How to Use a Car Audio Subwoofer in a Home Theater Setup

  • 2-4 hours
  • Advanced
  • 50-150
What You'll Need
Car audio subwoofer
Stereo cable
RCA audio cables
12 or 16 gauge speaker wires
Wire strippers
Surround sound system
12-volt power inverter

Do you miss your car audio subwoofer when you’re at home? It’s true, listening to your favorite tunes just isn’t the same without the intense thumping of the bass, and chances are that your home theater setup isn’t as good as the setup in your car (where you probably listen to music the most often during the course of your day, anyway). Never fear, for the intrepid do-it-yourselfer, it is totally possible to use your car audio subwoofer in a home theater setup. The most important thing to be wary of is electricity requirements, because the car subwoofer is designed to run on considerably lower voltage than you have running through the wires at home. Keeping that in mind, check out this handy guide to find out how to do it yourself.

Step 1 – Control the Power

As stated above, your main worry with this project is blowing your subwoofer by plugging it into 110 volts of electricity, when it’s only designed to handle the 12 volts that your car battery generates. So your first step towards using your car’s subwoofer in your home system is purchasing a power inverter. You need one that can convert 12 volts, with two different plugs: one for the subwoofer, and one for the wall outlet. Remember, though, that even though purchasing the inverter is your first step, actually plugging it in will be the last!

Step 2 – Connect to the Car Amp

Next, take a 12 or 16 gauge speaker wire (the number gauge depends on your model subwoofer, check the manufacturer’s specifications if you’re not sure which one to use). Connect the wires to your subwoofer and the car amplifier. You can connect them to the brackets underneath the terminals on each appliance. Remember to twist red wires with red wires, and black wires with black wires. You may need to strip the wires first.

Step 3 – Connect to the Home Amp

Connect the cables to the input terminal of your car audio subwoofer, and then to the output of your home surround system amplifier. In this case, you will connect white to white, and red to red.

Step 4 – Connect your Other Speakers

Finally, you need to connect the rest of the speakers in your home system. For a truly intense surround sound experience, you need 2 speakers on the left, 2 speakers on the right and 1 in the middle. Use RCA cables to connect these to the home theater main amplifier (not that this is not the amplifier the subwoofer is connected to, however!)

Step 5 – Plug in the Inverter

The very last step is to plug the subwoofer into the inverter and then connect the power inverter to the wall outlet. Then start playing some tunes and be prepared to have all the neighbors knocking at your door, whether to complain about the noise or join the party!