Subwoofer placement is very important because it determines the amount and quality of bass you will experience. Most people place their subwoofer in front of the room or in one of the corners of the floor.
However, some people may choose to place their sub on a desk; maybe a computer desk or a regular desk. So, is this ok? Can you place your subwoofer on your desk?
We do not advise that you place your subwoofer on your desk. Doing this can cause a lot of vibrations and rattling. A better option is to place the sub on the floor on an isolation platform or decoupling material. You can also isolate the sub from the floor and then place it in one of the corners, in the center of the room, or behind the couch.
Below we will further explain why you shouldn’t place your subwoofer on a desk and what your better options are.
Why Place Your Subwoofer On The Desk?
Many people believe they can place their sub anywhere in the room and it will make no difference. That is not true.
So, why do people choose to place their subwoofers on their desks?
There are many reasons people may choose to place their subwoofer on their desks and not on the floor.
Here are a few of those reasons:
- Unwanted Noise and Vibrations: When they don’t want to annoy their neighbors downstairs. Even though, the best option is to soundproof your home theater.
- Space Is Limited: Space may be limited on the floor. Maybe you have too much furniture or the room is very small. However, if you have room on the side of my desk for one, many people choose to pace their sub on their desks.
- With Bookshelf Speakers: Bookshelf speakers are normally placed on desks and in a 2.1 setup, a subwoofer will be there as well. Many people chose to put the sub on my desk to complement a pair of bookshelf speakers.
Advantages Of Having Your Subwoofer On Your Desk
In any case, here are a few advantages:
- Reduced Floor Rattling: If you want to reduce rattling from the floor, then you may decide to place the sub on your desk. While this will indeed reduce rattling somewhat, it won’t to a great extent. In fact, if your desk is not solid on the floor, it will rattle even more. A better option is to isolate your sub from the floor with a damping material such as subwoofer isolation pads. This will reduce the transference of vibrations.
- Free-Up Space: If your room is very small and you are struggling with space on the floor, then you may see the desk as a good choice. In some instances, you may not even have a choice. That doesn’t really mean it’s a good idea, it just means it is the best option you have.
- Feel The Vibrations: Some people just plain like their subwoofer being close to them so they can feel all the vibrations. They like to feel the boom! For many people, that is an impressive experience! Take for example, when you play games with shots firing and explosions!
- Better Performance If Your Floor Is Carpeted: If the floor is carpeted and the subwoofer driver cone is facing downward, then the carpet may dissipate the sound too much. You will lose a lot of bass because it’s not sitting on something solid, making the bass quite muddy. In this case, you need a solid surface to place the sub on. While the desk is still not the best surface (you could place the sub on a stand for example), it’s not as bad as placing it on the floor in this case. You could also spike the subwoofers to the floor. If however, the driver is facing upward, then you can place it on the carpeted floor with no problems! another great place for down-firing subs is in the ceiling! Yep, place that sub on the ceiling right over the sofa. This is even better if you already have speakers in the ceiling. You don’t need a subwoofer with ceiling speakers, but it will help create a fuller experience. The bottom line is if your sub sounds deepest and most natural when it is closer to your ears, then it’s a near-field speaker design, and it will work better close to you.
Disadvantages Of Having A Subwoofer On Your Desk
There are many disadvantages to having your subwoofer on your desk. There may be more disadvantages than advantages.
Here are quite a few:
- Unbalanced Bass: More than likely your desk will be in a corner of the room and your sub will be on one side of the desk. Even though the bass is omnidirectional (meaning bass waves radiate in all directions), the placement on the desk shouldn’t matter that much, it can cause issues, and the bass may be unbalanced in the room.
- Computer Damage: Many subwoofers have large magnets in them which should be kept at least a meter away from your PC. If it gets too close to your computer, it may damage the hard drive if you have one of those older, mechanical hard drives (still very popular today). This is why many desktop speakers are shielded to protect the electronic components in the computer against the magnetic field. Remember, your one thing to remember is that a sub is a huge magnet, so you don’t want to have it anywhere close to a PC or external hard drive on your desk. You can have this same issue if you place your subwoofer behind your CRT TV.
- Desk Damage: You might be thinking to yourself, how can a sub damage a desk? Believe me, it can. Take, for example, I’ve seen a 2000W RMS Folded Horn Subwoofer with Dual 18″ loosen the bolts on scaffolding! Your sub may not be nearly as powerful but over time it may very well have the same effect.
- Obstacles Block Bass: More than likely your desk will have various items on there. Maybe a book, a computer, and so on. Placing a sub on the desk may cause issues as these objects may block and diminish the sub’s output.
