Whether you are using a wireless subwoofer with a more robust sound system, or you are simply pairing it with a Soundbar, placement of your wireless sub will be critical to its overall performance. So, is there an ideal location for your wireless sub?
A wireless subwoofer should be placed at least 6 inches away from the wall to allow for acoustic reverberation of low-frequency audio signals. Popular spots include the front left and front right corner (to allow the sound to carry past centered seating options). You can also consider rear placement.
Choosing the right place for your wireless subwoofer will depend on a variety of factors that are more specific to your unique setup and home theater (or living room).
Regardless, a subwoofer can add an irreplaceable sound that will take the overall quality of sound in your home theater to the next level. Of course, getting the placement right is key. Continue reading to gain a better understanding of the ins and outs of wireless subwoofer placement.
Also read: How do Wireless Subwoofers Work?
How to Decide the Best Place for a Wireless Subwoofer
When choosing the right place for your wireless subwoofer, there are many factors that you will need to consider. Just like using a cabled subwoofer, there are many components that will affect the overall quality of sound you are able to achieve based on your subwoofer placement. So, what all do you need to consider?
To decide the best place for a wireless subwoofer, you need to consider if your wireless subwoofer will require an AC power outlet, the natural room size and acoustics, seating options, and other sound equipment in use (including the number of subwoofers). You can test your placement with an SPL meter.
Of course, you can also test the placement of your subwoofer by positioning it in one location and then moving to different seating options and listening to the quality of sound you are able to achieve.
Ideally, the subwoofer should sound the same and provide the same sound experience regardless of where you are seated in your home theater. However, since this is not always possible, you need to do the best you can to make it as even an experience as possible.
Still, some subwoofers are quite heavy and cannot simply be moved from one location to the other with such ease. Because of this, it is best to follow a few standard rules and procedures to select what the most ideal spots to initially test will be. From here, you will have a much more well-thought-out plan to put in place.
Let’s take a closer look at the various components you need to consider to decide the best place for a wireless subwoofer in your home theater:
Power Source Required
Before you are able to determine the placement for your wireless subwoofer, you need to determine if it is truly wireless or not. While this sounds a bit confusing, you need to recognize that powered (active) subwoofers and passive subwoofers do not have the same source of power.
A powered or active subwoofer has a built-in amplifier, so you likely will not be required to connect it to a power source otherwise. In this case, the subwoofer is truly wireless.
However, a passive subwoofer does not have a built-in amp and requires a connection to an additional power source- most often an AC power outlet.
Regardless of which type of wireless subwoofer you are using, you need to determine how the device will receive power. While both options will connect wirelessly to the receiver to receive a low-frequency audio signal for the resounding bass tones, some subwoofers (passive subs) still require a cabled connection to a power source.
Thus, if you are using a subwoofer that you thought was wireless but, in fact, needs to be plugged into function, you will need to position the sub in close enough proximity to a power outlet. Otherwise, you will need to plan for seamless wiring or stretching an extension cord from the nearest source.
Room Size and Acoustics
The room size and acoustics vary from one room to another, and while home theater masterminds are generally able to recommend the most typical spots, you need to consider if you have any unique needs that will require accommodation.
For example, using a small living room in an apartment will have many different audio requirements than situating a dedicated home theater in a room with vaulted ceilings.
While one setup would require you to find the space to allot for each piece of sound equipment, the other would require you to reign in the sound to be able to maintain an authentic surround sound experience.
Regardless of the room size and acoustics, you can typically follow the general rule of thumb for subwoofer placement including keeping it at least 6-inches away from the wall (or a similar surface).
Along with this, you can typically rest assured that placing it in a front corner will allow the subwoofer to emit the bass throughout the room- unblocked before the audio waves reach the listener’s ears.
Still, if you do not like the way that the wireless subwoofer sounds in the front of the room, you can always move it to the rear of the room instead. Since subwoofers are omnidirectional, that is, they do not emit sound waves in a solitary direction, you can maneuver this piece of sound equipment with much greater ease than with others.
Just be sure that you give the subwoofer components room to “breathe” by removing it from being placed directly in contact with another surface (like the wall). Also, you can remove or add sound absorption materials depending on the acoustic needs within your entire home theater room.
The seating options, specifically the number and placement of the seats in your home theater, will play a large role in determining the best placement for your wireless subwoofer.
After all, you want your listeners to really be able to hear the bass from your sub clearly, especially when streaming highly intense movies. To achieve this, you will need to pay attention to where your listeners will be seated.
For example, if you have a row or two of recliners that sit next to one another, mirroring a cinema experience, this type of seating will be far different than spaced out lounge chairs that could be positioned at various heights and closeness to the screen.
In either case, you want to know what your seating options will be for you, your friends, and family so that you can make sure none of the seating options are blocking the sound from being carried to the entirety of the room.
With this in mind, you can see why placing a subwoofer in the middle of your room might not be ideal. Since most subwoofers are placed on the floor or are slightly elevated, they need the additional “breathing room” to carry out the low-frequency audio signals appropriately.
Thus, placing them in front of a large piece of furniture is pointless as the furniture would block the sound from being heard clearly in all other parts of the room.
Other Sound Equipment in Use
To decide the best place for your wireless subwoofer, you also need to consider what other pieces of sound equipment you are currently using. For example, if you are using a 7.1 surround sound system, the acoustic setup will be far different than if you were using a 2.1 surround sound system.
Along with this, if you are using more than one subwoofer, then you would need to consider the effects of this as well. When using one wireless subwoofer, you have a little more freedom to place it in either the front left or right corner, or even in the rear as long as it is given ample room to emit sound.
However, if you are using two subwoofers in your surround sound system setup, you will be able to achieve high-quality bass performance, but you will also need to be a bit more specific about the placement of these two subwoofers.
Specifically, you could place one in each front corner, but you would want to be sure to split up the wireless subs to be able to cover the vast area in your home theater.
Output Tested with an SPL Meter
In either place that you choose to place your wireless subwoofer, you will need to do a few tests to make sure that the sound quality is the same (or as close as possible) in one seating position in your home theater as it is in another location.
To achieve this, you can place the subwoofer in your top-pick location. Then, run an audio test (or just play some music with deep bass) and move around seating positions in your room. If the sub does not sound as good in one position as it does in the other, then you know you will need to make some adjustments.
You can also run a more professional test by using an SPL meter to measure the specific output by your subwoofer. In this case, you will no longer have to guess or rely on your own judgment for how the subwoofer sounds in a variety of seating locations.
Instead, you can rely on the concrete evidence provided to you by the SPL meter used in a few different locations throughout your home theater room.
Jason is a home theater expert with over 10 years of experience in setting up home cinema rooms and systems. What started out as a hobby soon transformed him into an authority in the audio-visual field. He is passionate about providing readers with accurate and up-to-date information on the latest audiovisual technologies and their applications for home theaters. Read more about Jason.