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 profile 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 a crucial equipment of any home theater because it deals with reproducing 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 also equally important to have it in the right position for you to enjoy its maximum benefits.
Investing on world class home cinema subwoofers from Klipsch 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.
Home theater subwoofer being an omni directional sound source, emits sound spherically. It is due to this unique feature that you can place your subwoofer conveniently in any place of your choice. Though there are multiple alternatives 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 the levels of excellence in performance. Placing the subwoofer directly on the floor allows you to experience quality sound output.
Below mentioned are a few suggestions that will guide you in selecting the best place for your powered subwoofer.
When Home theater subwoofer is placed at the corner close to the walls, more powerful bass is produced. But a Home theater subwoofer’ close proximity to a flat wall, especially to a corner might create an uneven, boomy bass response which might be unpleasant to feel and hear. If the Subwoofer is of ported type, it features a small opening to facilitate airflow. In such case, you would want to keep it at a certain distance from the wall to allow the optimum air circulation.
In front of the wall:
Placing Home cinema subwoofer in front of the wall complements the main speakers to produce well integrated sound. Placing powered subwoofer at the front also allows for easy connections with the home theater receiver. Try employing the “Rule of thirds” which advices to divide the length of the room into 3 parts and place the subwoofer at the boundary of first part.
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 subwoofers are installed inside special boxes that are isolated from the room. It however requires professional assistance due to the need of extra labour, external amplification and crossovers. Since these in-wall subwoofers have greater requirements; they might prove to be a bit pricier than the normal subwoofers. Irrespective of this, they perform exceptionally well in delivering good sound.
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.
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 couch or table could potentially weaken the sound effect, hamper the best sound experience as well as subject the couch to considerable vibrations.
In order 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 other seating positions as well as bass response varies from seat to seat.
In case of a large sized home theater, using more than just one Home theater subwoofer will let you achieve even bass throughout the room.
As stated before, having good audio video systems is just one stepping stone towards achieving 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 will help you even out the bass response and avoid “One note bass” that is generally associated with smaller home theater rooms. Know more about acoustic treatment for a Home Theater through Beginners Guide to Soundproofing & Acoustics.