Can a Subwoofer be Placed Behind a TV?

Can a Subwoofer be Placed Behind a TV?

I’m guessing you just made an addition to your entertaining system by getting a subwoofer and now you’re wondering – “where’s the best place to place this box of goodness”? You don’t want to place it in a position that’ll distort your perfectly arranged room or reduce its beauty. At the same time, you want to place it where it’ll pump out excellent bass and improve your overall sound experience. Behind your TV sounds just perfect, right? That brings us to the question, can a subwoofer be placed behind a TV? My brief answer to this is, yes it can but it’s usually not recommended. This is because it can cause undue sound reflections, thereby reducing the bass quality, especially if the TV is an old CRT TV or the subwoofer is a front-firing type.

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Product Name Where to Buy
MartinLogan Dynamo 800 X 10-inch 300 Watt Powered Subwoofer Check Price On Amazon
SVS SB-1000 Subwoofer Check Price On Amazon
Polk Audio HTS 10 Powered Subwoofer Check Price On Amazon
Klipsch R-120SW Subwoofer Check Price On Amazon

However, placing your subwoofer behind the TV might not be so bad provided that some conditions that I’ll be discussing in this article are met. If you have enough space behind your TV, or your subwoofer is downward -firing or your TV is not a CRT TV, then all the better.

Can You Place Your Subwoofer Behind Your TV?

As earlier mentioned, this is not recommended. Although you might meet a few people who’ll tell you it’s fine, real audio lovers will tell you it’s a no-no. Reasons, why this is discouraged, include:

● Adverse effect on CRT TVs: because subwoofers have magnets within them, the magnetic field generated by them might cause a rainbow-colored effect on the TV screen or something similar. However, some modern subwoofers are magnetically shielded and TVs like LCD/Plasma/DLP are generally not affected.

● Echoes: you may experience this if you placed your TV a short distance from the corner of your room, thereby having to place the subwoofer in the corner, behind it. This happens because of the enormous amount of reflections that occur due to this arrangement.

● Unnecessary vibrations: placing a subwoofer behind a TV will cause the TV to vibrate when there’s a sound effect like thunder or an explosion in a movie.

As much as placing your sub behind the TV is discouraged, there are valid reasons that could make you put your sub behind the TV. This may be for aesthetic purposes, or to be able to manage your cables better and keep them out of sight, or even for sound staging purposes. Whatever your motive is for preferring to put your sub behind the TV, you can go ahead and do that and still get the best of your subwoofer. You only need to put some things in place as I’m about to discuss.

Things To Note When Placing Your Subwoofer Behind The TV

1. Ensure your subwoofer is in phase with the main speakers: this is a very portent point to note when placing your sub behind your TV. Make sure that the sub blends in with the front speakers.

2. Avoid walls and corners: this is to ensure that the omnidirectional bass waves emitted by your subwoofer are not hindered. You can leave a distance of about 6-12 inches or more. However, sealed subwoofers can be placed in a corner.

3. Avoid closed cabinets: placing your subwoofer in a closed cabinet can cause it to be dull and muted because the bass waves are prevented from bouncing around.

4. Avoid under furniture: try as much as possible to not place your sub under furniture as this causes gaps in the acoustic signature of the room. This is because the bass waves can be absorbed by the dense mass of the furniture.

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5. Adjust settings for maximum sound quality: although it’s generally believed that placing a subwoofer behind the TV reduces its sound quality, you can tweak the settings and play around with it to see if you can get it to improve its sound quality despite the unfavorable position.

How To Position Your Subwoofer For Optimal Bass

People are often told when they get their subwoofers that, unlike the other speakers in their system that have more precise rules on placement, a sub can be placed pretty much “anywhere”. That might not be entirely true because typically, subwoofers sound better in some spots than others. Here are a few tips to consider when finding the ” sweet spot”.

Start With The Front Of The Room
The most common location for sub placements is in front of the room, and this usually results in the best blending with the main speakers and reduced localization effects. This means that when properly placed, you shouldn’t be able to tell where the bass is coming from, it should feel like it’s coming from all around you. If this is not the case, try testing out the subwoofer on both sides of the front stage to see which works best.

