Phase 0 or 180: What Phase Must I Set My Subwoofer To?

Choosing between subwoofer phase 0 or 180 can impact the sound quality of your audio system. If your subwoofer is out of phase with your speakers, it can cause cancellation and weaken bass. Experiment with both settings to find the best sound for your setup.
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If you have recently joined the world of speakers, you might not know speakers can get "out of phase." But there is no need to worry, as it will not damage or affect the other electronic items plugged in.

Sub "out of phase" is something common and minor that you can easily resolve by manipulating the settings. It means that the wiring is not correct, and the sound waves are not accurate. 

But what is the meaning of subwoofer phase control? And how is phase 0 different from phase 180? Let's find out.

Subwoofer with dials and knobs on back plate that are set between 0 and 180.

What Is The Meaning Of Phase Control?

Phase control is the delay in the signal of your speakers. When you change the phase settings, both the speaker and the sub will start pumping music in one direction simultaneously. 

You can choose between dual subwoofer phase 0 or 180. Your phase settings will also depend on how you place the speaker and subwoofer in the room. 

Ensuring the phase settings are right is critical to get the best sound quality. 

How is Subwoofer Phase 0 Different from Phase 180?

Phase 0 Subwoofer

Phase 0, or "normal phase," is a dual subwoofer phase setting. When you select the phase 0 setting, the sub is in the same phase as the speakers

Because of this, you will get clearer and louder audio as both the sub and speaker are pumping it outwards simultaneously. It is an ideal setting for people who want the maximum possible bass frequencies. 

Phase 180

It is the polar opposite of the normal phase or phase 0. In the phase 180 setting, your speakers will not be in sync with your sub. Rather they will go against the subwoofers

While the sub will pump inwards, the speaker will continue pumping outwards. And this will result in a lower output bass.

What to Choose: Subwoofer Phase 0 or 180?

People often want to know what to choose between subwoofer phase 0 or 180 on Reddit and other platforms. The final setting of the phase will ideally depend on the placement of the sub and speaker in your room. 

When your sub and speaker are placed together and pointing in a single direction, it is better to put your sub on phase 0. 

But when the speaker and sub are not facing the same direction but are on opposite sides of the room and pointing toward one another, it is better to set your sub on phase 180.

To decide the right settings for your sub, you must check the sub's positioning against the main speaker and its decibel reading. 

Positioning of Your Speaker Will Decide the Phase

The phase setting will primarily depend on the position of your sub against the main speakers. Usually, both speakers are placed adjacent to one another in most cases. 

If the sub and the main speaker are in the same direction, there is no need to flip or change the phase switch. 

When the sub faces the opposite direction compared to the main speaker, it is better to stick to phase 180. 

You must try different settings before choosing whether to keep the subwoofer phase normal or reverse.

Sound Quality

It is a crucial factor that can help you decide on the phase switch requirement. The best way is to play a song on your subwoofer phase car audio to gauge if the bass is good enough. 

The bass and low frequencies will not sound correct if they are out of phase. You can use the phase switch to set the phase of your sub again. 

Reading of the Decibel

Another critical way to find if there is a need to change the phase settings is by decibel reading. While a subwoofer phase calculator can be handy, you can use the SPL meter in this case. You can install any app on your phone if you don't have the SPL meter.

The SPL meter will allow you to choose between phase 0 and phase 180 while checking the setting that provides you with the highest frequency response graph under different crossover areas of your sub. The cross-over area in a sub is usually around 80Hz. 

How To Find Out If The Sub is Out-of-phase?

Getting an expert to check if the sub is out of phase is unnecessary. 

Make Use of an SPL Meter 

You can get a SPL meter or a sound pressure level meter to gauge how it responds to the noise. Getting an SPL meter is easy, as you can find it in any online store. You can also use any app on your iPhone or Android device. 

Look for Thin Bass

When you don't have an SPL meter and want to use another technique, you can start by listening to the phase issues. When your sub is not in phase, you can find out that there is no bass sound. 

Keep in mind that manual spotting might have human error. Therefore, it is always better to get an SPL meter. 

Tips To Set The Subwoofer Phase

After finding out that the sub is not in phase, the question is, how can you get it to the right phase?

You will require a digital switch to ensure your sub is in the right phase. The switch will help you in changing the sub-phase. Now choose one of the below options. 

Method 1

When your sub and speaker are placed together on one side of the floor space and are also pointing in one direction, use the switch and change it to 0. 

Method 2

When your sub and speaker face one another and are on different sides, switch to phase 180. 


Which Is Better, Subwoofer Phase 0 or Phase 180?

None of them are better than their counterpart. The goal of car subwoofer phase 0 or 180 aims to ensure you get the best audio experience as your sub is in sync with the speaker system. If you feel that phase 180 is better, set it accordingly, But if you like the sound of phase 0 better, choose phase 0. 

Does Selecting Phase 180 Result in Muddier Sound?

Some might feel that choosing phase 180 for the sub results in a muddy sound. To be clear, there are no wrong or right answers to the sub-phase. It is ultimately on the individuals to experiment and choose the phase that produces the sound best suitable to them. The only way to find the right phase is by experimenting. If you feel that phase 180 is resulting in a muddy sound, try switching to subwoofer phase 90 or others. 

How Critical is Phase to Subwoofer?

The phase angle is critical for a sub because the sound of the sub should be in sync with the speaker's sound. if it is out of phase, the subwoofer sound will be weak. 

What Is The Crossover Frequency?

It is a frequency in which the subwoofer has a high-cut filter. Thus, the sub will be able to play only frequencies that are below its threshold. 

How Does An Out Of Phase Sub Sound?

It will sound imprecise and flabby. 

What Is The Ideal Phase For A Subwoofer?

Depending on your audio preference, you can set it anywhere between phase 0 and phase 180.

What Is The Normal Or Reverse Subwoofer Phase?

The normal phase means the left and right speaker and the sub are in the same direction; the reverse phase refers vice-versa. 

How To Use The Phase On A Sub? 

You can use the sub's phase knob to control the base. Selecting anything between the 0-180 setting will provide you with the best subwoofer experience. 

What To Do If I Don't Own An Spl Meter?

You can install an app on your smartphone to find the subwoofer's phase settings. 

What Are The Best Performance Frequencies For A Subwoofer? 

Usually, any frequency between the 128-160 range provides the best audio quality. Lower than that will result in less bass notes, and higher will result in a muddy sound. Now hit the sub's volume level and get ready for some music.

What Is Considered The Best Frequency Cutoff For A Sub?

80-100hz is considered a great starting point for a sub. 

Is It Necessary To Have A Crossover?

To get the best sound experience, it is always better to have a crossover. The crossover region will allow you to low-pass filter the sub. 

What Role Does The Phaser Switch Play? 

It helps you in controlling the phase of your subwoofer.

About The Author
• Editor In Chief
José is a veteran audiophile with an MSc in Engineering, and a passion for sharing his audio knowledge with others.
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