Whether you already have a soundbar and you’re adding a subwoofer to it or you’re looking to purchase a soundbar package that includes a subwoofer, it’s important to know where to put it. Subwoofers add great bass and enhance low-pitched audio, which are crucial to a great sound system. Having those elements is the easy part – the harder part is finding out where to place it to achieve the best sound.
So where should you place a subwoofer with a soundbar? The best placement for your subwoofer depends on your room and your subwoofer. Subwoofers are most often kept in the front of the room and often placed in a front corner. However, it’s important to test out different locations to find the best sound.
Do you have a big or a small room? Is the soundbar and subwoofer in your living room, or is it in a dedicated home theater room? Is your subwoofer wireless or wired into your soundbar? Is your subwoofer compact or large? Do you have one subwoofer or two? Let’s find out where the ideal placement for your subwoofer is, based on your current setup and best practices.
Where Should I Put My Subwoofer for My Soundbar?
When it comes to finding the best place for your subwoofer, the optimal placement for your room may be different from the next person. You need to take into account your room dynamics and your subwoofer’s qualities, but popular placements are a good starting point.
Popular Subwoofer Placements for Soundbars
More often than not, subwoofers are placed in the front of the room and facing the room. The front of the room is an ideal location in many rooms so that your subwoofer sounds in sync with your front channel speakers. Even if that doesn’t end up being the best spot for you, it’s a good place to start.
If you do decide to start with the front of the room, you can try to set it next to your TV. Test it out on both the left and the right side of the TV to hear which one sounds best to you.
Additionally, a corner in the front of the room might be the best placement for you and is a popular choice for many households, unless it’s a long distance from your seating.
Corner placement often enhances the subwoofer sound. A corner can be a great place for a larger subwoofer, as long as it sounds good, because it doesn’t take away from the viewing experience.
It’s important that if you do choose a corner or a wall placement that you do not place it directly against the wall. Your subwoofer, no matter the size, needs to be at least six inches from the wall to breathe and sound properly.
Subwoofer Placement for Your Room
Your room size plays a huge role in the acoustics of your soundbar sound system. If you have a smaller room, there may just be one place that your subwoofer sounds good and can fit. If you have a larger room, you have more options, and your subwoofer’s sound will have more room to travel.
Your room’s seating also plays a big role in your subwoofer placement. If you have rows of seating, a front spot next to the TV may not be the best spot, since only the front row will get the great sound from it.
Your best bet may be in a corner or somewhere else that allows everyone to enjoy the subwoofer’s sound elements. You’ll have to test this out by sitting in different seats and listening to your subwoofer in different places.
Will your subwoofer be in a living room or a dedicated home theater room? If your subwoofer is in a living room, you will want to maintain the style of the room, so keeping your subwoofer in a discrete location may be important to you. If it’s a dedicated home theater important, the location is more flexible.
Understanding The Subwoofer That Goes With Your Soundbar
Do you have a compact subwoofer or a large one? If you have a large room, you may have chosen a large subwoofer to ensure that it fills out the room completely, but the location needs to be strategic to not take away from the viewing enjoyment. A compact subwoofer can be placed in many different spots, so you’ll have to test it out to see which one is right.
Is your subwoofer wired to your soundbar or wireless? If wired, you may want to find a way to hide/cover your wiring, and it may not be able to go as far from your soundbar as a wireless subwoofer. A wireless subwoofer allows for a wide range of different placements: on the entertainment center, on the floor, on a shelf, behind the main seating area, etc.
Do you have more than one subwoofer? If you have a large room, you may decide to get dual subwoofers. In that case, they are best placed on both sides of the room. Test them out right next to the TV or a short distance from it, and you may also try them in front of the TV on each side.
There are, of course, even more details you could dive into. For instance, you need to consider the resistance of your soundbar and how to pick one that fits your setup (our guide here), but for most people we recommend a 4 or 8 ohm subwoofer for their home theater setup.
How Far Can a Subwoofer Be from a Soundbar?
The distance a subwoofer can be from a soundbar depends on whether or not your subwoofer is wired or wireless. Since your soundbar houses your front speakers, it’s a good idea for the two to stay somewhat close together, in order to sound congruent.
If your subwoofer is wired, you can go as far away from the soundbar as the wires allow. If your subwoofer is wireless, it can be placed as far away as you’d like. However, especially in 2.1 and 3.1 soundbar setups, it’s a good idea to place them fairly close together to achieve the best sound.
Most wireless subwoofers have a range of about 30 feet or so. Any further and you could run into some latency or intermittent connectivity issues.
Can I Put a Subwoofer in a Cabinet?
Since subwoofers often sound best in the front of the room, you may be wondering if they can be placed inside a cabinet or enclosed on a shelf in your entertainment center. It is a common question, since many times, you don’t necessarily want to be looking at your subwoofer all of the time.
Unfortunately, placing a subwoofer in a cabinet is a bad idea unless there is a very breathable material in front of where the subwoofer is firing.
Subwoofers shouldn’t go in the cabinets, because they won’t sound good. You’re hindering the sound from moving throughout the room. The sound will be stuck in the cabinet or enclosure and may even add unnecessary vibrations and jiggling sounds, due to its power.
Additionally, technology shouldn’t be placed in small enclosed spaces, in general, because it can overheat and malfunction. To ensure your subwoofer and sound system components last a long time, keep them in spaces where they can breathe and function properly.
How to Choose the Right Subwoofer for My Soundbar
If you’re still trying to decide which subwoofer to choose for your soundbar, the right one depends on which soundbar you have, your current additional speakers, your room, and your personal preferences.
Depending on your soundbar, you may be limited to a certain number of options for subwoofers. Some soundbars are only compatible with one subwoofer or a line of subwoofers. For example, the Bose SoundTouch 300 is only compatible with an Acoustimass subwoofer.
Sometimes, they come as a package deal but can often be bought separately. Some are compatible with any subwoofer, which is a great benefit to many soundbars. Keep in mind, almost all soundbars are only compatible with a single subwoofer that is usually included with the soundbar.
If you have compact speakers, in addition to your soundbar’s internal speakers, you may want to choose a compact subwoofer to match if possible. These most likely work best in a small room. They also help maintain a certain aesthetic to the room, which is helpful if your sound system is in a living room.
If you have a large room, you will want to choose a high-powered subwoofer and/or a large one if possible. A large subwoofer doesn’t always mean it’s the best fit for a large room, but oftentimes, it does. It’s important to check the power qualities, in addition to the size.
Lastly, you’ll want to take wiring into account. Do you want your subwoofer to wirelessly connect to your soundbar or connect via wiring? This comes down to your personal preferences, as well as your soundbar’s capabilities.
As long as your soundbar can connect to your subwoofer wirelessly, you are good to purchase a wireless subwoofer, or maybe you’d rather get a soundbar with a built-in subwoofer like what we’ve chosen for our top 10 list.
Additional Components to Add After a Subwoofer
After adding on a subwoofer, you may be wondering what you could add on next to make your sound even better. In addition your soundbar’s built-in speakers, which are your front speakers, and the subwoofer, you may want to start thinking about rear speakers, as long as your soundbar is compatible.
Rear speakers take your sound system from a 2.1 or 3.1 system to a 5.1 system, which helps you achieve surround sound. With a 3.1 system, you do get great sound, but you can’t deny that it is front-heavy. With a 3.1 system, your rear speakers help you fill the room with sound and make it even more enjoyable.
Check out our blog post for all of the surround sound channels explained to learn more!