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How Do You Connect a Passive Soundbar? Active Vs Passive

How Do You Connect a Passive Soundbar? Active Vs Passive

Popular Category: Soundbars

Table of Contents

Passive soundbars are simple enclosures with several speakers. They lack signal processing or amplification capabilities. 

For passive soundbars to function as intended, they require a separate receiver or amplifier.

If you are wondering, “How do you connect a passive soundbar?” you have come to the right place because, in this article, we will go through:

  • Method to connect a passive soundbar.
  • What is a passive soundbar, its pros and cons.
  • What are the differences between active and passive soundbars, and which one is better.

How Do You Connect a Passive Soundbar?

Passive soundbars are connected via a receiver and are designed to work with an existing receiver or amplifier. 

Although passive soundbars are less prevalent than active soundbars, connecting one to a receiver is easy because that is how they were made to work.

Related: Are Soundbars Better With Subwoofer?

Connecting a Passive Soundbar to a Receiver

  • Switch off all electronic devices.
  • Connect the center channel of the receiver to one end of the speaker cable and the soundbar to the other. This is true if the soundbar only has a single channel.
  • Connect the soundbar with three different speaker cables if it has multiple channels (often three: front, left, centre, and right). There is a separate channel for each cable.
  • Connect the receiver to your television.
  • Start playing on your devices once they are turned on.

It’s that easy. There could be a single channel or multiple channels, depending on the passive soundbar you have.

If you wanted to, you could merge all of those channels into one, but your receiver or amplifier would need to be capable of supporting that much power.

Related: How to Connect Sony Subwoofer To Soundbar Without Remote?

Why are You Connecting a Soundbar to a Receiver?

The first thing to know about soundbars is that most of them come with an integrated amplifier to power their speakers. They remain easy to set up due to this. 

They are independent units that only require a TV’s sound input. The most crucial thing to remember is that you would only sometimes connect a soundbar to a receiver.

1. Double Amplifiers

The fact that the receiver doubles as an amplifier is your main issue when connecting a sound bar to it. 

Since the soundbar and receiver both contain amps; there will likely be interference between them. Why get a sound bar with yet another amplifier if your receiver already has a fine one?

You would be better off spending money on getting better speakers for your receiver because this is pretty redundant.

2. Better speakers, better sound

For many reasons, this is a better option. First off, your receiver’s amplifier is significantly superior to the one in a soundbar. 

Even though it’s not always the case, this is probably the case 90% of the time. As for sound quality, sound bar speakers are closer together and rely on electronics to give a separation effect. 

Whereas connecting your TV to the receiver and buying a pair of excellent speakers will usually result in better sound.

Connecting a Passive Soundbar to an AV Receiver: Active Vs. Passive Sound Technology

When you want to get the best sound experience from your home theater system, knowing how to connect a passive soundbar to an AV receiver is essential. Unlike active soundbars, which have built-in amplifiers, passive soundbars require you to work with a receiver or amplifier in your receiver to amplify the sound.

To begin, gather your equipment, including the passive soundbar, receiver, and the necessary speaker cables. Place the soundbar in an ideal location to ensure optimal sound reflections and make the most of your sound separation.

Connect one end of the speaker wire to the positive terminal on the receiver’s center channel output and the other end receiver to the soundbar’s positive terminal. Repeat this process for the negative terminals. Access your AV receiver’s settings to configure it to use the soundbar as a center channel. 

This step is crucial for achieving great sound quality and getting the best sound levels for your home theater. By connecting your passive soundbar to the receiver, you tap into the higher-fidelity side of sound bars and create an immersive surround sound experience that will elevate your audio return channel and overall sound technology.

Whether you’re connecting an existing receiver or amplifier, understanding the differences between active and passive soundbars is key to unlocking the full potential of your sound system.

Different Other Options For Connecting a Soundbar to a Receiver for Optimal Audio Quality

