The Simple Reason Why You Should Set All Your Speakers to Small

We’ve written a lot of articles about subwoofers and crossovers (see Additional Reading below for a small sample of relative articles). The one question we are constantly asked is about speaker size. There is a simple reason why you should set all your speakers to small. We have explained it (and more) in all those articles. We’ve decided to list it here for easy reference.

It Isn’t About the Size of Your Speakers

The simple reason you should set your speakers to small is that it isn’t about the size of your speakers or how low they can play. Bass behaves very differently from other types of sound. It interacts with your room far more than higher sounds which are highly directional. This means that the correct placement for your normal speakers and your low-bass-producing speakers is very different. Where Dolby (and others) recommend you place your speakers will be good for giving you a good surround sound experience. Those locations are nearly NEVER the same locations in your room for getting good bass.

We set our speakers to small because it sends the very low (under 80Hz) bass to those speakers that are best placed to recreate that bass accurately. Yes, your speakers may be able to produce prodigious amounts of sub-80Hz bass. In order for it to do it accurately, you’ll have to move those speakers to locations that will be bad for surround sound. Why do that when you already have speakers (namely your subwoofers) that are placed properly (if you’ve followed our guidelines below) and are better at producing even lower notes?

Lastly, people often think they are “wasting” the money they spent on their “large” speakers by not letting them produce low bass. Spend a moment listening to sweeps and you’ll find that 80Hz is VERY low. Your speakers are playing TONS of bass. By setting them to small, you are simply sending the absolute lowest bass to the speakers best able to play them accurately!

Additional Reading

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