Will Adding a Subwoofer Increase the Treble of My Speakers?
It’s hard for us not to anthropomorphize objects. We ask our older car nicely to start. When it does, we thank it. In home theater, we can think that asking a device to do too much will somehow overload it. Like us when we try to multitask, asking us to do too much at once means that our performance on all the tasks is reduced. Subwoofers (especially when properly set up) handle all the bass in your home theater. This means your speakers are “freed up” to handle just the treble (and midrange). Since your speakers no longer have to handle the bass, does this mean that the treble and midrange will be increased by adding a subwoofer? Let’s discuss!
Why A Subwoofer is a Good Thing
Very few speakers are capable of reproducing the lowest bass. Even if they can, they aren’t in the right location to give you even bass. That’s why we always recommend crossing over your speakers into a sub (or pair of subwoofers). But just because they aren’t producing the lowest bass, doesn’t mean they aren’t producing any bass. What you might consider “bass” starts much higher in the frequency range than where your subwoofer starts. This is why many people claim that their speakers are good enough that they don’t feel the need for a subwoofer. They don’t know what they are missing.
Your Speaker Doesn’t Care About Your Sub
The reality is that your speakers don’t really care if you ask them to play bass or not. They are going to try to reproduce whatever signal you send them. If a note is too low or too loud, the speaker will distort. If you send that low/loud to a subwoofer, the speaker will no longer distort. This doesn’t mean that there is increased power or volume available for treble or midrange notes from your speakers since you added a subwoofer.
Distortion is Always Bad
Here is where we talk about semantics. Your speaker won’t play the treble or midrange any louder or better because you added a sub. What will happen is that your speaker won’t distort trying to play bass that is too low. If your speaker does distort, that distortion will obfuscate the other sounds that the speaker is trying to make. By adding the subwoofer, you haven’t increased the treble or midrange from your speakers. You’ve reduced the distortion which will make the treble and midrange easier to hear.
Should you add a subwoofer? Yes. It will keep your speakers from distorting. That lack of distortion will make the treble and midrange (and upper bass for that matter) easier to hear. Does that mean that adding your subwoofer increased the treble and midrange from your speakers? Technically, no. But subjectively, we can understand why it would sound that way.