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Maximizing the sound setup in your listening room

 

Surround soundIt may seem counterintuitive, but the ultimate goal in properly placing your subwoofer is to create the illusion that it’s not there. The full, rich, big sound should seem like it’s all coming from your speakers. Your subwoofer should be the strong and silent type, while your speakers garner all the glory.

The setup of the sub is critical towards achieving this goal. But don’t worry if you’re not a custom installer. Here are some basic tips for setting up your new sub.

I always recommend experimenting with the placement of the sub. If you have some flexibility, placing it in the corner will usually increase the output by about 6dB. That’s due to what’s called the corner loading effect. But corner placement may also exaggerate your room’s peaks and valleys, so experimentation is still a good idea.

A good place to start is by pinpointing your prime listening position, better known as “the sweet spot”. In layman’s terms, pick your favorite chair or couch spot. Now place your sub in that spot, but not on the floor. It’s best to place it directly on the chair or couch. The idea is to place the sub in the exact location you’ll be sitting most of the time. Now turn on your favorite music, preferably something that’s heavy on the bass.

Now you’re ready to crawl around on the ground to all the locations in the room where you might place the sub. The object here is to identify the spots where the bass sounds the most full and natural. Remember that this isn’t a test of your bass expertise. Sound is subjective and the best spot is going to be the one where the bass sounds the best to your ears. That’s the spot for your sub.

Some additional tips for your listening pleasure

  • Another item to consider is proper output level.  A common tendency is to set the sub volume too loud. The goal here is to integrate the sub into the speaker system so it works seamlessly, producing sound in equal parts throughout the entire frequency range.
  • Keep in mind that hard surfaces are reflective and will generally produce sound that’s a little on the bright side. If you have hardwood floors, an area rug or something soft will help prevent sound reflection by absorbing it and preventing it from bouncing back and “blurring” out other sounds.
  • If your speakers and sub are all small, keep the sub within a few feet of the front left or right speaker. This is so the bass sounds like it’s coming from the speakers, not the sub. If your speakers and sub are fairly large, you have more options for placement.

Does anyone out there have their own personal tips for subwoofer placement? I’d love to hear them!

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About AudiOdysseus

My name is AudiOdysseus and my journey with Velodyne began last year. Admittedly, I would never describe myself as a hero of any kind and I tend to get seasick in open water. But I would say that I’m a natural problem-solver and a strategist. And I love adventure. There is nothing I appreciate more than exploring new territories and gathering information about the world around me. Those are the types of things that keep my mind engaged and my soul elated. Those are also the types of posts you can expect from me. I’ll be writing mostly about new gadgets, emerging trends, and my work-related travels to other lands. By the way, watch out for the BenevolentSiren. Her words are sweet and captivating, but she can be a tricky if you lose your way.

3 Responses to “Maximizing the sound setup in your listening room”

  1. J L Hall April 16, 2012 at 3:36 pm #

    To me the most important objective in placing the subwoofer
    is to make sure its time-aligned with the main speakers. I place
    my sub exactly between the left and right speakers, with the woofer
    cone magnet aligned as closely as possible with the main drivers.

    I set the crossover at the lowest possible point, and back the
    volume way down. Then in listening test, I advance the volume
    on the sub until I get the most natural integrated sound. I find
    this setup works well for my system which includes planar speakers.

    • AudiOdysseus April 16, 2012 at 4:34 pm #

      Thanks for the great tip…much appreciated!

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