It 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.
- 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!