Subwoofer Placement – The Ultimate Guide

While the subwoofer is an important element in your sound system, many people simply set it up and leave it be. While this might work, there are ways to improve the placement of your subwoofer and get better results.

We have spoken to a few experts that have helped with the best subwoofer placement.

home theatre setup

How Sound Works

People don’t understand how a subwoofer works when it in your home. The science behind it tells us that we don’t hear directly what is coming out of the unit.

We actually hear the effect of the environment and how it is affected by the room itself. There are a couple of things that can influence the sound that you hear:

  • Furniture: When it comes to furniture, you need to consider the materials they are made of and where they are placed. Sound resistant materials might dim the sound, especially if the unit is hidden behind the furniture.
  • Windows: If the subwoofer is placed near windows, one might find that the sound will disperse in multiple directions. Unfortunately, one might lose a lot of sound quality to the outside or a different room.
  • Room Size: The smaller your room is, the better sound quality you will have. If the room is small, one might find that it can be overwhelming. Much like the open window, large rooms might allow for sound to dissipate.
  • Electronic Presence: Nowadays we definitely have a lot of electronics in our homes. However, the electronics might have an effect on your subwoofer. Since sound works via frequencies that are released, these other frequencies might cause some distortion.
  • Power Output: The power output is one of the main things that any buyer should consider. Depending on the power, you will find out what the capabilities of your unit are. If you exceed these capabilities, it might cause distortion or warp the sound.

With modern homes constantly being upgraded, one might find that these are only a few of the common issues in your home that can have an effect on your subwoofer.

If you have too many speakers in your home, they could also create some distortion, especially if the subwoofer is not powerful enough.

If you’re tight on space, here are some compact subwoofers.

Walls Can Adversely Affect Sound

You might think that the walls are like furniture and only have a minor effect on your sound. However, walls are some of the worst things for subwoofers.

In most homes, walls are parallel to one another and since apartments are smaller, they tend to be much closer to one another than we have been used to when seeing subwoofers in large party halls.

The reason walls will affect sound is that soundwaves are omnidirectional. Since the sound travels in all different directions, regardless of your speaker’s grill or interface, you will have it bouncing off the walls.

Once the sound waves bounce off the walls that move into a new direction, which might often lead to them bouncing into one another.

Placement is important due to the fact that you can either work with the walls or choose to work against them.

If you don’t want to spend a lot of time working out the mathematics of the ideal placement, you can add acoustical treatment technology, which mitigates the effect of sound waves bouncing off the walls constantly.

The other option is what we will be looking at in the rest of the article. Working out where to place your speakers is not that hard and it can often be done by simply listening.

One of the reasons for the constant tests before parties and music shows is to find the “Acoustical Sweetspot”. However, it will take effort on your part.

Here is our subwoofers for music.

Can I put a subwoofer in a corner?

Most people will recommend that you place your subwoofer in the corner. Once it is in the corner, you can basically direct the sound waves forward, reducing the chances of them bouncing into one another all the time.

However, the truth is that it does not actually improve the sound quality, as much as it amplifies the bass. This means that a cheap subwoofer will still sound cheap, just slightly louder.

When you are looking at your walls, one of the first tips we can offer is to look for a good quality subwoofer.

While subwoofers with smaller drivers benefit from walls, truly great subwoofers need to be at least 8 or even 12-inches from the wall. This will give it a breathing room and you don’t need the natural amplification of corners.

Which Way Should A Subwoofer Face?

The direction of the subwoofer is something we have already discussed. Since sound waves travel in all the different directions, the face does not really have that big of an effect.

However, most people would have the face towards the room. This makes it easier for the sound waves to travel. If they travel directly into walls, they might bump into one another, causing a lot of distortion and static sounds as well.

Subwoofer setup

Should A Subwoofer Be On The Floor?

A subwoofer is very versatile. One can place it on the floor or nearly anywhere that you see fit. However, the floor type will have an effect.

If your floor is made from tiles, it might bounce the waves up much faster. Carpets can absorb the sound and it might muffle the output, reducing the quality that you experience.

One of the best spots to place your subwoofer is in an elevated position in your living room. It is much better to place it inside a cabinet or on a table of some sort to ensure that you get the best experience.

Unfortunately, we also need to look at the cable set up and how we need to have the placed for the right set up.

Optimal Subwoofer Placement

To conclude everything that we have said, we have tried to identify the best spot to place a subwoofer for someone with a standard home.

Ideally, the most optimal place for a subwoofer is in an elevated position, preferably at ear-listening level. There are a variety of ways to do this, whether its by storing it in a cabinet, on a sturdy table, mounting it to the wall or simply purchasing a dedicated stand for it.

If this isn’t an option for you, the second best scenario would be to have it on the floor near a wall. If you go for this route, make sure you purchase a high quality subwoofer as the cheap ones are further amplified revealing their flaws.

How Can I Hide My Subwoofer In My Living Room?

A subwoofer might not be the most attractive peace of sound equipment. However, the smaller size that it comes in, offers you the ability to hide it. However, you will need to make sure that you are not causing any impedance to the sound output when you are hiding it. Here are a few tips to hide your subwoofer in your living room:

  • Inside a wall: While it might not be the easiest way to hide your subwoofer, making a spot inside your wall can definitely work, especially when you hide it behind your TV system and you can hang a curtain in front of it.
  • A curtain: a curtain might not sound like the best decorative idea, but a curtain can make a big difference to the design of your living room. Keep in mind that curtains do not impede the sound effects of the subwoofer.
  • Under Furniture: Hiding it underneath furniture is not as easy as it might sound. Often times you will need to look at the materials of the furniture. If something has a heavy wooden frame, you might steer clear.
  • A Cabinet: Most of us have drawers or cabinets that form a part of the TV stand we use. One of the good things about a cabinet is the amplification of the sound that is created. If your cabinet is big enough, we would recommend it.

These are not the only hiding spots for your subwoofer, but they make the most sense if you want to have your home look stylish. A good hiding spot should not impact the performance of your subwoofers and still offer you some great sound output.

Wrap-Up

We hope that this guide above has helped you in finding the best subwoofer placement. Let us know if you have any more experience or tips with the sound that we can add when it comes to placement.