Do you adjust your subwoofer

I have kef reference 3 speakers and a rel 510 subwoofer 

 I keep the  crossover low and the volume low as well. It gives just a little extra down low

I was wondering if people bump up the subwoofer when using it for movies, just for the extra thrill



No, because I don’t use the same system/s for both music and movies (different rooms). Once I set subwoofers to my liking, I leave them alone regardless of what they are playing. If I can tell the origin of the sound coming from a sub, then it’s too loud in my opinion. For that extra "thrill", I turn up the entire system evenly, but at the end of the day everyone should do what they like right?

Mine is a set it and forget it component.  The sub's output should be proportionate to the rest of the system, and controlled by the main volume. Occasionally I'll make a minor adjustment, but the sub settings have an unofficial default setting that I've deemed ideal for the room and system.

My secondary system shares space with our modest home theater.  Both have separate subs.  The crossover and volume are quite different in both systems. The home theater crossover is higher,as welll as the volume. That is for the extra boom for movies. 

Hell yeah. Second system. No sub on main. Depends on the mood. REL S3 SHOs. Different recordings have different levels so I might make a few tweaks now and then.

The science answer would refer you to Fletcher-Munson and Harman curves. The subjectivist says turn to where it sounds right for what you're listening to. The purist epoxies the level knob in place only after excruciating critical listening sessions with curated selections. At the end of the day, you'll set it where you like the best, and don't have to mess with it too often 

I have two SVS Ultra 13subs with upgraded plate amps and now I can control all the settings on the subs through the SVS DSP app on my smart phone My tower speakers have built-in powered subs also, I have my SVS subs crossed over at 40 hz and sub volume relatively low  Depending on what's playing on my streaming play list i will tweak the volume and crossover on the fly  It's so easy to return it back to the original settings 


Not all recordings seem to have the same bass level.  I mean, what seems right to me, for that material.  So I do change the volume.  It's a db scale on my remote app so within about a  3-5 db range I find seems "right" in 90% of recordings.  Others set and forget.  As far as locating the sub that's a multi-faceted solution.  I find I can locate the sub at around 78hz and above so there's that.  Volume less impacting to me/my set up.  

I use 3 SVS subs and actually control them by a second preamp. My musical tastes run the entire spectrum and recordings vary greatly. Seems that the newer music is recorded with much more emphasis on low frequencies. This has worked for me going on a decade now.

I use Svs 400 subs which are  sealed And very fast and articulate 

they have a verygood app you can adjust from your tablet or phone 

you didnot mention the frequency response of your speakers ,

for some movies or even music with poor recorded bass just turn up the volume  as needed ,you want your Bass to blend if your speaker says plus or minus 3db at say 

40 HZ add 10 db and then godown 1 db at a time ,you want to get the most out of the main speakers , to get good fill and still have seamless Bassfrom the sub.

you don’t want over lap ,that's why  +10 db is a good start ,and many mfg 

pare not accurate in their measurements ,there is no. standard on exactly wen the frequency starts rolling off ,many mfg are not totally truthful.

if you bought a much better sub you would hear much more articulation in the Bass notes. Sealed subs are faster then ported subs as well as more articulate .

look at JL audio fathom , Wilson ,Myself Svs 4000-SB , the Rel has a open passive radiator similar to a ported sub more boom ,

I fiddle with my 2 channel system sub's settings constantly. Different recordings have varying amounts of bass and analog sources require different output than digital sources. I wish my old Velodyne had a remote.

Never understood why some subs have remote control. I can see different settings for the home theater sub vs the audio sub (those effect in the .1 channel !). I found myself (on the HT system) often that the TV ADVERTISEMENT producer should start moving away from OVERCRANKING the sub channel (they seem to raise the level assuming that most people don't have a sub and their meager speakers otherwise would not make their effects audible). 

one of the most misunderstood things in audio is the amount of bass to have to enjoy movies or music is quite a personal thing, so by having a remote you can set it from your chair according to your preference.

Also, if you eliminate excess bass peaks first, you can raise up the overall bass levels.


