The basic purpose of building a home theater is for you to feel the sensational cinematic movie thrill. Cinema theater delivers such immersive sound because of its exquisite acoustics and high-end audio devices.
It is possible to bring the same effect home if we follow similar protocols. Front LCR speakers, surrounds, ceiling atmos, and a subwoofer are a must-have in every home theater design.
Subwoofer (mostly powered in a home cinema scenario) is crucial for any home theater because it reproduces the essential low frequencies. It is this that enables you to relish every beat of your music. When a Home cinema subwoofer holds such great significance, it is equally important to have it in the right position to enjoy its maximum benefits.
Investing in world-class home cinema subwoofers from Klipsch, Paradigm, or QSC isn’t enough. You must also know its characters, your home theater features and layouts for you to understand the best possible placement option for your Subwoofer.
The Home theater subwoofer being an omnidirectional sound source emits sound spherically. Due to this unique feature, you can place your Subwoofer conveniently in any place of your choice.
Though multiple alternatives are available, always consider the position that delivers good bass towards your Home theater seating area.
Home cinema subwoofers vary in sizes depending on the brand, in-built features, and levels of performance. Placing the subwoofers directly on the floor or hung from the ceiling allows you to experience quality sound output.
Below are a few suggestions that will guide you in selecting the best place for your powered Subwoofer.
1. The corners:
When you place the Home theater subwoofer at the corner close to the walls, more powerful bass is produced. But a Single Home theater subwoofer close to a flat wall, especially to a corner, might create an uneven, boomy bass response that might be unpleasant to feel and hear.
But if you happen to own four capable home theater subwoofers, The 4 room corners might be the best place for them.
If the Subwoofer is of ported type, it features a small opening to facilitate airflow. You would want to keep it at a certain distance from the wall to allow optimum air circulation in such a case.
2. In front of the wall:
Placing Home cinema subwoofer in front of the wall complements the main speakers to produce well-integrated sound. Placing a powered Subwoofer at the front also allows for easy connections with the home theater receiver.
Try employing the “Rule of thirds”, which advises to divide the length of the room into 3 parts and place the Subwoofer at the boundary of the first part.
3.Inside the wall:
The increased availability of in-wall subwoofers is becoming increasingly popular because of the extra advantage of having invisible subs. These in-wall or in-ceiling subwoofers are installed inside special boxes that are isolated from the room.
However, it requires professional assistance due to the need for extra labour, external amplification, and crossovers. Since these in-wall/in-ceiling subwoofers have more critical requirements, they might prove to be a bit pricier than the standard subwoofers.
4. Inside a cabinet:
Home theater Audio cabinets must be your last option for installing Home theater subwoofers as they diminish the purpose of having one. The bass waves need to move freely in the room to create the necessary atmosphere.
The closed compartments of Home theater audio cabinets defeat this bass effect even when you have superior quality, high SPL Klipsch or QSC Subwoofers.
5. Under the couch:
Subwoofers under the couch could save you some space and even serves as a good hideout. However, placing the Subwoofer under a sofa or table could potentially weaken the sound effect, hamper the best sound experience, and subject the sofa to considerable vibrations.
To decide on the best position, connect your powered Subwoofer to the Home theater receiver and play a music track with loads of bass. Sit down in your regular seating spot in the room and listen to the track multiple times.
Try the same with the Subwoofer at several other places to know the position of best performance. You might want to do the trial at different seating positions, and bass response varies from seat to seat.
For an even fine bass performance, you can try and talk to an audio expert to understand the low-frequency modal behaviour of your room and place the subwoofers accordingly.
As stated before, having good audio video systems is just one stepping stone towards achieving an efficient home theater experience.
Any Home cinema room, for that matter, will need good acoustical treatment with a perfect mixture of absorption, diffusion and bass trapping to give you ideal output from your Subwoofer.
Professionally designed, room-specific bass traps & Audio System calibration will help you even out the bass response and avoid “One note bass” that is generally associated with smaller home theater rooms.