The crossover is a setting that allows you to determine at what frequency range the subwoofer will be set to reproduce the bass frequencies. In this post, Hooke Audio will give you an overview of how to set subwoofer crossover based on your system’s other settings and bass preferences.
Subwoofers Are Essential For Your Sound System
No matter what your setup is, a subwoofer is essential. A subwoofer can give life and energy to your sound system that is impossible with even the best speakers.
Some speakers pride themselves on their advanced bass management. No speaker, even those with a subwoofer built-in, can provide the same range as a dedicated sub. A subwoofer is essential if you want to elevate your movie-watching or music-listening experience.
Some may argue that speakers can produce the powerful bass and heart-pounding effects they desire for their media room.
They don’t want the hassle of configuring subwoofers. True to a certain extent. But if you’re going to hear the high-definition audio’s actual depth, a subwoofer with the correct crossover frequency setting is essential.
What is a Subwoofer Crossover and How Does It Work?
Let’s first define some terms we will use in this article. These are the essentials you should know about subwoofer crossover settings.
- LFE, or Low-Frequency Effect, is the component of your sound system that creates deep sounds while listening to music and heart-pounding effects in surround sound systems.
- LFE+Main is a cross-mode that can be found in sound systems. It sends deep sounds to the speakers and subwoofers at a lower level than the crossover point. You can configure it, but it is not always stable so it would be best to leave it as default.
- Low Pass Crossover refers to the frequency at which your subwoofers start working to achieve deep notes that are not possible with the speakers we have. A low-pass crossover can be anywhere from 40Hz to 60Hz, or up to 100Hz.
- High Pass Crossover refers to the frequency above which your speakers will work and take over from the subwoofer. A subwoofer with a high-pass crossover will be repaired and will not change no matter what your setup is.
- Large speakers can produce full-range audio. This type of speaker can produce sounds as low 20Hz if it is part of your system. A dedicated sub is required because no other speaker can reach that level.
These are the small speakers that create a crossover. It can produce sounds at frequencies that are lower than your main speakers, but higher than your subwoofer. It is responsible for the transition between your system and the crossover.
What is a Crossover Frequency?
A crossover, in its simplest form, is the frequency at which sound transitions between one audio source and another, usually a speaker. The electronic crossover components in passive speakers control the sound transitions between the speaker channels and a subwoofer.
Crossover Frequency is the frequency at which your speakers begin to roll off and your subwoofer kicks into action with LFEs or bass notes.
A processor sets a crossover frequency for each speaker of your car audio system. The processor redirects low-frequency sound from the speaker channels to the subwoofer channel. Digital bass management is the process that creates a seamless blend between the speaker channels and the subwoofer.
The AV processor sets crossover frequencies for each channel during auto-calibration in many cases. If further optimization is required, however, the crossover frequency may also be manually set.
What is a Frequency?
Frequency is a term used in physics to describe the number of waves passing a point at a given time. It is also defined as the number of cycles of vibrations that a body experiences in a unit of time when it is in periodic motion.
You can define a “fixed place” as any location that includes your headphones, speakers, or amplifiers. Frequency response is a measure of how well an audio producer reproduces all the tones that we hear.
Frequency is measured using the hertz (Hz), unit. The hearing range for humans is 20 Hz to 20 kHz. The frequency response can be divided into three main segments: bass, middle-frequency, and treble.
What Is A Good Crossover Frequency?
A good crossover frequency is a frequency at which the crossover can effectively filter out unwanted sounds. Because of the many factors involved in setting a crossover frequency, it can be difficult to find a single frequency that works for all speakers. There are a few frequency ranges that work in most cases.
Types Of Crossover Frequencies For In-Car Audio
There are three types:
- Active crossovers are made of solid-state components. They can be bought separately or integrated into amplifiers. They must be powered in order to function.
- Passive crossovers do not require power to operate as active crossovers. They are placed between the amps and the speakers where they filter out unwanted frequencies. Built-in speakers are often passive crossovers.
- Digital (software-based) crossovers are used in digital music. This type of crossover can be found in the software code for the car stereo head unit.
