The Installation of Subwoofers

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    Connections

    • The "LFE" input on the back of modern subwoofers is the connector of choice in modern home theater systems. Since receivers and processors perform all the bass management involving subwoofer and speaker blend, the "LFE" input bypasses all of these to allow a pure direct input. Using this connection with the subwoofer RCA cable allows the least amount of confusion when connecting the receiver or processor to the sub.

    Placement

    • A trick used by audio installers for years is called the "sub crawl." This is the process of placing the subwoofer at the primary seating position, then walking or crawling around the perimeter of the room. This process reveals the best place in the room for final subwoofer installation. Placing the sub at the spot in the room where you found the best bass causes the best subwoofer sound at the listening spot.

    Receiver Settings

    • Home theater receivers, although doing most of the heavy setup lifting as it pertains to level, phase, and equalization, require some manual effort. In each receiver menu is a provision that mandates the user to inform the receiver of speaker size. Many setup programs routinely get this wrong, setting smaller speakers to "large" because the setup mic thinks the speakers produce enough bass to be considered larger than they are. Leaving the speakers set to "large" significantly reduces bass output to the sub, routed instead to the less-capable speakers. Change all speakers to "small" regardless of physical size.

    One or Two?

    • One subwoofer placed in a corner can result in solid bass output, if room and seating placement is ideal. Every room has peaks and valleys in bass response, and most have limited options where they can place seating and subwoofers. The solution in many cases is using two subs to smooth dips in room response, freeing up placement of each sub while creating smoother bass across the entire room. Putting two woofers along opposing corners and walls is usually the best bet. Experiment with different locations to find the best blend.

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