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Home Theater Hacks by Brett McLaughlin

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Hack #50. Match the Sub to Your Room

When you choose speakers, you spend as much time analyzing your room size and dimensions as you do choosing the actual speakers. When you're selecting a subwoofer, you need to do the same.

Your room will greatly affect how a subwoofer performs. However, before I get into how your room affects your subwoofer's playback, I'll address a couple of ways in which your room won't affect your subwoofer's playback.

Room Size Doesn't Limit Subwoofer Extension

In the continuing evolution of subwoofer speakers, the ability to play low (and lower-than-low) frequencies has become a blessing and a curse. It is a blessing because lower frequencies provide that room-shattering, earth-shaking bass that makes you believe a plane really is flying overhead, or that 10,000 horses really are galloping by. On the other hand, with increased frequency range, there is a tendency for the brainiacs to over-analyze the use of subwoofers and confuse the typical consumer.

As a prime example of this confusion, a number of fallacies seem to persist on the Internet about subwoofers. One of the silliest of these is the assumption that if a room's dimensions aren't large enough to contain a full wavelength of a frequency, the frequency can't be played in the room. In other words, a subwoofer in a small room is not capable of playing those super-low, long-wavelength frequencies. Of course, this is false, and really rather absurd. Any frequency can be produced in any size room.

To prove ...

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