Are you scratching your head because you don’t know where to place your newly bought subwoofer? Perhaps you’ve purchased a new soundbar and subwoofer kit but are still undecided on how to position them for an optimal listening experience in your home theater.
Now, we all know how the subwoofer is one of the key ingredients in the recipe for an amazing home theater experience. It is used for delivering low-frequency audio, making the overall audio of the speakers worthwhile.
Surely, you didn’t expect that simply rolling up a magazine and waving it like a magic wand would solve all your problems, did you?
It won’t work!
So, no need to bang your head against the wall; you can resolve this issue in a matter of around ten minutes. Continue reading to learn about soundbar and subwoofer placement in your home theater, the factors that affect the subwoofer’s position in the home theater, and how to know if the subwoofer is compatible with your existing soundbar. If you’re also interested in optimizing your surround sound speakers, check out this comprehensive guide on Surround Sound Speaker Placement.
Ideal Subwoofer Soundbar placement
Subwoofers are like attention-seeking partners; they constantly demand to be heard, felt, and seen If they could talk, they’d probably also demand to be worshipped). But unlike that partner, subwoofers actually serve a purpose. They add depth and quality to your music and movies.
So, what exactly is an ideal place for the subwoofers?
You can’t just put them behind the sofa or under the table; furthermore, the position may vary for every person depending on factors such as room size, shape, furnishing, speaker size, and seating position. Still, there are some places where your subwoofer may sound perfect.
Firstly, placing the subwoofer in front of the room, with the soundbar, is an ideal subwoofer placement. Placing a subwoofer there is great for sound congruence. You can experiment by placing it at both the front-left and front-right positions to determine which works best for you.
Secondly, you may also try placing it in the corner. Although we don’t want to put our toys in the corner, one of the best subwoofer placements is in the room’s corner for optimal sound quality.
Factors affecting the Subwoofer Soundbar placement.
First, you must know that your subwoofer’s soundbar placement depends on several factors. You can’t put the subwoofer in the same spot in every room and then complain about the sound quality.
Similarly, the placement of subwoofers and soundbars also depends on factors such as the room’s dimensions, shape, and the type of soundbar you own, among other things.
Don’t worry if you’re unfamiliar with these factors; you’ve found the perfect guide to assist you.
The first block: Room size:
If you’re not achieving the immersive listening experience you enjoyed in a friend’s home theater even after adding a subwoofer, then room size is likely a factor you’re overlooking.
Room size plays a significant role in the placement and efficiency of speakers. For smaller rooms, there might be one fixed place where your Subwoofer will best complement your existing or new Soundbar.
However, it won’t be the same for larger rooms.
For larger rooms, there might be more than one place where your subwoofer would complement the soundbar.
Your seating position:
The effectiveness of your home theater audio and subwoofer placement is influenced by your seating position.
Yes, you heard it right!
Your seating position is a key consideration for subwoofer placement in the room. If you’re the only one to sit or your home theater has just one row of seats, you may place the Subwoofer at the front-left or front-right position near the front speaker. It’ll give you optimal results.
However, placing the subwoofer at the front position won’t be a good idea if there is more than one-row seating arrangement. In this case, you can try placing the subwoofer in the corner, where everyone can enjoy its low-frequency audio.
Wired or wireless Subwoofer:
The type of subwoofer, whether wired or wireless, also impacts the Subwoofer’s placement in the room. If you have a wired subwoofer with a soundbar, the distance of the subwoofer from the soundbar is limited according to the length of the wire. It’s a better choice to place it closer to the front speakers, as the soundbar houses the front speakers, too, so the subwoofer and speaker can deliver congruent audio together.
In contrast, a wireless subwoofer offers more flexibility, allowing you to place it at greater distances from the soundbar depending on room size and seating position. You can place a wireless speaker anywhere up to the range of 30 feet.
Subwoofer in the room of your choice:
Well, not everyone has a dedicated home theater room!
Some might be integrating an excellent audio system in their living room or lounge, where they can watch movies with their family. In each of these cases, the subwoofer placement will differ.
In a living room or lounge, you might not want to place your subwoofer in a way that disrupts the overall interior design. In this case, you can place it in a corner or with at the room front.
On the other hand, in a dedicated home theater room, the subwoofer’s position would be more flexible depending on the aforementioned parameters.
