Subwoofer Frequency Setting

The frequency at which your speakers start to roll off and your subwoofer kicks in with LFEs and bass notes is the Crossover Frequency of your subwoofer.

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A lot of modern AV receivers have an auto EQ program that will automatically assign the right crossover frequency, depending on the capabilities of your loudspeakers. More often than not, it is advisable leave these settings as they are.

Below are some ideas to help you get the optimal performance when using an AV processor, preamplifier or a DSP subwoofer to adjust crossover frequency in a two-channel or surround sound set-up.

1. Remember, all bass management functions require you to carry out some listening and experimentation before you can obtain perfect sounding results.

2. Keep in mind that 80 Hz is the THX standard and the most common frequency recommended.

3. Find out your speakers frequency range and then set the crossover point about 10 Hz above the lowest frequency your speakers can manage without distortion.

4. Use the below general guidelines for subwoofer and/or speaker crossover frequencies;

    • On-wall or Tiny ‘satellite’ speakers: 150-200 Hz.
    • Small center, surround, bookshelf: 100-120 Hz.
    • Mid-size center, surround, bookshelf: 80-100 Hz.
    • Large center, surround and bookshelf: 60-80 Hz.
    • Very large center, surround, bookshelf: 40-60 Hz.
    • Tower speakers with 4”-6” woofers: 60 Hz.
    • Tower speakers with 8”-10” woofers: 40 Hz or Large/Full-Band (i.e., full-range).

5. Listen for a smooth transition between your speaker and subwoofer. Ensure the blending is just so, that the bass and other sounds play as one.

6. Should you notice any bumps in the bass at the crossover frequency, adjust the volume so it matches that of your main speakers.

Setting Crossover Frequency for Home Theater

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First, ensure you can see your receiver’s on-screen display (OSD) on your TV. You can try to set up your receiver using its small LCD display, although this is a bother you don’t need. If your receiver is modern, then it should put out the on-screen display through HDMI.

Older receivers will require video connection. A menu should appear on your TV when you press the setup or menu button on the remote of your receiver. Just in case, ensure you have an RCA cable ready for receiver’s composite video output to you’re the composite video input of your TV.

Next, study your receiver’s menu. Doing this before looking going through the menu will prove useful as you will have most of the menu options on your finger tips.

Then, find a suitable spot to place your speakers. This will mostly depend on the room you have as well as the size of the speakers. If you have a dedicated listening room, good for you! This step just became way easier for you.

Once your speakers are in place, consider speaker distance. This is the distance between each speaker and your listening position. Doing this is vital so that the sounds from each speaker reach each ear at approximately the exact time.

Then set your speaker’s crossover. This refers to the point at which your receiver stops sending bass to each one of your speakers and starts sending it to your subwoofer. This will ultimately depend on your speakers’ ability to produce bass.

If your left speaker differs in size from your left one, you need to make different crossover settings for each speaker.

Now that you have the distance, size and crossover settings in place, get to balancing the volume level of each speaker relative to your listening position. This is key in ensuring you hear each speaker, whether near or far placed, at the appropriate level.

You have satisfactorily completed all the steps. Now sit back and enjoy the well balanced, distortion-free and smooth sounds from your home theatre.

FAQs

Q. What is a good crossover frequency?

There is no particular good crossover frequency as crossover frequency requirements greatly depend on the speaker drivers being used in the design. The individual drivers that are chosen by the designer determine the crossover points chosen.

The numbers below highlight general guidelines for speaker/subwoofer crossover frequencies.

On-wall or Tiny ‘satellite’ speakers: 150-200 Hz.

Small center, surround, bookshelf: 100-120 Hz.

Many systems however recommend that you set your frequency at 80 Hz.

Q. What Hz is best for bass?

There is no right answer for all; not without knowing more. In most cases, you will find that is around 100Hz. The type of crossover/filter you are using will also greatly influence the specific frequencies you settle on. However, the table below should help you determine this.

Frequency Range Frequency Values
Sub-bass 20 to 60 Hz
Bass 60 to 250 Hz
Low mid-range 250 to 500 Hz
Mid-range 500 Hz to 2 kHz

 

Q. What does Hz mean on a subwoofer?

A. Hz is heartz: unit of frequency. In a subwoofer it is used to measure audible periodic vibration. The higher the frequency, the higher-pitched the sound. Research shows that on average, humans have the ability to hear sounds within the range of 20 to 20,000 Hz. Subwoofers are speakers designed to reproduce the lowest audible frequencies, with 80 Hz being the recommended frequency level for most systems.

Q. How to set crossover frequency on amp

A. Crossover is the frequency where speakers begin to roll off, and the subwoofer starts outputting bass notes and LFEs.

Most modern systems have an EQ feature that will automatically set up the proper crossover based on the specifications of your speakers.

If you own such a system and you aren’t quite sure how to do it yourself, it is advisable that you leave it alone.

However, if you need to do it manually, , here are a few tips to make the process smooth for you;

  1. Set the crossover point 10 Hz higher than the low end of your speaker’s tolerance range.
  2. Use a subwoofer matching tool If you don’t know the frequency range of your speaker.
  3. Listen for smooth transitioning between the subwoofer and the speakers. Ideally, the blending should be seamless and without distortion.
  4. If you hear any bass bumps at the crossover frequency, simply adjust the volume till it matches the output your main speakers.

Conclusion

There you go! I hope that the information above will answer most if not all the questions you have about subwoofer frequency setting so you can enjoy the best sound from your subwoofer whether watching that action movie or grooving to your favorite hip-hop sounds on a Friday night.

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