How To Connect A Subwoofer To A Receiver 101 - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 73 Old 07-03-2008, 10:20 AM - Thread Starter
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How To Connect A Subwoofer To A Receiver




Powered Subwoofers and Receiver Pre-Outs

Before hooking up your Subwoofer, you need to identify what connections it has. Let's take a look at the back of your Subwoofer.

You'll be looking for an AC power cord (to ensure it’s a Powered Subwoofer) and RCA jacks labeled either "Line-In, Low Level In or LFE In". There may be more connections on the back, but this is all you'll need for now to properly connect your Subwoofer.

Now to check the back of your receiver. You'll need to find a section of RCA jack outputs labeled "Pre-Out", and one of them should be for "Subwoofer". It may also be labeled "SW Out or LFE Out". If you don't have this output, you won't be able to connect your sub this way. Some receivers refer to the Subwoofer Pre-Out as the “LFE Out”.


Necessary Cables for Subwoofer and Pre-Out Connections

You'll need the following cable(s) to complete your setup:

- "Subwoofer" Cable (an ordinary 75 ohm shielded RCA cable will do)


- RCA Y-Adapter (Optional)




Connecting Your Subwoofer

If you have a Subwoofer Cable (RCA), this is the optimal setup for your sub. Just plug the Subwoofer cable into your receiver's Subwoofer Pre-Out and the other end into the left (white) Low Level In (or LFE in) on your sub. Then make sure the power plug is connected to an outlet (hopefully in a surge protector) and you're finished.


Example of a typical receiver's Pre-Outs. Notice the one labeled SubWoofer.

It's sometimes purple in color, but that's not always the case.


Using A RCA Y-Adapter (Optional)

You'll want to use a Y-Adapter to combine the two (left-white & right-red) RCA jacks on the Subwoofer into one. They are labeled “Left and Right Line-In Inputs”, but for a typical home theater, you only have one cable coming from the receiver to the Subwoofer. If you don't have one or don't want to get one, you don't need the Y-Adapter; just use the left or right input by itself. Some prefer using the Y-Adapters because it makes the auto-on/off switching more efficient on some Subwoofers.


In-Wall Installation

For long in-wall runs, you can use RG-6 coax cable, terminated to standard cable F connectors at the wall plates, then use F-RCA (female) adapters at each wall plate to connect to shorter Subwoofer cables at each end in the room.


Connecting Two Subwoofers

First, run a RCA cable from the Subwoofer Pre-Out on the receiver to one of the Subwoofers. Then you plug the other end of the RCA cable from the receiver into the female end of the RCA Y-Adapter and plug the male end of the Y-Adapter into the Line Level Input on the Subwoofer. With the other branch of the Y-Adapter you would connect it to another RCA cable (as long as needed to reach the other Subwoofer) to the Line Level Input on the second Subwoofer.
One other way would be to connect the male end of a Y-Adapter to the receiver Subwoofer Pre-Out and run separate RCA cables to each Subwoofer.



Non-Powered Subwoofer Connections

If your Subwoofer doesn't plug into a power outlet, it means it isn't Powered. So how do you connect it? One way to go about it is through your front speakers. You'll need some extra speaker wire to do this.


Plugging Speaker Wire Into Your Subwoofer

You'll need some speaker wire to go from your receiver to your Subwoofer and then from your Subwoofer to your front speakers.

Example of High Level / Speaker Line Inputs and Outputs


The first step is running speaker wire from your receiver's front left and right speaker channels to the left and right speaker jacks on your Subwoofer labeled "High Level Input or Speaker Input".

The next step is to run speaker wire from the Subwoofer's left and right speaker jacks labeled "Output." The other end of the wires go to your left and right front speakers. This connection method is often referred to as "Daisy Chaining".


* It’s also important to mind positives and negatives; your speaker wire connects a + and - wire to your components. You can use either end of the wire as positive or negative, just so long as you use the same pattern for both ends of the cable.



Settings On Your Subwoofer

These settings apply when you are using a Powered Subwoofer.

