Should You Buy a Subwoofer? Jazz and Bass - What You Need to Know
Acoustic jazz fans want to hear the deepest tones found in traditional jazz achieved with double bass - which is as low 41 Hz and then there is the kick drum with a fundamental tone of 50 to 60 Hz. The notes aren’t deep enough to truly challenge speakers.
Fans of rock, hip hop and R&B always want big speakers with subwoofers to render the deep tones of the instruments such as those found with the five and six string electric bass guitars which can easily pay down to 31 Hz or the synthesizer bass and electronic percussion which go to 20 Hz or lower.
The ability to reproduce midrange and treble is extremely easy for speaker but the notes that get lower than the range of an electric guitar is more difficult. The deeper the bass you want to effectively reproduce, the bigger the woofers have to be, so you obtain the powerful amplification needed.
Contemporary jazz artists are now adding greater elements of hip hop and electronic music to their albums which is needed to meet the demands of fans. So, do you need a subwoofer to genuinely enjoy your music?
If you love traditional acoustic jazz with the bebop, hard bop, big band or avent garde then standard speakers will suffice. Just a bookshelf pair of speakers can offer sufficience bass power for classic jazz. And can play cleanly down to 45 Hz. However, if your jazz has electronic elements, R&B, rock, or hip hop then you’ll need a system that can play down to 30 Hz or 20 Hz.
The best way to get deep bass is to purchase large speakers such as tower speakers which have small woofers or a single woofer that is 8 inches or larger or you can add a subwoofer.
Adding a Subwoofer
You can easily add a subwoofer to a home theater system because the surround sound receiver has output made for to connect a subwoofer. The audio processing within the processor ensure that low bass always goes to the subwoofer and the upper bass, treble and mids go to the main speakers.
Many audio enthusiasts use an around sound receiver if they are listening to their stereo. Interestingly, very few stereo receivers or reamps have such accommodation. Only high end and expensive ones allow you to connect the subwoofer and you would with a surround sound receiver.
If your stereo system will not let you connect a subwoofer, then adding one becomes complicated. If you have a preamp, then you can connect the preamp outputs to the line level inputs on the subwoofer. You’ll need to use a Y-connector if your preamp has only a single set of outputs so you can connect one channel to the subwoofer and amp and the other one to the right channel.
Systems that do not have a preamp output will need you to connect an extra set of speaker cables and run them from the receiver to the subwoofer (if the subwoofer has a speaker-cable binding post which some do not).
Once you have audio signal going to your subwoofer, you can set the subwoofer’s crossover frequency to the highest that it will effectively play. Remember, if you set it too high then voices do not sound good. Set it low and the voices don’t have sufficient body. Adjust the control to match the published low frequency limit of your speakers.
If the speaker has a rated response of 50 to 20 kHz, then set the subwoofer crossover to 50 Hz. You’ll want to tweak it back and forth by about 10 Hz until you manage to get it dialed in.
When setting your subwoofer’s level control, simply set it to whatever sounds good.
Investing in a subwoofer lets you enjoy a lot of notes that you have probably been missing so you can truly immerse yourself in the music.
If, after you get your subwoofer hooked up, it sounds mad then try moving your subwoofer closer to the corner of the room to achieve more bottom end or further from the corner if you want to tamp down the boom. You’ll need to experiment with placement until the subwoofers sounds the way you expect. All rooms are different so it’s going to take time to find the sweet spot.
Get Help From The Pros
Need help determining what the best subwoofer for your home theater system? We can help. Rely on the expert staff at Big Jeff Audio to help you narrow down your options! You can call us at 352-304-6699 or reach out to us online.