What is LFE on a Subwoofer? All things you need to know

What Is LFE On A Subwoofer? When looking for a subwoofer in the audio device shop, you may have encountered the terms LFE or sub out. Beginners and low-tech users may get confused by these terms. 

For these reasons, you may overlook this label when purchasing a subwoofer. However, LFE does speak more about a subwoofer’s audio quality and performance. Therefore it is critical to grasp its basics and definition. 

So, what exactly is LFE? Will it affect the performance of the subwoofers? Do you need this feature anyway? If these questions are lingering in your mind, don’t skip this post. In this post, I will tell you everything about LFE.

What Is LFE On A Subwoofer? 

The term LFE stands for low-frequency effects, which is an audio track with a limited band. LFE is the input on the subwoofer that serves to reproduce intense and deep sounds at low frequencies.

Home Audio System

History Of LFE

The LFE soundtrack is very prevalent on the subwoofers. The first LFE channels appeared in the 70-mm Dolby Stereo film. Their original functions are to reproduce loud sub-bass and bass audio or effects. 

In the movie theater, people installed many subwoofers that receive and deliver the LFE soundtrack instead of upgrading the main speakers. The modern movie theater format still keeps the LFE channels.

They quickly grew in popularity from the 1990s to the 2000s and became a standard part of home theater systems. 

Due to the invention of Blu-ray Discs and DVDs, the home theater systems need this technology to reproduce film in these types. 

Its function is to carry more bass audio and effects. The standard home theater systems usually involve many more than six speakers, forming a multi-functional and complete audio system.

For example, the popular audio system with 5.1 channels involves up to five main speakers and one LFE channel. 

What Are The Functions Of LFE On A Subwoofer?

The general function of the LFE audio channels on the subwoofers is to send or receive loud bass sounds at low frequencies (Ranging between 3 Hz – 120 Hz). 

Only with these channels can the subwoofers receive the bass sounds created from movie production. In the past, LFE is a standard way to send the audio from movies to the speakers and subwoofers. 

Do Every Subwoofer Have LFE? 

Most subwoofers come with an LFE input, but not all of them. The subwoofers without LFE feature the RCA connection or wired connections to function. 

The LFE allows you to pair the subwoofer with an additional audio device like an amplifier or receiver. A subwoofer may have an RCA connection or LFE input, in some cases, both. 

To check if your device has LFE input, you can look for a port labeled LFE on its hardware. If you only see the RCA inputs, then the device doesn’t support the LFE channel. 

RCA Input

When Should You Use The LFE Input On Subwoofers?

It is recommended to pair your subwoofer with other devices using the LFE input if your device supports it. LFE can give you the highest-quality and most authentic bass sound or effects that the other connection cannot. 

In addition, LFE also reduces the workload that the other channels have to handle. As a result, you will get a more accurate and complete range of sounds and effects, achieving a more satisfying listening experience. 

Last but not least, you can connect your subwoofer with another audio device using a single connection. It makes your home theater system cleaner and helps save more space. When errors occur, you can fix the cables easily. 

Differences Between Sub Out and LFE 

The sub out and LFE input on subwoofers are technically the same. They only transmit the bass audio in low frequencies. However, there is a significant difference in the volume of information transmitted. 

The sub out sends and transmits all the audio signals or just some part of them. 

Meanwhile, the LFE delivers a higher capacity, which can transmit all the bass audio signals from an amplifier or receiver. 

Therefore when using the LFE input, you can get more authentic and original bass effects from the movies or films.

Subwoofer Inputs


Don’t skip this section if you still need more insights into LFE. I will provide additional helpful information to help you use this feature more effectively. 

What Are The Best Sound That Setting For Your Subwoofer?

The ideal subwoofer setting is between 40 Hz and 60 Hz if your home audio system has many large main speakers. The crossover should range between 80 Hz and 160 Hz for the smaller main speakers.  

How Do I Hook Up My LFE Subwoofer?

The process is very simple. You will need an interconnect cable for this task. First, plug one end of the interconnect cable running from the receiver’s output into the input of your subwoofer. 

If your subwoofer always has the LFE input, then prioritize it. The right and left inputs are also useful if your device doesn’t support LFE. 

How Do You Connect The Subwoofer To The Receiver Without LFE?

Some subwoofers don’t have the LFE input but support the RCA connection. If you can’t find the LFE input on your device, plug the cable into the right and left input to pair. 

Final Thoughts 

That is basically everything you need to know about LFE and its primary function on the subwoofers. I hope you had a great time reading this post.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask me via the comment section. 

Thank you for your time!

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