It is not personal at all. The settings for music and cinema should be exactly the same if a system goes down low in the right manner. One uncorrected REL 510 is already 6 dB down at 20 Hz. Getting it flat down to 20 Hz would require quadrupling the power. Studies have shown that the most satisfying curve for sound reproduction in the home environment boosts bass up 6 dB at 20 Hz falling to 0 dB at 100 Hz then flat out to 1000 Hz with a slow roll off with 20K down 6 dB. This would require 16 times the power in a REL 510.  In order to get this right you will need another 510 and a digital 2 way subwoofer crossover such as a Mini DSP. You would crossover between 80 and 100 Hz with a steep slope like 48 dB/oct then you can get the correct boost with the gain control on the woofers. I listen to an acoustic bass go down the scale and expect to hear each note at the approximately the same volume factoring in room acoustics which can be a little tricky. But, if the bass gets continuously louder as it goes down, the volume is too high. 

I have a NAD M17 v2i processor, it's remote has an overall volume Control, of course, and additionally has three separate targeted volume controls for tweaking the surrounds, Center and subwoofer channels.

So if the sub sound tends to be too much or too little for a specific movie I can tweak it, same thing for the surrounds and Center as well.

It's a wonderful feature.

I also create individual settings on the remote where I can listen to movies strictly in two channel with surrounds and subs while excluding the center channel because sometimes two channel just sounds better for home theater sound.  I can also set it to include the center channel on the fly. 


Granite audio sells a deep bass tone CD. 20-120 hz. Full sweep and 15 sec tone test per frequency. Can easily hear peaks and nulls or ap a measure room levels. 

Not all recordings seem to have the equivalent bass level.  I mean, what seems right to me, for that material.  So I do change the volume.  It's a db scale on my remote app so within about a  3-5 db range I find seems "right" in 90% of recordings.  Others set and forget.  As far as locating the sub that's a multi-faceted problem.  I find I can locate the sub at around 76hz and above so there's that aspect.  Volume less impacting to location to me/my set up and space.  

I have two REL S/812 subs and they are fine for 90% of the music I play. BUT, every now and then there will be a disc with so much low bass I have no choice but to get out of my chair and turn them down.  REL should really have built a remote control into their equipment.  If you want a perfect example of what I'm talking about, play Herbie Hancock's "Dis Is Da Drum". I don't know what is being used to create the extremely low bass but it gets my subs shaking and hits you in the chest.

I use an SVS 3000 Micro sub in my home theater system.  Using the SVS app, I have set up and saved two settings.  I use one setting for TV listening at low volume and another for listening to music and movies.The low system allows me to get good sound without the bass booming up to bedroom that is right above the home theater/family room.  My spouse is very happy about that.

The SVS 3000 Micro has transformed my modest home theater system.  I have five NHT Super Zero speakers mounted on my walls and the crossover is set at 120Hz.  Using that high crossover and a bit of subwoofer EQ, I get big sound with the tiny acoustic suspension Super Zero's. 

I have a Hsu Research STF-2 which has worked fine for me with the Vandersteen 2ci. I have tune the sub where is seamlessly with the 2ci to a point where is like a house curve response. This usually a boost in the bass region and a downward slope to the high end region where usually around -3 to -6 db below reference. So to answer your question,  you would need to do it once after you figure out the right placement. Find a well recorded music with a full spectrum response.


Wow I haven't heard the NHT Super Zero speakers in years!! 90's I think? Back then l had the Paradigm 20's bookshelves with the Paradigm Servo 15 sub Very few people back then had a sub in there system I've heard really good things about the SVS Micro 3000  If you have room you might consider adding another Micro 3000  I have two SVS Ultra 13 subs and I'm in bass heaven 

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 huge fan of remote volume control in home subs for two channel audio

obviously you don't have to use it....essentially the old better to have and not need over need and not have thing

disclaimer....old school car audio guy here, we loved those bass knobs!








I have a separate set-up for movies with a cheap sub that works just fine.  I never touch it.  

