As many audiophiles will tell you, subwoofer placement has a lot to do with the quality of sound you get in your home theater room.
In particular, it will largely determine the quality of the bass that the subwoofer delivers. This is why many people ask if it is ok to play their subwoofer under the couch before they decide to do so.
The short answer is no. We do not recommend it. Placing your subwoofer under the couch will restrict the flow of bass through the room and muffle your listening experience. You should only place your sub under your couch if your home theater room is very small and you purchase a sub specifically made to be placed under couches.
For the best cinematic experience, you need your subwoofer to radiate unrestricted into your listening environment.
Placing the subwoofer under the couch will prevent that. A better option is to place the subwoofer behind the couch or somewhere facing the room. We will discuss more below.
Can I Put My Sub Underneath The Couch?
Most people are tempted to place their subs under their couch, especially when using a downward-firing speaker.
However, we do not recommend it unless your home theater is very small and you buy a sub specifically made to be placed under couches.
Doing that might not be so bad for people living in suburbs as your couch transmits the bass directly to your ears through the chair. Even better, audio re-bounce from the floor gives you a phenomenal experience, especially with a solid 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound system. However, apartment owners and renters might have issues with neighbors due to sound leakage from the media room. Another problem is if the home theater room is upstairs. To fix this, you will have to soundproof your home theater. Moreover, bass will not radiate around the room properly.
So, what’s the best position for your subwoofer to get the best audio experience from your subwoofer?
The Short Answer:
To enjoy the best audio performance, your subwoofer should face the room, and the port should be faced away from the wall. That means you should give your subwoofer enough room to allow the bass frequencies to travel through your listening area.
While following the instructions in your subwoofer manual will help you understand the basics of setting up your audio system, you may not be getting the best audio performance. Essentially, placing your subwoofer in the corner or facing the wall will give you more bass, but that doesn’t translate to the best audio performance.
As you’ll note, when setting up your home audio system, more bass doesn’t always translate to the best cinematic experience. Here are a few tips to help find the best position for your subwoofer.
Tips to Help You Find the Best Placement for Your Subwoofer
Given that no media room is identical to another, there’s no magical solution to subwoofer placement. However, finding a sweet spot for your subwoofer should not be that hard if you have a keen ear and don’t mind doing a quick DIY. Here are a few tips to aid you in your quest.
- Start with The Optimal Placement for Your Surround Sound Setup
Start with the best practices for your surround sound system. Different surround sound systems will have different optimal placements for subwoofers.
Find out more about your surround sound system (e.g 3.1 or 5.1) and where is the best placement for that type of system based on the number of channel speakers, etc.
- Stay Away From Corners and Walls
While corners contribute to a louder bass, it won’t be the best in quality. That’s because positioning your subwoofer in a corner makes the bass waves bounce off your walls in different directions, mostly crossing over one another on their way back. That makes the bass tones muddy, which you don’t want.
Walls also have the same effect with the subwoofer as the corner, so it’s wise to avoid placing the subwoofer against the walls.
That’s because the bass waves bounce off the walls, causing rumblings and harsh bass tones in your media room.
There’s also a pretty good chance that the bass reverberating through your wall will cause noise issues that your neighbors might not appreciate.
- Take Note of Your Subwoofer
With most receivers using wires to connect to the subwoofer, you might be limited when it comes to placing your subwoofer in your home theater room.
However, you won’t have any issues if you’re using a wireless receiver and subwoofer.
For those using a subwoofer with a ported design, you’ll note a hole on your subwoofer cabinet to allow air to go through.
Ideally, the subwoofer must be placed at least one to two times the diameter of its port away from the wall or the floor.
Pros and Cons of Placing Your Subwoofer Under Your Couch
You will save on space if your home theater is small (e.g couch is against the wall)
You will enjoy the vibrations hitting the couch
Better decor with the sub hidden away
Your sub may disturb other people in other rooms or neighbors if you have a down-firing speaker
Bass will not flow around the room properly
Too much vibrations will flow through the floor
May have issues with overheating is the space is small
May damage the sub if the couch is not firm
Finding the Best Position for Your Subwoofer
Subwoofers offer low-frequency sound in a well-blended and uniform way to deliver a balanced audio experience.
To find the best place to set up the subwoofer, it’s advisable to set up the subwoofer at one point in your room while playing a high-frequency sound and move around while listening.
