With the digital age in full swing with no signs of slowing down, there’s very little reason to leave the comfort of your own home. Everything — and we mean, everything — can be easily delivered straight to you, including the experience of sitting in a movie theater.
The audio aspect of the home-viewing experience is crucial in fully capturing the essence of a real movie theater — visuals are only half of the battle. Without a comprehensive sound system to back up what may be a delicious visual feast, the entire viewing experience falls apart.
In order to get the most out of your sound system, you’re going to need at least two subwoofers along with the rest of your sound devices. You may be wondering what a subwoofer is, why they are important, and how to set one up (or in this case, two).
Luckily, we’re here to answer all of those questions in the article below. So if you want to find out more, read on as we cover how to set up two subwoofers for a home theater without much trouble or effort.
What is a Subwoofer?
A subwoofer is a type of loudspeaker whose primary purpose is to reproduce low-pitched sound frequencies, namely bass and sub-bass, in the audio that you are listening to. They are used in tandem with your standard woofers. In fact, subwoofers are almost never used alone, but their inclusion in any sound system can seriously amplify any audio output.
Additionally, in a home theater, a subwoofer is responsible for giving you all-round, warm, enveloping sound that makes the movie more enjoyable, much like in a movie theater.
Why are Subwoofers so Important?
Subwoofers augment the bass capabilities of the main speakers, thereby allowing for a fuller, more comprehensive sound. This also means that the main woofers don’t have to be too big in order to handle the sound output.
This does not necessarily mean that subwoofers are better at handling bass frequencies than large loudspeakers. Typically, a sufficiently large but otherwise standard loudspeaker is able to cover most frequencies. Sometimes, one won’t come across deep bass and sub-bass frequencies that would require an additional source of amplification.
Because you’re interested in a home theater, however, subwoofers should be a priority for you, as they allow for a much richer sound and can handle any low pitch you throw at it. This purity of sound is paramount to achieving an optimal home theater experience.
How to Set Up Your Subwoofers
Hopefully, you are now fully convinced of the importance of subwoofers in a home theater sound system. Now that you’re fully equipped with two low-pitch frequency-reproducing bad boys, you’re probably wondering how on earth you can hook them up. Again, though, we’re here for you. Simply read on, and you’ll find out how.
Setting up your subwoofers can be done in two distinct phases – positioning and fine-tuning.
Positioning is the Priority
The actual sound output of your subwoofers does not follow any particular direction. Regardless of placement, you’ll always be able to at least hear the bass. For the best bass performance, though, you’re going to need to pay attention to where you set your sub.
Most people will immediately opt for corner placement. This is done for a couple of good reasons. For starters, with your sub relegated to a corner, it is mostly out of the way and unobstructed. Additionally, a corner spot almost always produces the most bass.
However, while the corner strategy is a good catch-all rule, it may not necessarily be the most optimal placement in your particular circumstances. You also need to make sure that the bass you’re hearing does not sound like its own separate entity. It needs to add to the sound, not take away from it, and the placement of your subwoofer can influence this for better or for worse.
There are a couple of ways to find the optimal subwoofer placement.
The first method is to take a larger subwoofer, sit in your usual listening/viewing position, and play something that has a lot of deep bass. Have someone else move the sub around the room for you while the audio is playing, and carefully listen for spots where the bass seems that much richer. Note these, and don’t stop until you’ve gone over the entire room. You should have a good idea of where it should be placed by then.
The other method is this: Move your chair or couch out of the way (whatever you sit on whenever you watch or listen to something in your home theater) and replace it with your subwoofer.
As with the previous method, have something with a lot of deep bass play over your sound system. Now, scan the walls of the room. Put your ear to them and listen out for the spots where the bass resonates best. Keep track of these, and go over the whole room from wall to wall.
The above methods are perfect for optimizing your bass output, but as we said earlier, it can’t be its own entity. You’ll also have to make sure that your sub connects with your main speakers so that there isn’t any distortion or discordance.
Lastly, if you’ve tried everything and still can’t find the best place to set your sub, either place it in a corner or right next to your chair or sofa, like an end table. This is almost never optimal placement, but it can still sound decent in a pinch. Just keep trying, and eventually, you’ll find the best place for your subwoofer.
Fine-Tuning (and Connectivity)
Some subwoofers are wireless; therefore, they don’t require much in terms of manual setup. For others, the process is relatively straightforward, but it can be easy to get lost along the way.
With any subwoofer, turn the device around and pay attention to the rear panel. A lot of subs use a simple, single cable setup, so all you need to do is connect your device to its relevant hookup port. These may be labeled as “LFE,” “Direct,” or “Bypass.” You’ll want the volume all the way up at first in order to make fine-tuning the device easier.
Many subs will have an auto-calibration feature and protocol. We recommend starting with this before manually adjusting it yourself. Run the program and evaluate its results. If you’re okay with these settings, you’re essentially done, but if not, you’ll need to get your hands dirty once more.
Regardless of your choice of fine-tuning method, be sure to constantly manipulate the volume of the sub, as you’ll need it to be properly adjusted before you can use the drive properly.
Setting up your subwoofers can be easy with just a little know-how. Hopefully, we’ve provided that knowledge to you in this article. Setting up your sub and perfectly calibrating it is a learning process and you will have to do a bit of trial and error to get it exactly right. But as long as you are patient with your subwoofers and other audio equipment, and you use a little clever positioning and fine-tuning, you can make it sound truly great.
And there you have it! Now you have all the information you need to easily set up two subwoofers in your home theater. All that’s left now is to choose your favorite movie, invite some friends and family around, pop some popcorn, and enjoy excellent sound to match the excellent movie. Enjoy!