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AV Tip: Utilizing The "Extra Bass" Feature in an AV Receiver

by July 10, 2013
The Yamaha Aventage RX-A3030

The Yamaha Aventage RX-A3030

These days, A/V receivers are filled with a plethora of options to help you tune the sound of your system to your room and of course, your taste. While most Audioholics are probably aware that the preponderance of receivers these days come with some manner of room correction software (Audyssey, MCACC, YPAO, etc.), there is one typically overlooked option that could be handy depending on your circumstances. It’s a feature that goes by many names: Yamaha refers to it as "Extra Bass", Onkyo "Double Bass", Denon "LFE+Main", and so on. 

Extra Bass Settings

"Extra Bass" goes by a variety of names. This view of a selection of manuals from Denon, Onkyo, and Yamaha should give you an idea of what to look for.

The idea behind “Extra Bass” is fairly straightforward: if you happen to have main speakers capable of delivering respectable amounts of low end output without buckling, you can run them full range AND send a copy of their bass content to your subwoofer, effectively increasing bass output. To reiterate, this should only be used if you’re confident that your speakers can be fed strong low frequency transients without buckling or bottoming out.

So why exactly would you want to enable this feature?

  • Let's face it, some people like a bit of extra bass. If you’ve got a set of floorstanding speakers like the EMPTek E55Ti and the amplification to back them up, you can potentially realize a useful boost in the 50-80Hz range. Most people would perceive this as a bit of extra punchiness. Of course, if you’re not interesting in the extra output it can be EQed out while still receiving a second benefit.
  •  If you're running a single subwoofer, enabling this setting will add two more sources of low bass which can achieve a measure of modal averaging and also increase overall output. In other words, it's possible to use this setting to help smooth out peaks and dips in your system’s low end response.

EMPTek E55Ti in Red Burl

EMP E55ti Tower Speaker


Regarding Tower Speakers and Bass:

With a trio of 6.5" woofers per side, the EMPTek E55Ti should have no problems adding extra punch to your system with "Extra Bass" enabled. They're also mechanically limited to prevent bottoming of the drivers, so you don't have to fret about damaging these towers by running them full range either.

The beauty of this tip of course is that it’s free and readily enabled/disabled. If you happen to like a bit of extra bass/punch with your movies, you can potentially have it with a couple taps on your receiver’s remote and disable it later if you want a “purist” rendition of some music.

Editorial Note about Bass Management: It should be pointed out that as a general rule, we still recommend starting off by setting all speakers to “small” and utilizing a crossover of 80Hz (which adheres to THX standards). This tip is aimed to more advanced users with tower speakers who may wish to experiment a little in order to achieve some of the above benefits.


About the author:
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Steve Munz is a “different” addition to Audioholics’ stable of contributors in that he is neither an engineer like Gene, nor has he worked in the industry like Cliff. In fact, Steve’s day job is network administration and accounting.

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