How to Connect a Sony Subwoofer to a Soundbar

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Struggling with underwhelming audio oomph from your slim Sony soundbar?

Adding a powerful, perfectly mated Sony subwoofer provides earth-shaking bass to complete the cinematic experience.

Let’s dive into key steps for connecting Sony subwoofers and soundbars to unlock aural immersion now.

How Do I Connect My Sony Subwoofer to My Soundbar?

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You simply need to verify hardware compatibility, connect via cables or wireless pairing, and configure audio settings between the Sony soundbar and subwoofer models.

We’ll explore the step-by-step process in detail below.

But first, it’s key to check ports and wireless specs to ensure your particular components are designed to function together out the box.

Check Compatibility Between Subwoofer and Soundbar

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It is important to first confirm that the Sony subwoofer and soundbar models you have are designed to work together or have wireless pairing capabilities.

Most Sony audio products within the same product line will be compatible, but it is best to verify by checking the model numbers and documentation.

You also want to make sure the audio inputs and outputs between the devices match up.

For example, if your soundbar only has an RCA subwoofer output, make sure your subwoofer has RCA inputs rather than a different connection type.  

Take a look at the ports and connectors on the back of both your Sony soundbar and subwoofer before getting started.

User manuals for both devices should also outline compatibility and connectivity specifics as well.

Sony sound bars commonly feature either a line level RCA subwoofer output or a digital coaxial output while their subwoofers stick to line level RCA inputs.   

If you see an RCA output labeled “SW” on your Sony soundbar and a corresponding RCA input on your Sony powered subwoofer, chances are these models are designed for wired connectivity.  

Some higher end Sony soundbar and wireless subwoofer models also utilize wireless pairing technology so the subwoofer audio signal is transmitted over WiFi, Bluetooth or proprietary wireless audio protocols.   

The user documentation for both the soundbar and subwoofer should note if the models include support for wireless pairing.

Going the wireless route means no cables running between the two components, giving you more placement flexibility.  

If you bought the Sony soundbar and subwoofer models together as a bundled home theater package, then compatibility between the units is guaranteed.

However, issues could arise if you are trying to use an older standalone Sony sub with a newer model soundbar that wasn’t sold together initially.  

To reiterate, carefully check that the input and output ports align between the soundbar and subwoofer and that wireless audio transmission is supported if aiming to connect the units wirelessly.  

Position the Subwoofer

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When it comes to placing your Sony subwoofer for optimal audio performance, there are a few key guidelines to follow whether you end up going the wired or wireless connection route.   

Because a subwoofer is responsible for reproducing the low frequency effects (LFE) channel in a soundtrack, you want to situate it on a solid, stable surface.

Putting the subwoofer enclosure on a sturdy surface will allow its internal driver and amplifier components to best handle heavy bass without disruption or distortion.  

Floors and sturdy media stands are ideal surfaces. If placing the sub on a shelf, confirm it can support the full weight without vibrations.

You also want to keep the subwoofer away from obstructions in the environment that could impede audio quality or wireless connections.  

For example, thick furniture pieces, walls, and wireless interferences from other electronics could impact performance if the sub is jammed into a tight space.  

Try to leave at least several inches clearance between the sub and nearby objects for best audio reproduction.

Proper subwoofer placement also entails keeping it within wireless range if you’ve confirmed both units support wireless pairing.

Depending on transmission protocols utilized, wireless connectivity distances between soundbar and subwoofer can reach anywhere from 20 to 100+ feet.  

But shorter wireless distances of around 10 to 15 feet or less are recommended for reliable stability.

Just like with Wi-Fi networks, connection strength weakens as range increases or more physical barriers get in the way.   

As such, position the Sony wireless subwoofer closer to the soundbar when first getting set up rather than hidden around a corner or down a hallway.

Once paired successfully, tweak positioning in small increments while checking audio quality. 

Above all, verify the wireless spec listed for your particular Sony subwoofer and soundbar models so range expectations are clear.

Shorter wireless ranges but more freedom in placement makes for an excellent combination.

Lastly, ensure the subwoofer is placed near a functioning AC power outlet. While sound output can reach far, standard subwoofer power cords still need to reach a nearby wall socket!  

Connect Cables Between Subwoofer and Soundbar   

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If your Sony home theater components utilize a wired subwoofer connection scheme, you simply need to utilize the appropriate audio cables to hook the soundbar output to the matching subwoofer input.

This wire will carry the soundbar’s LFE channel signal directly to the sub for bass-specific playback.  

As noted in the compatibility check section, common wired connection standards are RCA and digital coaxial.

RCA uses those familiar red and white connector tips while coaxial utilizes a single orange-tipped cable that carries digital signals.   

The ports on both the Sony soundbar and powered subwoofer should be clearly labeled as to which one needs the outgoing wired audio signal versus the receiving end.   

For example, you would locate the dedicated “SW” or “Subwoofer” RCA output port on the soundbar whereas the input variation would be present on the subwoofer.

Then obtain a suitable RCA stereo audio cable to bridge the two components.   

When connecting RCA tips, match colors for optimal channel directionality e.g. red to red. The coaxial digital variation only has one orange connector on either end to align.

With audio cables inserted securely into the respective input and output ports, the wired sound signal pathway is complete. 

All that remains on the physical connection front is plugging in the AC power cord from the subwoofer enclosure to a nearby wall outlet.

