What is a Subwoofer Phase? — Everything You Need to Know

To many users, achieving the deepest bass and sound clarity from subwoofers is not negotiable. Obtaining this goes beyond buying the best subwoofer. You will have to fine-tune it with other speakers using a subwoofer phase. Unfortunately, not every user understands how to use this feature and may find it difficult to set. Hence, our audio experts came up with this guide below. 

What Is a Subwoofer Phase?

A subwoofer phase enables the user to delay an incoming subwoofer signal over a range of 0 – 180°. The purpose of this delay is to aid the subwoofer integrate with the other speakers in the room. 

Although other factors affect sound quality, the phase plays a massive part in how the bass comes from the sub. If it’s not set up correctly, you will not attain a good bass quality. 

As earlier stated, the phase operates over a range of 0°-180°. When set to 180°, the subwoofer’s polarity is reversed, yielding a better low-frequency response. For example, if the sub is placed close to the wall opposite the speakers’ direction, the sub’s driver moves inward while the speaker goes outward, thus amplifying the bass.

How to Set It?

It’s easy to jeopardize the performance of your subwoofer if you don’t understand how to set up the sub’s phase. Therefore, this guide will help you integrate your sub’s phase with the speakers perfectly. 

setting subwoofer phase

Position the Subwoofer

Before setting up the sub phase, you need to find the perfect placement for your subwoofer. It would be terrible just to position the sub anywhere that’s convenient for you. The sub’s position can make a tremendous difference in the sound quality, and that’s why you need to pay attention to the placement.

Many users prefer to place their subs in the corner, but this strategy doesn’t produce the best bass result or offer the ideal integration with the speakers. The subwoofer and the speaker must work harmoniously to create great sound performance and not separately.

For small speakers, you should place the sub not more than three feet away from the speakers. It should be as close as possible to maintain clarity. For speakers larger than 4 inches, you should experiment with placement to get the best position while playing a CD with bass.

After placing the subwoofer, next is to connect it to the speaker.

(Looking for the perfect device for your car? Then, you can install the top car subwoofers listed here for an improved sound quality)

SVS SB-2000 Powered Subwoofer

Flip the Phase Switch Forward and Backward

The sub phase, alongside other controls, is located on the rear panel of the speaker. Your speaker and subwoofer perform best when both sound equipment sync perfectly with each other; that is when they move in and out in phases. 

The best way to set up your sub phase is to play music with bass and listen to the bass level. Flip the sub’s 0/180° phase switch backward or forward to adjust. 

Some sub phases use a control knob instead of a switch, giving you maximum control over the bass level. Slowly rotate the knob clockwise or anticlockwise until you find the right setting that yields the desired low-frequency level[1].

SVS-SB-1000-Pro Subwoofer

It’s crucial that you listen again by turning up the volume level. If you can’t hear any difference after the setting, leave the phase at 0°.

Tips and Remedies


What phase should a subwoofer be set to?

The subwoofer phase should be set to between 0/180° to 180/180°. Typically, a sub phase is set at 0° for most sound applications, but you can adjust the phase to 180°.

What is the subwoofer phase normal or reverse?

Subwoofer phase normal means that the sub is the inward phase with other speakers; that is, both the sub and the speakers move in the same inward direction. When in reverse or 180° phase, it means that when the sub moves inward, the speaker moves outward.

How do you use the phase on a subwoofer?

To use the phase on a subwoofer, rotate the subwoofer’s phase knob clockwise to increase the bass level or anticlockwise to reduce the bass. 

(To get to know your device better, here are the important parts of a subwoofer)


The best sub doesn’t guarantee an excellent bass output. Without the correct setup, you can’t enhance your listening experience and appreciate the value of your equipment. A subwoofer phase improves the bass quality of a sub and other speakers. With these steps by our audio experts, you can sync them perfectly for an outstanding sound performance.

For a reliable device to match your home theater setup, you can consider our list below: 


Picture of Willie Greer
Willie Greer
Willie Greer is the founder of The Product Analyst. A cinephile, he has made it a personal quest to achieve the awesomest home theater possible. He now shares what he has learned through the years on the site, and has enlisted the help of tech-savvy colleagues in providing more insight about today’s most sought-after gadgets.