But, I am an occasional tweaker of my REL t9/x sub in the main system.  First, it depends on what speakers I am using at the moment.  If the Snell Type D are in play then the sub gets turned very low.  If it's the LRS or VA Bach Grands then the level goes up a bit.  Second, some recordings just need an extra bass oomph or reduction.  Third, I have two listening positions - my main sweet spot and a little further back and higher where I work at my drafting table.  The sweet spot is pretty neutral with tight full bass but the work spot has a bass bump which can be a bit annoying with some recordings.  So yeah, I'm a sub tweaker. 

I've been considering another REL to help even things out a bit.  But now I am seriously thinking of adding an SVS with app to take care of the adjusting while just leaving the REL on simmer.  

A bit more info, the remote app for my SVS subs is very useful.  Adjust from your fave seat and enjoy.  Can't say enough vs getting up and twiddling knobs in a darkened room.  Glad to see that not everyone buys into set and forget, it was what the engineer intended.  

I’ve got a Rel s510 and once it’s dialed it pretty much stays that way across the board. Possibly a tweak here or there, but rare.

Often.     My subs came with a remote that controls all the subs Optimization parameters and its six customizable presets.. 

Slight volume adjustment are used mostly. Possibly one or two presets which embellish some aspects of the recordings low frequency to my taste which lie below the established crossover region (100Hz - 33Hz).


I'd like to second @mijostyn clarity regarding -6dB sub-bass products. Don't you just love it when someone does the math? Nice.           

"@akgwhiz Glad to see that not everyone buys into set and forget it" Me too! It's literally the most fun we have with our system. My preset for Rap KILL'S it.

My 2 RELs crossovers are adjusted at the point where the main speakers drop off, with the sub levels and phase checked once in a while. I have a Schiit Loki Max EQ and use that in there a little bit if a recording needs it. 

I’ve two REL Carbon Special and occasionally I’ll bump the volume up a notch when I pull the screen down and watch a concert DVD. It’s a bit of a nuisance with the RELs as the gain knob isn’t marked with positions and I can’t feel the notches which are supposedly there. Also, a couple degrees of adjustment results in too much or too little volume. Fantastic sounding subs but ergonomics could be so much better. LEDs on the sub with remote volume would be bliss!


I would also like to suggest that every audiophile should have a calibrated measurement microphone and program. You will never know what your system is doing unless you measure it. A good program will also give you group delays which will allow you to integrate the subwoofer better.

It is also important to note that the low pass filter supplied with most subs will never integrate a subwoofer to maximal effect. This requires a complete 2 way crossover preferably digital with room control and delay capability (digital bass management)

Removing the low bass from the main speakers increases head room and lowers distortion. It is like doubling the power of your amplifier. 

A proper sub system is a set it and forget it item. I use my system for theater also and I never change settings for theater. The proper adjustment is proper for everything. 

I get that a calibrated to room setup is ideal.  Its the goal. An "all else being equal" thing.  But it requires a test tone/sweep.  Then an actual recording comes up and guess what, you may not feel that they mixed the bass high enough or maybe way to high.  I don't feel it's wrong to adjust it.  Do we sometimes add salt or a sauce to a cook's preparation even at a good restaurant?  I use a hi-pass on my mains, appropriate sub cut-off etc but there are some recordings that just don't seem to have enough bass at all.  Less common,  some seem too hot.  My 2 cents.   

@bigwave1 Please send a link to the test disc you recommend; there are several sold by Granite.

Movie sound tracks have a 4db increase for the LFE channel. So if you are not running a home theater processor adding 4db would be about right.  

Aerial sw12, I bump in up for my some of my boom boom visitors, other than that not much.