  1. Audio Return Channel (ARC): Many modern receivers and soundbars support ARC, which allows you to send audio from your TV to the soundbar through a single HDMI cable. Make sure your TV and receiver have ARC capabilities.
  2. Active vs. Passive Soundbars: Active soundbars have built-in amplifiers, while passive ones rely on an external amplifier (like your receiver). Choose the type that suits your setup.
  3. Connection Options: You can typically connect a soundbar to a receiver using HDMI, optical audio, or analog audio cables. The choice depends on the available ports on both your soundbar and receiver.
  4. Receiver Amplifier: If your receiver has an amplifier, it can power passive soundbars. Ensure it has enough power for the specific soundbar you’re using.
  5. Sound Separation: Proper placement of the soundbar is crucial for sound separation. It’s usually recommended to place it in front of the TV, ideally at ear level.
  6. Immersive Surround Sound: Some soundbars support virtual surround sound technologies, enhancing the audio experience without needing multiple speakers. Check if your soundbar has this feature.
  7. Center Channel: If your receiver supports it, you can use the soundbar as the center channel in a home theater setup. This can improve dialog clarity in movies.
  8. Size of the Soundbar: Consider the size of your soundbar in relation to your room and TV. Larger soundbars may offer better sound quality but require more space.
  9. Speaker System: Depending on your receiver, you can connect additional surround sound speakers to create a more immersive audio system around your soundbar.
  10. Sound Quality: To get the best sound quality, ensure all your audio settings, including speaker configuration, are correctly set up on both the receiver and the TV.
  11. Simplicity of Connection: HDMI connections are generally simpler to set up and offer high-quality audio and video transmission. If your devices support HDMI, it’s a good choice.

Compatibility: Ensure compatibility between your sound bar, receiver, and TV, as well as the cables you use for connections.

What Does a Passive Soundbar Mean?

How Do You Connect a Passive Soundbar? Active Vs Passive Soundbar

So what exactly is a passive soundbar? Due to the lack of an internal amplifier, passive soundbars require external amplifiers or receivers to function correctly. 

You can directly compare these to active soundbars which have amplifiers and surround sound capabilities built in.

Another name for a passive soundbar is a non-powered home theatre system. It needs advanced technological features like digital signal processing and digital inputs.

Each channel on passive soundbars has a connection that must be connected to your receiver or amplifier option. 

Additionally, passive soundbars are generally more costly. Given that they have fewer parts, you might expect that they would be less expensive; instead, they are often more costly but of more excellent quality.

If you want a freestanding speaker that doesn’t need a lot of connections to work, a passive soundbar is a fantastic alternative. 

It is a little more expensive than active soundbars, but it allows you more options for enhancing your audio systems.

If you’re looking for a way to achieve the ideal setup and are okay with paying more to buy and install one, use a passive soundbar in your modern home. It’s easier than you think and has the perfect combination for most settings.

The separate connections for sound production offer various options for different audio formats. Multiple crossover settings can be used to get the best blend between the subwoofer and the soundbar.

The setup demands good knowledge to manage the connections correctly. Additionally, it becomes more complicated and offers a partially smart design like an active soundbar system.

Related: Where To Place Subwoofer With Soundbar?

Comparison Chart for Passive vs. Active Soundbars

Passive Soundbar

Active Soundbar

It has a high-quality sound.

It has moderate-quality sound.

It is more flexible.

It is less flexible.

It has no receiver or amplifier in it.

It has a built-in amplifier or receiver 

Its installation is a tough job.

It is easy to install.

Large in size.

It is small in size.

It is costly.

It is price friendly.

It has a future-proofing quality.

It does not have future-proofing quality.

It can adjust to other speakers.

It cannot adjust to other speakers.

It is less convenient.

It is more convenient.

It has more complexity.

It has less complexity.

When to Choose a Passive Soundbar Over an Active Soundbar?

Even though they are far less prevalent, there are quite a few reasons to choose a passive soundbar over an active one.

  • Cheaper if you already have a receiver and amplifier.
  • Higher sound quality
  • Future-proofing
  • Compatible with other speakers 

What are the Differences Between Center Channel Speakers and Passive Soundbars

More extended centre channel speakers are sometimes confused with passive soundbars. Passive soundbars feature 3 channels (left, right, and centre), whereas centre channel speakers only have 1. 

This is the main difference between passive soundbars and centre channel speakers.

This indicates that the center channel speakers will only play the audio coming from the center channel, which is usually dialogue and some background noise. 

The passive soundbar will play audio from the left, right, and centre channels; this audio is significantly more complex and robust. 

Also, because passive soundbars need to produce more audio than center channel speakers, they often include more speakers.

Advantages of Passive Soundbars

How Do You Connect a Passive Soundbar? Active Vs Passive Soundbar

A passive soundbar has many benefits over an active one, but your particular setup will determine your choice. 

You need to consider your budget and whether you currently own a receiver. Fortunately, learning more about these possibilities can help you narrow your soundbar search. 

Moreover, it might help you understand the inner workings of whatever product you choose.

Even when the budget exceeds, most individuals focus more on the features. 

Since you will only build your home entertainment system once, it is a good move. 

Best audio output: Each channel needs to be connected to a separate amplifier or receiver to produce the best audio output. 

