So if you set all of your speakers to 75dB, don't sweat setting your sub to say 77-78dB. Setting Subwoofer Levels with Test Signals. Our ears are quite insensitive to low bass compared to midrange frequencies, so depending on the level you initially set your AV receiver at and use to run the test tones, you may find that you are setting the subwoofer levels either too high or too low. If I lowered the sub level to 0 dB, there wasn’t enough deep bass when I played music or soundtracks. The other test DVDs, while useful, just didn’t seem to be as accurate for my room and setup. If I lowered the sub level to 0 dB, there wasn’t enough deep bass when I played music or soundtracks. Go into your receiver’s setup menu and adjust all the individual levels for each speaker and the LFE subwoofer output to 0 dB. You can set the level of the subwoofer to 0 dB or +10 dB when PCM signals are input via an HDMI connection. Axiom's new EP400 DSP Subwoofer, the smallest DSP subwoofer in our lineup. Here are the important steps: If you want good sound without dedicating a ton of floor space to huge speakers, you’ll need a good. All Rights Reserved. Later on you can experiment with different settings if you want.). The need for power escalates very quickly as you approach “lifelike” or “theater” levels of around 100-104 dB. According to my subwoofer, for my setup, I was to set the crossover as high as possible on the unit (aka, no cutoff) and do all the adjusting in the receiver settings, so that's what I did. The level for each input to which an HDMI input jack is assigned can be set independently. Fast forward to 2:53—the rest is a showcase of a specific subwoofer model. .). Don’t hesitate to alter the sub levels to suit the recording or movie-- and your own taste. Then, If you have a phase switch, switch it between 0 and 180 degrees and see if you hear a difference. Note: If a user wants to experiment and set the subwoofer's crossover at the same frequency as the receiver's crossover, better integration of the subwoofer may be achieved. Fast forward to 2:53 in the video above to follow along—the rest is a showcase of a specific subwoofer. Note that if you have a home theater with surround sound, this can get more complicated, and you can, Next, adjust the gain (or volume). Start playing a song, and turn the subwoofer down until you can’t hear the subwoofer anymore. We are here to help you make sure you are getting the product you need! This story was originally published on 1/21/14 and was updated on 6/25/19 to provide more thorough and current information. If things still sound funky (and not in a good way), you may want to check the location of your subwoofer. This is the frequency at which your subwoofer starts playing bass notes. The most accurate—for my particular room and listening tastes—turned out to be the Avia Guide to Home Theater. Doesn't help that there is too much crap being stored in the doors' cubby holes. Hsu Research's VTF-15H subwoofer has a 350-watt amp and puts out an average of 123.2 dB SPL between 40 and 63 Hz. Chesky Records’ Ultimate DVD Surround Sampler & 5.1 Set-Up Disc had lots of interesting subwoofer test signals, and because it had DVD-Audio tracks, it was useful for calibrating speaker levels for DVD-Audio disc playback. You’ll know you have it right when the bass gets as close as possible to feeling like an evenly-spread blanket, yet blends with and maintains balance with the other speakers. JavaScript seems to be disabled in your browser. I’ve tried this on a number of different stereos and it’s worked like a charm. As you hold the meter in front of you at head level pointed upwards, you can then individually adjust the output of the subwoofer and balance it to each speaker in your 5.1-channel surround system. If you want to do some extra tests, you can have a friend try and adjust it for you while you sit on your couch (or wherever your listening position is), but this should get you 90 percent of the way there with almost no effort. Subwoofers are great at making music loud, but only to a certain point. Then, turn the gain up until you can just start to hear it start to fill in the bass. You can. (I’ll assume you’ve already set the AV receiver’s internal bass management correctly. Now pick a volume setting on your AV receiver that’s typical of the range you usually listen at. . For the best experience on our site, be sure to turn on Javascript in your browser. The above video from Parts Express breaks it down really nicely, and shows you how to get it done in no time. On the rear panel of the subwoofer, set the volume control to the mid-point or a bit less, and turn the subwoofer’s own crossover control to Bypass (if it has a bypass setting) or to its maximum rotation. In particular, the bands of high-frequency and low-frequency noise (found in the “Advanced” chapter, under “Subwoofer Setup”), which alternated between each satellite speaker and the subwoofer, respectively, allowed me to set very precise and pleasing balances. Most people find that 70 or 75 dB on your SPL meter at your listening seat is a comfortable playback level. This is the important part, and the part that I’ve done incorrectly oh-so-many times—but it’s also the easiest. Please enter your email address below to receive a password reset link. Sunfire's Atmos subwoofer — a much smaller design that is far less efficient — has a 1,400-watt amp, yet averages only 108.4 dB SPL between 40 and 63 Hz. The Inventory team is rounding up deals you don’t want to miss, now through Cyber Monday. This operation is only available using the display panel on the front of the receiver. And how do you know you’ve found the right place? I used 70 dB SPL at my listening seat and I found that I was setting the sub levels to +2 dB above 0 dB. One may sound better than the other depending on your room and gear. Alan Lofft was, for 13 years, Editor in Chief of Sound & Vision, Canada's largest and most respected audio/video magazine. Lofft has been writing about hi-fi and video professionally for over 20 years, ever since his first syndicated newspaper column, "Sound Advice", began appearing weekly in The Toronto Star, Canada's largest-circulation daily newspaper. Interconnects. © 2020 Colquhoun Audio Laboratories Limited LC I used the Avia Guide to Home Theater DVD, Digital Video Essentials DVD, the Sound&Vision Home Theater Tune-Up DVD (a simplified version of the Ovation software used on the Avia disc), Chesky Records’ Ultimate DVD Surround Sampler & 5.1 Set-Up Disc, and the Dolby Digital test tones available from my H/K AV receiver. Likewise, an average loud listening level of, say, 91 dB punctuated by a sudden peak of 10-20 dB will make a huge instantaneous demand on your amplifier.