How to Get More Bass Without Subwoofers


Not all rooms and installations are conducive to utilizing a subwoofer to achieve strong bass, but installation tricks using the existing speakers can produce surprising results. In addition, receiver technology allows bass to be redirected to the smaller speakers in the installation, without the damaging effects that increasing bass on a tone control or equalizer can produce.

Things You'll Need

  • Stereo or home theater receiver
  • Speakers
  • Measuring tape

Tricks and Tips

  • Relocate all the speakers in an installation (whether two or five) as close to their respective corners as possible, while not changing their core position. Front, center and surrounds (if applicable) all benefit from what is known as "corner loading." This trick effectively uses the room's boundaries as a "bass megaphone" increasing the relative volume of lower frequencies. This increase in bass can come at the cost of reduced dialogue and lyrical intelligibility.

  • Adjust the home theater receiver to all speakers "large" via the internal setup menu. This redirects and low frequency effects normally assigned to a subwoofer to the front two speakers. Be sure however that these speakers can reasonably handle such content. For stereo setups, judicious increasing of the bass tone control is an option, again staying aware of increased distortion.

  • Move closer to the speakers if possible, or move them closer to the listening area. Proximity to low frequencies increases and decreases the relative tactile impression those frequencies make. As a listener moves closer to a speaker, the vibrations from the speaker are more readily noticeable, increasing the perception of low frequency content. Remember, however, that the inverse is also true.

  • Increase the amplifier power to the speakers in the installation. Higher (clean) power exerts more control over the individual speaker drivers, resulting in potentially more bass while simultaneously reducing overall distortion. Look for amplifiers with high damping factors. This is the rating that lets consumers know at a glance the degree of control the amplifier has over starting and stopping the in and out motion of speaker drivers (woofers, tweeters, etc).

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