another sub will allow the frequencies to fill the room better.
This will enhance the frequency response in multiple locations.In the same way, two subs will also enhance the dynamic range of your system. Adding the second sub will increase the amount of headroom your system has. This is the amount of loudness a system can produce before it starts to degrade or clip. Two subs allow for more dynamic range by increasing the available headroom.
Much like the problem with frequency response, having only one sub will give away the speaker’s location. This is known as speaker locality. But if you have two subs, you can give the impression that the sound is all around you. If you are thoughtful with your speaker placement, this can also affect the sound.
If you are worried about a colossal sub cabinet in your home, having two smaller subs can be ideal. This can reduce the visual impact of the subwoofer and give you the above benefits. But, you should be mindful of what kind of subwoofers your soundbar is compatible with, as well as how you plan on pairing and placing them together (our guide on speaker placement).
Built-In Dual-Sub Support vs. Adding Dual-Sub Support
Adding two subwoofers to your system is a good idea, and we’d recommend it. But there are some differences incompatibility when it comes to brand. For instance, some brands will support two subs natively, while others will support two subs but may have issues. This is where doing research is your friend.
Checking out your user’s manual or purchasing a soundbar you know will work is your best strategy, also, it’s wise to understand how soundbars actually work in the first place. Our guide on how soundbars work will help you make a more informed decision. Another thing that’s worth mentioning is that there is a big difference between native compatibility and just making two subs connect.
- Built-in Dual Sub Support – This is your best bet if you want to experience the full extent of your system’s potential. This will allow for dual-channel support and better balance.
- Adding Dual Subs – While this is possible, you may only get your sound in mono. But, since these are subs, that may not be a huge deal for you.
Your best bet is to go ahead and find a soundbar that will support dual subwoofers. There are a few popular brands out there that offer solutions like this, For example, the Sonos Arc (on Amazon) natively supports two subs perfectly. But, this will rely on using the compatible Sonos Sub (on Amazon). Depending on your budget, this may be an issue.
If you want to explore other options, the Nakamichi Shockwave Ultra (on Amazon) is another excellent soundbar that supports dual subs natively. But, if you already have a soundbar and want to link up multiple subs, there are still options. Keep in mind that adding dual sub support can be tricky. Your success will depend on your soundbar and the types of subs you are using. If you can, try and stick to the same brand to avoid dynamic range and imaging issues.
Let’s say you just happen to have a couple of subs laying around, and you want to use them. First, make sure your soundbar can make them work. Then, you hook everything up, but there is now some distorted low-end. Additionally, it seems like one sub is louder than the other. Among other measurements, you need to worry about your speaker’s impedance.
This is a fairly complex concept, but it basically means the amount of power your sub draws in. Speaker impedance is usually rated at somewhere between 4-8 ohms. When you have two subs with different impedance ratings, you could hear distortion, low audio quality, and even clipping. These are things you want to avoid if your goal is to have cleaner audio. Just because you have the two subs to connect doesn’t mean you should.
How to Connect 2 Subwoofers to 1 Soundbar
If you have two subwoofers of the same make and model, connecting them should be easy. There are lots of brands out there, like Sonos, that natively support multiple subs. It is your best option to go ahead and purchase a setup that includes dual subs, like this Nakamichi dual sub setup (on Amazon).
But, it still may be possible if you are working with another brand, depending on the connections. Keep in mind that there is no clear cut solution to this problem. Since a lot of setups today depend on Bluetooth connectivity, there are also issues there as well. To help you find the best solution to the second sub issue, here are a few tips. For similar subs, you want to do the following:
- Make sure you have the right connections on the back.
- Purchasing a 3.5mm Y-Splitter (on Amazon) allows two subs to be connected to one port.
- If you have wireless subs, you may connect one via Bluetooth and connect the second via a wired connection.
Keep in mind that, at the very least, your subs should be matching. You may be able to get away using a different branded soundbar, but your subs should be of the same brand and make if you can. This makes sure all the speaker measurements are the same. Similar speakers will produce sound in a similar way reducing the risk of distortion or low-quality audio.
How to Connect Subwoofers that Don’t Match
While we would not recommend this, it may be possible. Using some of the methods listed above, you might be able to get two subs that don’t match to work together. But be aware of the risks. Using two subs that don’t match together could very easily produce bad sound, create unbalanced bass, and damage your equipment.
There are a lot of things that could affect your sound quality. This is why using a pair of matched subs is recommended. You need to make sure the frequencies, power output, and drivers are the same. While it is possible to find this information out yourself, even one thing that doesn’t match up could cause issues down the road.
But if you are keen on using two unmatched subs, your best bet is to use a 3.5mm Y splitter. Just make sure that you have done your research, and both subs are similar in driver size and the other specs.
Connecting Matching Subwoofers to a Different Soundbar
While subs that don’t match can cause problems, using a different branded soundbar is not as much of an issue. You should just make sure that you are using similarly branded subs. But it is possible to use a soundbar and subs of different brands without too much sound degradation or distortion. There is still a chance you can damage your gear, so make sure you have the specs matched.
It would be wise to check for a few things, including amps, sensitivity, and impedance, among several factors. You may need to make sure that your soundbar has a preamp output. Usually, a label on the unit’s backside will designate the output for the subwoofer. If you have one of these, you can use an RCA Y-Splitter (on Amazon) to transmit parallel signals.
If you have wireless subs without RCA or 3.5mm connections, there are products out there to help with this problem. These devices are usually for more advanced home theatre setups. But, you may be able to find some success with one. Products, like the MartinLogan Wireless Subwoofer Kit (on Amazon), allow for the low-frequency signal to be sent wirelessly to two or more subs.
Adding a second sub to your system can be a great way to add more low-end to your system. There are plenty of brands out there that allow for this setup without too much hassle. But, if you are planning on working with a soundbar that does not support this natively, make sure they are at least the same brand. This will ensure that you have no issue with connecting and you’re not sacrificing sound quality.