There are many different places you can put your soundbar, and some locations sound and work better than others. In fact, you can even use a soundbar without a TV (our tutorial), proving just how useful a soundbar can be. If you have a TV/entertainment cabinet, you may be wondering if placing a soundbar in a cabinet is a viable thing to do.
You can put a soundbar in a cabinet, but only if the cabinet is open-facing. If it’s closed, the cabinet will interfere with sound quality, and could lead to overheating and failure of remotes using IR signals.
There are definitely some red flags when it comes to putting a soundbar in a cabinet, but if you like the look and feel of a soundbar in a cabinet, there are ways to make it work well for your home entertainment setup.
Placing a Soundbar in a Cabinet: Is It Okay?
If you’re thinking about placing your soundbar in a cabinet, you may first consider other options. While some media components can fare well in a cabinet, a soundbar’s ideal location is not within a cabinet. A clean looking cabinet like the Walker Edison WE Furniture TV Stand (on Amazon) looks like it has room for a small soundbar in it, but when you close the doors, it’s going to really muffle the sound output.
But if you consider a cabinet like the Bonzy Home Glossy TV Stand (also on Amazon), it’s clear that you have a nice flat surface that the soundbar can sit on that is still clean and out of the way. Most soundbars are designed to sit at the base of the TV, or to be mounted on the wall below a TV, but as you can see some TV cabinets are able to manage the soundbar well.
If you’ve seen our article exploring putting your soundbar behind the TV, then you’ll know that we generally don’t recommend having anything in front of the soundbar, which rules out TV cabinet doors.
How to Make a Cabinet Work for a Soundbar
Many times, people want to put soundbars in cabinets to sort of “hide” them, while still enjoying them to their fullest. Maybe you have a cabinet you love, and it provides an opportunity for hiding your soundbar. If you want to see if you can make your current cabinet work, here’s what you need to provide:
Lots of Space
When it comes to putting a soundbar in a cabinet, space is a major concern. Your cabinet needs to provide more space than just fitting the actual physical soundbar. It can’t barely fit the soundbar — it needs to be a very spacious spot.
You’ll need to make sure to provide optimal ventilation surrounding the soundbar. Ideally, you’ll have ventilation on all sides. Within the cabinet, it’s best to create an open shelf (as much as possible) to allow the soundbar to breathe properly.
If you don’t provide proper ventilation, your soundbar can overheat, and it can shorten its life. Overheated technology can malfunction and cause permanent damage. Technology and excess heat do not mix.
Room for Connections
Need another reason to provide lots of space in your soundbar’s cabinet location? You’ll also need room for your connections. Remember, you will likely be connecting several cables to your soundbar, depending on your soundbar’s input options and your current home theater components.
Why a Cabinet is Not the Best Option
While you can put your soundbar in a cabinet and optimize its “living area”, you may not want to. No matter how much space and breathing room you give it, it still may not match up to the amount of breathing room and space as another location.
Additionally, soundbars are not meant to be kept in cabinets. They are designed to produce long wavelengths by allowing sound to travel throughout the room, so you can feel the full effect. A cabinet, more often than not, will block some of the sound waves from properly distributing throughout the room.
And since cabinets are usually somewhat enclosed, this can attribute to overheating, even with adjustments in giving it breathing room and more space.
Best Placement Options for Soundbars
When buying a soundbar, its placement is a crucial factor affecting the sound, performance, and overall enjoyment. The best placement for your soundbar depends on the placement of the TV, your soundbar’s size and style, as well as what your room allows.
A soundbar should always be placed near your TV to allow them to communicate to one another properly. Some popular placement options for soundbars include:
- Mounted below or above the TV – You’ll often see soundbars mounted below or above the TV. The TV may be mounted or not, but if your soundbar is able to be mounted (even vertically – our tutorial), below or above the TV is a great option for sound, plus accessibility to your remote sensor. Be sure to check out our article comparing above vs. below soundbar mounting.
- Placed in front of the TV on an entertainment center – If your TV has a stand that allows the screen to be a few inches off of the surface, you can place a slim soundbar in front of it without interfering with the viewing.
- Placed below the TV on an entertainment center – If your TV is mounted but you have an entertainment center below, you can place your soundbar on the top surface for optimal conditions.
- On an open shelf – Similar to a cabinet, an open shelf is another good placement option. It can help provide a minimalist look and feel, and it is a good option if your soundbar isn’t mountable.
What to Look For in a Soundbar Cabinet
If you like the idea of putting your soundbar in a cabinet but your current cabinet won’t work well, you may decide to look for a new cabinet that works better with your soundbar. A great soundbar cabinet needs to be spacious, open, and have room for your connections.
The more room, the better. A soundbar cabinet should have around approximately three inches of space surrounding the soundbar on all sides to function optimally. The cabinet you choose will need to have a least one shelf that can properly fit the size and shape of your soundbar.
A great option for a soundbar cabinet is a floating entertainment stand, which provides a lot of space, is open, and is designed to fit media components (including cables). Many floating TV stands are much like open shelving — they are roomy and open.
While it may not be ideal to keep your soundbar in a cabinet, you can make changes to the cabinet to optimize the space and its performance. Cabinets can be a nice way of keeping your media components neat and tidy — especially in a main living area.
No matter which route you go, you’ll just need to make sure to keep space on all sides, ventilation room, and room for cables in mind when deciding where to place your soundbar.