What is LFE + MAIN, Large and Small Speakers? – Complete Overview

Every electronic device, especially audio devices have numerous confusing settings and mods, etc. Similarly, subwoofers are also impregnated with many modes, features, and options.

One of the modes which subwoofers have is LFE or LFE + Main. Many of you may be confused about what that means and when to use them.

In this article, I will fully explain the different modes of a subwoofer.

What are LFE and LFE + MAIN?

LFE stands for Low-Frequency Effects. There are two main modes of a subwoofer: the first one is LFE and the other is LIFE + Main.

Complete Overview

I know you are confused. Ok, let me explain it deeply.

As you know a subwoofer is considered a bass agent. Mean subwoofers are bass specialists and people used them to hear punchy and deep bass.

LFE and LFE + Main are bass settings. These are also known as subwoofer modes.


As I said earlier that LFE is a low-frequency effect (.1). It is used for movies and gaming etc. When your subwoofer has been set on LFE it means its frequency is low (up to 80 Hz) or 24dB and the bass is suitable for movies and gaming etc.

In simple words, LFE is not for much deep or punchy bass but for regular bass. LFE is found in 7.1 or 5.1 DTS and Dolby encoded soundtracks.

Importance of LFE

Turning ON the LFE setting from the receiver increases the bass level up to 12% and helps the subwoofer to work at its best level.

LFE + Main

LFE + Main setting duplicates the LFE or low frequency and in this, all the speakers or output channels are involved to produce bass through the subwoofer.

LFE + Main is the best bass setting for subwoofers. Whether your speakers are set to “Large” or “Small”, you can set them on LFE + Main.

Importance of LFE + Main

Because all the speakers are involved, therefore, the subwoofer produces a more deep and punchy bass than the LFE setting.

How to Set LFE or LFE + Main?

In the Denon receiver, you can easily switch the LFE setting to LFE + Main.

Go to your receiver’s settings and then click on Speakers > Manual Setup > Bass.

When you this set of your subwoofer, there you will see that the default setting has been set to “LFE”.

Press the side button to switch it to LFE + Main.

Some Precautions

It totally depends upon your requirement, interest, number of subwoofers, their placement, and your room size which option (LFE or LFE + Main) you should select.

Pro Tip:- I will suggest that after switching the LFE setting to LFE + Main, test the sound or bass quality first by increasing the sound of your audio setup. If you feel everything is perfect then go on with LFE + Main, otherwise, revert it.

LFE and LFE+MAIN setting on Denon's Receiver
LFE and LFE+MAIN setting on Denon’s Receiver

Setting LFE + MAIN in Speaker

The small and Large setting of your speaker is very important. Please check it first before setting your subwoofer at LFE or LFE + Main.

What if the Speaker is Set on “Small”?

If your speaker channel has been set to “Small”, you can set your subwoofer to LFE or LFE

+ Main (whatever you want).

In this case, the frequency will go through the crossover point of the subwoofer.

Remember:- The Crossover is the frequency at which a subwoofer starts to produce bass.

What if the Speaker is set on “Large”?

On the “Large setting,” you can also set your subwoofer at LFE or LFE + Main. As I told you LFE + Main duplicates the frequency of the subwoofer.

Sound Effects

In the case of “Small”

If you select the “Small” setting of your speaker, then it is recommended that you should choose LFE instead of LFE + Main.

It is the ideal setting for “Small”.

In the case of “Large”

If your speaker’s setting is “Large”, you can set the bass setting at LFE or LFE + Main. Because Large settled speakers are able to handle the bass and sound at even the lowest frequency.

Some Points to Remember

As you know the lowest frequency means high bass. If you set your subwoofer at LFE + Main at a low frequency of 20 Hz it will cause many problems.

A human ear is designed to listen to a sound of 20-20,000Hz. 20 is the lowest range.

The second thing is that at the highest volume and deeper bass quality your subwoofer or speakers start rattling and cause physical or internal damage.

In short, the highest bass and loudest sound are not good for your health as well as for your sound system.

I know I’m talking about an ideal condition, producing sound at the highest volume with the lowest frequency is not a piece of cake.

But it is my duty to warn you.

Size of Speakers in LFE + MAIN

The speaker size is also an important factor to keep in mind before setting LFE or LFE + Main.

Small Speakers

The small speakers are unable to produce sound at 20 Hz frequency.

Remember:- Here the word “Small” means not only small in size but in terms of low power output.

There are many speakers which are 5 to 6 feet tall but called small speakers. Because they don’t produce much bass.

Importance of Small Speakers

If small speakers are not eligible to produce punchy and deep bass it doesn’t mean that they are useless.

But those who love to listen to mild and slow music, use small speakers.

Small speakers give a very relaxing and calm music experience. It slowly delivers the sound and doesn’t eat much energy.

Due to this small speakers have a longer lifespan than larger ones because they don’t face any internal physical damage.

Doctors and music experts suggest using small speakers, especially in a room so your ears remain unaffected.

Large Speakers

Large speakers are those who eat a lot of energy and give maximum output. Here you can set the bass setting at LFE or LFE + Main.

These are used on a larger scale (for parties or large gatherings etc).

Importance of Larger Speakers

Due to LFE + Main bass setting you can get a louder sound and more punchy bass from large speakers than small ones.

A gathering of more than 50 people can easily experience a great music experience.

Some Cons of Large Speakers

I already explained that louder sound and deeper bass at the lowest frequency can affect your health negatively.

Handling it On A Subwoofer

You can handle the LFE or LFE + Main setting on the subwoofer.

For this, you just need to buy an AV Receiver and from there you can adjust the frequency of the subwoofer by rotating the dial present on the back side of the receiver.


In this article, I clearly explained the LFE and LFE + Main bass setting. You can set them accordingly.

It also depends upon the size of the speaker, whether it is large or small.

By understanding the fundamentals of these settings you can make your audio setup more worthy.

Many people don’t bother to use these settings and can never enjoy the real experience of music.

Not only these settings but also the break-in and placement of the subwoofer is also important.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which one is best? LFE or LFE + Main

Which one is best? LFE or LFE + Main
It totally depends upon you and your music taste. I will suggest that test both options and then choose the best one.

When you are using more than one channel like speakers + subwoofers then you should go with LFE + Main.

You will definitely experience good music taste.
But in the case of one subwoofer, I don’t suggest it. You should use the LFE setting then.

Will this Setting Affect My Sound System?

Yes, if you will low the frequency too much or loud the volume too much. It can disturb your audio setup.

These settings are very sensitive to use. Please test it before use.

What is the Frequency Range of LFE?

80 Hz to 120 Hz is the ideal range of frequency for LFE.