How to set up crossover frequency on both an integrated amp and subwoofer


New member
Username: Jayslevine

Post Number: 1
Registered: Jul-10
I know there are a lot of threads on this, but try as I might I can't make quite get the answer to the question of how to set up a system that has both a selectable crossover frequency filter on the amp (NAD M3) and sub-woofer (Dynaudio MC250).

Do you set both up to the same setting? Do you set the amp at full range and the sub-woofer at the rated frequency response of the speakers (Paradigm Studio 100 V5 in this case, with a rated response rate of 20hz at the low end).

Any help in the basics of setting this up would be greatly appreciated.

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 15143
Registered: Dec-04
Welcome jsl.
My suggestion would be to run the Paradigms full range,definately, and crossover the sub.
Thats a LOT of bass.

New member
Username: Jayslevine

Post Number: 2
Registered: Jul-10
Thx Nuck. Can you explain why you recommend this setting (I'm still trying to figure out what/how the controls work.

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 15145
Registered: Dec-04
There are 3 reasons for using a subwoofer.
One is to deliver the lowest registers on sonics that a pair of mains cannot. The signal is there, but no device to deliver it.
Another is to deliver the signals sent specifically to the sub by mixing in multi-channel, like LFE in films.
Lastly, to simply reinforce the existing low frequency content.

You seem to be wanting to reinforce the signal being reproduced by the already capable mains speakers.

New member
Username: Jayslevine

Post Number: 3
Registered: Jul-10
Actually I really am not as purposeful as that. The sub came as part of my previous purchase of a set of dynaudio excite 32 speakers. I didn't care for the excite 32 sound, so i exchanged them for the paradigms studio 100. Love these, better fit for the kind of music I like and how i like to hear it.

Anyhow, kept the sub for no reason other than the guy who sold me the paradigms didn't advise one way or the other. You've got me thinking it would be a good idea to disconnect it and try the studio 100 without the sub for while to see how i like them.

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 14981
Registered: May-04

We've discussed the Studio 100's several times on this forum and the conclusion remains they are a rather difficult load for any amplifier. Problematically, they are difficult due to low impedance/severe electrical phase angle issues in the midbass region where high energy levels exist in most modern music. Using a subwoofer to roll off the bass from the Paradigms might be helpful in easing the load on the amplifier. Only you can decide which set up you prefer, a single pair of speakers attempting to reproduce all frequencies or a satellite/sub type system with the subwoofer taking up where the main speakers roll out. Both have advantages and disadvantages.

Along with the lighter load on the amplifier using a subwoofer can mean simpler placement of the main speakers since you are no longer trying to balance room position to achieve best bass response and best everything else the speaker needs to do. The sub can be placed for best bass extension and best sound quality while the main speakers need only bother with providing clarity and reasonable staging effects. There are advantages to both using a subwoofer and using a single main pair of speakers for everything and there is no one right answer to your system set up. You'll probably find listening to a dozen pieces of music with any set up will provide good sound on many pieces of material but not on all. At that point you have to compromise and accept better sound on most and not quite as good on the rest.

If you're going to experiment with the subwoofer, first, read about subwoofer set up and follow some guidelines which aim towards the best sound quality. High quality sound doesn't just happen, it must be planned for and worked at in any room. Likewise, follow some sort of speaker set up to get the best from your speakers. Placing "loudspeaker placement" and "subwoofer set up" in a search engine should provide more than a few hints to follow and provide set up suggestions for both systems. If you are severely limted in your speaker placement options, then you'll probably do best just using the main speakers and not trying to integrate too many speakers into a crowded room.

When you experiment with your subwoofer, if you're trying to get the best from your system, begin with the speakers rolled out at as low a frequency as posssible with your amplifier - which appears to be about 40Hz. Gradually increase the roll off frequency to higher and higher positions taking away more and more from the main speakers. Remember the filters in both the amp and the sub are not sharp "brickwall" type filters and information does exist at both higher and lower frequencies than the number you see which means both systems are overlapping somewhat when you set the filter to say, 60Hz.