This powers on the internal amplifier responsible for bass notes. Leave the power switch in the off position for now if there is one present.  

Re-check that connections are snug and cables are not being pinched or stretched too much from outlet to input.

Now it is time configure the software side of things before enjoying room-rumbling low end!  

Pair Wireless Subwoofer With Soundbar (If Applicable)  

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For Sony home theater owners lucky enough to own wireless-capable models, avoiding cables altogether between soundbar and subwoofer is an option.

This is achieved by pairing the units electronically so audio signals can be transmitted over the air securely.   

Wireless options like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or Sony’s own LF (low frequency) protocol are available. 

Depending on model specifics, the pairing procedure can happen automatically or require manual steps after initial hardware positioning is complete.  

If the soundbar and subwoofer boxes list any form of “wireless” or “Wi-Fi” capability spec sheets, placing them in close proximity of each other should prompt an auto-connection sequence.   

Simply power both units on in reasonably close wireless range and listen/look for pairing confirmation tones and flashing LED lights on each enclosure.

However, manually initiating a wireless connection is often required for first-time registration.

This entails putting both the Sony soundbar and wireless subwoofer into a “discovery” mode to locate each other.

Any hardware buttons and on-screen menus used to begin this pairing process will be clearly noted in user documentation.  

For example, simultaneously holding the power button and Input button on the soundbar while tapping the Pair button on the subwoofer starts the handshake procedure.

Unique identifying codes are then transmitted between the products to pair them together in the current wireless network zone.  

Follow any on-screen instructions shown on the soundbar’s display to fully complete and confirm the exclusive partnership!

Internal programming logic will prevent other wireless signals in the vicinity from altering connections once finished.   

Feel free to test placement flexibility by moving the subwoofer around while checking that audio quality remains stable.

General wireless troubleshooting around halting competing signals, restarting hardware devices or manually re-pairing units can help tackle any connection drops noted during home theater use.  

Configure Soundbar Audio Settings For Subwoofer

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With the physical connections set between Sony soundbar and subwoofer, whether wired cables or wireless linking, optimizing performance relies on proper audio configurations.

Access the soundbar’s settings menu to inform its programming that a dedicated subwoofer channel exists in the environment.  

Use the remote control that ships with the Sony soundbar to access its settings and audio options.

Select the menu designation regarding speaker or audio setup. Then define your connection scheme, either wireless or wired terminations to the sub.

This maps the corresponding low frequency content to the subwoofer appropriately from any video soundtrack sources routed through the soundbar initially.

While in the speaker settings, you should also configure individual sound channels to small or large.

Given the subwoofer will handle all low frequency effects (LFE) and bass notes, set the front, center and rear integrated soundbar speakers to “small”.

Doing so passes frequencies higher than the crossover point you define straight to the Sony subwoofer.

This prevents low-end audio signals from trying to radiate from the satellite speakers lacking decent reproduction capabilities.

The system then actively filters lower frequencies down to the headphones while your soundbar handles mids/highs.  

Tweaking crossover points between 60Hz on up to 120Hz or so helps determine where that handoff to the sub occurs.

Choosing 80Hz represents a good starting point between achieving a balanced, cohesive soundstage versus overly boomy bass.   

Adjust this crossover value while listening to audio content to pinpoint personal preferences. 

Effectively calibrating the audio settings to use the wired or wireless Sony subwoofer connection optimizes the heavy bass capabilities integrated.  

Test and Adjust Subwoofer Audio Level   

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With previous steps complete in terms of Sony soundbar and subwoofer placement, physical and wireless connections, plus audio options configured, enjoy room-rumbling home theater sound!

The final touch when integrating a powered sub is setting its volume dial relative to your main speaker system.  

Play action movie content or music tracks focused on strong bass elements. Start with the subwoofer volume dial at a low setting before powering on.

Gradually increase its intensity to achieve pleasing balance between low-end and mids/highs as emanating from the front soundbar itself.  

Fine tuning relative levels this way provides awesome bass elements without overpowering key dialog or soundtrack portions you still want to shine through.

Small tweaks go a long way until the sweet spot is achieved based on room dynamics and personal taste.   

Quick volume changes can be made directly on the back dial on the Sony subwoofer itself.

For broader updates affecting multiple channels, utilize the primary soundbar remote instead to better sync every element together instantly.  

This wireless control has direct access to seamlessly toggle levels across the board rather than manual rotations on the back of a cabinet.

Some Sony subwoofers even allow additional adjustment of bass boost features to really hammer home the lowest of frequencies at the touch of a button!  

Play around with these integrated controls to discover ideal balance of thundering lows merged with clear mids/highs from the soundbar housed speakers.

Sony’s synchronized home theater components will work in excellent harmony when properly placed, wired and calibrated!  

Conclusion

Connecting a Sony subwoofer to a compatible soundbar is straightforward when following key steps like verifying hardware compatibility, properly placing enclosures, running wired cables or initiating wireless pairing sequences, optimizing audio configurations, and tuning bass levels. 

Paying attention to setup guidelines and troubleshooting connectivity issues leads to awesome, room-filling home theater sound.

Dominic

Dominic is the chief editor of the Burton Acoustix blog which writes about acoustics and soundproofing to help readers with their queries and questions they might have with regard to improving any sound or noise issues that they faced in their life.