How To Connect Subwoofer To Car Stereo Without Amplifier

Do you want to connect your subwoofer to the car stereo? Are you tired of searching for ways to do it? Don’t look any further; we have got you covered.

If you are someone who has or wants to invest in a subwoofer but doesn’t have an amplifier to power it, you can easily use your car stereo and power it. All you need to do is a little research, which we have done for you, and some time to bring it to reality.

how to connect subwoofer to car stereo without amplifier

Usually, you need to connect your subwoofer to an amplifier before connecting it to the car stereo. But it is not mandatory for you to connect the subwoofer to the amplifier. Even if you don’t have an amplifier and still want to connect your subwoofer to the car stereo, it is possible. All you need is a little knowledge about the sound system, and you need to put in some effort.

How does a car subwoofer work?

Before jumping into connecting the subwoofer to a car stereo, let us first look into how a car stereo actually works.

Far from being a mere fad, a subwoofer is necessary for sound enthusiasts, and it should be so for everyone. Installing a car box means enjoying an optimal sound experience during your getaways.

How does a car subwoofer work

The subwoofer is, in fact, a device exclusively dedicated to exploiting the LFE (Low-Frequency Effect) channel of HD soundtracks. By ensuring good reproduction of bass and sub-bass frequencies (between the range 20Hz-120 Hz), it thus brings more volume to impacts, rumbles, and other sensational effects! This is the role of the subwoofer in a nutshell. It transforms serious sounds into serious sensations.

How to wire a Subwoofer to a Car Stereo Without Amplifier

Wiring a subwoofer to the car stereo is simple. All you need are a few tools and some guidance, and you can easily wire it by yourself.

There are a few tools that you need to wire a subwoofer to a car stereo without an amplifier :

  • Wire cutters
  • Spanner
  • Hammer
  • Tester
  • Soldering rod

Hooking a subwoofer to a car stereo depends on the type of subwoofer you use, passive or powered subwoofer.

Passive Subwoofers:

A passive subwoofer is nothing but a subwoofer that does not have an inbuilt amplifier. Therefore, connecting a passive subwoofer is just as easy as connecting any other speaker to your stereo.

Passive car subwoofers

If the area where you want to connect the subwoofer already has speaker wires, then you can easily connect the wires to the subwoofer, and you are done.

But if there are no wires near the place where you want to connect your subwoofer, you would have to drive wires from the head unit just like how you would do for a speaker.

active or Powered Subwoofers :

Active Car Subwoofer

A powered or an active subwoofer incorporates its own amplification as well as an adjustable low-pass filter. Thus, its connection to the car radio is made at a low level on the so-called RCA pre-amplified outputs. The installation process is pretty straightforward, and most of the active subwoofers come equipped with all the necessary wires.

So let’s see how to connect an active subwoofer to the car stereo.

Steps to connect a subwoofer to a car stereo without an amplifier

step 1: Disconnect all the devices

The first and foremost thing you need to do is disconnect all the wires connected to your speaker system. Make sure you disconnect all the pins and wires.

I suggest you remove all the wires and connections to avoid any sort of short circuit or accidents. Since the power unit of your vehicle is highly dangerous, I urge you to be very cautious during the entire process.

All you need to do is simply switch off the car’s power unit before starting the entire process of wiring the sub to the car stereo.

step 2: Disconnect the car stereo

The next step is disconnecting the car stereo, which can be easily done by using screwdrivers. Disconnecting the stereo gives you access to the outlets and cables behind the stereo’s rear panel.

Step 3: Connect the adapter

Now that we have disconnected the car stereo, we need to connect the adapter. The adapter is the device that will provide a sufficient power supply to the subwoofer here through a cable. Now all you need to do is extend the cable and make sure it reaches the place where you have positioned the subwoofer.

step 4: Mount the subwoofer

The next step is to mount the subwoofer to a place where you feel comfortable. The subwoofer’s position plays a major role in the sound quality it delivers and a place where it is easily accessible to you. So make sure it is positioned in the right place.

step 5: Reattach all the components

It’s now time for you to reattach all the components of the sound system that were previously detached, components such as the battery, stereo, etc. Here, you can use an RCA cable to connect all the sound system components with the subwoofer.

step 6: Final check

Now that we have attached all the components, turn on the power, and it’s time for you to check if you have done everything correctly. Play dome music and check for the audio quality.

Can I Connect a Subwoofer Without an Amp?

Yes, you can wire a subwoofer to a car without an amplifier. The first and foremost thing you need to do is get a good quality subwoofer. So make sure you choose a good-quality subwoofer.

Although an amplifier provides great bass and quality compared to the sound system without an amplifier. However, if you don’t want to use an amplifier and directly want to connect the subwoofer to the car stereo without an amplifier, it’s not a bad idea either. Go ahead and do so. The audio quality would be better if you use an active or powered subwoofer instead of a passive subwoofer if you decide not to use an amplifier.

Active Car Subwoofer

Benefits of the subwoofer with amplifier :

  1. With the amplifier, you get clear and distortion-free audio.
  2. The sound of the audio output is louder with the amplifier installed
  3. The bass is clear, and you can feel it.

Which Subwoofer Type Can I Connect to a Car Stereo Without an Amplifier?

Handsdown, active subwoofers. Active subwoofers provide better audio quality without much distortion, so I highly recommend you go ahead with an active or powered subwoofer for connecting the subwoofer to a car stereo without using an amplifier.

Under-seat subwoofers:

Under-seat subwoofers are nothing but normal subwoofers that are installed under the seat. One of the main reasons people opt for an under-seat subwoofer is to save space. Some cars do not have the space to mount a subwoofer separately, and in that case, the under-seat subwoofers come really handy.

Bass Tubes

Another popular type of subwoofer is the bass tube subwoofer. As the name suggests, baa tube subwoofers are shaped like a tube specifically designed for cars that don’t have any extra space. The brass tubes are extremely convenient, and they provide the quality bass and sound that we require without taking up much space.

If you have a smaller car that doesn’t have room for a subwoofer, the bass tube subwoofers could best fit you. These subwoofers are ideally sized around 6 to 12 inches.

Spare wheel subwoofers :

Spare wheel subwoofers are subwoofers that can be placed inside the car’s spare wheel or in the place of a spare wheel of the car. The spare wheel subwoofers can be bigger and louder when compared to the under-seat and bass tube subwoofers. The spare wheel subwoofer does not take up any space in the car and simply uses the extra space where we keep the spare wheel. The spare wheel subwoofer could be your best friend if you have a tiny car.


We completely understand that not everyone has a big car, and not everyone has the budget to have an amplifier separately. But almost all of us want to enjoy music while traveling in the car. So many of us had the question in our mind of whether we needed an amplifier for our subwoofer.

While the answer is a clear NO, the amplifier definitely adds to the sound output quality, and we can’t lie. But the quality without the amplifier is not that bad either. Make sure you choose the right subwoofer and sound system in general, and you are good to go. So, connecting the subwoofer to the car stereo without an amplifier is possible, and with the right techniques and a little effort, you can handle it yourself.

Although the process of connecting the subwoofer to the car stereo is pretty straightforward, if you are an absolute beginner and you haven’t done any sort of work that involves electricity, I highly suggest you take up help from someone who is experienced enough and take their guidance. End of the day, safety is all that matters.

Liam Richards

Author & Founder

Liam Richards is a musician. He graduated from Berklee College of Music. He has an experience of over 15 years in the music industry. He loves to write reviews on several music gadgets that he uses on day to day basis. Liam is quite generous to share his music expertise with the world via the Primal Music Blog.

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