Optimal subwoofer placement is often driven by competing variables including décor, aesthetic considerations, available floor space, and sound quality. Depending on the layout and contents of a room, there may only be one spot available to place a subwoofer, or there may be a number of potential locations. Subwoofers generate complex patterns of direct and reflecting sound waves, so the bass response will vary around the listening area relative to the subwoofer’s orientation. Unlike dedicated listening rooms and home theaters, your flexibility may be restricted in the average family room filled with furniture.
If you are limited to a single location, make every effort to have that location be in the front of the room. This will result in better blending with the front soundstage generated by your main speakers and center channel. Given the opportunity, corner placement at the front of the room would be even better, as this would result in greater sonic coverage and reduce the possibility of encountering dead spots, or acoustic cancellations points, in the room.
Should you have several locations to choose from, we recommend that you begin with the one that is closest to the parameters described above, and then evaluate the bass quality using material whose bass performance you are familiar with. If it does not meet expectations, you can transfer the subwoofer to the next location and repeat the test. You may discover that moving it even a few feet could alter the results significantly.
Flexibility with your listening location may sometimes be necessary to enjoy the fullest bass response of your system. Many current AV Receivers also offer various room equalization controls, which when combined with physical placement, can truly create a fantastic sounding solution. Certain subwoofers may even include their own bass optimization options, including microphones and EQ adjustments.
Dual subwoofers, although complicating the real-estate equation, can profoundly improve low frequency performance, especially in larger spaces. By increasing the modal density in the room, smoother frequency response at more locations and better overall coverage is attained. You may also not need to drive them as hard as you would a single subwoofer, improving their accuracy in the process.
JJ Orion is expert in the configuration of the low frequency aspects of any home audio or theater system. We can help establish that ‘subwoofer sweet spot’ in virtually any environment, improving the overall value and enjoyment of the equipment you purchase.
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