So, you’ve finally decided to purchase a new subwoofer to improve or rather upgrade the sound quality of your audio system. While it might be easier for you to choose the right subwoofer, the real hassle comes in when you’re setting it up.
You see, to enjoy the best quality music, you need to tune your subwoofer to that sweet spot where it delivers enough punch without causing signal distortion.
Now, why choose a subwoofer?
The obvious reason is that subwoofers are more obtrusive as compared to standing speakers. They have dedicated power onboard that allows them to reproduce boomy bass without straining the amplifier or AV receiver that’s feeding them.
But, how loud should your subwoofer be?
Well, in this post, we will try to answer this question by discussing three key pointers that affect the performance of your subwoofer. These include; the placement, the connections, and the settings.
Just like how you pick a perfect spot to park your car, subwoofer placement is equally important. So, to enjoy that punchy bass from your sub, you need to position it correctly by following your home theater’s instructions manual.
Now, when you’re listening to an audio system, what you’re actually hearing is the effects your room’s acoustics have on the color of sound you’re hearing. By acoustics, I mean the furniture, walls, windows, and other objects within the room.
While high-end frequencies (from your satellite speakers) are not affected by obstacles, bass frequencies are the major culprits making subwoofer placement a key factor that affects the sound of your subwoofer.
Taking an example of parallel surfaces such as your living room walls, the omnidirectional bass waves of your subwoofer will be reflected and hence bounce all over the room causing standing waves or bass nulls.
For the case of standing waves, what really happens is that wavelengths occur roughly at the same place and time causing the bass to appear less punchy. On the other hand, bass nulls occur when reflected waves cancel each other out creating a dead spot.
So, to allow your subwoofer to produce the best punchy bass, you can either decide to work with your room by positioning your subwoofer on the right spot or by going against the room by using an amplifier or room correction software.
So, if you decide to position your subwoofer depending on your room’s acoustics, then all you need is to switch your subwoofer to different positions while listening to the best location that will reproduce the deepest bass.
So, once you’ve set the subwoofer in its right spot, the next step is basically to tune it further to get the best sound.
The first step of setting your subwoofer to get the best bass notes is to adjust the crossover. Since most people rely on surround sound satellite speakers, the crossover frequency on your A/V receiver should be set at 80Hz. However, this measurement is subject to change for those using floor standing speakers (40Hz-60Hz) and bookshelf speakers (50HZ-80Hz).
Next, turn on the power and start playing some music with high bass notes. Since you’ve already turned off the subwoofer’s bass, start adjusting the bass slowly until you hear some deep bass notes being reproduced. If your home theater subwoofer has a phase switch, you can try to adjust it from 0 to 180 degrees to see whether you can get a satisfactory bass.
Lastly, how you hook up your subwoofer is more likely to affect the amount of punchy sound you’re likely to get. Here, you’ll need to think of various cables such as the LFE and the RCA input cables as you’ll be using them to pair your subwoofer to the A/V receiver or the amplifier.
So, if your receiver and subwoofer have an input labeled LFE, then the connection process will be much easier as all you’ll need is an LFE cable to accomplish the task. This cable can carry high-quality sounds from the receiver to the subwoofer leading to an increase in the sound your subwoofer is reproducing.
On the other hand, if your receiver and subwoofer don’t have the LFE option, then it’s likely that they’ll have the RCA input/output option. So, with this cable, you only need to run it from your receiver’s subwoofer output to your subwoofer’s “Line In”, “Sub In”, or “Low-Level In”.
Now, some people might be asking whether adding a second subwoofer can cause an overkill. The simple answer is No! In fact, adding a second subwoofer makes it harder for your ears to localize the source of sound leading to a significantly more refined surround sound effect.
So, if you’re using two subwoofers at the same time, then buying a Y adapter or splitter is well worth it. This will allow a single cable to connect both subwoofers to the A/V receiver. Dual subwoofers are great because they balance the transmitted signal to yield the desired effects.
In conclusion, the specs of a subwoofer can tell you more about its performance. However, there are those factors that greatly affect how loud it can be such as the ones we’ve discussed above. So, whether you’re using single or dual subwoofers, following these rules to the latter will help you unleash the best out of your subwoofers.