Once you have purchased a sub of your choice, the next predicament you face is with the correct placement of the sub in order to enhance its performance.
Placement of said subwoofer is greatly impacted by such things as available space, your home décor, foot traffic areas, as well as maximum sound quality.
Why is subwoofer placement so important?
This is because when you are listening to an audio system, what you are really hearing is the effect your listening room has on your audio system. The walls, windows and furniture in your room all affect the sound you hear.
Below are some keys points to consider when choosing where to place your subwoofer:
a) The cords: If you own a subwoofer that is directly hooked up to the receiver, as opposed to a wireless one, ensure the location you place your subwoofer allows you to keep the wires concealed, to avoid stepping or tripping on them, which can easily cause accidents as well as damage to the connection between your subwoofer and the receiver.
b) Walls and Corners: Placing a subwoofer very close to a flat wall can cause it to produce an unpleasant and harsh rumbling sound. Also, if your subwoofer has a ported design (a sub with an opening to allow airflow), it is advisable to keep it twice the diameter of the port (typically 6-12 inches) away from a wall to allow airflow out of the port.
Placing your subwoofer in the corner of your listening room has been known to heighten the subwoofer’s output, causing it to sound louder. However, this choice is only viable depending on your available floor room.
c) Find the ideal listening spot: Consider getting a wireless subwoofer. This can be situated almost anywhere on the available space of your listening room.
To find your ideal subwoofer sound, hook up the subwoofer, turn on a movie or music that has plenty of bass then sit back in your favorite chair and listen.
Move the subwoofer around the room till it produces the sound you are looking for. If you plan on entertaining more than just yourself, ensure you listen to how the subwoofer sounds from other spots in your room, to ensure everyone enjoys great sound, no matter their listening spots.
Sometimes you might be unable to get the ideal bass all round the room especially if it is a big one. In this case, try adding a second subwoofer to even out the sound.
As mentioned in my earlier articles, there are different kinds of subwoofers. This means that the placement will also be different.
Dual Subwoofer Placement
If you don’t watch movies or listen to music alone, getting the perfect bass can prove tricky. This is because you can only optimize a subwoofer’s placement for a specific part of the room. This means that some well-placed listeners may get good bass, but the rest won’t.
To make sure all your listeners get the smoothest, even and most optimal bass, getting dual subwoofers is recommended.
This is because placing two subs strategically in the room, helps to smooth out bass peaks and dips throughout the room for more even low frequency distribution.
You also get improved low end extension, greater headroom, and more complete reproduction of the whole range of bass sounds, making your listening experience more life-like.
Get dual subwoofers if you have;
- A dedicated theatre room
- A single, primary listening position,
- Multiple seating positions or
- Large overall space
Where is the best place to put a subwoofer?
Below are some ideal places where you can place your subwoofer for optimal bass.
1) In the front
The rule of thirds for subwoofers dictate that by placing your subwoofer a third of the way into your room as measured from a wall, you reduce the chances of standing waves and nulls, hence you increase the odds of your sitting area being an ideal bass spot.
2) In a corner
If you have a subwoofer that is ported on the rear of the cabinet, first of all, try stuffing the port with such things as rolled up socks or rubber balls, to seal the cabinet and reduce its interaction with the wall behind it.
A lot of manufacturers now provide custom plugs with their products to allow you to experiment with the sound. then, move the subwoofer 6- 8 inches out from the corner. Get someone to help you with this by crawling along the floor for you, as you move the subwoofer a few inches in each direction to find the perfect spot.
3) Inside the wall
While there are a lot of in wall subs available in the market today, this would only really make sense if you are not a renter and requires a lot of work and skill. Get a professional to install your sub inside the wall of your house with special boxes that are meant to hold the subwoofer cabinet in place and isolate it from the rest of the room.
4) Under a table or couch
This works but don’t expect the bass to be perfect if you have small satellite speakers that require frequency of over 120Hz from the sub.
5) Go wireless
Getting a wireless subwoofer is ideal if wiring is a problem facing your ideal subwoofer placement, as you totally do away with the need for physical link to the amp or A/V receiver.
6) Inside another cabinet
I know this doesn’t sound very ideal and should be your very last solution, when all the other circumstances aren’t workable. Placing your sub inside a cabinet cancels out the reason for having one to begin with, as the non-directional low frequencies need some breathing room.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should a subwoofer be on the floor?
Placing subwoofers on the floor is quite common as long as there is room. This helps you feel the sound and makes it sound more natural.
Which way should a subwoofer face?
A subwoofer should be placed with the speaker facing out to the room and the port away from a wall, for the best sound quality.
Can I put subwoofer behind sofa?
Yes, you can. This is actually more ideal than placing it in front of your couch and it enhances the bass.
Should subwoofer be in front or back?
Positioning a subwoofer along the front wall of the room is more ideal. This enables your front speakers the ability to focus on mid and high range frequencies.
There you go! I hope that the above article will answer those burning questions you have about subwoofer placement, for your maximum listening pleasure. In case you are still considering to get a subwoofer for your home theater, ensure to check out my post on top 10 subwoofers for the best recommendation on what to go for.