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November 30, 2010

Where do I set the crossover control on my subwoofer’s back panel?

Filed under: AV question — Tags: , — Alan @ 2:39 pm

Q. Where do I set the crossover control on my subwoofer’s back panel?

A. If you are using a Dolby Digital/dts A/V surround receiver with its own Subwoofer Output jack, and a single coaxial cable to your sub, then the subwoofer’s internal crossover becomes unnecessary and you should turn the control to its highest setting (150 Hz) to effectively remove it from the circuit. Some brands of subwoofers may have a “Bypass” switch, which does the same thing. By doing this, you are avoiding “cascading crossovers,” or using two crossovers in a row, which may cause losses or gaps in the bass response. The A/V receiver performs all the “bass management” and routes the appropriate frequencies to your subwoofer from the Sub Output jack, so the sub crossover becomes redundant.

If you are using your subwoofer for 2-channel stereo with an older 2-channel receiver or amplifier (non-surround sound), then you’d use the speaker-level input connectors on the subwoofer because in most cases the receiver or amp will not have a dedicated line-level subwoofer output jack. You must then set the subwoofer crossover on the sub itself to route the low frequencies to the subwoofer. Try a setting of about 80 Hz to start, depending on how large or small your main speakers are. If they are very tiny satellites, you may want to raise the crossover frequency to 100 Hz.

Once you’ve got your subwoofer crossover set you may want to read more tips on subwoofer setup here.

Alan Lofft was, for 13 years, Editor in Chief of Sound & Vision, Canada’s largest and most respected audio/video magazine. He edited Sound & Vision (Canada) until 1996, when he moved from Toronto to New York to become Senior Editor at Audio 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. In the late 1970s, he became a contributing editor, columnist, and equipment reviewer at AudioScene Canada, the leading national consumer electronics magazine at the time. Find out more about Alan in his bio.

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