Should A Subwoofer Be On The Floor? - The Guide For Placing Speakers

Finding the best space for a subwoofer is the critical point of building your home theater. One of the easiest spots is to place it on the floor - but is it the optimal spot?

If not, what are the best spaces to put a subwoofer in? Can you place your subwoofer on a shelf or hide it behind some furniture?

Perhaps you are not getting the best bass from your subwoofer, or you ordered your new speakers and need to fix up your setup. Even if you are not getting the best sound from your subwoofer, that is a fixable issue. 

If this is your first home theater, it’s natural to make some mistakes regarding speaker placement. Luckily, fixing the quality of the sound is a piece of cake. Here, we will talk about the question - should a subwoofer be on the floor, along with the best spots for generating the best bass - so continue scrolling!

SVS Subwoofer

There are optimal subwoofer placements, but unfortunately, the floor is not one of those places. If you are looking for premium sound output - the subwoofer needs to be elevated. 

However, we understand that elevating parts of your home theater is not always the easiest thing to do. So, we will cover why your subwoofer shouldn’t be on the floor, how to elevate it & how to use your floor space if you don’t have anything else.

Why Should You Elevate Your Subwoofer?

To start, there are two reasons you should elevate your subwoofer - vibrations and the room response. Vibrations-wise, it’s important to remember first that subwoofers require lots of power because they deal with low frequencies. 

The speakers move much more, but subwoofers pack a lot of vibrations because of the said power. When you place a woofer on the floor, it will make the floor vibrate as well - making the acoustics worse, and on top of that, you will probably annoy your neighbors downstairs.

As for the room response, it all comes down to the room acoustics - meaning it can be difficult to grasp if you’re not already familiar with the topic. However, to find the best spot for your subwoofer, you will need to know some of the aspects of acoustics.

The principal thing is to know about peaks and nulls - which are created by the sound waves, making the bass too strong or more inaudible. You don't want either of that - so you will have to make bass evenly distributed across the room, and you will do that by placing the subwoofer in just the right spot.

The Best Places for a Subwoofer

Elevated Sub

We have uncovered that placing your subwoofer on the floor is not the best idea for several reasons. Keeping it elevated has a better effect on the sound and the bass, but where should your subwoofer be?

The general rule of thumb is to place the subwoofer in the middle between the floor and the ceiling. Even if you go a foot up or down, it will probably be fine, but try many different spots to see what makes your subwoofer sound the best.

To make the listening experience the best, the subwoofer should be placed somewhere at the ear level. 

The point is - it needs to be off the floor to minimize the vibrations on the surface. This is the very first step, and we will start from there. 

Table

Placing your subwoofer on the table is not the worst idea - but there is something you need to know first. The table has to be rather heavy - so heavy, it cannot be rattled or moved by the vibrations - or it’s not a good spot for a subwoofer.

Shelf or Cabinet

If you invested in a front-firing subwoofer, its ideal place could be on a shelf or in some sort of cabinet. Regarding cabinets or shelving, it’s vital to remember the same rule that applies to tables - they must be heavy. 

Also, if you want to go with this option, we advise you to buy some vibration pads under the shelf to minimize the vibrations. This also ensures that vibrations don’t transfer too much to your floor.

The key point is that whatever route you decide to take, the surface needs to be very heavy. If it’s light and vibrates a lot, it can make your subwoofer move and eventually fall off, and it’s not the kind of thing that can remain undamaged after falling three feet to the floor. 

Alternatives

If the only spot for your subwoofer is on the floor - there is a way to go about that, too. You will still need to elevate it - you can put it on a wooden box, for example. 

As we have mentioned, the surface does need to be heavy, so you can fill that box up with sand or something similar to prevent the subwoofer from vibrating off the box and falling.


Final Thoughts

Speakers on Shelf

Lastly, the floor is just not the right place for your subwoofer. It doesn’t do a good thing regarding acoustics and doesn’t do well for your neighbors. 

So, there are a couple of good spots to place your subwoofer - and they can all work equally well. However, if none of them work, you can put your subwoofer on a box and elevate it just enough to make that bass pop!


Barry Allen

About the author:

Barry Allen

I grew up to be a self-proclaimed stuck-up audiophile, and I – partially – blame Pinnacle Speakers for it.


The whole point of me starting this website was to keep the tradition going. Although the means have changed, the mission remains the same: Bringing „sterling sound“ as they once put it into home theaters and sound systems worldwide! 


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