A subwoofer can enhance your sound system and create a great entertainment experience. However, it’s only by understanding optimal subwoofer placement that you’ll get the sound results you’re looking for. We’re helping you find that acoustic sweet spot, whether your subwoofer is located in your car, studio, or it’s part of your home theater setup or soundbar.
Read on for everything you’ve ever needed to know about where to place a subwoofer.
Guidelines for Subwoofer PlacementFiguring out where to put your subwoofer really isn’t rocket science, but there are a few things to keep in mind that’ll help ensure you find optimal placement. We’ll go into the specifics based on different installment locations in a bit. But first, the following tips are important to note for any subwoofer location.
- Hide the wires. If your subwoofer is not wireless, ideally you want to be sure it’s located in a place where the cords can be neatly hidden away. This keeps wires from being chewed on by a pet or stepped on, which can damage the connection between the subwoofer and receiver. Also, wires strewn across the floor are easy to trip over, and the last thing you want is for someone to trip and rip them out.
- Watch out for the corners and walls. Besides the fact that corners are often far away from any sitting area, placing your subwoofer too far off, in a distant corner, may cause it to sound louder or result in muddy bass tones as waves bounce off the walls. Also, your subwoofer may produce a harsh, rumbling sound if it’s located too close to a wall (which is also caused by bass waves reflecting).
- Consider the port. Does your subwoofer have a port design? If so, it’s best to place it away from the wall to allow air to circulate freely through the small hole at the back.
- Experiment with spots on your floor space. Depending on personal preference, room design and space allowance, you can move the subwoofer around while playing a song or sound with plenty of bass. Listen to the subwoofer in your favorite sitting areas before you commit to where you want to install it. Also, ask your friends and families if the sound is okay from where they are. In some cases, you might need a second subwoofer in a different location to keep the sound balanced.
Where to Place a Subwoofer
Where to ultimately place a subwoofer will vary depending on the type of subwoofer or the system you’ll be working with and where it’ll be going (specific room, car, a soundbar, etc.). Let’s take a look at some of the more popular places you may be using your subwoofer: your home theater, with a soundbar, in a studio or even in your car.
Home Theater Subwoofer Placement Tips
When it comes to home theater subwoofer placement, the speaker and subwoofer should be facing the main listening and sitting area. Also, be sure the port is at least 6 inches away from the wall.
Many home theater experts recommend positioning the subwoofer in a corner first. If this makes the bass too boomy, simply move the subwoofer along the front or side wall in one-foot increments until you get the sound quality you’re looking for. You can also move it further out in the room, but avoid placing it in the exact center, as this is where nulls or peak spots occur.
If moving the subwoofer is a hassle, you can also put it in your favorite sitting area at ear-height, then crawl around the room at the height of the subwoofer until you find a spot where a bass-heavy soundtrack really shines.
If you only have one place where your subwoofer can go, your best bet is to change your listening position by walking around and noticing the area with the best sound. Finally, it’s best to place your subwoofer on the floor, but if the room is carpeted or there’s an obstruction, you might want to use a stand to ensure the bass isn’t absorbed by thick carpet.
H3: Soundbar Subwoofer Placement Tips
Because they’re two separate devices, placing a subwoofer in relation to a soundbar can be a bit tricky. Generally, it's best to place your subwoofer near the soundbar so it’s more in sync with the front or center channel speakers.
Typically, a soundbar goes above or beneath the TV. That means your subwoofer can be to the left or right of the TV and soundbar. You can find which is best by testing the sound on both sides. You can also place the subwoofer on a corner to see if this will enhance the bass (but remember: corners of rooms are not always optimal for soundbar subwoofer placement).
As a general rule, you usually don’t want to place your subwoofer in a cabinet with doors, since this will likely hinder the sound. Even if there aren’t doors, setting the subwoofer high above the ground means it’s more likely to be damaged by a fall. Overall, the right subwoofer placement when used with a soundbar should be an open space that allows for ample air circulation so the subwoofer doesn’t overheat.
H3: Studio Subwoofer Placement Tips
Optimal studio subwoofer placement starts by moving the subwoofer in different directions by about a foot at a time while playing familiar music through your sub and monitors. Do this until you hear the best sound quality.
Alternatively, you could also place the subwoofer in your listening position and then point it towards the room’s center. Next, just walk around the room while listening carefully.
You may find the bass is too loud or too soft in some spots. Keep searching until you find the area with the right balance - that is, the bass is nice and smooth and blends well with the mix.
Car Subwoofer Placement
Most often, car subwoofer placement ends up in the trunk, with the subwoofer facing in one of the following directions:
- Away from the driver. The subwoofer will be against the rear seats and facing the boot. This makes the bass punchier and more balanced.
- Upwards, towards the trunk hatch. This can help you save cargo space while still allowing for clear and smooth bass.
- The passengers and drivers. This arrangement works best if you want the bass to be experienced through every component of the car without it being too overwhelming.
There’s no single best subwoofer position or direction for getting perfect car audio, so it’s best to experiment before installing your subwoofer. Depending on the type of car you have, and how much space there is, you might be able to position the subwoofer in the front of the car so that the bass fires towards the rear. If the bass is muffled, you may be able to carefully create a few holes in the boot, then cover them with thin material to allow more sound to escape - but be careful not to damage your subwoofer if you attempt this!
Subwoofer placement is key to gaining the best sound for your listening enjoyment. Whether you’re working in the studio, traveling in your car or enjoying some tunes at home, a little time and some trial and error, and the tips we’ve given you here, will ensure your subwoofer is in the best place possible to achieve premium audio quality.
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