The Best Place To Put Your Sub
Our custom Installer John Sciacca reached out to subwoofer manufacturers and asked their tips for getting the most bass out of discreet installs, here's what they had to say about the best place to put your sub:
Your room’s dimensions and unique acoustics play a major role in how the sub sounds, and all the manufacturers weighed in on the need to position your sub correctly. You may be surprised to learn that the corner probably isn’t the best place.
Velodyne’s Joe Finn commented, “The boundary effect [from a sub in the corner] will result in the bass being naturally amplified versus center placement. This can accentuate any room-influenced cancellation or exaggeration of specific bass frequencies, making the sound ‘boomy’ or swallowing up certain notes.”
Paul DiComo from Definitive Technology echoed that a sub in the corner “will yield the loudest bass but not necessarily the smoothest bass.” So, if your system sounds like it only plays one blaringly loud note, the corner is likely to blame.
Finn also advised, “Avoid locating the sub close to an opening into another room. That’s almost always a bad spot for subwoofer placement.”
So where should you put a sub? Eric Harper (Sunfire), Al Baron (Polk), and DiComo all recommended the old trick of swapping places with your sub. Place the sub in your seating position and then slowly crawl along the floor while playing a variety of test material. When you find a location that produces the best combination of volume and quality, bingo! That’s where your sub should go.
In most rooms, Carl Kennedy from JL Audio prefers “near the left and front right speakers. This makes the sub an extension of the main speakers for arrival time, delivering better integration and phase cohesiveness.”
If you’re using in-wall speakers and subs, this works well inside of the same stud bay. But that location might not work depending on your room, so Kennedy added that a location “10 to 30 percent from the sidewall is generally modally good, delivering some boundary effect for added SPL while still coupling with main speakers.”
BG Radia’s Chris Brunhaver explained, “Overemphasized frequencies are most frequently the axial modes — those based on a single room dimension. As such, placing the subwoofers a quarter or halfway along the wall excites that axial mode the least.”
-- John Sciacca