Secrets Q & A

How is bass divided among speakers?

QA

Question:

How is the bass divided among speakers if there is no sub in the home theater system?
If a 5.1 system has identical speakers all around with 15 inch woofers and all of the speakers are set to "large" on the processor, does the serious bass get evenly distributed to all speakers? Say, like an explosion or a dinosaur stomping? Is there much serious bass info sent to the surround speakers if they are set to "large"?

- Mitch D
Los Angeles

Answer:

If you do not have a subwoofer, then set the speaker setup menu in your processor or receiver to "None" in the subwoofer selection. All bass in the soundtrack will go to the respective speakers. Most people do not have large speakers in the rear, and in my experience, there is not much going on in the surrounds anyway. This has always surprised me, as having a full range of sound in all channels would be very exciting to experience. If you set the rear speakers to "Small", any low frequencies in those channels will be directed to your front left/right speakers, which should be set to "Large".

Your center channel should be set to "Small" as I have never seen a center channels speaker with a 15" woofer in it. If, in an unlikely scenario, you had identical full-range speakers in all channels, but no sub, you would set all speakers to "Large" and the subwoofer menu to "None" as mentioned above. However, even full-range speakers don't really do very well below about 40 Hz due to constraints in the enclosure design, so, personally, I would use at least one very large subwoofer, and set the speakers to small, with a crossover at about 50 Hz.