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Soundbar Subwoofer Placement

You may already have a subwoofer with your soundbar. Or, you may be to purchase one separate from your soundbar.

Regardless, the placement between the soundbar and subwoofer in reference to your TV is important. Let’s take a look at the best placements for your subwoofer.

close-up of a Sony subwoofer

Where Should I Place the Subwoofer?

The soundbar, as we know, goes either under or over your TV (depending on your setup). Little is said about the subwoofer and most people just place it closeby. The optimal position would also depend on your setup and the acoustics of your room.

To get the perfect placement, a little bit of science is involved. Since all houses are built differently and so are the rooms, we can assume that the equation is different for everyone. To help you get started, we will touch upon the most common placement options.

Some people like to put the woofers behind them, but the preferred position would be at the front of the room, much like your soundbar. Make sure there are no obstructions in front of it that may hinder the booming bass.

Place it at the front of the room, either to the left or to the right of the TV and soundbar. While we understand the logic behind wanting to envelop yourself with sound and placing the subwoofers behind you, they actually work best when they are in sync with the front channel speakers or center channel speakers. 

To do this, they need to be placed close to each other. Since your soundbar is most likely the source of your center channel speaker, your subwoofer should be placed near it.

flat screen TV in between red painting and red chair

Some people register sound better from the left side and others from the right [1]. Determine which one works better for you. Since most highly reviewed soundbars that come with a subwoofer may just include one, you need to decide if you want it to the left or right.

Place it to one side first then test the sound, then do the same for the other side and see which one sounds better. Also, placing your subwoofer in a corner (where a lot of people place theirs) is also beneficial for your bass.

The corner acoustics will help amplify and propel the thundering low notes to your seating area. One thing to note is not to place your sub directly against the wall. Allow a few inches for it to reverberate sound effectively.

If you have a larger room and have opted for two subwoofers, then there would be even less to consider. You can balance the sound by placing each one on either side of the soundbar. They can even be placed a little bit further in front of the TV, again, on either side.

If you have a whole entertainment system, then you have a lot more components to consider such as rear satellite speakers. However, as a general rule of thumb, subs should go to the side of the soundbar.

How Far Can the Subwoofer be from the Soundbar?

Do you have a wired or wireless externals sub? If you have a wired option, then that could really limit your placement options and distance. You can only go as far as the wire lets you.

If you have a wireless sub, then your options are abundant. To have a uniform and consistent sound from both the soundbar and sub, you want minimal lag time in between. This is why you want them to generally come from the same direction, which means the closer it is, the better.

To minimize latency and connection issues like sound delay (for wireless subs), we would suggest not exceeding the general 30-foot limit. For surround sound setups (5 channels or more), you have a bit more freedom and flexibility with the placement.

Do not underestimate the importance of testing. There are multiple placement options and since soundbars are considered portable, it’s quite easy to go back after the fact and adjust the placement.

two boys watching children's program

Can I Put the Subwoofer on a Shelf or Cabinet?

The answer depends on whether your cabinet has doors or some kind of closure. We’re assuming that if it’s a shelf, there are no doors that could work. One thing to also keep in mind is that a subwoofer can be heavy, especially the larger ones so we do not suggest keeping them anywhere too far off the ground.

Remember what we said about hindering the sound? This is done by placing things in front of the path the sound will travel. In other words, you shouldn’t place anything directly in front of a sound device.

Small shelves or cabinets that have no doors can work and also make the aesthetics more pleasing. Some entertainment units have larger compartments on the sides just for the subwoofers.

One thing we will say as well for safety is that devices such as this shouldn’t be placed in enclosed spaces that are too tight. Because technological devices can overheat, it’s better to keep in an open space where it can air itself out.

Not only will the right placement offer you superior sound, but it will also keep you safe and allow your devices to function for longer.

FAQ

Should the subwoofer be next to the soundbar?

Yes, the subwoofer should be next to the soundbar. How close it should be is a different question altogether. Wired options will give you less room for flexibility but wireless options can be adjusted. In general, keep it close to the soundbar but out of the way.

Where does the subwoofer go on a Samsung soundbar?

The subwoofer on a Samsung soundbar should also be close by. You can have a 30-foot breathing room and as long as you stay within the limits of that confine and the sound should not be disrupted. Try not to have any obstructions directly in front of the sub.

photo of living room in black and white

Conclusion

The placement of your subwoofer is just as important as the placement of your soundbar. You can experience clearer and sharper sound if placed correctly. There are many things to consider, but as a general rule, don’t place it too far from the soundbar and TV.

Start enjoying watching movies and listening to music in the comfort of your home, and for cheap! We have reviewed the most affordable Dolby Atmos soundbars without compromised quality, which you can learn all about next!

Willie Greer

Willie Greer is the founder of The Product Analyst. A cinephile, he has made it a personal quest to achieve the awesomest home theater possible. He now shares what he has learned through the years on the site, and has enlisted the help of tech-savvy colleagues in providing more insight about today’s most sought-after gadgets.
Willie Greer

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