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This guide teaches and informs car owners on how to connect a subwoofer to a car stereo without an amp.

Especially if you can’t afford an eternal amplifier and still want to get the best out of your audio system whenever you listen to music.

We understand the importance of music while driving on a long drip.

The desire to blast your favorite song aloud and get immersed in the excitement and fun that comes with it.

The importance of an amplifier in your audio system cannot be denied or underestimated.

Still, the absence of an external amp doesn’t make a subwoofer useless or unworthy for your vehicle.

So, if you want to invest in a subwoofer and do not have an amp to power this device, this is not where it ends.

As you read along, you will find out how you can enhance the performance and quality of your subwoofer, thereby making it compatible with your stereo.

Can I hook up a subwoofer to stereo without an amp?

Yes, you can. All you need is the knowledge and understanding required to make this work.

To use a subwoofer to stereo without the use of an external amplifier. You need to pick the right subwoofer.

In this case, you should invest in an active subwoofer. Active subwoofers are built to offer impressive bass frequencies and excellent bass and sound irrespective of an amp.

You do not necessarily have to invest in an amplifier to get the best out of this type of subwoofer.

How can I get bass without an amp?

Usually, the primary function of a subwoofer in your car’s audio system is to enhance the bass frequencies and ensure you achieve smooth and loud sound.

Just like every music or sound enthusiast, the goal is to get the best response and performance from your subwoofer.

You can get better and additional bass from your subwoofer without an amp when you make the necessary adjustments to the functionality and setup.

These adjustments are not complex, and you do not need any special tools or technical experience.

For instance,

  • You can make your subwoofer sound louder or achieve extra bass by positioning it rightly. Ensure your subwoofer is placed in the corner of your car. This guarantees or offers about 6 decibels of bass increase/improvement and eliminate the need for extra amplification.
  • Ensure your subwoofer is rightly connected with other components of the audio system. Make sure your subwoofer’s crossover controls are appropriately adjusted. This is how you can prevent the car speakers from competing with your subwoofer for bass frequencies.
  • Place the subwoofer in various locations in your vehicle until you find a spot that offers the exceptional sound quality you desire. While at it, do not position this device at parallel surfaces or at an equal distance between two walls. Placing it asymmetrically is a great idea. This improves the bass and the overall sound quality.

When you follow the above tips and put them into use, you will get a more impressive bass at no extra cost.

How To Connect A Subwoofer To A Car stereo Without An Amp


Before you start the connection process, the following are the required tools to get the job done.

  • Spanner
  • Screwdriver
  • Plier
  • Tester
  • Hammer




While the installation process is not complicated. It takes a lot of patience to get the installation rightly done.

On average, it takes between 1-2 hours to install/mount a subwoofer to your car stereo.

This timeframe could increase or decrease depending on your level of experience.

For instance, installing or adding a subwoofer for the first time could take longer to get it right.

An individual who has done this on numerous occasions or an expert would get the subwoofer connected within a shorter timeframe.


On average, you can get a top-quality and mid-sized subwoofer for about $200.

Small-sized or compact designs are offered at lesser prices, although they may not produce the same sound quality as larger ones.

However, they are great options for smaller vehicles.

If you are hiring a professional to install/add a subwoofer for you, this costs between $100 and $300 on average.

The price is mainly dependent on location and how complicated or complex the installation might be.

Adding a Subwoofer With No amp To Car Stereo (The steps)

Get your tools in place

Earlier in this guide, we listed the basic tools you will need for this project. Ensure these tools are complete, rightly arranged, and are placed within your reach.

Disconnect your battery

Here is where the real works start. Carefully unplug/detach the battery. This is done to promote safety and also to eliminate a shortage in the electrical system.

When you fail to disconnect the negative battery cable as advised, and you proceed to connect the subwoofer to your stereo.

The subwoofer drains the battery gradually. Obviously, you don’t want this to happen.

Disconnect the infotainment system

Once the battery is disconnected, as explained in the above point. Ensure you also disengage the infotainment system completely.

This way, you won’t have to bother or get disturbed about possible shocks as you attempt to detach the speakers or get through to the rear section.

Take out the fuse

Go to the fuse compartment and detach the fuse. This process aims to easily and directly connect the subwoofer to the major power supply.

Disconnect the car stereo

The next step is to get the stereo detached from the mounting dock. The disconnection can be done easily using a screwdriver.

This gives you complete access to outlets and cables beneath the rear section.

Identifying and locating the stereo system wiring is an essential aspect of this installation process.

Stereo adapter attachment

You may want to find out why you need an adapter. This unit provides a power source or connection for the subwoofer.

Here, the adapter and the stereo cable are rightly combined, thereby providing the ultimate power source needed to operate your subwoofer through a particular cable.

