Common Surround Processing Errors

When selecting and setting up surround sound it is important to realize that many key features do not work as advertised in a large number of products. Common faults in many receivers, preprocessors and players include the following.

  • Bass management drops bass that should be redirected to subwoofer causing the system to lack punch.
  • Bass management does not properly filter transfer of bass to subwoofer causing a boomy bass.
  • Incorrect surround and back channel processing causing a loss of surround effect.
  • Low LFE level causing the low frequency effect to be very muted.
  • Improper level matching between LFE and bass management.
  • Automatic setup fails to balance channel levels causing the system to present an unconvincing surround experience.
  • Automatic setup fails to detect common polarity errors in subwoofers and speakers causing the bass to be weak.
  • Automatic setup fails to properly adjust the timber of the system causing it to be harsh, boomy and/or hard to understand.
W. Jeff Meier

ISF and THX Certified Home Theater Consultant

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