The speaker size setting in the A/V receiver can be confusing or misleading, because the speaker size settings are often labeled ‘Large’ or ‘Small’, and in reality these settings often have little to do with the actual physical size of the loudspeaker itself.

A Large setting means that channel will receive a full-range (aka full-band) signal from the A/V receiver and none of the bass present in that channel will be redirected to the subwoofer. With the exception of certain bass-capable tower speakers (refer to the next FAQ below for details), a Large setting for a loudspeaker channel is not recommended since it might overload the speaker and damage the drivers, and it also can consume additional power from the A/V receiver amplifier, thus reducing dynamic headroom.

A Small setting means the bass in that channel will be redirected to the subwoofer below the crossover frequency selected/specified for that channel in the A/V receiver. Again with the possible exception of certain bass-capable tower speakers, a Small setting is recommended since it removes the deep bass requirements from the loudspeaker, and frees up power in the A/V receiver amplifier, thus improving system dynamics.

The best speaker/subwoofer crossover frequency for each speaker channel varies with the bass extension and output capabilities of the specific loudspeaker. Sometimes the auto-set-up system in the AV receiver will select a non-optimal crossover setting for a given loudspeaker channel. The below guideline will allow you to double-check the selected crossover frequency. If you are still unsure you can always contact the Sound Experts at Customer Service for assistance. Our Merlin loudspeaker/subwoofer matching tool will also provide the recommended speaker/subwoofer crossover frequency for your model speaker.

Typical Recommended Speaker/Subwoofer Crossover Settings:

  • Very small or ‘satellite’ loudspeakers: 120-150 Hz.
  • Small to mid-size center channels, surrounds and bookshelf loudspeakers: 80-100 Hz.
  • Larger center channels, surrounds and bookshelf monitors: 60-80 Hz.
  • Tower speakers with smaller (i.e., 4”-6”) woofers: 60 Hz.
  • Tower speakers with larger (i.e., 8”-10”) woofers: 40 Hz or Large/Full-Band (refer to the below FAQ for more details on the best settings for bass-capable tower speakers).