Best Subwoofer Installation Guide (Find the Right Subwoofer Placement for Your Room)

Subwoofer installation is one of those annoying and tedious tasks…

Almost no-one wants to take the time to get the sub placed ‘just right’… So moving them about in your listening room is not likely to get you all excited and jumping up and down.

 

Start with a good sub bass system and subwoofer design

The problem- is that the subwoofer placement is more sensitive to its room location than any other speaker in the home theater room.

If you weren’t already aware of this, lets just get that fact out of the way right now. Bass is going to be
ELA-reference-12-high-gloss-home-speaker-subwooferyour biggest hurdle to achieving great sound.

 

Subwoofer-Irritating-Room-Modes :

Room modes are most often responsible for muddy bass.

Room modes are responsible for ‘boomy’ bass.

Don’t get me wrong, a poorly designed subwoofer can wreak havoc on the sound too.

But a poor speaker location in a bad room is not going to sound good no matter how excellent a sub bass system you possess.

You will need a few things to fix this problem; a good subwoofer, a well-designed room, a great subwoofer installation and location, and room correction.

The most difficult issue to fix is the room itself.

No-one has ever argued with me, that its not easy to move your walls and change the dimensions of the listening room. (most people are unwilling or unable to move walls) (Although, if your room has poor acoustics this will reward the better results.)

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*the links above may or may not be found on any other page or on the Left Navigation Bar. This section is to help you find your way to pages within the site from the subwoofer installation page.

So most of us just open the packing box, slide out the sub, stick it in the corner, plug in the subwoofer connections and turn it on. Done!

Subwoofer installation setup guide or subwoofer diagram to find the better home theater room placement.

So the easiest to fix is the subwoofer installation and location.

And location is also one of the problems; because we often only have a few decent positions to stick the subwoofer.

1. Next to a couch

2. Next to the main speakers in front of the room

3. Behind the couch.

4. Sitting in one of the corners

If your goal is to limit room modes the best location is likely near the center of the room. (not the exact center)

For most rooms the best subwoofer installation would be about six inches from the center of the room and about six inches forward or backward from the center lengthwise.

Why?

Bass peaks will be the least severe in these spots because of having no common or doubled distances from the walls. And not being near a wall will keep from boosting the room modes further such as if the sub were sitting in a corner.

For most home theater enthusiast though this is not going to happen. The middle of the room placement SAF is very low. (Spouse Acceptance Factor) Subwoofer speakers are usually pretty large after all.

There is also a negative to this otherwise great location; it will give you little in the way of reinforcement from surfaces. Your only close boundary would be the floor.

Some listeners may complain that the bass is too smooth in this location, or that it is not loud enough. Also, you may need more gain in this area even though it is positioned closest to you. For this reason, it is also possible to overdrive and damage the subwoofer because of the above reasons.

But if you have a good sub woofer that can push lots of air, you may get very good results by placing the sub under the coffee table or build one that looks like a coffee table. Here good subwoofer plans are crucial.

See some examples of a subwoofer kit for Speaker Building – Build your perfect speaker with our parts and supplies from crossover components to full kits.Wilson made a speaker like this some years ago for this very reason; I had the pleasure of hearing this Wilson Sub woofer at Progressive Audio in Columbus Ohio, that thing was awesome.

Most people want the boundary reinforcement from placing the sub woofer speaker in or close to a corner. Corner subwoofer installation are fine; but will yield the most boom, and peak your room modes more than placements that are away from the walls.

Room modes are determined by the boundaries of your room. The distance between your floor and ceiling and walls will dictate the type of response your room will have.

A good room is one that does not have the same measurements or length, width and height. Even better is if the dimensions are also not divisible by one another. In other words, your floor to ceiling height is not ½ of the room width or length. The same holds true for the width and length; you want each dimension to be ‘alone’. This will keep your room resonance controlled by not allowing certain frequencies to be boosted twice by the room boundaries.

How to tune your sub woofer installation:

Start with a subwoofer installation location that you can live with. Now make some test sweeps with some speaker measurement software and see what you turn up. Move the sub again about 2 feet in any direction.

Repeat by moving it all four directions from your first spot. Save each of the results on your computer and compare them. – Then Note which location offers the best response.

Now for fun; place the sub close to the center of the room. Measure again; what did you find?

Finally, place the subwoofer system in one of the front corners of the room and make some test sweeps. Need a wireless subwoofer? Keep the one you have and make it wireless.

By now you should be getting a really good handle on which room modes are the worst in your home theater room and in which locations.

Narrow down the best location that you can find by repeatedly moving the sub and measuring the response.

When you have located the best measuring spot and placement that you can live with begin listening to some familiar music.

You will need to adjust the level of the bass to match with your main speakers as the new location is likely to have less pressure spiking and boom. (at least it should be more smooth sounding)

Room Correction for the Best Subwoofers:

After you have found the best spot now is a good time to implement room correction. Room correction cannot fix a terrible room. But it often can help tremendously.

Room correction can go a long way for smoothing the response of a speaker system. They do this by pulling the peaks in the response down or by lowering the volume level of known resonant peaks.

This usually gives the music and movies a more articulate and accurate sound while sounding less like one note bass.Depending on some room modes though, the bass peaks can be so severe that not even room correction can fix them.

I have had home theater systems installed in rooms like these. These highly ‘peaky’ rooms are terrible to correct.

Better bass? see the Velodyne Room Correction Kit.

Room correction does not need to be performed only at the subwoofer level.

1. Some newer home theater receivers use room correction.

2. Computers or an HTPC, Media server can be used to correct for sub woofer installation and room modes. (If it is outfitted with the right software and hardware.)

3. Stand alone room correction devices also can work quite well and offer a cost effective way to improve the playback of bass in the home environment.

4. Some subwoofers audio systems use room correction filters in their amplifier processing. One of these such products is the Velodyne DD18 subwoofer. Speaker Building – Build your perfect speaker with our parts and supplies from crossover components to full kits.

Summary for subwoofer Placement:

Any option you choose is likely to offer you more flexibility and options for your home theater room and overall enjoyment.

If you have the funds; I would encourage you to experiment with the subwoofer locations and room correction methods as your budget allows.

Want better bass? Get the Velodyne Room Correction Kit.

To see some sub woofer kits that you can easily build yourself check out these models withParts Express – Free Shipping Every Day on most orders over $98 (Restrictions apply).

Other Atricles Related to Subwoofer Installation and Sub woofer Basics:

sub woofer reviews
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subwoofer wiring diagram

To Learn more about the Home Theater PC or HTPC see this page

 

To learn to Build HTPC by yourself see this article

 

Learn more about the DIY Speaker and how to Make Your Own

 

Speaker Box Plans ideas and Subwoofer Plans and ideas

 

Use this to Measure Your Subwoofer and Room Response -Subwoofer Room EQ Wizard page – Subwoofer Test Pattern and Measurements

 

Speaker Cabinet Design and Learn How to Make your Own Subwoofer Box designs

 

Speaker Cabinet Hardware

 

Home Theater Subwoofers

 

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