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The most secure way to create a strong handshake is to switch on the TV first and let it boot up. Then turn on the receiver, then turn on the cable box and Blu-ray player. Only think of yourself as turning on the TV and moving backwards to the receiver and then the pieces through the cables. It could be that the remote switches on the modules in a certain sequence. You don’t get a successful handshake much of the time as a result.

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Regardless of what brand you buy, here are some tips on connecting your new subwoofer to your amplifier or AV receiver.

There are two types of subwoofer outputs found on most AV receivers: Subwoofer and LFE Output. Although, on the surface, both connections appear to accomplish the same thing: sending low frequencies to your subwoofer, they are not the same, and the terms are not interchangeable.

Subwoofer Output

This is a line-level output that can typically be connected to your subwoofer via an RCA-type connector. The output can be full-band, in which case the crossover in your subwoofer would filter out the high frequencies, or your receiver may have a built-in low-pass filter you can set before sending the signal to the subwoofer. If your receiver allows you to adjust the crossover frequency, set it there and position the subwoofer crossover as high as it will go (which allows the crossover control from the receiver to play without interference from the subwoofer). In a Dolby or DTS mix, the subwoofer output contains bass information from up to all six channels directed to the subwoofer. The combination of bass information in the subwoofer output is determined by the bass management settings selected on the receiver. Specifically, the subwoofer output may include the bass information from the front channels when those speakers can’t reproduce the bass frequencies.


Subwoofer outputs may use one or two connectors. If your receiver has one connector and your subwoofer has two, use the left connector. However, it is good practice to use an RCA Y-adapter to connect to the left and right channels – some subwoofers will only play at half the volume or may enter standby mode more frequently when using only one side of the inputs. KEF’s SmartConnect subwoofers (Kube, KF92, KC62) feature circuitry that compensates for this, so whether you use one connector or two you will get the output you are expecting.

LFE Output

The LFE channel carries additional bass information for movie and soundtrack playback which supplements the bass information going to the main channels. The LFE channel is mixed during soundtrack production to produce 10 dB higher bass SPL than any one of the three front channels. Even if all three front channels are active, the LFE channel alone produces enough bass to balance the subwoofer with the front channels. This lessens the bass load on the main channels which helps overall response and the articulation and clarity of the front channels. When the fronts are required to produce full bass, the LFE channel may increase the bass output by up to 6 dB. The LFE channel is typically one connector, so follow the connection instructions as above.

Speaker Level Inputs

If your AV receiver does not have a dedicated subwoofer output, be sure to choose a subwoofer that has speaker-level inputs (current KEF subwoofers all feature speaker level inputs). There are two ways speaker-level input subwoofer connections are accomplished:

  1. Connect the subwoofer via the ‘B’ or second speaker output. This is for subwoofers that do not have a secondary output to your speakers. Be sure your receiver can run both ‘A’ and ‘B’ speakers simultaneously.

  2. For subwoofers equipped with a speaker-level input and a speaker-level output, simply connect the receiver speaker outputs to the speaker-level input on the subwoofer and the speaker-level output of the subwoofer to your speakers. Be sure the receiver’s crossover is set to 20Hz or ‘off’ as the crossover in the subwoofer will act as the system crossover for the sub and speakers in this configuration.

No Subwoofer Output?

If your receiver doesn’t have a subwoofer output and your subwoofer doesn’t have speaker level inputs, you can use the Tape Monitor or Pre-Amp output from your receiver as a line-level input to your subwoofer. Please note: new receivers (from the last ten years or so), will likely not have a Tape Monitor output, but they will typically have a subwoofer output (at least) so this advice is for owners of 'vintage' gear that they can’t stand to part with.


Some subwoofers will have a phase switch. Generally this will be set to ‘0’ but depending on a couple of other variables, it may need to be set to ‘180,’ or somewhere in-between. Simply compare how a song you are familiar with sounds with the switch in the ‘0’ or ‘180’ setting. From your regular listening position, listen carefully and you’ll hear a definite increase in bass frequencies in one setting over the other. When you hear that increase – that’s the setting you should use.

Once connected, why not test your new KEF subwoofer with our 'Depth & Detail' playlist - our selection of tracks to highlight the difference a sub can make? Listen out for the complex bassline in Angel by Massive Attack and the detail of the 6-string bass in Seeker by Hiromi.

PhaseSpeaker Level InputsConnectorsSubwoofer Output 

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This month, we announced the latest in our line of spectacular subwoofer products – the Signature series.

The Signature series of subwoofers have been crafted for high-end balance and peak performance. While the FDS series can be viewed as an entry-level line for customers looking for the most boom for their buck, the Signature line of subwoofers are built for the audiophile looking for reference-quality acoustics. The greatest differences over our previous FDS series are the addition of a second passive radiator, more power, and an optional subwoofer wireless kit. These are great multi-purpose subwoofers available in sizes from 8”, 10”, and 12” to satisfy audiophiles looking for reference sound. Each Signature subwoofer offers up to 1000 watts of amplifying power, giving your sound system an extra kick.

To celebrate the launch of this amazing new subwoofer line, here are 3 interesting facts about the Proficient® Signature series:

Two are better than one

There are currently no other subwoofers on the market that offer an active driver configuration at these price points. Sound quality is great for movies and music and has the “grunt” to keep up with the harshest demands from a movies’ LFE track. And remember, two are always better than one. With two of our Signature series subwoofers hooked up to your sound system, enjoy more realized sound and more booming bass than ever before.

Backed by the legacy of the Sunfire® brand

Since 1994, the Sunfire® brand has been a disruptive force in the speaker industry, combining unconventional thinking with precision engineering to deliver the best audio performance possible. Each of the new subwoofer series available from the Proficient brand is backed by the legacy and incredible technology of Sunfire products – with a few notable improvements. We have added more power, an updated industrial design with rounded corners and kept the signature 5-layer piano black lacquer finish. Performance is greatly improved due to a more powerful DSP and setup is further simplified via a smartphone app that allows for complete configuration and even includes app-based room correction.

Their high back EMF driver design

In a bit of design genius inherited from the Sunfire brand, the Proficient Signature subwoofers include high back EMF technology, which allows for massive amounts of deep bass from a smaller-sized cabinet. This works by having an ultra-strong fiberglass cone with a huge motor force to battle the pressures of small enclosures and their impact on the excursion of the woofer. Essentially, this allows for more booming bass in a smaller box.

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