Since there is no dedicated subwoofer output on the M3 you're going to have to read your owner's manual to see which output provides the desired subwoofer out. The NAD blip talks about "bi-ampable with active crossovers" which would imply you run the sub from the "pre amp out 2". However you don't seem to have a hi/low pass filter available at the pre amp outputs. This becomes confusing if you're not familiar with the M3 and you'll probably get your best answer by discussing this with your retailer or NAD. If the NAD's controls are removing low bass from the main speakers while providing a filtered output to the sub, you want to run the sub's crossover settings at their highest position (150-180Hz?). Doing otherwise would double up the filters and remove too much information from the sub. If the NAD's on board filters do not provide any (low pass) filters to the subwoofer, you're going to have to experiment with the selectable filter positions on your sub. Should that be the case, the filter seting on the NAD and on the sub should be roughly the same frequency, i.e., set the NAD to 60Hz and the sub to 60Hz. This can vary from system to system and, if your room has the typical lump at 80 HZ found in most modern homes, then setting the main speaker for a higher rollout and the sub for a lower roll-in might be your answer. Without hearing the system it's impossible to predict what you'll need to do here. This should be the job of the retailer to guide you and possibly provide some on site set up assistance. If you haven't asked for any help, you might consider doing so to obtain the most from your purchase.

Running the main speakers full range and then addding a subwoofer is, IMO, not your best option. This sort of set up can work best when the main speakers are not capable of deep bass but in most rooms speakers and subwoofer reproducing deep bass together is overwhelming and the results are muddy and poor quality bass. With too many locations to originate from and no clear integration of those locations you get lower sound quality not higher. As is typical, there are exceptions to this rule and, if you know what you're doing, you can use multiple speaker locations to actually minimize room problems. The trick here is you have to know what you're doing and be willing to spend lots of time experimenting.

Unlike Nuck I would advise you to either filter the deep bass from the Paradigms (using the NAD's onboard controls) and use the sub or forgo the sub altogether and just run the main speakers full range. Since NAD is not very clear on just how their filtration at the amplifier operates you're going to have to either experiment with your system, call for help from NAD or your dealer or forget the sub and take the easier route for set up of running just your main speakers. There's no one good answer here since this is largely up to you to decide which set up sounds the best over the broadest range of music in your room. I would advise you to rely on your dealer for some support here.


New member
Username: Jayslevine

Post Number: 4
Registered: Jul-10
This is hugely helpful, thank you. If I understand what you are proposing, it is to cut off the low freq output to the Studio 100's at 60hz using the M3 High Pass filter, and drive my bass from the sub from 60 hz and below having set them up to the M3 via the pre-out 2 (with the sub low pass filter set to 60 or so since it is variable).

The question you are raising (again, I'm just asking to verify I understand your point) is does the M3 high pass filter impact the pre-out 2 outputs that drive the sub-woofer?

I plan on heading to the NAD dealer this morning to discuss this. I purchased the system components from two separate dealers (NAD from one, speakers, including the sub, from another). Set up has been done by me, and I must say it is a learning experience to be sure.

This forum is great, thanks again for such informed and thoughtful responses.

Gold Member
Username: Magfan


Post Number: 1304
Registered: Oct-07
Running the sub crossover near its low limit, below where the main speakers roll off helps do away with the effects Jan writes about.

Don't do all the adjustments at once.
First, place the main speakers. Leave the sub off.

The next steps will require some time.
Placement of the sub is to some extent based on the electrical setup. So, turn the subs crossover way, lower! Turn on some bass heavy music. Turn up the level and adjust the phase for maximum loudness. The phase should not be touched again. Now, you need to listen and adjust until you get it balanced. In my case, I adjusted level and crossover frequency until the mid-bass bloat went away. This meant the sub and main speakers were not overlapping TOO much. Some overlap is inevitable, since the filters are sloped and not a barrier. You may end up moving the sub to several locations in the room during all this. Corners are popular as are some mid-wall positions. Use your ears from your listening position.
Talking to the NAD dealer is a real good idea.
Bass management in a 2.1 system can work and be rewarding. You just gotta wade thru all the swamp and be willing to take the time to adjust it all. In my case, I let it 'settle' for over 2 weeks before making a further adjustment. Than I made the last adjustment about a month after that. I have not adjusted anything since.

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