Try A Corner
If the front of the room is not working well for you, you can try a corner or even start with corner placement. Corner placement reduces the potential to encounter nulls, which are acoustic cancellation points or ‘dead spots in the room.

Make The “Subwoofer Crawl”
As ridiculous as the name sounds, this is a very good way to determine the best placement location for your sub if you have multiple options. The process can be summarised in the following steps:

● Put the subwoofer at/near your major seating/listening position.

● Play a familiar soundtrack with a repeating bass line and keep it in a loop.

● Keep your head at/near knee level to listen to and assess the bass quality at each available subwoofer location in your room.

● Place the sub in the most suitable location in the room which provides the most accurate and balanced sounding bass.

If you follow the above guidelines, you’re sure to find a “sweet spot” for your sub where you’ll get the best sound quality and audio experience. However, getting a sweet spot will be of little or no use if your sub is of low quality and its sound output is primarily bad. That’s why I’ll be sharing a list of six amazing, high-performance subs that are pretty much affordable and good for the money.

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Best High-Performance Subwoofers

1. MartinLogan Dynamo Subwoofer: this sub produces ground-shaking bass with minimal distortion.

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The MartinLogan Dynamo 700W Subwoofer has a flexible design, which enables it to perform either in a front-firing mode or in a bottom-firing mode. The bottom-firing mode is the default mode but it can easily be transformed into the front-firing mode by flipping the sub to its side and removing the stands. Additionally, it comes with a wireless receiver and transmitter which distinguishes it from other subwoofers in terms of value addition.


2. SVS SB-1000: if you’re looking for a sub that’ll not make your room look cluttered, this is a great pick for you.

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Compact enough to be hidden under many end tables, it measures 13½ by 13 by 14⅝ inches (HWD) and still outperformed some larger subs compared to it. Nevertheless, it’s a bit costlier than the Rogersound sub and doesn’t deliver as much of the really low bass. Also, its punchy, well-defined sound makes it better for music than for action movies, but it’ll sure do a decent job with anything you play through it.


3. Polk Audio HTS 10: measured as 16⅝ by 15⅛ by 16⅛ inches (HWD), it can be said to be reasonably compact and its radiused edges and corner-cut grille makes it more stylish than most other subs.

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Although its deep-bass output is only about half as loud as that of the Speedwoofer 10S, its satisfying, full sound makes it good for music and great for home theatre. It is a decent buy, you won’t regret having it.


4. Hsu Research VTF-2 MK5: this is a perfect choice for audiophiles and home theatre enthusiasts. However, because of its bulky 15-by-21-by-22-inch (HWD) build and basic black box design, it might look ugly to people who crave a beautiful living room. It plays relatively louder than the Speedwoofer 10S and you’d be impressed with its ability to shake your listening chair. Like the Speedwoofer 10S, this sub is sold only directly through the manufacturer’s website.

5. Klipsch R-120SW: this subwoofer produces crisp clear sounds coupled with deep bass that gives you a satisfying experience when watching movies and listening to music.

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The sub has a 400 Watt digital amplifier that helps it to deliver amazing bass for your home audio system as well as gives the sub ability to reach low frequencies with high efficiency and achieve maximum output with ease. The Klipsch R-120SW subwoofer also has an aesthetic appeal as it is housed in a stylish cabinet that is made of high-quality reinforced MDF. Aside from making the subwoofer long-lasting, the MDF construction gives you a great listening experience that is free from vibrations.

6.  Rogersound Labs Speedwoofer 10S: this box of awesomeness is only $400 and is great with both movies and music. Measured as 16 by 15 by 16¾ inches (HWD), it’s compact enough to fit unobtrusively into most rooms or even under some end tables. Despite being half the price of most expensive models, the Speedwoofer 10S delivers a clear, precise, full sound and it has more deep-bass output than the best budget (and some not-so-budget) subwoofers out there. However, it can only be purchased on Rogersound Labs website.


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