Afterward, extend the cable to where your subwoofer is positioned or placed and ensure it is tightly connected to the output connector on the subwoofer.

Mount/position the subwoofer

For best sound performance, your subwoofer must be rightly placed in a location where it is convenient and ideal to support appropriate integration.

Some notable areas include the truck and behind the rear seat.

Asides from improving the sound quality, where you place your subwoofer should also be easily accessible, especially during setup.

Especially when you need to initiate a crossover integration between the car stereo and the subwoofer.

Reinsert detached components

All the detached components or units at the beginning of the connection process must be installed back into their various compartments.

For instance, the battery cable, fuse, and stereo should be fixed back appropriately.

Confirm if everything is in order

Now to the easiest part of the whole process. At this stage, the general assumption is that all the necessary connections have been made.

Now, it is time to check if the subwoofer will perform according to preference and expectation.

Play your favorite music and pay attention to the quality of the sound produced.

The connection may be considered successful if the sound is distortion-free, uniform, and the bass is excellent.

For safety, all the cables can be hidden or covered with carpet. This way, unintended physical contacts or damage are restricted.

While the steps discussed above are considered the standard technique, here we will discuss some other connection techniques that you can adopt.

Although these steps are straightforward, you need some necessary connection points readily available on your vehicle stereo and subwoofer.

Using the low-frequency effect (LFE) cable

The LFE ports allow easy connection of the stereo and subwoofer.

If your stereo and subwoofer have this port, you can connect them using this technique.

This port is built as an output on the car stereo and input on the subwoofer.

You can easily identify this port by looking for a spot labeled “Sub out or Subwoofer” on your subwoofer.

Once identified, you can then extend the LFE cable from the stereo and connect it to this port on your subwoofer.

That’s all. Your subwoofer has now been connected successfully and is ready for use.

Using the RCA cable

This technique is for you if your car stereo doesn’t come with the LFE but has the L & R stereo connector.

Extend the RCA cable from the car’s stereo L & R output and extend it to the subwoofer L & R connector.

Ensure you plug the cable appropriately. That’s all. Your subwoofer is now ready for use.

FAQ’s Subwoofers Without Amp

What is the difference between active and passive subwoofers?

These two subwoofers are the most popular types or designs of subwoofers you will find on the market.

The main difference is that the active subwoofers are equipped or built with an amplifier installed, while passive designs are subwoofers without amp; subwoofer with no amp.

Hence, passive subwoofers need an external amp to power them.

How does the subwoofer work?

The subwoofer’s primary function is to improve the quality of sound in your audio system.

This device is built to produce impressive deep bass and dynamic sound that your standard speakers can’t offer.

Without a quality subwoofer installed in your vehicle, the audio system struggles and won’t reach its potential.

This is when you experience flat sound quality, which is undeniably boring to the ears.

What does an amplifier do?

Just as the name implies, the primary function of this device is to amplify sound.

If you are a great lover of music who desires smooth, undiluted, and louder sound with excellent bass.

These are the benefits you enjoy when you have an amplifier installed on your vehicle.

How can I achieve louder and distortion-free sound without installing an amp?

We understand how expensive amplifiers are. Hence, the need for alternatives or other ways to get louder, distortion-free, and better sound and bass quality without breaking the bank.

If you can’t afford an amplifier, or you decide not to invest in one.

In that case, you can still achieve excellent sound quality (clear sound and strong bass) by installing an active or powered subwoofer in your vehicle.

Where is the best placement spot to keep subwoofer in my vehicle?

Irrespective of the car you drive (design and size), there are various placement options that you can choose from when it comes to installing a subwoofer in your vehicle.

You could either have this device positioned or placed behind the seat, especially the back seat or the trunk.

However, choosing the most ideal spot or position depends on certain factors. You need to consider your vehicle’s design.

Usually, the subwoofer’s sound quality is greatly influenced by your vehicle’s shape and the interior.

So, we advise that you place the subwoofer at various spots in your car and settle for the location with the best output.

Can I install a subwoofer myself?

Yes, you can. However, while everyone can learn how to get this done independently.

Hiring an expert to get the job done is the safest and easiest way to have a subwoofer connected to your car stereo.

How long does a subwoofer last?

Just like every electrical component or device, the subwoofer also wears out at some point in time.

Usually, subwoofers have an average life span of 4 to 6 years.

When used correctly (adhering to regular maintenance and following the manufacturer’s guidelines), the average life span can be extended by a few years.


Adding a subwoofer to your audio system makes a remarkable difference in the quality of sound produced.

This allows you to enjoy and relate to the music you listen to better, thereby making each long trip exciting, relaxing and fun-filled. In the end, you won’t just listen to the music, but as well feel it.

Now that you know how to connect a subwoofer to a car stereo without an amp.

You won’t have to bother investing hugely in an external amp to achieve improved bass in your stereo system.

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