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Crawling for Bass - Subwoofer Placement Tips

by March 29, 2001

Tired of Bad Bass? Get on your Knees!

Are you tired of getting bad bass from your subwoofer in your theater room? This article gives you a layman method for helping you place your subwoofer in the right location of your room to get the best sounding bass with the  deepest extension so you can really feel the impact of those rumbles.

Perhaps one of the most difficult tasks in placing your speaker system whether it is a 2 channel or multichannel surround system is finding the best location for your subwoofer. It is not only a matter of choosing which location will sound best, but it is also a matter of ergonomics and dealing with space constraints of the listening room.

My advice in this matter is simple yet useful. I recommend doing the following procedure listed below when nobody is home or at least able to witness what you are doing as it may potentially result in having you committed or at the very least it will lead to a psychiatric evaluation.

You can follow our instructions below either by reading or by watching this short and informative video of the Subwoofer Crawl.  You can even use this technique to help place multiple subs in your room by repeating it for each sub you install into your system.  Though, some tweaking may be needed to optimize the sound for a wider listening area.


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Instructional Video: Easy Guide to Subwoofer Placement

Subwoofer Placement Procedure

  • Connect the "Sub Out" of your Receiver / Preamp Processor using an RCA or XLR cable into the input of your subwoofer. If the sub has a dedicated LFE input, use that one so you can bypass the internal LPF and get better performance from the bass management in your AVR.
  • Place the Subwoofer in the most common location of your listening area. (Usually your couch, chair, or bean bag).
  • Play a bass heavy CD or other format (not 8 track!) that you are familiar with and turn the volume up so that the sub is really working.
  • Now get on your hands and knees and pay homage to the subwoofer (just kidding). Seriously, for the next part of this set-up, prepare to do some crawling (this is the part that could get you committed, but its all worth it!)

Note: The reason why you should crawl is that standing will put you about 5 feet off axis (depending on how tall you are) with the sub and thus will change the characteristics of the sound enough to potentially cause you to place the sub in a non optimal position.

  • Crawl around the listening room and listen for when the sub seems to sound the best. (IE. Listen for depth, loudness, tightness and definition)
  • Mark that magical spot with tape. If that spot isn't convenient, keep crawling and find another location with similarly good results.
  • If possible, place the sub as close to this position(s) as you can. This will ensure you have chosen the best location in the room.
  • Now get off your knees and calibrate your system.

For Example:

  • Adjust crossover point on the sub for optimal blend with main speakers.
  • Adjust gain control of sub to tonally balance your system.
  • Repeat these steps until satisfied.

This is a starter for those integrating a Subwoofer into their system for the first time. We recommend reading more of our calibration and set up articles on this website and also checking out our How-To Youtube Videos.

 

About the author:
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Gene manages this organization, establishes relations with manufacturers and keeps Audioholics a well oiled machine. His goal is to educate about home theater and develop more standards in the industry to eliminate consumer confusion clouded by industry snake oil.

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