Best Crossover Setting for Subwoofer (Get balanced bass)

Obtaining the optimal sound quality with the addition of a subwoofer to your audio system requires the right crossover setting.

Music notes and other audio notes work with a wide range of frequencies measured in Hertz (Hz) that need to be adjusted according to the sound system and integrated subwoofers.

In simple words, integrating a subwoofer into your audio system to capture and blend the lower frequencies for bass will not work out as you think it will.

It requires the right crossover settings and some experimentation.

Hence, the adjustment in the crossover setting with respect to volume at desired levels sometimes depends on various factors.

It includes the size of the audio setup you want to integrate a subwoofer with, its placement techniques, installation, and then setting up the proper crossover.

In some cases, it may require setting up the phase controls in your audio system if applicable.

Let’s discuss the best subwoofer frequency crossover settings along with the right placement options.

Key Takeaways

  • Setting up the right crossover frequency of a subwoofer ensures optimal sound quality.
  • The placement of the subwoofer according to the type of sound system is equally important for better sound output.
  • Ideally, the frequency of the subwoofer is set on a decreasing trend with large speakers and vice-versa.

Best crossover settings for Subwoofers

Setting up the crossover frequency is a secondary parameter that plays an important role in reproducing a balanced sound quality.

However, the primary parameter involves the proper positioning of a subwoofer.

Music genres such as rap, rock, pop, etc., contain low-frequency sound waves and can be actually felt with a proper subwoofer placement and setting.

Let us discuss how to adjust a subwoofer crossover setting for optimal sound performance.

Before we proceed, be informed that the best performance from the subwoofer depends on a few factors such as their proper placement, connectivity, and the right subwoofer crossover settings.

Subwoofer Placement

  • You should place the subwoofer between the two main speakers and away from the front wall.
  • Additionally, aside the wall, halfway between the front and rear walls should do the trick.
  • If neither of those positions works, move the subwoofer slowly around the room while listening for the best bass reproduction.
  • Start by placing your subwoofers at the center of your room and play sound notes with heavy or deep bass.
  • Keep moving around your room until you spot multiple areas with great bass effects and the possibility of setting up the subwoofer on those spots.
  • Place your subwoofer where you’re getting the best result, also make sure the spot is ideal for placing the subwoofer.
  • Once you are convinced that you are getting the best possible bass, you can now configure the subwoofer’s crossover with your audio system.

Once the subwoofer is in the ideal spot, it’s time to tune it for the best sound that we will discuss below.

Subwoofer Crossover setting alongside different audio systems

The ideal crossover frequency setting should be roughly set at 10 Hz above the lowest frequency range of your subwoofer.

It is the standard crossover setting you can follow if you know your unit’s frequency range.

For example: If your subwoofer has a frequency range of 50 Hz to 200 Hz, 50 Hz being the lowest and 200 Hz being the highest frequency range, make sure to set the subwoofer’s crossover frequency to 60 Hz which is 10 Hz above the lowest range.

Typically, the recommended crossover frequency as per the THX standard is 80 Hz.

You can refer to the image below that highlights general guidelines for speaker/subwoofer crossover frequencies in the form of a table.

best crossover frequency settings for subwoofers

The above table demonstrates the settings of your speakers to transfer the proper frequencies to the subwoofer which is crucial for delivering the best sound quality.

Additionally, the size and range of the speaker or sound system also matter the most in setting up the proper crossover for a subwoofer.

Let us elaborate on the crossover settings required for subwoofers alongside different audio setups.

Smaller Speakers or Audio Systems

When it comes to small speakers or audio setups i.e., wall-mounted satellite speakers or small surround sound satellite speakers the ideal crossover to the subwoofer should be set between or around 100 Hz to 120 Hz and can go up to 150 Hz.

However, if the unit is too compact you can also set the crossover to between 150 Hz to 200 Hz whatever works best.

Typically, smaller units (speaker sound systems) have a steeper drop-off in the bass output.

Hence, setting up a lower crossover to the subwoofer settings can lead to sound distortion, especially in mid-ranges.

Mid-sized Speakers and audio systems

For medium-sized surround or bookshelf speakers, you can set the crossover to the subwoofer anywhere between 80 Hz to 100 Hz.

In most cases, mid-sized audio systems or speakers can struggle to offer quality mid-bass in specific sound notes.

Hence, adding a subwoofer with a proper crossover setting can effortlessly integrate the missing notes (upper-bass and midrange sound) and output the best sound quality.

Audio setups with large speakers

If your audio setup includes large speakers, surround, or bookshelf you should set the subwoofer crossover anywhere around 40 Hz to 80 Hz.

You can further bifurcate it into Large and very large speakers or audio setups.

  • For large center, surround, or bookshelf speakers set the subwoofer crossover between 60 Hz to 80 Hz. This is usually applicable for tower speakers that include 4” to 6” (inches) woofers.
  • Similarly for even larger centered, surround, bookshelf speakers try setting the crossover between  40 Hz to 60 Hz. It is usually applicable for full-band or full-range tower speakers that include 8” to 10” (inches) woofers.

To get to the right crossover setting for the subwoofer you will need to experiment a bit, depending on the size and the range quality of the speakers.

Large-centered speakers can be floor, bookshelf, or high-fidelity units of different sizes and range quality.

Some tower speakers can be even larger (Full range) with built-in subwoofers that may not require crossovers.

However, if they do, the frequency should be ideally set around 40-60 Hz.

Finally, you will need to experiment a bit by slightly adjusting the crossover to see which settings work best for you.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right spot for your subwoofer can be challenging because sound waves reflect off of walls and objects.

It results in the clash of different sound waves further delivering distorted or poor sound quality. 

If your large speaker or sound system already has a wide frequency range, you may not need to tweak the cross-over settings that much.

Some large speakers, such as full-band tower speakers, have a wide frequency range.

They may not require additional subwoofers because they do include built-in woofers and subwoofers.

Armed with a Diploma in electrical engineering and a remarkable 12 years of expertise, he excels in rejuvenating music systems, washing machines, dryers, and laundry-related appliances. Manish's profound insights and practical know-how establish him as a credible authority in appliance and music system repairs. Contact: manish.singh (at) subwooferblog.com. He's always ready to lend a helping hand!