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Depending on the model, there are two ways to connect a subwoofer to an amplifier, receiver or processor. The best way is to connect the subwoofer to the SUB OUT or LFE output of a receiver, but some subwoofers can be connected to the speaker level outputs of the receiver or amplifier.
1. How to Connect a Subwoofer to the Subwoofer Output
The preferred method of connecting a subwoofer is through the LFE or Subwoofer output (SUB OUT) of a receiver. Almost all home theater receivers (or processors) and some stereo receivers have a subwoofer output. The LFE (Low Frequency Effects) is a special output for subwoofers and is often labeled 'SUBWOOFER' not LFE. 5.1 channel programs on DVD discs have a dedicated .1 channel output with bass-only content that is best reproduced by a subwoofer. Connect the output of the LFE or Subwoofer jack to the Line In jacks of the subwoofer using a single RCA cable (the two jacks on the left in the photo). A 'Y-Cable' may be necessary to connect the LFE output to both the left and right channels of the subwoofer.
2. How to Connect a Subwoofer to Speaker Level Outputs Some receivers and amplifiers do not have an LFE or Subwoofer output. In this case you can use the speaker outputs of the receiver to connect the subwoofer. Using speaker wire, connect the left and right channel speaker outputs of the receiver to the left and right channel speaker level inputs on the subwoofer (the speaker inputs on the right side of the photo). Using speaker wire, connect the left and right channel speaker outputs on the back of the subwoofer to the left and right channel front speakers.
Splicing headphone outputs designed for nominal 8-ohm impedance speakers to a 47K-ohm (typical) RCA load is not a good idea but it might work on the Sherwood because this receiver does not automatically silence your other speakers when the headphone jack is installed.
There is NO other volume-controlled output to choose. Try it.
With everything connected correctly there could be a couple of possible problems:
1. If your receiver has on screen display capabilities, you may need to turn the subwoofer output "on" 2. If your subwoofer has speaker wire inputs/outputs, you could run speaker wire to it, then to your speakers & test if the subwoofer is working... hence verifying that the receiver has a function to turn the subwoofer output on/off 3. The cable between the subwoofer & receiver could be bad. Try another cable.
Just for clarity, I need to explain what the four inputs are on the KEF subwoofer. There is a left and right RCA input which is the input signal to the subwoofer and there is a left and right RCA output which is the High Pass output from the subwoofer.
On the back of the Yamaha receiver, you said you have a subwoofer output. This output is most likely the mono subwoofer part of the home theater system and can be used if you like. The left right signal input into the KEF is summed into mono so if you only connect one channel you will basically reduce the signal level by 1/2 (-3dB) but it will work fine.
Alternatively, if your Yamaha receiver has monitor out and monitor in, you can run the monitor output signals to the subwoofer and you can then run the high pass outputs from the subwoofer back to the monitor in. This will give you the subwoofer and provide a smoother signal matching with your audio system.
It is not always easy to connect the subwoofer up to an integrated receiver/home cinema system using the high pass channels of the subwoofer as you don't always have access to the analog output and input of the front channels. In this case, just use the Subwoofer output or just the monitor out only.
Try plugging the unit into a clean power supply without anything else on it. I had this problem for years and eventually resolved it by moving the system to a different room that has three power circuits - the sub is now on it's own circuit and I don't have the problem anymore.
Car systems and home systems are different in the fact that the car system expects to receive 12 volts DC for power, and they are usually 8 ohm speakers. I would not recommend doing this unless you are in the mood for some serious config. Power converter from 110 AC-12v DC and big enough to handle the amperage. If it's not powered, then your going to be running a 4 ohm speaker on an 8 ohm amp output. Again, not recommended.
Make sure you have the sub connected to the proper output on the receiver and no connections are damaged.
Then check the gain/level control for the sub. on the receiver...turn it up if it's down.
Make sure that in speaker setup, that you have the selection for a sub turned on.
Back in the old days, subwoofers were powered by the voltage from your receiver, through speaker wire.
Nowadays, subwoofers have their own power, hence not having speaker wire connections anymore.
It's unlikely that you'll be able to connect your old subwoofer to your new receiver.
You'd need to get a new one, which if you don't mind buying closeout, can be found on eBay pretty cheap.