Currently I have 2 passive speakers connected in stereo to an amplifier (with a mixer). I am looking to introduce an active subwoofer into the system in order to produce more accurate 3-way sound in my studio. (In addition to an integrated amplifier, the subwoofer has an integrated crossover for 2 channel inputs and outputs.)

Option 1: passive monitors bypass crossover

As a basic setup, I could leave the passive monitor speakers connected as they are to the amplifier, and then connect the active subwoofer to an output that is intended for active speakers.

Behringer EPS500 mixer

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that this does not take advantage of the crossover (and stereo outputs for tops) that is built into the subwoofer fully, as the passive speakers will still be receiving low-range signal.

Option 2: passive monitors bypass amplifier

Therefore, I am considering connecting the subwoofer's two channels to the amplifier's 2 outputs intended for active speakers (i.e. non-amplified), and then connect the passive tops to each of the 2 outputs on the subwoofer.

However, with that setup, it appears that I bypass the amplifier for the passive speakers (thus reducing available power).

Option 3: ???

Is there a third option where I can connect everything and make full use of both the free-standing amplifier/mixer (2×250W) and the subwoofer's crossover (and amplifier, 500W)?

(Without purchasing additional equipment, save for cables.)

Which is the best scenario for most accurate, 3-way sound? Clarity in the high- and mid-range, in addition to powerful bass.

Speakers & Amplifier: Behringer EPS500

Subwoofer: Behringer B1200D

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    Which sounds flattest? Go with that. If you're using live rig as studio monitoring, so it's never going to be that great whichever way you go. – Tetsujin Jan 12 '17 at 9:03
  • Thanks. I'm not looking for accurate sound per se with this setup, but "richest" sound with the equipment at hand and without incurring additional expense. In theory, also, which setup is best for live music (either a band or DJ)? (One of them reduces power output too 500W total, and the other bypasses crossover, so I'm assuming the former is better for live and loud.) – Baumr Jan 12 '17 at 13:05
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    Honestly, I'd try both & see which works. it may be that in the studio using the crossovers will be best, but not loud enough for live work at only 500W - so maybe it will depend on venue. – Tetsujin Jan 12 '17 at 13:16
  • Thanks very much. I'd have to buy additional cables and adapters to try option 2, so was hoping there was a hard-and-fast answer :P – Baumr Jan 12 '17 at 13:19

Are the subwoofer crossover outputs indeed for passive speakers? Or are they intended for active speakers or amplifier?

I would expect an active subwoofer to have the crossover at line level since passive crossovers at speaker level are quite more expensive and lower in quality.

If the crossover outputs are at line level, then you want to route the line signals out of your amplifier and the subwoofer line level signals back into your amplifier.

If the amplifier does not have a dedicated preamp output, you might use tape-out/tape-in as routes to/from subwoofer and switch the amplifier to "monitor tape".

However, as one last hint: "in order to produce more accurate 3-way sound in my studio" is absolutely the worst criterion for using a subwoofer. As opposed to your passive speakers, the subwoofer is not designed as a part of the overall system and its phase response will interact with that of your passive speakers at crossover frequencies.

A subwoofer is a way to get more "oomph" with smaller equipment. Not more accuracy. The proper solution is larger equipment. Larger equipment will expand the reproduction accuracy downwards in frequency. Larger accuracy does not mean a stronger bass as such but rather more accurate reproduction of things like low organ pipes. But a subwoofer is mostly employed for a stronger bass, particularly a stronger felt (rather than heard) bass for stuff like a kick drum.

In a studio, a subwoofer has little usefulness if any. You don't actually want your studio to shake even if that would correspond to what is happening on stage. You should check the results with headphones and a good pair of speakers. A listener wanting to feel a bass will have his own subwoofers and will turn them up and down as needed for thumping. The right acoustic rather than tactile balance is determined at higher frequencies.

  • Really great answer. Thank you! I'm not sure how to answer your first questions — is that noted anywhere on the subwoofer's manual? – Baumr Jan 30 '17 at 21:52

I think the manual is pretty clear. Stereo mixer output into the subwoofer, stereo output from the subwoofer into either active speakers or a stereo power amp with passive speakers. The subwoofer has active crossovers at line level.

  • Yes, you're right when it comes to standard setups as described in the manual. I'm asking here because the EPS500 speaker system has a 2-in-1 amplifier and mixer — so I'm not sure it's possible to connect as you describe – Baumr Feb 1 '17 at 13:23

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