Should a subwoofer be on the floor?
Placement of your audio equipment plays a key role in how well your audio system works. As you may already know, sound reflects and bounces off surfaces. Thus, the size of the room and location of your speakers or subwoofer definitely matters. A general rule of thumb that’s been around for years is to have your speakers in the “golden triangle”. In other words, the chair you will be sitting on should be equidistant apart from their speakers.
Golden rule in action:
However, this does not answer our question. Unfortunately, it can be an overwhelming decision as some people will tell you to have your subwoofer up high, and others will tell you to put it on the floor. But which is the correct way?
Well, there is no correct way. It totally depends on your room dimensions, how much space you have and if there’s a lot of furniture in the room. Typically, subwoofers are big and heavy, so there is usually limited space as to where you can actually place it.
The great thing about subwoofers is that they are used for low frequencies. Thankfully, low frequencies are less directional than mids and highs. These lows are felt more than they are hard in a lot of cases. So, placing them on the floor can actually be a good thing as the vibrations can be felt through the floor and to your feet.
A great anecdote is to think of the walls as mirrors (which they are, for sound). If you put a sub on the floor, its “reflection” is the same as having two subs. Placing the subwoofer against the wall and on the floor, you’ve effectively doubled the reflection again. Now, if you place the subwoofer in the corner of the room, it doubles again as you now have two walls and the floor to reflect off.
Unfortunately, not everyone will has this luxury. Many people, like myself, have limited room in their home. Speaker placement will also play a role here. Especially if you are following the golden rule and have your speakers in the corner.
So what should I do?
To most people, the variation in subwoofer placement wont be too noticeable, but for the avid audiophile it will be. Here is what you should do.
Placing it in the corner will give you the best sound potential as it allows the sound to bounce off as many surfaces as possible (Sorry neighbors!). This works especially well if you have surround sound and speakers placed throughout the room. Realistically, this setup will give you the best bang for your buck with the new sub.
If this option is no good to you as you have limited space, just placing it in centrally between your speaker setup on the floor against the wall, will be just as good to most people. Subwoofers are great in this way due to the low frequency sounds, it gives you more options in terms of placement and you won’t sacrifice much sound quality at all.
Yes, it is perfectly okay to place your speaker on the floor. In fact, most people will tell you that’s the ideal place to set it up due to the extra potential for vibration. The low frequency sound isn’t as ruthless, unlike mid and highs, so it’s not going to have that great of an effect on it. Placing it in a corner is the perfect location, followed by centrally to your speaker setup and against the wall.
I hope this article cleared up any thoughts you were having about placing your subwoofer on the floor. If you’re interested in learning more about audio equipment like this, you can read about it over here.