5 Steps to Better Bass in Your Home Theater

5 steps to better bass

This 5 step add-on assumes that you already have a home theater system and only want to improve the bass response for better impact and accuracy. This article also assumes that you’ve set that up properly Bass management in your AV receiver or processor and made all the necessary connections to your speakers and subwoofers.

If you’re only using one subwoofer, it may be time to upgrade and purchase a second matching sub. Dual subwoofers are ALWAYS better than a single subwoofer for spreading even bass over a larger listening area and also coupling very low frequencies for greater depth and dynamic range.

5 Steps To Better Bass In Your Home Theater YouTube Discussion

Here are the 5 steps to better bass in your home theater room:

  1. LocationPosition of the subwoofer (preferably multiple subs) – Follow our picture guidelines in ours Article for setting up the subwoofer for suggestive internships or ours Subwoofer Crawl. There are several locations that can work in your space. Hence, it pays to find the right spots to improve the sound quality and depth significantly.
    Position EQ (Position of the listening seat) – Where you place your listening seats also determines the sound quality NOT only in the bass, but for the entire envelope of the home theater surround. If possible, keep your seating away from the back and side walls. The back wall placement is a maximum pressure zone where you will hear very loud but not accurate bass. If you can move the couches at least 1 / 4L of the room away from the back wall, you will get more accurate bass reproduction.

    Follow ours again Guidelines for setting up the subwoofer and charts for suggestions.

  2. Position EQ – Believe it or not, you can balance the sound of your speaker / subsystem by simply moving your theater chairs or couches. Proper seating position can have a huge impact on the quality of the bass you hear. You generally want to avoid placing your seats against a back or side wall. We recommend placing the seats at least 1 / 4L (L = length of the room) away from the back wall to reduce excessive bass energies caused by standing waves. If you place a seat against a side wall, the sound balance will be shifted towards the closest surround speaker, while the stereo image from the front left / right speakers will be severely affected. Instead, apply symmetry and line of sight principles when positioning your couches so that each seat has a direct, unobstructed sound path to each speaker and the front left / right speakers are equidistant from each other for true stereo imaging.
  3. Correct timing (Delay Settings and Phase) – If you select an AV receiver or processor with 2 independent subwoofer outputs, you can adjust the delays and levels for each subwoofer individually. The subwoofers’ variable phase can also be your friend when it comes to dialing things in between the subwoofers and your main speakers.

    For more information, see: Subwoofer integration: bass management and distance settings explained

  4. Level matching (between subwoofer and mains) – It is important that the levels between subwoofers and speakers are set correctly to ensure an optimal mix. Multi-Sub relies on similar subwoofer output functions and levels to work together to average room modes and create a smoother sweet spot in your listening area. There are a few exceptions where lowering the level of a carefully placed near-field subwoofer to fix tricky room exhausts in the listening area can help reduce the localization of the pressure waves of that particular subwoofer.

    For more information, see: How to calibrate and tune your speakers

  5. REW kitManual and / or auto EQ – Now that you’ve properly set up the subwoofers and integrated them into your home theater, it’s time to put the icing on the cake. Once you reduce the seat-to-seat drift in bass response, EQ becomes a very effective tool on bass frequencies for the entire seating area to reduce residual modal problems. This is achieved through parametric balancing by taking this energy out of the room in the form of cutting off the problematic frequencies. Once you’ve flattened the bass, you can actually increase the level by a few dB for a bigger impact than the other speakers without making it sound awkward or booming. You can find more information in our Article for setting up the subwoofer Here we give examples with mDSP to compensate for a multi-subwoofer installation. Keep in mind that it is usually better to apply a single equalization correction curve for all subs at the same time. This applies to all room correction systems, not just Audyssey. If the automatic EQ doesn’t improve the sound of your system, first adjust the settings such as bass management, delays and EQ (if adjustable). If it still doesn’t sound, turn it off and stick with manual EQ.

* Note 1:: It is important to use measurements to guide you towards better bass! REW is a very powerful and easy to use FREE measurement software system. Coupled with a calibrated USB microphone such as the UMM-6 from Dayton Audio, you can use an objective procedure to adjust the bass response in your room for more accurate and consistent results.

* Note 2: Passive room treatments that work effectively at bass frequencies tend to be large and bulky. They are useful in improving bass quality, but the use of multi-sub can significantly reduce their need. We cover this topic in detail under: Early reflections and bass for small room acoustics


SVS 4000 seriesThe goal of a reputable home theater playback system should be an even (level) bass for all listening seats, plenty of dynamic range and an even natural frequency response throughout the listening area in order to achieve a seamless mix. The best way to get good bass is to reduce the modal peaks and node dips by using passive room treatments, multiple subwoofers, appropriate speaker / subwoofer and seating placements and settings, and active equalization. Don’t discount any of these tools in your pocket with corrective tricks (OR). The key is properly placing and setting up the subwoofer to reduce the guesswork and minimize chasing your tail in order to find the best settings that will produce the most optimal measurable performance.

Once you hear a properly calibrated home theater with smooth and even bass across the entire listening area, it’s hard to ever go back. It pays to properly integrate multiple subwoofers into your theater room. With the right tools, know-how, and patience, you can create a home theater experience that rivals even the best Cineplex equipment. It is important to be methodical and persistent in properly calibrating your theater. As Captain Picard says, “Do it like this!”

Please share your calibration and set-up procedure for achieving Bass Nirvana. We want to hear from you!

About the author:

Gene manages this organization, builds relationships with manufacturers, and thinks Audioholics is a well-oiled machine. Its goal is to educate about home theater and develop more standards in the industry to remove consumer confusion from snake oil in the industry.

show complete profile

Not sure what AV equipment to buy or how to set it up? Take part in our exclusive Audioholics e-book membership program!

Comments are closed.