Factors That Negatively Impact Subwoofer Performance
As there are a few key considerations for subwoofer placement in the room, you might want to know the factors that negatively impact the subwoofer’s efficiency. So, let’s find out about those villains of the story.
If you’re not living in a jungle where stampeding elephants can affect the audio of our subwoofer or have terrible neighbors whose karaoke skills are killing your subwoofer’s quality, don’t worry. There’s nothing much that can affect the efficiency and sound quality of your subwoofer.
However, certain elements within your home theater setup can negatively affect your subwoofer’s performance. Keep reading to identify these ‘villains’ and learn how to counteract them.
Your room furnishing, which seems innocent, might sometimes be a culprit or reason your subwoofer is not producing optimal sound. If your home theater has a lot of flat surfaces, gigantic tables and plants, pots, and wooden floors, then there will be a lot of bass reflection, making your home theater sound terrible.
One way to resolve this issue is to slightly tweak your home theater room’s setting. Removing hard and flat surfaces would be effective in avoiding unnecessary sound reflection. Furthermore, you may also carpet the home theater floor, as it will reduce the sound reflection considerably. In addition, you may also use bass traps or such sound-absorbing devices in the corners of the room to avoid reflection of bass and disruption of the overall immersive sound experience.
Placing the Subwoofer in a Cabinet: A Bad Idea!
It might seem like a good idea to hide your compact-size subwoofer inside a cabinet of the home theater. Well, if you’re thinking about it, here’s what you need to know.
A big no to encasing the subwoofer in a cabinet!
It can completely damage the whole idea of the subwoofer in the home theater. If your cabinet has a breathable material that allows the subwoofer’s low-frequency audio waves to travel easily, then you may consider placing it in the cabinet; even in that case, the sound quality would be affected to some extent.
Furthermore, encasing your subwoofer in a compact place would not be a good idea in the long run. A compact-spaced cabinet may result in overheating, which can damage the subwoofer and decrease its overall lifespan and efficiency.
On a shelf or stand:
Another factor that can impact the audio delivery of the subwoofer is its placement on a shelf or stand.
You may want to consider placing the subwoofer on a shelf or stand, rather than directly on the floor. This can help to reduce vibrations and create a more clear and more balanced sound. However, be sure to experiment with the height and positioning of the subwoofer, as these factors can affect the sound quality.
Choosing a subwoofer for your soundbar
It’s like trying to find Waldo in a sea of bass-boosted sound waves. You can find several subwoofers depending on their size, model, and quality; however, the right choice of subwoofer depends on the soundbar. You must consider the following factors for choosing the appropriate subwoofer for your soundbar.
Compatibility with your soundbar:
Practicing compatibility is crucial in all walks of life; the same is true for choosing a subwoofer for your soundbar. You need to consider the model or type of soundbar that you’re using. Some soundbars are compatible with just one type or line of subwoofers.
Some soundbars come in a complete package with a subwoofer included. So, the choice of subwoofer depends on its compatibility with the soundbar.
Considering the speakers:
The size of the speakers also plays a significant role in the choice of the subwoofer. The compact speakers would best complement a compact subwoofer, which is best for smaller room settings. At the same time, larger speakers may pair well with larger subwoofers and are best for larger room settings. So, whatever subwoofer you are choosing should pair well with the rest of your home theater equipment.
Wired or Wireless: Which to Choose?
Another factor you might want to consider is whether or not you want a wired subwoofer. If you don’t want a lot of wire clutter, you may choose a suitable wireless subwoofer compatible with your soundbar, and that pairs well with speakers in the room. You can easily navigate wireless subwoofers in the room without any hassle.
On the other hand, wired speakers mean more wire clutter. So, choose wisely!
As you have made it to this page section, you must have successfully cracked the Subwoofer soundbar placement in your home theater. Several factors can impact the audio quality and placement of the subwoofer in the home theater.
Some key factors include room size, seating position, speaker and subwoofer size, subwoofer type, etc. Now, if you trust the process and follow the guide mentioned above, you’ll most likely get the best subwoofer soundbar placement in the home theater.
Follow these guidelines to dive into a world of immersive sound.
I’m Shaun Conroy, an audiophile & founder of HiFi Audios. Holding a Bachelor’s in Sound Engineering, I bring deep expertise in audio devices and offer insights & recommendations to fellow enthusiasts.