- Aesthetics: Having a subwoofer on your desk is not the best idea for your interior decor.
- Space: Subwoofers are large devices. Placing a sub on your desk will take up a lot of space, especially if it’s a small computer desk
- Desk Rattling: Can you imagine a sub vibrating on the desk while you work and listen to music? Even if you are listening to your music on low, this might still be very distracting.
- Too Loud: Pacing the sub on the desk may be too loud for you, even if you minimize the volume. Remember, human hearing is rather fragile!
Should I Place My Subwoofer Under The Desk?
Instead of placing the subwoofer on the desk, many people choose to place the device under the desk instead. While this does have an advantage, this is not a good idea unless the sub is really low quality, placing it under the desk can help with sound transference. However, it can cause problems as well.
What is the advantage of doing this? Well quite simply, placing your sub under your desk will have the effect known as boundary gain.
The problem with this however is that this can affect how well this subwoofer can reproduce or articulate the sound.
So placing your sub under the desk will create extra acoustic properties, but not always good ones.
It comes down to trial and error really, meaning the vibrations might cause your desk to make all sorts of unwanted noises.
Now if the sub is really low quality, then you might as well go ahead and place it under the desk so that the strength of the bass may be improved.
There are a few problems you may encounter with that.
Another problem is that you may end up kicking the sub on accident every time you sit down at the desk. So, if your desk is small, you may not want to place your sub under it.
Subwoofer Annoying Your Neighbours? What Can You Do?
Many people choose to place their subwoofer on their desks because the bass vibrations from the sub disturb their neighbors when the sub is on this floor.
If you are or of those persons who can’t turn them on without annoying my neighbors below and beside you, then there are ways to fix that like soundproofing the room.
Is placing the sub on the desk a good fix?
The fact is, simply placing your sub on the desk won’t fix the problem. It will annoy your neighbors anyway.
It might help in terms of the rattling, but it will not help in terms of the overall bass traveling to other rooms or adjoining apartments.
This means that it doesn’t matter whether your sub is on the floor or on your desk, if it’s turned up too loud your neighbors will hear it just the same with either option. A better choice is to soundproof the room and pay special attention to soundproofing your subwoofer floor.
What Is The Best Placement For Your Subwoofer?
So you may be wondering what is the best placement for your subwoofer in general. Most people place the sub in the middle of the room, some in the corners, and others place their sub behind the couch.
All are good options but neither may be the optimal option for your home theater. To find the best position for your subwoofer here is a quick and dirty method (known as the subwoofer crawl test):
- Put your subwoofer in the middle of the room
- Put a bassy song on
- Now crawl or walk around the room
- Wherever your song sounds the best, there is where you put your subwoofer. This will be the optimal position!
What If I Don’t Want To Place The Sub On The Floor?
There are some options if you don’t want to place the subwoofer directly on the floor. Here is the best one. You need to isolate the sub from the floor. You can either use an isolation platform or you can use a decoupling material to isolate the sub from the floor.
As always, it is best to try and move the sub around to find the sweet spot in your room. Just don’t place your sub in a restrictive area like placing the sub under the couch.
Can You Lay a Subwoofer on its Side?
No, you can’t lay a subwoofer on its side. If you do this then the cone could come into contact with the magnets and that will cause damage to both your subwoofer and speakers.
It’s also possible that if it falls over as well there is a chance for injury as well so safety needs to be considered before doing anything like laying something down or moving it around.
Does Subwoofer Need to Face You?
No, a subwoofer doesn’t need to face listeners. The subwoofer should be placed with the speaker outward in the room, while the port should be kept away from a wall to obtain the best sound quality.
Bass waves radiate in all directions, but the speaker should be positioned facing your main listening area.
Do Subs Sound Better Facing Front or Back?
Subwoofers sound better when they are facing the front of the listener.
The reason they do not work well is that bass waves are omnidirectional, meaning they come from every direction rather than a singular source.
Do Subwoofers Need to Warm Up?
Yes, subwoofers sometimes need to warm up. As these devices were designed to create bass speakers for audio equipment, you may find that they need to be given time to warm up and release their power.
However, this can depend on the type of subwoofer as well as other factors like where it is placed and how much volume it emits.
There aren’t many good reasons to place your subwoofer on your desk. Doing this will not stop the sub from annoying your neighbors and it will not improve the quality of bass in the room.
In any case, to find the best position for your sub in your room, try the subwoofer crawl test! In any case, it’s always best to place your sub on the floor. Trust your ears when it comes to placement!