Setting up your subwoofer in your home theater room can feel like such an amazing finishing touch. At last, your bass will be bumping and your movie experience will feel like the real deal. In terms of subwoofer placement, though, can you place it behind the couch?
While subwoofers are often placed in the front left corner of the room, putting a subwoofer behind the couch (as long as it remains 25-35cm from the wall) can be optimal and help with localization. To test the best location for a subwoofer in your space, use an SPL to measure frequency response.
In some home theaters, placing the subwoofer behind the couch will not be the best for the low-frequency audio signal emission, but in others, behind the couch is the perfect spot.
This is why testing the location by moving the subwoofer to a few different spots in your unique home theater is ideal. Still, if you are considering placing it behind the couch, this can be highly advantageous for many. Let’s take a closer look.
When Can You Put the Subwoofer Behind the Couch?
If you are considering placing the subwoofer for your home theater behind the couch, you might be considering this for a variety of reasons.
While there are many different opinions on what will provide you with the most optimized sound experience, it is important to test this location out for yourself. Still, before you get to this step, there are a few reasons that you might want to put the subwoofer behind the couch.
Knowing when you can put the subwoofer behind the couch is dependent on the SPL rating ensuring that the low-frequency response emission is in your target range.
Since acoustics vary from home to home, you will want to run a performance test to ensure the highest quality audio experience.
Still, there are many reasons that you would want to put the subwoofer behind the couch in the first place. If these are true for your unique home theater sound system setup, then you can comfortably consider this subwoofer placement option.
Reasons you might want to put the subwoofer behind the couch include:
Better Sound Quality
The primary purpose of your subwoofer placement should be the overall sound quality that it produces. Truly, there is an art and a science behind the placement of sound system equipment.
Any experienced professional can tell you about the years that it can take to come up with the perfect speaker placement in their home- yet, any amateur can use the help of guides and meters to help promote the most optimized performance.
If you are wondering if you can put a subwoofer behind the couch, this is likely because you are concerned with how the sound quality will be affected.
Fortunately for you, placing the subwoofer behind the couch can be a great way to optimize the low-frequency audio signal emissions as long as you follow a few guidelines.
For example, you will want to make sure that the subwoofer still remains about a foot away from the wall so that the audio waves are given ample room to spread throughout your home theater room- appropriately reverberating throughout your space.
Whether you are using a down-firing or front-firing subwoofer, you will want to pay attention to how it sounds once you set this placement.
There are two main options for testing the sound quality of the subwoofer in your home theater- especially if you are considering placing it behind your couch as opposed to in the front of the room.
Primarily, you should move the subwoofer into the location options that you have in mind considering the other speakers in your sound system. Run a few performance tests and see what type of audio experience this is providing for you.
Secondly, you can run a more reliable test with an SPL meter to measure the frequency response (hertz) of the subwoofer when placed behind your couch versus when placed in the front left of the room, for example. This will give you numbers that you can work with to provide an accurate gauge of how to best consider your options going forward.
If you move the subwoofer behind your couch and you like how it sounds in cohesion with your other sound equipment, and it also meets the appropriate range on your SPL meter, then you can assume that placement behind your couch could be a good spot.
Using appropriate guidelines, then, you can continue to set up your room in a way that fosters the best sound quality for your subwoofer’s low-frequency audio.
Subwoofers are Omnidirectional
Many are concerned about the placement of their speakers because of the direction that the audio waves will be transmitted, and rightfully so. However, the angle that you place an omnidirectional subwoofer is of less importance because its soundwaves are set to be able to be sent all throughout the room.
Because of this, the placement distance from the wall then becomes almost more important (or at least as important) as the location of the subwoofer in your home theater room.
As long as you are giving your subwoofer room to breathe, including spacing it a minimum of 25cm from the nearest wall or piece of furniture, then you should be good to go. This includes subwoofer placement behind a couch.
Saving Space in the Front of Your Home Theater
Another reason that you might be considering placing your subwoofer behind the couch is to save space in the front of your home theater. Home theaters can be highly impressive or overly cumbersome, and this is all dependent on how you choose to arrange your equipment.
Even if you are working in a small home theater space, you can choose to arrange the sound equipment in a way that is both functional and well-designed.
This could mean that you want to move your subwoofer behind the couch. Moving the subwoofer behind the couch, especially when it has been tested and can provide high-quality audio, can be a great way to clear up some space in the front of your home theater.
Since subwoofers can weigh up to several hundred pounds, it can be an exceptional move to transport your subwoofer out of sight- yet in a location that its audio signals can still be clearly heard- and sometimes even felt.
If you want to make room for additional speakers, a larger screen, or simply clear out some of the space in the front of the room, testing your subwoofer placement behind the couch is a great option.
Preferred Aesthetic Appeal
Along with the ability to save space in the front of your home theater, you might be considering placing the subwoofer behind the couch for the increased overall aesthetic appeal of your home theater room.
There is no doubt that home theater rooms can serve to impress your friends and family and make them feel welcomed into your home.
Part of this has to do with the placement of your speakers. While they should be highly functional and promote a high-quality audio experience, they should also be tidied up in a way that is balanced and less distracting for the viewer.
If moving the subwoofer behind the couch (at an appropriate placement) means you can remove the visual clutter from near the screen, this is another reason you should consider this as a strong option.
Increased Cohesion with All of Your Sound System Equipment
Finally, if you are considering placing your subwoofer behind your couch, you want to make sure that this is the best option for your entire sound system.
Even if your subwoofer has low port noise and is totally fine to sit behind you without being distracting, placement behind the couch can become less than ideal if it disrupts the overall sound quality of your entire sound system.
For this reason, it is incredibly important to consider the overall effect that the placement of your subwoofer behind the couch will have on the rest of the speakers in your sound system.
For many people, placing the subwoofer behind the couch will do nothing but bolster the overall sound quality as the low-frequency bass is bolstered in a way that allows those in your home theater to really soak in the bass.
For others, placing the subwoofer behind the couch and not having an appropriate crossover can mean that your guests are frightened to death the first time a loud boom comes from behind their seats in your home theater space.
Adjusting these ratings in accordance with your entire system is critical to being able to comfortably decide that placing the subwoofer behind the couch is a good idea.
Another point on this line to consider is whether the subwoofer has speakers that are dependent on it or rely on the subwoofer in any way.
If you have speakers that are meant to work directly with your subwoofer, and those speakers need to be placed in the front, then bringing the subwoofer to the back of the room could pose an issue with the directional line used in your sound system.
Consequently, this could result in a poor-quality audio solution for your home theater room.
Still, if you are using a subwoofer that is entirely independent of speakers like these, and you are still able to use it in cohesion with the other pieces of sound equipment in your home theater, then placing it behind the couch can be a great option to test out.
Regardless, it is important to remember that testing out the speaker and subwoofer placement in your home theater is unique to you, the specific equipment that you are using, the natural acoustics of your home theater, any furniture or carpeting that is in the room, and a variety of other factors.
So, run a few tests, and keep in mind the option to place the subwoofer behind the couch. Check out my recommended subwoofers for home theater.
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.