Tips for Setting the Proper Crossover Frequency for a Subwoofer

The crossover frequency of your subwoofer is the frequency at which your speakers start to roll off and your subwoofer kicks in with LFEs and bass notes. Most modern AV receivers feature an auto EQ program that will assign the proper crossover frequency automatically based on the capabilities of your loudspeakers. It’s generally best to leave these settings where they are.

If you’re using an AV processor, preamplifier or a DSP subwoofer to adjust the crossover frequency in a two-channel or surround sound set-up, here’s a few tips to get the best performance possible. As with any bass management functions, it’s helps to do some critical listening and experimentation to achieve the best sounding results.

  • If you know your speaker’s frequency range, set the crossover point roughly 10 Hz above the lowest frequency your speakers can handle cleanly
  • The most common crossover frequency recommended (and the THX standard) is 80 Hz.
  • The numbers below highlight general guidelines for speaker/subwoofer crossover frequencies
    • 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.
    • Very large 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).
  • If you’re unsure about your speaker’s ideal crossover frequency, try our Merlin Subwoofer Matching Tool, which will recommend the ideal SVS subwoofer for your speakers and tell you the best crossover frequency.
  • Listen for a smooth transition between speakers and subwoofer. Ideally, the blending will be so seamless, you won’t be able to localize the bass and everything will play in unison.
  • If you’re noticing a bass bump at the crossover frequency, try adjusting the volume control to match the output of your main speakers.
  • For a deeper dive into crossover frequencies, check out our Digital Bass Management Primer.

If you have any questions about setting the crossover frequency or system set-up in general, leave it in the comments or contact our Sound Experts at custservice@svsound.com.

SVS Ultra and Plus Subwoofers feature powerful and sophisticated Sledge DSP amplifiers that allow you to adjust crossover frequency, room gain and other settings directly from the back panel.

Looking for system optimization tips? Check out these additional articles from SVS.

Introduction to Dolby Atmos | Why go Dual? | The Art of Speaker Placement | Digital Bass Management

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