There is no perfect crossover frequency that will work for all speakers in every car. Crossovers in almost all cases will need some sort of adjustment to maximize their effectiveness.
A Crucial Detail To Remember
You need to identify the speaker type before you can set the crossover frequency. Once you know what type of speaker you have, it is possible to work out the recommended crossover frequency. Subwoofers are an example. The recommended crossover frequency for subwoofers is 80 Hz.
1. Once you have a good idea of your speaker’s frequency range set the crossover point approximately 10 Hz higher than the lowest frequency to ensure your speakers are able to handle it cleanly.
2. 80 Hz is the most common frequency for crossovers (and it’s also the THX standard).
3. These numbers are intended to provide guidelines for crossover frequencies between speaker/subwoofer speakers:
- On-wall or Tiny ‘satellite’ speakers: 150-200 Hz.
- Small center, surround, bookshelf: 100-120 Hz
- Mid-size center, surround, bookshelf: 80-100 Hz
- Large center, surround, and bookshelf: 60-80 Hz
- Extensive center, surround bookshelf: 40-60 Hz.
- Tower speakers with 4″-6″ woofers: 60 Hz.
- Tower speakers with 8″-10″ woofers: 40 Hz or Large/Full-Band (i.e., full-range).
4. Look for a smooth transition from speakers to subwoofer. The ideal blend will be seamless and you won’t even be able to pinpoint the bass. Everything will work in harmony.
5. You might notice a bass bump near the crossover frequency. Adjust the volume control to match your main speakers’ output.
How to Set the Phase
First, you must position your speakers in the right direction. This will allow you to better assess the sound quality. Subwoofers may not be in phase with one another. This can cause subwoofers to cancel each other’s bass, which will result in poor quality sound overall.
You can’t change the wires if you have RCA cords attached to your speakers. A phase switch is the best option in this case. This is done by setting up your speakers in a way that allows you to still hear them, even if they are not fully installed in the entertainment box or wall. After you have done this, take a look at the sound quality. You can adjust the phase to 0 or 180 if the bass is not satisfying you.
How To Set Subwoofer Crossover
You are lucky if a modern AV receivers feature an auto-EQ program in your car. This program assigns the crossover frequency to vehicles automatically. It’s best to leave the settings as they are because they are tailored to your car audio system.
Setting a crossover frequency for vehicles that don’t have an AV receiver takes some patience and time. This process requires lots of listening and tweaking to get the best results.
These are the steps to set crossover frequency:
- Find out the speakers frequency range. Play music or audio that has a dynamic frequency range (bass, mid-range, and high sound). You can listen to the music and decide which range sounds best. If you don’t know the frequency range of your speaker, use a subwoofer matching tool.
- The crossover point should be set at 10 Hz below any speaker that can produce the lowest frequency without problems. Keep in mind that 80 Hz is the most common crossover frequency recommended.
- Play some music again. Now, turn the volume up slowly until your receiver begins to distort. Once you have reached the volume point where distortion begins, lower the volume until the music is clear again. Then note the volume of the receiver at this point. This is the volume threshold for your receiver.
- Set the gain on your subwoofer amp at its lowest value (a full counterclockwise position). Switch on the low-pass filter and adjust it clockwise to the maximum.
- Listen to some audio. Listen to the audio and then wait for the subwoofer and speakers to transition smoothly. You should not be able to distinguish the bass signal from the speakers in an ideal situation. It should sound like everything is playing in unison.
- You may hear bass bumps when you adjust crossover frequency. Adjust your volume control to match the output of your main speakers. Turn up the receiver’s volume until it reaches its maximum distortion-free level (the threshold). Slowly increase the gain of the subwoofer amplifier until the bass sounds are balanced with the rest of the audio spectrum.
How Should the Sound System Be Configured?
You can adjust the crossover position of your subwoofer when it is connected to an amp speaker post.
This is why many people feel overwhelmed by the process. You can see the control knobs on the back of large speakers to set the crossover. There is no set formula for setting your subwoofer. You’ll need to adjust it to your ears.