For a quick setup, try moving your couch, and placing the subwoofer in its place before you play your favorite high-frequency tunes.
After replacing your couch’s position with your subwoofer, you can move around the room, listening carefully, until you get the place with the best audio experience.
As such, you’ll have discovered the right position of your subwoofer in your media room, considering the position of your couch.
What If I Really Want To Feel The Bass Vibrations?
While some people may advise putting the subwoofer under your couch to feel the vibrations from underneath, we strongly advise against doing that if you want a truly immersive experience.
Some people even place their subwoofer on their desks for a better vibration experience if they listen to music while working or watching movies on their laptops. Others may even or place the sub behind their TV. Either of these options is however not a good idea either.
In most cases, the bass waves will not flow properly, and the sound quality will be diminished.
However, placing the subwoofer behind your couch gets the sound closer to you. You’ll be able to fell those earth-shattering bass vibrations while allowing you to enjoy a sharp, clear, and well-blended audio performance.
Where Is Best To Place Your Subwoofer?
Maybe you don’t want to place your subwoofer behind the couch, especially if your home theater is small. That may get you wondering, “what’s the best way to set up your subwoofer to enjoy the best audio performance from your home sound system?”
We have already recommended behind the couch and f you scour the internet, you’ll find many self-proclaimed audio experts advising you to place the subwoofer in different positions in your home theater room. However, most people ignore the fact that every home theater room is different, and the sound waves are transmitted differently.
That means you need to have a good ear and be open to a bit of experimentation to find the best placement for your subwoofer.
Move the sub around the room and play heavy-hitting bass until you find the best position that will give you that truly immersive experience.
Is There a Subwoofer You Can Put Under Your Couch If You’re Limited in Space?
While placing your subwoofer under your couch might not be the best option, that might be your only option if you have limited space.
Putting your subwoofer under your couch will also help to preserve the aesthetic appeal of your media room as it’s out of sight. In such cases, there are several subwoofers built specifically for this placement.
The Earthquake Sound CP8 Couch Potato is among the best subwoofers on the market for an under the couch placement. This slim downward-firing subwoofer comes with an inbuilt 300-watts (peak) amplifier, delivering massive bass to your sitting position.
However, you need to make sure that your subwoofer isn’t cramped under your couch as that may affect the audio quality you get. However, you won’t have any issues if the space under your couch is enough for the bass frequencies to travel freely.
Finally, placing your sub under the couch is a great option if your couch is against the wall and your home theater is small. We have other tips for speaker and subwoofer placements with your couch against the wall.
If you do decide to place your sub under the couch and if you have a problem with floor vibrations, it would help to isolate the subwoofer from the floor.
Does Furniture Affect The Subwoofer?
There are numerous locations where a subwoofer can be placed in any living area. It is difficult to estimate how much furniture placement can affect your sub. Experts agree that subwoofers should be placed in spacious areas depending on your floor space.
Where Should You Not Put A Subwoofer?
Audio enthusiasts agree that small corners and walls are the two worst places to position your subwoofer. A sub placed in a corner with limited floor space will not be able to produce clear sound signals. In addition, a subwoofer placed too close to a wall will produce an unpleasant noise after extended usage.
Does It Matter Where A Subwoofer Is Placed?
As a general rule, it is advised to never conceal your subwoofer. Audiophiles strongly suggest positioning your sub in a wide corner. This is to make sure that the bass is as clear as possible, however, if it’s a corner with limited space, the bass signal gets distorted
Placing The Subwoofer On A Shelf Or In A Cabinet
There is nothing inherently wrong with shelves and cabinets when it comes to subwoofer positioning. However, the vibrations of the subwoofer might damage the cabinet over time. To circumvent that outcome, customers are advised to place vibration pads under the shelf or cabinet.
How Far Should A Subwoofer Be From The Wall?
The generally accepted distance for subwoofer wall placement is double the length of its port diameter. For instance, if your sub possesses a 6 inch port, it should be placed 12 inches away from the wall.
With an underpowered subwoofer, placing it under the couch may give you the vibrations and audio experience that you desire, though the quality of sound won’t be the best.
However, you can place the subwoofer behind your couch to enjoy a high-quality bass sound while reducing the vibrations. Even better, placing your sub behind your couch makes your media room look more organized and aesthetically pleasing.