Do You Need to Match Crossover Settings for All Your Speakers?

Most AV receivers these days will set your crossover for you. You run your room correction program and it spits out distance and trim levels as well as crossover settings. But should you trust those settings? Do you need to match the crossover settings for all your speakers or can they be different? Better yet, should they be different? Is that somehow better? Let’s discuss!

Crossover Settings Can and Should be Adjusted

Generally speaking, if you were to run your room correction and never change your speaker or crossover settings, you would end up with a decent audio experience. It wouldn’t likely sound bad.

But it can sound better.

There are a number of factors that go into determining your speakers’ crossover. If you are confused or just don’t remember how a crossover works, here is our definitive guide. If you read through that guide, you’ll find that we suggest you determine your speakers’ crossover by their specifications (mostly). Can you set your crossover for a particular speaker (or pair of speakers) higher? Of course. Most of the time you can simply look at the specifications (or, if possible, objective third-party measurements) of your speakers and set your crossover based on the capabilities of your speaker. Job done.

Is There a Benefit to Matching Crossover Settings for Different Speakers?

Often, people think that if they have different settings (crossover or otherwise) for different speakers it will somehow be audible. That’s not the case with your crossover. Bass, as we’ve said many times before, is omnidirectional. Taking the lowest frequencies from your speakers and playing them out of your subwoofer will sound just fine.

Having a single crossover point for all your speakers (we call this a “global” crossover) was common in older and budget AV receivers. Most of the time, the speakers we have in our systems have vastly different capabilities. We spend more on our front and center speakers because they handle most of the sound that we hear plus nearly all of the dialogue. More money is spent on subwoofers because recreating the lowest bass and pressurizing a room is difficult. We tend to spend a lot less on our surround and overhead speakers. These speakers are closer to us and aren’t required to play as loud or as low.

Surround and overhead speakers don’t tend to be as capable as our front speakers so they require a higher crossover. If you employ a global crossover, your front speakers may be crossed over too high or your surrounds and overhead speakers crossed over too low. Either way, having individual crossover control of each of these speakers or speaker pairs is better for overall fidelity and bass response.

Take Away

There is no compelling reason to match your crossover settings for all of your speakers. There are, in fact, a lot of really good reasons to have individual crossover controls for each of your speakers or speaker pairs. While we still suggest you double-check how your room correction sets your crossovers for your speakers, trying to pick one crossover point for all your speakers is not recommended.

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