Additionally, it allows you to blend your system’s audio output. So you can always get the most out of your sound system by pushing it to its limits.

By selecting an appropriate amplifier for your soundbar, you may more effectively manage the speakers’ power. 

You are always free to enhance the output level of sound by upgrading the components because your soundbar offers multiple separate options that together make up the system. 2.1 and 5.1 soundbars have different features, which you should be mindful of.

More flexibility: These soundbars can also be used as external speakers, giving the system more variety and flexibility. The system has more options and better quality due to a separate amplifier or receiver.

It enables the media room to produce higher-quality, more complex sounds that are impossible with standard systems. The more speakers that can be connected to our soundbar, the more channels the soundbar has.

Additionally, it allows you to instantly swap out the left, right, and center speakers. Therefore, these offer a greater degree of freedom to enjoy a variety of fascinating sounds.

Quality of sound is best: These always offer the best clear sound quality in their pricing range. As a result, when sound quality is a key determining factor, they are commonly suggested. 

These are the best options for you if you want to hear smoother and crisper audio.

The difference between sound quality is sometimes challenging to tell. 

You must choose the less expensive soundbar when the difference in the output of two different soundbars is hardly noticeable. 

Although it is difficult to put a price on quality, sound quality is a crucial aspect.However, choosing a less expensive system eases financial strain, which nobody minds.

Disadvantages of Passive Soundbars

More complications: They require an amplifier and receiver to function correctly, and an amplifier is needed to get the most out of a soundbar. The amplifier should work well with the soundbar, and its output should not be crowded.

Additionally, the channel number is necessary to transfer signals to the various receivers. The speaker will be connected to many channels, but it will be expensive. People prefer wireless setups because the sound system’s installation costs are high.

Installation issue: 

The major problem with soundbars is installation; it is a more complex plug-and-play process; instead, it is a somewhat challenging process. 

The wire interrelation between the amplifier and receiver takes time and requires additional organization or implementation.

Therefore, you must choose a different speaker system to rely on a secure connection method. A plug-and-play system is best for high-end audio if you can solve the installation problem.

 Expensive: Although more expensive than active soundbars, passive is better than active. There is only one thing missing from these—an amplifier.

These are far superior to active since they are sound-focused rather than more power-focused. Generally speaking, there are better options than these if everyone wants to upgrade their default speakers.


It’s simple to connect a soundbar to a receiver. This is primarily due to the more receiver device inputs, which enables simultaneous connection of more devices. 

Therefore, you can enjoy your music much louder if your devices are compatible.

We hope this article helps you with “How do you connect a passive soundbar?”


  • Q: How can I achieve an immersive sound experience with my soundbar connected to a receiver?

    To enhance your sound experience, connect your soundbar to a receiver using audio return channel (ARC) for superior sound separation.

  • Q: Can I connect a passive soundbar to my existing receiver?

    Yes, passive soundbars are designed to work with receivers. Ensure your receiver has an amplifier for optimal performance.

  • Q: What's the advantage of using a soundbar with a receiver over a standalone soundbar?

    Connecting a soundbar to a receiver allows for more sound customization and can provide a better overall audio experience.

  • Q: What is the difference between active and passive soundbars when connecting them to a receiver?

    Active soundbars have built-in amplifiers, while passive soundbars rely on the amplifier in your receiver. Choose based on your setup and preferences.

  • Q: How do I connect surround sound speakers to my receiver and soundbar for a complete audio system?

    You can create a surround sound system around your soundbar by connecting additional speakers to your receiver, depending on the receiver's capabilities and the size of the soundbar.

  • Q: How do I connect the center channel on the receiver when setting up my soundbar and home theater system?

    To connect the center channel, typically you'll use a line or HDMI cable from the receiver to your soundbar, ensuring proper audio distribution.

  • Q: Is it necessary to use an HDMI cable when establishing the connection to the soundbar through my receiver?

    Using an HDMI cable is a common method for connecting your soundbar to the receiver, but depending on your setup, other cable options may work as well.

  • Q: Can I use a single-channel soundbar with my receiver, and how does it affect the audio quality?

    Yes, you can connect a single-channel soundbar to your receiver. However, it may limit the sound separation and spatial audio experience compared to multi-channel soundbars.

Jason Reynolds

I have been working in the electrical and Audio/Visual field for over 19 years. My focus for EagleTVMounting is to provide concise expertise in everything I write. The greatest joy in life is to provide people with insight information that can potentially change their viewpoints. Our #1 goal is just that!

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