You want the large, small and main speakers to overlap. You can’t just look at your sub to configure, it must have the right amount. Too much overlap can cause a peak in the transition and too little can create depth or discontinuity in harmony. These are not the effects you want when setting up your speaker system to work with your sound system.
You want your subwoofer part of a well-synchronized system that creates harmony. If someone tells your subwoofer that it is distinctive and beautiful, you are not using the right setup. A well-designed subwoofer won’t be distinguished from your other sound system and shouldn’t produce a sound that sounds like it’s from an independent entity.
Deep bass is a great sound, especially when you use a full-range Subwoofer. Without the proper amount of overlap, you might hear a sudden drop-off in notes, which could be a sign that your amplifier is not working properly or a short but noticeable cut in your audio. The proper crossover frequency setting allows for smooth transitions from low-pass to high-pass crossovers without noticeable interference.
How to Test the Subwoofer Crossover
Once you have set up the crossover’s starting point, it is time to test the audio system. It cannot be easy to try your sub crossover. You must choose a familiar sound that you can identify with your brain.
It would help if you reduced overlap to make it less noticeable. To achieve the desired transition, increase your overlap slowly if there is a discernible discontinuity.
You might hear bass bumps when your sub and speakers overlap during your testing. This is not a problem with the crossover but with the output volume.
These bumps can be fixed by setting your subwoofer volume at the same level as your main speaker output volume. Because it will affect the smooth transition you want to make, both output volumes should be equal.
You will almost always need to adjust the crossover manually by your ear. There is always an exception. In this case, you have a tool to check the crossover of your subwoofer.
A bass frequency sweep can be used whenever you don’t feel like diving into the details of setting up sound systems or aren’t comfortable making those adjustments on your own.
A bass frequency sweep is an instrument that creates a tone that begins at the highest frequency and ends at the lowest for any setup. This tool is extremely useful because you most likely already have it in your possession. These tones will be embedded in every THX-certified movie.
You can find the THX Optimizer application in the Extras section of the menu for any movie with the logo THX. This app will create a tone similar to a frequency sweep. It will allow you to determine if you are experiencing drops, peaking, or bumps within your soundAdjust your system’s audio output accordingly system.
Suppose you hear a distinctive sound when this app accordingly. If you have a peak or drop, reduce the overlap and increase it, or adjust volume output if there is a bump.
There are occasions when your output is inconsistent despite numerous adjustments. It could be that your subwoofer position is not correct for your sound system.
How to Position Your Subwoofer Correctly.
This advice may be familiar to you: Place your subwoofer near the wall or in the corner to get more bass. It’s true. But it might not be the bass you want. This could be the reason you are experiencing peaks and drops in your sound system’s output, even if you have the settings you want.
When it comes to finding a spot for your subwoofer, you cannot use carte blanche. You can use this simple test to determine where your subwoofer should be placed.
- Place your subwoofers in the middle of your room.
- You can use any sound that has rich bass or is familiar to you.
- You can move around the room to find the best-sounding LFE. Keep these points in mind.
- Continue moving until you find the best spot for bass.
- Then, place your subwoofer at each of these places and then perform a bass frequency sweep.
Read more: Where To Put Subwoofer In Room? Top Full Guide 2023
You can leave it as is to get the best results, and then you can configure the crossover according to your test results, either low-pass or high-pass.
You might find your subwoofer at the worst possible places. You will need to remodel or even rebuild your media room if you want the perfect amount of overlap.
You might consider the Rule of Thirds for subwoofer placement if you don’t want to reconfigure your media room. This means that you will get better bass output if you measure the space from the adjacent wall adjacent.
Although the Rule of Thirds may not always produce the best bass, it does reduce the likelihood of standing waves or nulls. You can also avoid the hassle of redesigning or rebuilding a media room.
To test if the corner can improve your test results, you can also use it. We are not saying that the corner is the worst place for subwoofers.
You can’t just put it there and expect to get the best possible bass output. To find the perfect spot for your subwoofer, you may need to place it 6-8 inches from the corner. After each test, move it slightly to ensure the best placement.