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November 14, 2011

Dual Subwoofers: Tweaky Audiophile Thing or The Secret To Smooth Sound?

Filed under: Audio Knowledge,AV Tip of the Month,Home Theater — Tags: , — Amie C @ 7:49 am

Dual subwoofers at Raven Manor

Dual subwoofers: the concept may seem like something only tweaky audiophiles would do, but in reality, it may be just what your home theater needs to get the smoothest subsonic sound on the block.

It’s About the Increasing The Output: New home design in the last couple of decades has produced a lot of rooms that have soaring high ceilings, and these rooms have huge air mass.  Here’s the part where we get a little technical: it requires significant sound pressure levels (SPL) to fill a room this big, and a single subwoofer may not be enough to do so, depending on the size of your room.

Adding a second one to give you dual home theater subwoofers gives you a way of increasing the overall SPL and giving you deeper, fuller sound.  If you favor thrillers or blockbuster action movies, the difference will be incredibly satisfying.  Ditto if your musical taste runs to full orchestras: properly set up, dual subwoofers will give you the sense of being front-and-center at Carnegie Hall.

And It’s About Increasing The ‘Sweet Spots’: The other reason to add a second source of deep bass is to “tame those nodes!”  as Alan Lofft would say.  Nodes occur at 1/4 the length of any frequency from the distance to the ceiling, walls, flo — hey wait a minute – I said this wasn’t going to be a tweaky audiophile thing!

So let’s just say that all rooms have peaks and nulls, and in some rooms, those occur at undesirable locations, like your wife’s favorite chair.  As a result, she may not enjoy a movie or music as much as you do.  So in order to even out those nodes and create the same great experience you’re getting, adding a second sub to offset a node might be just the ticket.

Placing both of them properly requires a little experimentation.  Watch Ian Colquhoun’s video on subwoofer set up here:

For more set up help, read Alan Lofft’s Dual Subwoofers Tips here.

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    1 Comment »

    • cosoundman
      November 17, 2011 at 12:40 pm

      I FIRMLY believe in multiple subs! Particularly in mid size or larger room! I have 2 Outlaw LFM-1′S in the front nesseled in the corner and 2 small Sony’s in the rear for “roundness”. The best part of multiple subs is you have plenty of head-room so you never have to over-drive them. And yes, it fills the room with ultra lows and attack for the video and smooths out the lows for music. I couldn’t get over the difference from going from just one sub. Smaller rooms can be helped also but you just “turn down” the volume. The Audioholic folks have a great article called “crawling for bass” which is an excellent starting point for info on LFE placement and balance.

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