Ever heard about “subwoofer phase 0 and 180” and felt a bit puzzled? It’s a term that’s generally used in audio engineering and might be confusing for you if you’re not familiar with subwoofers. Subwoofers are crafted to reproduce low-pitched sounds, usually around 80 Hz. To do this properly, they have to move lots of air.
However, depending on where you place your subwoofer, you might run into phase issues, making the sound a bit floppy if not addressed. You can fix these problems easily with a phase switch.
The phase switch delays the subwoofer’s sound signals by a few milliseconds, which allows the subwoofer to sync up with the main speakers. In this blog, we will explore the comparison between the subwoofer phase 0 vs 180, so that you can understand how they impact the sound of the subwoofer system.
Understanding Phase Control In A Subwoofer
In a subwoofer, phase control involves changing the timing of low-frequency sounds to sync up with the main speakers. This creates a smoother and more accurate soundstage with improved imaging. Moreover, adjusting the phase can help reduce the formation of standing waves in your room, preventing bass frequencies from sounding unclear.
Rooms have their own resonant frequencies, and low frequencies easily travel via physical means, causing this frequency formation. The subwoofer’s phase control basically delays the low-frequency sound by some milliseconds (ms) to synchronize it with all the other speakers in the setup. You can select the subwoofer’s phase control from 0 to 180 degrees.
Failing to set the phase correctly can result in the subwoofer being out of synchronization with all the other speakers in the system. Most of the time, you’ll find the phase control for a subwoofer positioned at the equipment’s back side.
With a few considerations, anyone can modify the phase setting of their subwoofer to get the best sound quality. However, ultimately, it boils down to personal preference and how much bass you want when listening to music.
What Are The Differences between Subwoofer Phase 0 and 180?
In a speaker system, subwoofers phase 0 and 180 are basically two configurations of the subwoofer. These configurations describe the subwoofer’s polarity in the speaker setup. The term “polarity” means how the subwoofer’s phase relates to the other speakers in your sound setup.
Considering this polarity is crucial when installing a speaker system as it directly impacts the sound quality of your sound system. Let’s take a look at how subwoofer phase 0 differs from subwoofer phase 180.
Phase 0, also known as the “normal phase,” represents a dual subwoofer phase configuration. It refers to the subwoofer being in sync with all the other speakers in your sound system. In this setup, when a speaker generates a positive voltage, the sub generates a positive voltage simultaneously.
Similarly, when a speaker generates a negative voltage, the sub generates a negative voltage. Setting the subwoofer to phase 0 ensures no delay happens between the transmission of incoming signals. This configuration is the most common of a subwoofer phase.
It is suggested for most speaker systems as it lets the subwoofer collaborate smoothly with all the other speakers, creating a balanced and cohesive sound. With a subwoofer set to phase 0, the sound waves from the subwoofer and other speakers align, reinforcing each other and leading to a more impactful and powerful low-frequency response.
The synchronized output produces louder and clearer audio as both the subwoofer and speakers work together to project sound outward. This configuration is perfect for those seeking maximum bass frequencies in their audio experience.
The subwoofer phase 180 is also called the reverse phase. When you set the subwoofer at phase 180, its polarity is reversed. In this setting, the subwoofer’s polarity opposes that of the speakers. As a result, the subwoofer will be out of sync with the rest of the speakers in the sound system.
When a speaker generates a positive voltage, the sub responds with a negative voltage. Also, when a speaker generates a negative voltage, the sub generates a positive voltage. This configuration is less common and is typically used when the subwoofer is in a different part of the room or when issues arise.
This setup is not as common and is typically chosen when the sub is in a different area of the room compared to the other speakers or when issues arise. In such situations, using a subwoofer phase 180 can be helpful in correcting phase problems and enhancing the sound quality of the sound system.
However, if not used correctly, a subwoofer phase 180 may lead to a less impactful and weaker low-frequency response. In this setting, the subwoofer’s driver moves inward while the speakers’ driver moves outward.
When this occurs, you will be hearing lower output bass. The subwoofer phase 180 is perfect when the subwoofer is positioned on a wall opposite the speakers.
How to Select The Right Subwoofer Phase?
People often ask about picking between subwoofer phases, either 0 or 180, on platforms such as Reddit. When deciding between these two subwoofer phases, there are various factors to think about. Let’s discuss these factors and help you to make your decision.
Positioning of Your Subwoofer and Speaker
How you position your subwoofer and the speaker plays a big role in figuring out the right subwoofer phase for you. It might seem simple, but it’s easy to mix things up and not get the result you want. Paying attention to even the small details matters, and it can make a big difference in the end. Your subwoofer and speaker can be put in mainly two spots.
One is where they face opposite directions, and the other is where they’re in the same direction. Each of these positions has a particular phase that works well. In simple words, you can’t use these two subwoofer phases in both positions. If your speaker and subwoofer are on the same side, go for phase 0.
As they’re on the same side, it is obvious that they should face the same direction. This ensures you get the best performance from them without a doubt. On the contrary, if the speaker is on one side and the subwoofer is on the other, that’s where phase 180 comes in. You’ll see the two instruments facing each other. It’s the right setup for phase 180.
If you go with subwoofer phase 0 here, your efforts won’t pay off as expected. Before deciding whether to choose the subwoofer phase 0 or 180, try different settings. Also, the positioning of your subwoofer relates to the right measurements of the sub to fit correctly there.
Checking The Decibel Reading
Another crucial way to determine if you need to adjust the subwoofer’s phase settings is by checking the decibel readings. Although a subwoofer phase calculator might help, you can also use the SPL app or SPL meter for this purpose. The SPL meter is a reliable measuring tool that provides correct results.
Notably, SPL applications are effective too. Several smartphones and tablets readily have these apps attached to them. You can download and install SPL apps from the app store on your mobile device.
These devices let you pick between subwoofer phase 0 and phase 180. They check for the configuration that gives the best frequency response graph in various crossover areas for your subwoofer. Typically, the crossover area for a subwoofer is about 80Hz.
Acoustics of The Room
The acoustics of your room can impact the synchronization between the subwoofer and the rest of the speakers in the sound system. If there are issues with the subwoofer’s integration with the rest of the speakers, changing the subwoofer’s phase to 180 might fix these problems.
When you’re figuring out your subwoofer phase, the most important thing to consider is the sound quality. Forget about everything else; just focus on getting the best sounds from the sub. Sometimes, even if the decibel output is lower, the sound quality can be better.
In that situation, choose the lower decibel output. Just change your subwoofer’s phase until you find the configuration that offers you the best sounds. Once you find it, stick with it. It’s easy to do, and you don’t need any technical skills.
Integration of The Speaker
It’s vital to think about how compatible your subwoofer is with the other speakers in your sound setup. Certain subwoofers are designed to do well with a sub-phase set at 0, while others do better with a subwoofer phase set at 180. Check the specifications of the speakers and subwoofer to figure out the best setup for your sound system.
Final Verdict on Subwoofer Phase 0 vs 180
When it comes to sound, everyone has their own preferences. The 0 or 180 phase of a subwoofer plays a big role in fulfilling these preferences. We would not say that one subwoofer phase is better or worse compared to the other one because they just serve different purposes. Also, both can give you a great listening experience.
Still, to make the correct choice, keep in mind the things we talked about in this article on Subwoofer Phase 0 vs 180. We are hopeful that if you follow the things we discuss above, you’ll end up with one of the best subwoofer systems.