* Set the crossover on the Subwoofer as high as it will go. Out or Off (depending on the sub) since you are using the crossover from the receiver.
* Set the phase to 0 or 180. (Which ever is louder)
* Set the gain (volume) knob somewhere around 9 - 11 o'clock on the dial. (Can be raised or lowered for personal preference/proper calibration)



Speaker Settings On Your AVR

These settings apply when you are using a Powered Subwoofer.

* Set Subwoofer to Yes or On.
* Set all other speaker channels to Small.
* Set the Subwoofer channel level to -5db. (Can be raised or lowered for personal preference/proper calibration)
* Set the crossover to 80 on the receiver. (Can be raised or lowered for personal preference/proper calibration)

These settings apply when you are using a Non-Powered Subwoofer.

* Set Subwoofer to No or Off.
* Set all other speaker channels to Large.
* Set the crossover on the Subwoofer to 80.



To fully take advantage of your Subwoofer, please read more here: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1004573


Special Thanks To:
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otk
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rhart6 and prince.nothing like this.

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post #2 of 73 Old 07-03-2008, 11:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrPainMD View Post


* Set subwoofer to yes or on.
* Set all other speaker channels to small.
* Set crossover to 80. (Set the crossover on the Sub to "out or off" (depending on the sub) since we are using the crossover from the receiver.



Special Thanks To:
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nice work dr. pain

you might want to add that if you're using the 2nd "daisy chain" speaker wire option, that you should set the subwoofer to none or off and set front left/right to large or you wont get any bass to the passive sub

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post #3 of 73 Old 07-09-2008, 04:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by otk View Post

nice work dr. pain

you might want to add that if you're using the 2nd "daisy chain" speaker wire option, that you should set the subwoofer to none or off and set front left/right to large or you wont get any bass to the passive sub

thanks, done

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post #4 of 73 Old 07-09-2008, 09:27 PM
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Hello DrPainMD,

I have enjoyed your contributions to avsforums for some time as a lurker.

I believe in your veracity.

I'm recommended this as a STICKY.

Joe C.
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post #5 of 73 Old 07-09-2008, 09:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cycloid View Post

Hello DrPainMD,

I have enjoyed your contributions to avsforums for some time as a lurker.

I believe in your veracity.

I'm recommended this as a STICKY.

Joe C.

Thank you for your kind words, I try to help where I can.

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post #6 of 73 Old 07-10-2008, 03:49 AM
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Hey nice post Dr. PainMD. I have a question. If I have 2 subwoofers, how would I go about hooking them both up? Would the second one have to be hooked up through the front right and left speaker?
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post #7 of 73 Old 07-10-2008, 03:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dye008 View Post

Hey nice post Dr. PainMD. I have a question. If I have 2 subwoofers, how would I go about hooking them both up? Would the second one have to be hooked up through the front right and left speaker?

You would use a Y-cable...

Dr. Pain, do you think it is reasonable to add a section about hooking up two subwoofers? Great job!

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post #8 of 73 Old 07-10-2008, 06:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhan1000 View Post

You would use a Y-cable...

Dr. Pain, do you think it is reasonable to add a section about hooking up two subwoofers? Great job!

I've wondered this same thing - whats the best way, to use a Y-splitter out of the reciever, or to go out to one sub, and out of that sub's "out" connection and into the next? woud there be any signal lag in this case?

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post #9 of 73 Old 07-10-2008, 06:20 AM - Thread Starter
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I added a section for connecting 2 subs.

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post #10 of 73 Old 07-10-2008, 10:39 AM
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Nice job Doc. Now we need the forum to set this up as a sticky thread.

Regards,

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post #11 of 73 Old 07-12-2008, 04:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Nice job Doc. Now we need the forum to set this up as a sticky thread.

Regards,

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Thanks, uhm gum is sticky under a shoe

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post #12 of 73 Old 07-13-2008, 04:47 PM
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what the heck
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post #13 of 73 Old 07-13-2008, 05:08 PM
 
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You've got subwoofer set-up page of sort on this page which is already a sticky and you what a second sticky of the same thing or is there another kind that I'm not aware of?
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=82455

Adding in a sub bass speaker is mandatory with any installation.
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post #14 of 73 Old 07-14-2008, 04:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBLsound4645 View Post

You've got subwoofer set-up page of sort on this page which is already a sticky and you what a second sticky of the same thing or is there another kind that I'm not aware of?
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=82455

Adding in a sub bass speaker is mandatory with any installation.

link does not work

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post #15 of 73 Old 07-16-2008, 10:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrPainMD View Post

These settings apply when you are using a Powered Subwoofer.

