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Home Theater Hacks by Brett McLaughlin

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Hack #51. Hook Up Your Subwoofer Correctly

Getting the best from your sub involves more than plugging in a cable or two and popping in a movie. Learn how to optimally set up your subwoofer, connect it to your audio system, and ensure it meshes with your existing speakers.

Now that you have a sub [Hack #50] , you need to know how to hook it up. Depending on the equipment you have, there are numerous ways to hook up a sub. I'll go into detail on the most common scenario. You have a relatively new surround sound receiver (or preamp/processor) and a 5.1 or 7.1 speaker setup. In this situation, the ideal hookup will involve making proper use of the receiver bass management features, a line-level connection from the receiver to the subwoofer's amp, and defeating the subwoofer's crossover.

Set Speakers to Small

The first hurdle you need to get over is a rather unfortunate naming convention used in receivers. The receiver will have speaker settings called "small" and "large." The knee-jerk reaction to these names is to set your tower speakers (or your big, capable bookshelf speakers) to "large."

Tip

There's a lot more detail on this setting and how it affects your overall system [Hack #67] . The content in this hack focuses specifically on your sub.

You need to get over this reaction; even the most capable tower speakers out there can't produce low bass as well as a good sub. Setting all your speakers to "small" has two advantages, and both are worth far more than seeing "large" scroll across ...

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