Subs can produce excellent sound, whether you’re craving extra bass in your vehicle while you cruise down the street or an impressive home theater system. But, how should you phase your subs- normal or reverse?
A home theater with a single subwoofer should ideally be set to normal. However, for home theaters with dual subwoofers, the first subwoofer should be set to normal and the second one should be set to reverse to have an even distribution of bass in the room.
The rest of this article will explain a few topics related to this question in great detail, including subwoofer phases, setting the phase on a subwoofer, and inverting subs. Let’s dive in!
Also read: Subwoofer Crossover Settings – The Definitive Guide
Setting and Testing Subwoofer Phases
Setting the phase of your subs to 0 is the normal phase while setting the phase control to 180 is known as the reverse phase. This is because normal keeps the polarity of the sub the same, but reverse-phase flips the polarity.
You should set the subwoofer phase to your personal sound preference. Usually, most people put their sub-phase to whatever makes them sound the loudest. However, this can take time to test before finding what works best for you.
If you don’t have a means of measuring the sound other than your ears, I would advise you to set the sub-phase to whatever sounds the loudest. After all, if you’re getting a sub, the general intention is to have incredible bass, so turn it up and test it out.
However, sometimes it’s helpful to have tools at your disposal to measure the sound quality. This YouTube video below says that you can purchase affordable USB measurement mics that can help you calibrate the sound frequency to your liking.
Other audio enthusiasts suggest setting the phase to normal if you only have one sub, and if you have more than one sub, selecting one to normal and one to reverse.
According to this article from Boom Speaker, you need to consider the placement of your sub and vary the amp gain and crossover frequencies to get the best bass.
Does Subwoofer Phase Make a Difference?
The phase control controls the speaker delay as electrical signals enter the conductors.
The phase setting of a single subwoofer doesn’t make much of an audible difference, but with multiple subs, the phase settings can make a more integrated audible experience.
Here’s a brief overview of how to set the phase on your subwoofer:
- To set the phase to normal, flip the sub’s 0/180 degree phase switch to 0.
- To put it to reverse, convert it to 180.
- Finally, test the phase by flipping it back and forth, moving around the room to test the sound quality.
The correct placement will produce the best bass.
Setting up your subwoofer is more than just flipping the phase controls, though. You need to consider the placement and position of your sub for the highest quality sound. In addition, your subwoofer and speakers should work together to produce quality bass and sound.
It’s crucial to pick an optimal place in your home for your sub, as well as fine-tuning and connectivity.
Ultimately, the phase of a subwoofer is entirely up to you. Many factors contribute to the sound and bass quality of a sub, but whatever sound is the best for you will be the best option.
Is It Better To Invert Subs?
Inverting subs is usually done on car subwoofers. Some say that inverting a subwoofer can help keep the speakers from overheating and increase the overall volume.
It’s not necessarily better or worse to invert subs. Inverting subs is a matter of preference, but it’s not the standard installation method. Most people who invert subs do so out of choice for how it looks.
Inverting a sub simply means that you install the subwoofer upside down. The magnet inside the box then faces outwards rather than inwards.
While inverted subs offer a somewhat unique look to a vehicle that many cars and sub-owners like, does it do anything to the sound quality? According to Sonic Electronix, inverting a sub in a car can sometimes make it louder and benefit people with space issues so that you can fit the sub and speakers in a smaller area.
You might be wondering about the wiring requirements for inverted subs. There aren’t any special wiring requirements for an inverted sub. However, it is vital to make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions, especially if you’re installing the sub yourself when it comes to wiring.
Should the Subwoofer Phase Be Normal or Reverse?
Before you get deep into connectivity, sound quality, and position of your subwoofers, you might find yourself first wondering what the subwoofer phase is.
Well, the subwoofer phase is simply the audio phase. It’s the timing of the audio wave, and when it travels, it creates peaks and troughs in the sound. So if two waves are timed the same, the peaks and troughs match, and the waves are “in phase.”
When the signals are out of phase, the sound signal could be interrupted or cause signal cancellation.
The subwoofer phase should be normal when arranging and testing it out. If you aren’t satisfied with its sound levels, you can change the phase to reverse and move the sub until you’ve reached the desired loudness.
The phase control on a subwoofer is the knob on your sub that controls the phase. 0 on the control means your sub is set to the normal phase. 180 on the control means that it’s set to reverse.
People use subs in their homes and vehicles, but sometimes questions arise, like what phase they should be in and installed invertedly.
One way is by listening. If it sounds off, flip the phase switch, try it in reverse or average, and adjust for your sound preference. Remember that there is more to sub sound quality than just the phase settings.
The sub’s position and how many you have all play an essential role in the sound quality of a subwoofer.
- YouTube: Understanding Subwoofer Phase
- Boom Speaker: Subwoofer Out of Phase
- CNET: How to Set up a Subwoofer
- Sonic Electronix: What Does it Mean to Invert a Subwoofer
Jason is a home theater expert with over 10 years of experience in setting up home cinema rooms and systems. What started out as a hobby soon transformed him into an authority in the audio-visual field. He is passionate about providing readers with accurate and up-to-date information on the latest audiovisual technologies and their applications for home theaters. Read more about Jason.