* Set Subwoofer to Yes or On.
* Set all other speaker channels to Small.
* Set the Subwoofer channel level to -5db. (Can be raised or lowered for personal preference/proper calibration)
* Set the crossover to 80 on the receiver.

These settings apply when you are using a Non-Powered Subwoofer.

* Set Subwoofer to No or Off.
* Set all other speaker channels to Large.
* Set the crossover on the Subwoofer to 80.

DrPainMD- First of all thanks for the guide, this is very helpful to a newcomer like me.


I have a very naive, noobie question that I hope someone can give me the right answer to.

I just purchased a 12" Klipsch powered sub that I will be hooking up to my Pioneer AVR subwoofer output. My front speakers are large Klipsch floor speakers (not bookshelf). My center channel and rear speakers are small Yamaha models. I currently have the front speakers set to large and they handle bass quite well.

According to this guide, I should set all my speakers now to small through my AVR, even the fronts. Given my large front speakers, what is the advantage to doing this - why can't I leave them set to large? Will this subtract from the subwoofer's performance? If I leave them set to large what would be the right (approximate) crossover setting, or it would it just be totally moronic to do this?

The reason I ask is that I just feel like I'm wasting the front speakers if I have them set to small....
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post #16 of 73 Old 07-16-2008, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by riverdog7 View Post

DrPainMD- First of all thanks for the guide, this is very helpful to a newcomer like me.


I have a very naive, noobie question that I hope someone can give me the right answer to.

I just purchased a 12" Klipsch powered sub that I will be hooking up to my Pioneer AVR subwoofer output. My front speakers are large Klipsch floor speakers (not bookshelf). My center channel and rear speakers are small Yamaha models. I currently have the front speakers set to large and they handle bass quite well.

According to this guide, I should set all my speakers now to small through my AVR, even the fronts. Given my large front speakers, what is the advantage to doing this - why can't I leave them set to large? Will this subtract from the subwoofer's performance? If I leave them set to large what would be the right (approximate) crossover setting, or it would it just be totally moronic to do this?

The reason I ask is that I just feel like I'm wasting the front speakers if I have them set to small....


If your sub is better at bass management than the fronts, wouldn't you want the sub to handle the majority of the bass? You aren't losing anything, your forcing the fronts to focus on the midrange frequencies.
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post #17 of 73 Old 07-16-2008, 10:33 AM
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Quote:
You’ve got subwoofer set-up page of sort on this page which is already a sticky and you what a second sticky of the same thing or is there another kind that I’m not aware of?

ironic coming from you.....who posts pages and pages of worthless pictures all advertising your crappy system.
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post #18 of 73 Old 07-16-2008, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by gimmepilotwings View Post

If your sub is better at bass management than the fronts, wouldn't you want the sub to handle the majority of the bass? You aren't losing anything, your forcing the fronts to focus on the midrange frequencies.

Yeah, probably.

This could be more of an AVR question, but if I have the fronts set to large, will the sub not get any signal to output at all (i.e. do the fronts rob the sub of bass)? I guess, in my head, I'm thinking I would want the sub to of course handle the deepest bass, but at a little higher frequencies where my fronts are as good as the sub . . . why not have all 3 working together at the same time? Maybe this isn't even possible, I have no idea honestly.

Probably another stupid statement.
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post #19 of 73 Old 07-16-2008, 11:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by riverdog7 View Post

Yeah, probably.

This could be more of an AVR question, but if I have the fronts set to large, will the sub not get any signal to output at all (i.e. do the fronts rob the sub of bass)? I guess, in my head, I'm thinking I would want the sub to of course handle the deepest bass, but at a little higher frequencies where my fronts are as good as the sub . . . why not have all 3 working together at the same time? Maybe this isn't even possible, I have no idea honestly.