About 9 months ago, I added in an SVS Micro3000 subwoofer to my system. I have Charney Audio MaestroX speakers which are single-driver speakers and opted for the expensive AER-BD3 drivers. The MaestroX’s with those drivers are very revealing and cover the frequency range from ~ 60hz through 20Khz very well. My in-room measurements and confirmed by listening showed me that I really needed some good, taut reinforcement of those frequencies below 70hz. I really missed the lower bass frequencies as the MaestroX’s roll-off rather quickly with their horn-loaded bass. After some research, I decided to get the SVS sub. I found placing it directly in front of my amp-rack for my listening was the best physical position for it. The SVS sub has a great software program that on the fly, you can change volume, frequency roll-off, and speed of the roll-off among other parameters. After playing with it for about a month or so, I settled on the best parameters for my normal listening and it has added seamlessly to the bass response. I just let my set parameters stay no matter what music I’m listening to. The only time I change the volume parameter on the sub is when I switch my stereo amplifier with a different one. When going from an amp that has different power levels and different input volume to max output for the main speakers, that can obviously change how the sub sounds with relation to the main speakers output. So when I switch amplifiers, I just boost or attenuate the sub output level to match my favorite listening level. That’s really the only time that I change the sub parameters, once I got it dialed-in and balanced with the main speakers.


You are on the right path. Might I suggest a second subwoofer and a complete two way crossover so you can put a high pass filter on your main speakers. This will lower distortion and increase headroom dramatically. This is just, if not more important than the added bass a subs brings to the table. This is especially true with full range drivers. The second subwoofer will smooth the bass response throughout the room a little better. Subs perform best up against the wall and in corners, but in order to time align them with the main speakers you need digital bass management. 


Thanks for your suggestions...  I have thought about adding a second sub for a more balanced 2-channel sound (cutting the volume by ~3db...).  I have a rather small listening-space (not really a room).  And space is at a premium, especially for sub placement.  I tried several positions with the sub including corners until I found that placing it directly in front of the amp rack sounded the most seamless and balanced.  Since my speakers are single driver and crossover-less, I didn't want to add in any crossover just letting the internal sub adjustments handle the crossover slope/frequency/volume...  I wouldn't mind trying some of your suggestions in the future as I do enjoy tweaking my system.  I just auditioned and bought Iconoclast interconnects/speaker cables which are a notable improvement in my enjoyment.  

Thanks again !  



That is probably where the sub is best time aligned with your main speakers. With digital bass management you can put the subs anywhere they produce the best bass and time align them digitally. 

 I also use full range drivers (ESLs). Are you familiar with Doppler Distortion? If a car passes you with the driver leaning on the horn just as the car passes you the horn changes pitch. Unless there is a large capacitor on your full range drivers they are still moving to low frequencies even if they can not project them. They are moving towards you then away from you and just like the car they are Doppler Distorting all other music they are carrying which for people like us with full range drivers is EVERYTHING! Putting a high pass filter (the other 1/2 of a two way crossover) on your full range driver lowers distortion and increases headroom dramatically. It is not a subtle difference. I cross at 100 Hz 48 dB/oct. It does require a leap of faith because the only way you can do slopes this steep without causing problems is digitally and many audiophiles are also digital phobic. I have been using subwoofers since 1978 and it was a love/hate relationship until digital signal processing arrived in the mid 1990s with TacT Audio. Conversions back and forth in 192/24 digital are sonically invisible. Once you are in numbers you can go almost anywhere you want without any added distortion. Once you have everything set up as you want it you convert back to analog as the very last step.

There are other advantages besides sub management. High resolution EQ is one. We locate sound by volume and phase. If a sound is louder in the left channel you hear it to the left. The problem is that not two identical speakers have exactly the same frequency response curve. Put them in different locations and their curves can be wildly different. I just measured a set of Magico S7s that were down 8 dB at 500 Hz in one channel! What do you think this is going to do to the image? With digital EQ you can adjust each speaker's response curve so that the channels are identical producing the best image. It is way more important for the curves to be identical than flat. 

Yes Doppler Effect...  Very familiar with it.  While I really try to eliminate as much signal processing as possible, correcting response between drivers digitally, then via D to A conversion sending the signal via a proper crossover to the drivers I believe as you say can eliminate/minimize distortions in the music especially around the crossover points.  The full-range drivers are still somewhat trying to produce the lower frequency music while crossing over to the sub, but also sending just frequencies in the lower mid-range and up to the single-driver eliminates the low frequency intermodulation distortion of the mid-range /treble music from bass music to the full-range driver.  You've opened up a new approach I believe I'll try sometime soon with a rather larger capacitor to my full-range drivers in an attempt to pass lower mid-range and up frequencies only while letting the sub carry only those low frequencies.  I had already known of a greater propensity for intermodulation distortion on a full-range driver but didn't carry it to adding in a subwoofer and just sending the lower mid-range and treble to the full-range driver.  Great information !

