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Subwoofer placement: does it matter whether it's in the back or rear of the room?

12301 Views 15 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  parboy
I recently moved my sub to the back of the room. It was in the front right corner of the room. I moved it to the back right corner now.

I did this because my speakers might have been too close to my TV (magnetic concerns).

While they say bass is non direction, I can sense it coming from the back a bit.

Does it matter, from a performance standpoint, which direction it's coming from? It seems like I'm getting a bit less bass, but I can also try increasing the sub volume a bit. Using the Radio Shack sound meter the sub is at the same volume as the regular speakers....which really means its about 3-5 db higher than my speakers, right?

Also, one of the back corner's wall is shorter (kitchen opening) than the front corner....this might be causing less bass.

EDIT: I should note that the sub in the back of the room is just behind (and to the right) of seating position.
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My understanding is that if "calibrated" all the speakers with the SPL, then they all would be consistently higher - not just the sub.

If you have phase control, you may want to do some experimenting - perhaps setting to 180 if it was at 0. If you try that, you may also need to recalibrate.
I have never had any luck placing subs in the rear of the room. I think it will have alot to do with how close to your seating the sub is and how low it is crossed over.
I wasn't able to place my Acoustech H100 at the front of the room, so I have it directly behind the middle of the couch. The room is about 17' deep, and there is about 5-6' of space from the back of the couch to the back wall. I get great bass, decent frequency response (a few peaks/dips, etc.), but I was able to balance it pretty will with Avia/SPL meter and blend it in with the system. Of course up front is best, because you want it to blend with the mains/center as well as possible.

So it can be done, theoretically.
Can you explain the phase control a bit more?
What's the xover set at? An 80Hz xover is usually the highest you can go without localization, 60Hz is preferable.
Like Jeff said (Bose lies!) once you get much about 60Hz base becomes more "directional" and any harmonics/distortion coming from your sub will give it away. I notice the better quality subs are better at sonically hiding than crappy ones.
Can you explain the phase control a bit more?
In layman terms, phase is kind of like a "timing" knob. You use it to hopefully sync the bass output of the sub with the output of your main speakers so they arrive at your seating position at the same time. Usually you have to play some test tones or low bass signal repeatedly from a source and adjust it until you read the highest reading on your SPL meter. Ideally you'd want to graph your frequency response in your room at various phase positions, say every 10-15 degree turn of the knob and use the position that gives you the flatest response. If you have different placement options, you'd want to try this at each placement to discover which placement and phase setting gets the overall best FR in your room.
Here's some plots of my journey from front of room to back of room to front row of room and the addition of bass traps to sommth things out. It took months to accomplish, but the bass is not just pant-flappin', it makes my hair move as well.

Good luck on your journey.

I personally don't believe there is any difference between the back and the rear of the room. But that's just my opinion.
If your sub is not distortion-prone, you can place it anywhere in the room without fear of localization. Bass in non-directional at 100hz (and I have heard 120hz). You can localize a subs when it makes non-bass sounds, like chuffing and harmonics.

Btw, depending on your speakers and amp I'd cross it over at 80hz (per the THX spec.) so you can save power for your mains and let the sub do what it was designed to do.
Originally Posted by Darin
I personally don't believe there is any difference between the back and the rear of the room. But that's just my opinion.
You are dead on. If you think about it, your sub has no idea where it is in relation to the seating position.Another great point is that the higher the crossover setting is the easier it will be to "hear" the subwoofers signal.I would agree also the 80hz is questionable on localization.What you can do is put it in to back, setup the xover and play around with it.It is all up to you and how it sounds to you.Good luck. KG
Originally Posted by kgveteran
You are dead on.
Now I'm trying to figure out if your poker face is better than my poker face, or if you're just playing a completely different game. :D
What if you are using 2 subs? What is the ideal placement for them?
Yes, it really does matter wether your sub is in the front or in the back, or another place in your room. Measurement and calibration is the answer to your question.

MadMan69 wanted to place his sub in front, but the loss of important low-frequencies in 3 out of 4 seating positions, ended with placement in the back of the room so that all of the seats were hit by all of the low-frequencies.

No more dip's or top's, but he could really feel his SVS PB12Plus/2 all the way, down to 20Hz.

Pardon my english........
I originally intended for my pc-ultra to reside in the front of my theater. Have the wire run up there and everything. Received the sub, plugged it in, and my seats were in a dead spot. Couldn't hear/feel anything from the sub. I moved it to the rear of the room and bingo! So mine will be living in the rear of my theater. Have to run a new wire to feed it now too ;)
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