How to connect a RCA audio plug to a subwoofer with regular speaker wire?


Jun 9, 2010
I had a Panosonic surround sound system, I broke the receiver. So I went to Best Buy an I bought a yamaha receiver. The receiver requires a audio pin input for the subwoofer but the subwoofer i only has speaker wire. I went to Radio Shack and they sold me some Solder-type Phono Plugs, I cant figure out how to connect them. Can someone help me out.


You can't. If the sub has an RCA jack input, it's a line level input, not speaker level. You can't hook a speaker level signal to a line input. And the RCA cable needs shielded wire, not speaker wire.
What make and model sub is it? What make and model yamaha receiver is it?
If you hook a speaker level signal to the RCA jack you will damage the sub, the amplifier or both. And when I say damage, I mean destroy.



Hi, I have a Kinetic surround sound system that has a sub woofer system . I mean, its powered with both speaker wire and rca. I have the center, front left and right speakers hooked up to the back of a yamaha receiver. Its output. I am trying to hook the rear up. I bought a radio shack wire which is rca on one end and speaker wire on the other. 2 of these would hook to the sub left and right and the speaker wire to the back of the yamaha output for the rear. I this right ??



Oct 15, 2007
you have to know if the subwoofer has a built in amplifier or if it uses the receiver to get its amplified power.

since it sounds like the subwoofer came from a home theater in a box, it might have used the amplifier inside the receiver.
if you connect the subwoofer to the receiver that has a preamp output, there wont be any sound because the voltage is too little (that is why we have amplifiers).

if the yamaha receiver has an rca jack that outputs high voltage, the receiver would probably have to be an older model.
usually only the home theater in a box receivers will output an amplified signal through an rca jack.
all of the receivers sold individually will have a preamp output.
i mean, you might look through a hundred receivers and still not find one that has an amplified output for a sub.
home theater in a box are the only receivers marketed for amplified subwoofer output.

with that said, you will probably want to get a plate amplifier for the subwoofer and lay it behind the sub or tucked away somewhere.
how many watts the subwoofer uses might be hard to find if the specifications arent listed.
you could try to hook the sub up to the main speaker output and play a 30hz test tone.. but you might fry the voice coil looking for the maximum wattage.
you would have to take the voltage from the speaker wires and run them through a resistor that matches the subwoofer's impedance.
(8 ohm sub would need an 8 ohm resistor with the multimeter)
then convert the voltage to watts, but you need voltage and amperage readings before you can convert to watts.

if you already have a digital multimeter, it might prove a decent buy to grab an amplifier for the subwoofer.
but, if you need a multimeter for the project.. it is probably cheaper and easier to go buy a new subwoofer that has its own amplifier.

i do have a question.
is the yamaha receiver part of a home theater in a box with a crappy subwoofer and you want to use your old subwoofer?
because if not, then i dont believe the subwoofer will work unless it has an amplifier built in.

does the subwoofer have a power cord that plugs into a wall outlet?
that is one certain way to know if there is an amplifier inside the subwoofer.


May 31, 2011
HI, thx for the answering of this question. Ok, the yamaha receiver has a sub woofer out jack that is rec single plug and speaker wire out. it was not part of a boxed system. I bought it in 2005 at Best buy, lakewood, california, The front left and right and center are all hooked up. The subwoofer has a remote control that controls bass, treble, volume and etc. it has 5.1 rca input jacks for center, RL AND RR. My Yamaha receiver has output via speaker wire for these rear speakers. so i figured i just need from radio shack a rca on one end and wire on the other for both RR and RL speaker outputs. A total of 2 wires from radio shack. After this, I give up. I have the center, front left and right and sub woofer hooked up. the rear is all i need to complete the system. driving me crazy.

thx for all the help


Oct 15, 2007
well i wouldnt want to connect those speakers to the yamaha receiver like that.
since the subwoofer has bass and treble and volume controls.. most common systems like that have an amplifier built inside somewhere.
hooking up the yamaha receiver to the input of the remote control would probably burn the inputs.

to say that those bass/treble/volume controls are all an analog circuit doesnt make much sense, considering i havent ever heard of anything that will output 5.1 using preamp connections.
it was either an amplified output or a single rca jack for coaxial digital.

that speaker system would appear to be very very old.. like from the early 1990's for me to begin dreaming of something like a 5.1 preamp inputs with rca jacks.

the bass and treble and volume simply come with an amplifier for consumer available products.
it is very rare to open up the remote control and see nothing but variable resistors to control volume/bass/treble.


if the subwoofer or any of the speakers doesnt have an input to be plugged into the wall.. i would check to see if there was any metal or wood replaced to hide the power input.

giving those rca jacks too much voltage will ruin amplifier preamp inputs.
you might be able to turn the rear speakers down enough to prevent damage, but for a person who isnt able to test resistances.. the situation would be a real gamble.

even the old analog equalizers needed power to get the boost.
sure, you could turn down lots of frequencies without a need to plug it into a power source.
but boosting the frequency has to have power coming from somewhere.
using only capacitors to get boost would cause serious time delays.

i think preamps dont work with actual voltage.. they work with millivolts.
maybe some studio equipment or concert equipment might work with voltages.. and maybe some of the stuff from the early 1990's also works with voltages.. but it would be a gamble without using some equipment to test everything before it is hooked up.

my receiver puts out enough voltage from the speaker wires to shock me.
and it is rated at 100 watts per channel.
i know yamaha receivers have been released with lower watts (like 40 watts or something like that)
and you might get by with the rear speakers on their lowest volume settings.
but that is only if you can turn down the rear speakers seperate from the front speakers.
how high you could raise the volume for the front speakers might be a challenge with those rear speakers connected.

i find it hard to believe (or really old) that the philips speaker set wasnt part of a complete system.
to have 5.1 rca input jacks AND a remote control that controls bass/treble/volume .. generally anybody would tell you that the remote is connected to an amplifier, and then later say 'well then your speakers are really old'

maybe the panasonic receiver didnt have the amplifier inside and it is in the subwoofer?
i've seen some aftermarket subwoofers that allow for preamp OR speaker-level inputs. the sub would take those inputs and give you bass/treble/volume controls for the two speaker outputs.
sometimes those speaker outputs where amplified too.. but that hasnt been done in like 15 years.


Dec 30, 2012
Dear Poohbear,
This is the EXACT problem I am having. No matter how I connect my sub, my Yamaha receiver doesnt seem to connect it. I tried the soldering phono plugs and they dont seem to help either. Were you ever able to get sound to your sub?
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Solved! How to connect a RCA audio plug to a subwoofer with regular speaker wire?
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