Probably another stupid statement.

No, I guess it all depends on what you have set as the crossover frequency in the AVR or the powered sub. Don't be afraid to set your front's to small. Don't be afraid to play around with the settings to see which you like better.

Do you have any kind of multi EQ (like Audyssey) that you can run? What kind of AVR do you have?
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post #20 of 73 Old 07-16-2008, 11:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gimmepilotwings View Post

No, I guess it all depends on what you have set as the crossover frequency in the AVR or the powered sub. Don't be afraid to set your front's to small. Don't be afraid to play around with the settings to see which you like better.

Do you have any kind of multi EQ (like Audyssey) that you can run? What kind of AVR do you have?


Yeah I've been doing quite a bit of reading of some Audioholics articles, and the theme is don't be afraid to experiment.

I have a Pioneer VSX-1018AH-K. It has the MCACC set-up, which when I ran it without the sub set all my speakers, except the center channel to large. I manually set the rears to small . . . the MCACC made a massive improvement over my old Yamaha receiver that I had set up with the same speakers. The only thing missing was the sub.

The VSX-1018 does allow for some manual tweaking, flexible bass management I guess is the term. Based on my readings from the articles, I should just start experimenting with test tones until I find what I like best.

Although, they do recommend setting the crossover point to at least 10Hz above whatever the main tower speakers are designed to handle. I think mine are around 30 . . . I will probably start with a crossover around 60 or so and see if I can get everything to blend together.

I'm also going to try setting the towers to small and setting the crossover higher as well. Sounds like I've just got some playing around to do!

Edit: I also have a DVE Blu-ray which I think has audio set up as well. This stuff can be a bit overwhelming.
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I currently have to list my speakers as "large" too. My Polk Audio RTi10's dwarf my 5 year old MTX sub. I just ordered a MFW15, so I'm sure when I run Audyssey again(that's what I have with my Onkyo) that this will change.

I have the HDDVD DVE disc, and it is a bit overwhelming. Keep asking questions, you're doing fine.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gimmepilotwings View Post

I currently have to list my speakers as "large" too. My Polk Audio RTi10's dwarf my 5 year old MTX sub. I just ordered a MFW15, so I'm sure when I run Audyssey again(that's what I have with my Onkyo) that this will change.

I have the HDDVD DVE disc, and it is a bit overwhelming. Keep asking questions, you're doing fine.


Yep, I've been looking through my 1018's manual too . . . some stuff I didn't understand is starting to make a little sense.

I can set the fronts to large, and then set the crossover frequency to whatever I want. If I set them to small, then all the lower frequencies will go to the SW (duh, I know).

It sounds like it is a matter of setting them to large, figuring out the right crossover point.

Is it a good idea to run the MCACC set up first and see what settings it spits back at me? I wonder if it will pick it's own crossover setting as a starting point for me?
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post #23 of 73 Old 07-17-2008, 03:15 PM
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Please Help. I hooked up a onkyo705 with surround with no trouble and a buddy had a infinity ps-12 to give me so I read your post and hooked up the pre-out to the left or right rca jack and it works just fine on cds, dvds But there is something really wierd. It works with the radio stations too, all but three popular stations, those three are highly static and one static's so much that theres nothing but static and no music at all but if I turn the sub off they instantly become crystal clear or if I turn on the sub and unplug the jack it clears up and when I slowly move towards the sub's jack with the jack from the receiver it starts to satatic before I even plug it in. I don't think it's a loop problem because it only does it on 3 radio stations and nothing else.
Can You Help. Pleeeeeease.
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post #24 of 73 Old 07-17-2008, 03:20 PM
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I forgot to mention that the surround I have hooked to it is a 1000 watt Onkyo
and the sub worked perfectly no problems at all until I tried to hook up the Infinity 400 watt ps-12.
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post #25 of 73 Old 07-23-2008, 05:30 PM - Thread Starter
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not sure of your problem, bump for help...

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Just got into 5.1 surround...have a Yamaha RX-V663 receiver with a Harman Kardon 5.1 speaker set and powered sub.

