How Loud Should My Subwoofer Be? - The Answer You Have Been Waiting For

If you just got your first real home theater system, placing your speakers and making space for everything is part of the experience we all love. 

However, everything regarding the subwoofer might be confusing if you don’t know much about acoustics or what a subwoofer does. For example, you might wonder - “How loud should my subwoofer be?” 

Lucky for you, we know exactly how loud - all you have to do is continue scrolling for the full scoop!

How Loud Should My Subwoofer Be?

Subwoofer close-up

Setting up your subwoofer can be a real challenge - especially if you’ve never done it before. Depending on the subwoofer, there are several things you can tweak to make sure your subwoofer is working its job.

The general rule of thumb is - if you can hear your subwoofer, it’s too loud. The subwoofer shouldn’t create bass you can listen to; it should make sounds that bounce off and fill up the listening room.

So, if your bass is creating boomy sounds, it’s too loud or placed in the wrong spot. I advise you to lower the volume, and if it’s still kind of boomy - your subwoofer is in the wrong place.

On the other hand, if the subwoofer is set too low, it can make nulls - which we also wish to avoid. If your subwoofer doesn’t have too many options, you can still fine-tune it to the perfect loudness level. 

If you don’t know how to do that - just read through the next section.

How to Set Up The Loudness of Your Subwoofer

Subwoofer close-up 2

Subwoofers on the budget-friendly end usually have only two knobs for adjusting the sound - the volume and the crossover frequency. There are some rules you can abide by when it comes to setting up the loudness of your subwoofer, but the thing that always works is trying everything.

Even if you like a strong bass, it can still be too strong - but that’s not the end of the world. Everything on the subwoofer is easily tuned to perfection - you just need to get there. 

Just lean closer and change the volume and the frequency a little by little to see what sounds best. However, if that fails, let’s see a couple of steps you can take to set up the loudness of your subwoofer.

Change the Crossover Frequency

Subwoofer crossover frequency

The crossover frequency determines the highest notes your subwoofer will play. The point is - if you set it too high, all the notes and voices will sound a bit pitchy, and if you put it too low, you could make a sound hole. 

When the frequency is too low, the sound hole is created between the speakers and the subwoofer, and everything will sound harsher and lower. 

The point of the subwoofer is to enhance the sound produced by your speakers - not to change it completely. So, you should find the frequency at which your woofer starts playing the song's bass. 

The goal is to set the crossover frequency at the point where the speakers start to roll. Usually, that’s about 80Hz, as that’s the lowest they can go. You can read up the specifications of your subwoofer or just turn the knob until the song sounds “rounded out” - making sure your speakers and your woofer aren’t playing the same notes in the song.

Set Up the Volume

Subwoofer Volume

Setting up the volume seems like a piece of cake, but we guarantee you - it is not. This is where most people make a mistake, but luckily, it’s the easiest part, so even if you'd make a mistake, it’s easy to fix.

First, you are going to play a song you like. Then, you will turn down the volume knob until you cannot hear the subwoofer anymore. 

Afterward, you will slowly turn up the volume until you can feel the bass filling in the room. Just a bit - and that’s it, stop turning up the volume; that’s the entire thing!

Use the Phase Switch

Subwoofer Phase Knob

Note that not all subwoofers come with a phase switch; you can also use it to ensure your subwoofer is as loud as it needs to be. Use your phase switch and turn it between 0 and 180 degrees to see if that makes a difference.

One should sound better than the other, depending on the room the home theater is in and the type of gear your system is packing. There are some rules regarding the phase switch, but it all comes down to what sounds better in reality.

So, if one sounds a bit better than the other one - that’s the right one!

Final Thoughts

Subwoofer close-up 3

There are rules about how loud your subwoofer should be, which all comes down to the subwoofer complementing your speakers. It should not overpower the speakers, make the song boomy or create nulls.

So, fine-tuning the crossover frequency and volume should ensure your home theater is creating a great sound. Lean in and listen - if it sounds good, you are close to setting up everything.

However, if it doesn’t sound well even after some tune-ups, reconsider the spot for your subwoofer - it might be in the wrong place!

Barry Allen

About the author:

Barry Allen

I grew up to be a self-proclaimed stuck-up audiophile, and I – partially – blame Pinnacle Speakers for it.

The whole point of me starting this website was to keep the tradition going. Although the means have changed, the mission remains the same: Bringing „sterling sound“ as they once put it into home theaters and sound systems worldwide! 

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