Published On: November 30, 2021

Does a Good Subwoofer Cable Make a Difference?

Published On: November 30, 2021
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Does a Good Subwoofer Cable Make a Difference?

There's no need to buy a pricey "audiophile" subwoofer cable. But it's still worth getting a well-built, properly shielded one.

Does a Good Subwoofer Cable Make a Difference?

  • I’m an AV enthusiast, equipment reviewer, photographer, videographer and drone pilot. I’m also a THX-trained video calibrator with extensive experience reviewing consumer displays including TVS, projectors, monitors and smartphones.

Let's talk subwoofer cables. While as a rule of thumb, you'll find your choice of cables make little or no difference in the performance of your AV or sound system (presuming they are well made and of proper gauge for the application, and shielded when needed).

Some cables are more exposed to potential issues than others, and perhaps the cable that's most prone to interference is the subwoofer cable, which is typically a long RCA interconnect but can also have XLR connectors on higher-end and pro systems.

First, consider why a subwoofer cable is uniquely vulnerable. For one, it is typically a long cable, because subwoofers are usually not located right next to the AV receiver, pre/pro, or integrated amp they are connected to. Also, for consumers and home applications, the subwoofer cable is usually a single-ended (unbalanced) RCA type connection, which can be susceptible to noise and interference, especially since it's an analog signal traveling through the cable.

There's no need to buy a pricey "audiophile" subwoofer cable. But it's still worth getting a well-built, properly shielded one. 3a23ccc8 subwoofer
Got a subwoofer? You'll likely need a subwoofer cable to attach it to your system.

Balanced cables are constructed in such a manner that most external noise and interference self-cancels, and XLR connectors are notable in that they lock securely and are more robust (but also larger) than RCA connectors.

Now, if you have a balanced connection option on your subwoofer and AVR or processor, I suggest using it, since balance connections are naturally resistant to noise. But a lot of subs do not have this feature, and even if your sub does, you'd also need an AVR or processor with a balanced XLR output.

Most systems will rely on an unbalanced RCA subwoofer cable. Ultimately, the quality of the construction of your unbalanced subwoofer cable can (but not necessarily will) impact whether it picks up extraneous noise.

So here's the thing, aside from resistance to noise, which is related to shielding, is not much else to look for in a subwoofer cable. As long as there's no interference, one cable won't sound different than another. The notion of tuning system by selecting overpriced audiophile cables is based on magical thinking and Hi-Fi mythology.

Which cable should I use for my subwoofer?

The short answer to this question is a decent subwoofer cable that is long enough to reach where it needs to go. An easy rule of thumb is to look for a "double shielded" cable, which should ensure resistance to outside interference. there is no reason to overcomplicate it, it's a single cable directing two devices in the main enemy is outside noise and interference. The construction needed to create a quality cable is no mystery, this is a commodity item so shop accordingly.

There are some brands of subwoofer cable that are a good deal overall, including Amazon Basics, SVS Soundpath, Monoprice, Mediabridge, and Bluerigger—all of which can be conveniently ordered through Amazon and are very reasonably priced.

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