It's bothering me a bit while watching movies that the sub goes into "standby mode" sometimes during dialogue heavy sequences. Then everytime some action hits, I can notice the sub powering up.

Just wondering if this is normal or if there is a setting of some sort I should look at. I realize on the back of the sub there is an "auto" power switch and "always on" switch. I could probably set it to "always on" and that probably would solve the problem. I'd kinda prefer to not have to worry about always turning it on and off though.

Just wondering if this is "normal" or if there is some setting I should look at modifying.
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post #27 of 73 Old 07-24-2008, 01:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tts42572 View Post

Just got into 5.1 surround...have a Yamaha RX-V663 receiver with a Harman Kardon 5.1 speaker set and powered sub.

It's bothering me a bit while watching movies that the sub goes into "standby mode" sometimes during dialogue heavy sequences. Then everytime some action hits, I can notice the sub powering up.

Just wondering if this is normal or if there is a setting of some sort I should look at. I realize on the back of the sub there is an "auto" power switch and "always on" switch. I could probably set it to "always on" and that probably would solve the problem. I'd kinda prefer to not have to worry about always turning it on and off though.

Just wondering if this is "normal" or if there is some setting I should look at modifying.

try,

Quote:


Some prefer using the Y-Adapters because it makes the auto-on/off switching more efficient on some Subwoofers.

Or turn up the volume for the sub in the avr few db

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post #28 of 73 Old 07-28-2008, 12:07 PM - Thread Starter
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post #29 of 73 Old 07-28-2008, 01:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gimmepilotwings View Post

If your sub is better at bass management than the fronts, wouldn't you want the sub to handle the majority of the bass? You aren't losing anything, your forcing the fronts to focus on the midrange frequencies.

I don't really understand this logic/recommendation when considering good quality tower speakers that have good bass performance.

If you *always* set front mains to small - regardless of size or performance - when used with a subwoofer, why would anyone bother with buying towers with decent bass and then disabling the towers by high-pass limiting their response?

That seems like a waste of money and one should exclusively limit their main choices to bookshelfs or monitors.

Also, for those that enjoy 2-channel listening, if the sub is connected via LFE/Sub out, then when listening to 'pure direct' the sub is disabled.

Folks should be willing to experiment with their HT setups and decide what sounds best to their own ears.

For me, my fronts are set to large, and my avr is set to NO Sub, and my sub is paralleled off of the front speaker level terminals.

Great sound, to my ears.

Just stirring the pot,
Erik
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post #30 of 73 Old 07-28-2008, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Erik Tracy View Post

I don't really understand this logic/recommendation when considering good quality tower speakers that have good bass performance.

If you *always* set front mains to small - regardless of size or performance - when used with a subwoofer, why would anyone bother with buying towers with decent bass and then disabling the towers by high-pass limiting their response?

That seems like a waste of money and one should exclusively limit their main choices to bookshelfs or monitors.

Also, for those that enjoy 2-channel listening, if the sub is connected via LFE/Sub out, then when listening to 'pure direct' the sub is disabled.

Folks should be willing to experiment with their HT setups and decide what sounds best to their own ears.

For me, my fronts are set to large, and my avr is set to NO Sub, and my sub is paralleled off of the front speaker level terminals.

Great sound, to my ears.

Just stirring the pot,
Erik

Even if you aren't demanding your towers to reproduce 30hz, they can still be beneficial. Large towers with proper amplification are capable of much better dynamics at high output levels than are bookshelf/monitor speakers. This will especially be true in the mid/upper bass. Let's say you have a very big, powerful subwoofer in your HT and enjoy watching movies at reference level. If you use an 80hz crossover with bookshelf speakers that use a single 6" driver with a -3dB point at 60hz, they'll struggle to keep up with the sub at high output levels. You'll have tons of <80hz bass, with a significant loss in dynamic headroom in the ~80-120hz range. Now swap out the bookshelf speakers for towers with dual 8" drivers, rated to 35hz and they'll be much better able to keep up if you like to listen at reference level.

Just thought I'd stir the pot more...though I can certainly understand where you're coming from, Erik. And I agree that it's best for people to experiment with their setups to find the settings they like best.
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