Soundbar Subwoofer Placement: Where and Why It Matters
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Soundbar Subwoofer Placement

Soundbar Subwoofer Placement

Subwoofer placement can be a little bit tricky. Since it’s a separate device from the soundbar, it might be confusing where to position it.

To help you out, our audio experts put together a guide for ideal subwoofer placements that will help bring out the best bass tones from your sub.

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 close by without considering how the placement affects the sound. Our experts say the optimal position would depend on your setup, the size of your TV, 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, the equation may be 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 the sub that may hinder the bass.

The sub should be placed either left or right of the TV and the 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. 

close-up of a Sony subwoofer

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.

Experts say that some people register sound better from the left side and others from the right [1]. So, for the best experience, determine which one works better for you. Since most highly reviewed soundbars come with a subwoofer, you need to decide if you want it to the left or right.

Of course, you can only do this by testing it yourself. Place the sub 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) can give your bass an additional punch. The corner acoustics will help amplify and propel the thundering low notes to your seating area.

flat screen TV in between red painting and red chair

However, 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 you’ve opted for two subwoofers, then you don’t even need to choose between left or right. You can balance the sound by placing each one on either side of the soundbar. They can even be positioned 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 on the side of the soundbar.

Here are some ideas for soundbars that are suitable for larger rooms, if you need to fill your space.

How Far Can the Subwoofer be from the Soundbar?

Do you have a wired or wireless external sub? If you have a wired option, 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 you have more flexibility with your options. You still want to place it close to the soundbar though. That’s because you don’t want to have lag time in between them, as placing the sub too far from the soundbar can hinder a uniform and consistent sound. 

two boys watching children's program

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. Multiple placement options will give you a different sound effect, so it’s worth tinkering to get the best quality. And since soundbars and subwoofers are pretty portable, it’s quite easy to go back after the fact and adjust the placement.

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 would work because there’s no blockade. 

However, one thing to also keep in mind is that a subwoofer can be heavy, especially the larger ones. As such, we do not suggest keeping your sub anywhere that’s too far off the ground. A drop from a high point can damage it and you’d need to buy a new one.

Remember what we said about hindering the sound? This occurs when there are things in front of the path where the sound travels. 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. They can also make the aesthetics more pleasing. In fact, some entertainment units have larger compartments on the sides just for the subwoofers. Yes, now you know that’s what those are for.

photo of living room in black and white

One thing worth noting for safety is that devices such as this shouldn’t be placed in tight, enclosed spaces. Because technological devices can overheat, it’s better to keep your subwoofer in an open space where it can air itself out.

With all these in mind, you have all the tools you need for placing your subwoofer in the spot you prefer. The right placement not only gives superior sound, but it also keeps 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 that distance, the sound should not be disrupted. Try not to have any obstructions directly in front of the sub.

Conclusion

The placement of your subwoofer is just as important as the placement of your soundbar. If your subwoofer is placed correctly, you can experience clearer and sharper sound. 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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