Where to Place Subwoofer in Home Theater

Where to Place Subwoofer in Home Theater
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The proper placement of audio and visual equipment in a home theater room is a significant factor that impacts the entire listening experience, and a good listening experience comes from the proper placement of the surround sound speakers and knowing where to place subwoofer in home theater setups.

It’s not just a plug-and-play scenario when it comes to finding the sweet spots for your speaker cabinets. Some enthusiasts have even turned speaker systems into an exact science, complete with angles and measures of distance that aim to optimize your listening experience.

Surround Sound Speakers: The Placements

As previously mentioned, the proper placement of speakers follow some guidelines which can be condensed into the following rules:

  • Center Channel
    This speaker cabinet is usually the longest of the set and is commonly placed in the same location as the TV screen or projector. This speaker cabinet broadcasts speech and other minor audio details, making its placement in front optimal. Ideally, it should be towards the lower portion of the screen, just right at the center.
  • Front Speakers
    These are composed of two speakers: the left and the right. Both speakers broadcast the soundtrack and special effects from the audio source. Each speaker is in its optimal position if it is an angle wherein the front of the speaker cabinet is directly pointed towards the middle of the room, or the seating area, whichever is applicable.
  • Rear Speakers
    Much like the front speakers, the rear speakers act as redundancies for the front speakers and have the same basic function. Placing the rear speakers though can be a bit tricky as you need to have them facing the seating area, but they must either be parallel to the seats or angled going towards the back of the viewer. Subwoofer

The largest component in a speaker set, the subwoofer acts as the balancer when it comes to very low bass sounds. A great subwoofer, if set-up correctly, can make you feel the vibrations coming from the speaker domes as produced by the audio signal. While most home theater owners would say that you can place this component anywhere, there are still some guidelines to consider to know where to place subwoofer in home theater setups.

Subwoofer Placements: Do’s and Don’ts

Do’s

  • Keep the subwoofer within five feet of the left or right front speakers. This placement complements the front speakers and the center channel as it gives you more in-depth bass notes.
  • Use mobile apps and computer programs to automatically calibrate your subwoofer, especially when you have moved it to another location.
  • Add a second subwoofer to improve the bass distribution for your home theater setup. The second subwoofer is meant to complement the first one, and it should not be a means to fix the issues found in the first sub.
  • Consider the cords included with the package as they can determine the distance between each speaker part. You might need to purchase an extra length of wire, especially if you plan to hook-up a larger area than usual.

Don’ts

  • Place the subwoofer in a corner, even if it does tend to produce better bass sounds that way. A subwoofer in a corner will make it hard for you to achieve the right blend for the home theater setup.
  • Place the subwoofer directly on a flat wall as this would often cause a harsh rumbling sound to be emitted.
  • Place a subwoofer inside another cabinet or under a coffee table. This eliminates the space that the subwoofer needs to breathe and belt out those basslines.
  • Place a subwoofer in the middle of a room as it does not do anything there, and any sound it makes would have no impact on the rest of the speaker set.

Where to Place Subwoofer in Home Theater

There are several lines of thinking when it comes to proper subwoofer placement, each with varying styles and expected output. Here are three of the most popular ways of placing a subwoofer in a home theater setup.

Standard Rules
The standard ruling for the subwoofer is that you should place it in front and must be as close as you can to the seating area. Rearrange the furniture

Rule of Thirds
Using this rule, place the subwoofer about a third of the way in your room and measured from a wall. This is a mathematically sound concept, and it ensures that the seating area gets the most bass from the subwoofer.

Do the Subwoofer Crawl
Most sound engineers attest to the effectivity of the subwoofer crawl in finding the perfect spot for the subwoofer inside a home theater system.

1. Place the subwoofer in the middle of the seating area and then play a bass-heavy track that would let you hear the bass notes.
2. Go down on all fours and start crawling around the room and search which point on the floor gets the best bass reception.
3. Mark the spot with the bass sounds coming from the speakers.
4. Switch the subwoofer with yourself and run another test using the same soundtrack.
5. The new location of the subwoofer should be ideally up front and close to the other devices as well.

The reason why you need to crawl is that the sound waves coming from the audio source travel as close to the ground as possible, which would be the normal way speakers systems can broadcast out.

Calibrating the SubWoofer

Once you have placed the surround speaker system, including the subwoofers, it’s time to calibrate your speakers.

Mind the Crossover
The frequency where subwoofers often start playing the bass notes is called the crossover. More importantly, make sure that the setting of the crossover is at the lowest point of reference of the speakers. For example, the lowest setting for your speaker is 90 Hz then the subwoofer’s crossover should be set at 90 as well.

Adjust the Gains
This is simply the easiest, and yet most taxing part of the calibration. Start by playing a heavy bass tune and then turn the subwoofer volume down until you can no longer hear them. Using your AV receiver, adjust each speaker channel so that you’ll get the best sound from each of them.

The proper placement of each surround sound speaker is a serious matter for specialists and enthusiasts alike. Follow the do’s and the don’ts to make sure that you’re placing the subwoofer correctly. It does take some trial and error but in the end, what you get in return would be worth so much more.

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