Also, this makes me think that having stereo subs might be better warranted if I do the aforementioned changes...



You bet. IMHO 1 sub is a waste of time. I tell people to hold off until they can get two. No matter where you put one sub in a room you are going to get very lumpy bass as you move about the room and it will change with frequency. Within 6 feet you can go from too much bass to no bass. Two subs smooths this out and the more subs you add the smoother the response gets. I just went from four 12" drivers to eight 12" drivers. The larger the surface area used for low bass the lower the distortion, Getting down to 18 Hz flat is not easy. It requires a lot of driver and surface area. My system is up 6 dB at 20 Hz. It returns to 0 dB at 100 Hz. This gives the effect of a live performance at less than tinnitus inducing levels.

I use one sub in my room and it has worked fine for me. But again I use acoustic software that has RTA, phase , and coherence. If you are listening in one spot only, one should not do much adjustment unless you trying to fill an area that requires more area to fill like for HT where their is more then one person in the room then I can see your point in using an array configuration.


Where I have a small listening space, I have found that the small sub I have right now centered in front of my amp-stand sounds pretty seam-less with my stereo speakers.  I do want to send the full-range speakers just the upper-bass and up, which I'll experiment with in the near future...  Thanks again for your help on this !


I have similar controls for my subwoofer and I've found that my single sub in my small listening space it seems good.  I'm not sure at this point I need a second sub.  Thanks !


I also have a small listening room. I have my sub is also in between my speakers but I have it slightly off center. This give me the the best of both worlds with seamless and tight bass. My Vandersteen 2ci has the adequate bass for the room but I want to be able to reproduce better subbass frequency that I am able to control. 

Different strokes, I guess.

Since every record is mastered differently, it follows that every record needs a different equalization. The recording engineer gets to choose his EQ - I think that I should get to choose mine.

I built my phono / pre-amp to have auxiliary and sub settings proportional to the main volume control. The pre is right behind my chair. Two auxiliary bass panels and one isobaric sub, crossed over at 200 Hz and 50 Hz respectively, are powered by Bryston amps, yielding a room with fairly uniform bass. (gotta love 350 clean wpc into 8 ohms, especially with 4 ohm speakers, and Bryston pushing current)

With adjustable EQ. My test records just have to lump it.

Just a question for sub users without app control and using low level input. Once the crossover, slope, phase, eq etc are set, can a passive preamp with remote be used to adjust the volume? Of course you set the volume a bit higher than what you want on the sub so you can have room on the passive preamp for adding or lowering volume on the sub when needed. This would be placed between the sub and one of the preouts, two for stereo of the int amp or main preamp.

My room is for music only, not HT.  One Kef KC62 sub.  

This thread has caused me to reflect.  I can say that once the optimization process is complete, it has never occurred to me make an adjustment based on a single song.  What @terry9 says makes sense, but still there’s been no itch to scratch—oddly.  It’s rare for me to take the path of least resistance, but I’ll take it in this case.

When I do explore changes in X-O settings (Hi-passing the mains and Lo-passing the sub) and volume— from my seat using the Lyngdorf App, it is to see if I can optimize the SQ for all songs.  Kinda like one would do playing with toe-in or seat position.    

I’m wide open to the idea of adding a second KC62 but have other HEA fish to fry before doing so.  I hope it is as good as so many say.

Beware of using the published specs to determine how low your main speakers actually go. Try to play a test track with defined frequency levels from Quboz or from wherever and hear how low your speakers will actually perform.

Then, set your sub crossover to enter perhaps a little lower than your main’s will actually play.


If I'm on a Tool jag and want to send ripples through my sternum, I bump my sub to about 1 o'clock or so.  Typically it's at about 11 o'clock.  All other adjustments stay the same.