For most people, setting up your DJ home studio or audio system can be surprisingly daunting. Sure, you can just put anything you want wherever you want, but that’s not going to make a studio that necessarily works.
A great example of this is subwoofer placement, in other words, deciding where you’re going to place your subwoofer – the sweet spot for the most accurate and powerful bass! If you’ve already found a place to put your initial monitor speakers, bringing in and establishing the best subwoofer placement can take your sound and really amp it up to a new level.
The correct sound system positioning will boost the subwoofer sounds.
How do you figure out the best subwoofer placement?
Here, we’ll break down where the best place to set your subs as well as why they need their area. We’ll also go into some of the different subwoofers out there as well so to determine which sub is good for you and your studio.
Where Should a Subwoofer be Positioned?
There is no formula for the best subwoofer placement. It can all be put down to trial and error and testing. Placing a subwoofer in the corner of a room can increase its output, making it sound louder. The great thing about a subwoofer (especially a wireless subwoofer solution) is it can be situated almost anywhere on your floor space and in the end really does come down to personal preference.
Best KRK Subwoofer
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Why Subwoofer Placement is Important
On one hand, it’s easy to dismiss putting subwoofers in your studio. Not only are they not mandatory but you can just as easily enjoy your setup without one being there. This is especially true if you’re a DJ that likes to use headphones in their studio.
Still, just because you don’t need to put one in doesn’t mean your studio can’t benefit greatly from them. Studio subwoofers are built to better handle low-end frequencies for your sound. As a result, including a subwoofer to deal with the bass response and low-end frequencies will take the weight off your main speakers or studio monitors while simultaneously boosting the bass and overall sound quality.
Not only that, but a single subwoofer is becoming increasingly essential due to most audio today stressing bass-heavy low-end frequencies. From rap and drum & Bass to electronica and techno, more and more artists are making the bass a more important part of their productions. This means that a lack of ability to truly explore that portion of the sound can somewhat “spoil” everything else, essentially making it feel like you’re not enjoying everything that a track has to offer.
One of the biggest reasons you may want to look at putting in a subwoofer is the fact that for DJs and music producers, including a subwoofer allows you to better operate your music when mixing tracks and putting sounds together.
Without a deeper appreciation of a track’s bass, you could potentially move a portion of a track in the wrong area because you misjudged the intensity of the bass. This can, when later played on a better set of speakers, show the off timing, causing a whole performance to suffer as a consequence.
Subwoofer Placement: Optimal Performance
The first thing when thinking about subwoofer placement is the size of your subwoofers. The larger your subs are, the heavier the bass sounds are going to be. The same goes for the sound deepness, where the sound can end up being much deeper if you have a larger sub.
For most home studios, subwoofers don’t have to be particularly huge, with a 10 to 12-inch amp working perfectly for most situations.
One thing you will want to keep in mind is how far you intend to push your subwoofers. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with getting a smaller subwoofer, keep in mind that the smaller it is, the higher the chance you have that you’ll accidentally cause a sound distortion due to pushing your subwoofer harder than it can go.
Generally, you’re better off looking at as big a sub as is reasonable as you’ll have fewer chances of pushing your amps too hard.
Another very important area worth considering is the crossover frequency for your sub. The reality is that including a sub isn’t as simple as plugging it in and suddenly having a subwoofer under your control. You’ll need to consider some different crossover frequency recommendations if you want to get the most out of your subs when they’re playing.
Simply put, crossover frequencies let you preset the best volume settings while also defining at what point the subwoofer will be in charge of certain monitor frequencies.
It’s important that your settings aren’t so low that you can’t feel the bass compared to the mid and highs. Similarly, you also don’t want your settings so high that you can’t hear the mids or the highs.
The bass frequency response is an important factor to pay attention to when it comes to any sound system device.
They are recorded in “Hertz” (Hz), which the average human only hears up to around 20 Hz with anything higher being more of an internal feeling. Generally, the further away you are from the speaker, the higher the hertz will need to be.
While you won’t need to crank it up all the time, if you have a wider frequency response range, you have more options to play with and can ensure people get that “rumble” feeling even if they’re not directly in front of the speakers.
Best Yamaha Subwoofer
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Front Vs Down-Firing Subwoofer Placement
One of the bigger considerations you’ll probably have with your subwoofer is whether you want it to front fire or down fire.
This may sound strange, but it simply means that the main driver will either face forward (front-firing) or face the floor (down-firing).
There is no best option on which will work best for you as the ideal pick is the one that works best for your studio and where you plan to have the subwoofer placed.
For example, by placing a subwoofer in a corner or against a wall, you’ll probably want to check out a down-firing subwoofer. This will ensure that the bass energy sound delivered from a corner placement is able to radiate out from the ground and go across the room.
In many cases, down-firing subs are used for commercial sound systems as it is an effective way of presenting the speaker as able to send out and produce more sound than it actually can.
It’s a great option for homes and in the commercial sector, however, for DJs and music producers that expect nothing but the best from their studios, down-firing may not be the best choice.
While down-firing is more convenient since you just have to put your speaker on a wall or in a corner placement, it’s not going to pack nearly the same punch as a front-firing speaker or subwoofer.
These work by pushing sound directly out in front of them, giving out a much deeper bass punch. The only issue is that you’re going to have to pick the right place to set the speaker so that its back isn’t blocked and it can put as much force out to get that deeper bass feeling.
Down Firing Subwoofer
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Outside of size and frequency response, you’ll also want to think about the sub’s power rating. This determines the amount of wattage that your amp is capable of producing.
If you have a smaller sub, that naturally means the wattage won’t be as high as a larger sub. The higher the watts provided, the more intense the bass will come across.
Powered Vs. Unpowered
As with front and down-firing, understanding whether you need a powered subwoofer or an unpowered subwoofer can be a very important factor.
Powered (also called active) subs are subwoofers that don’t need an external amplifier.
This is because they already have all of their components pre-installed. They’re a lot easier to handle than unpowered subs, though you do pay for it with a higher cost and less freedom in different amps.
Unpowered (also called passive) subs are subwoofers that are somewhat of the polar opposite of powered subs.
Here, unpowered subs, as the name implies, don’t have any pre-established power amp already in place. Instead, these subs actively need an external amplifier to run. While it can be a bit of a pain and an expense to get a separate amp for your sub, the sub itself is generally going to be much more affordable compared to the powered alternative while also the freedom in the amp can greatly determine the overall quality of the music as an end-product.
Sealed Subwoofer Cabinet Vs. Bass Port
If you’re paying attention, you’ll notice that there are subwoofers that have a cone that leads to the heart of the box.
This is where the air goes in and out of the subwoofer to keep things running well while also helping to prevent and reduce any potential distortion. It’s actually this area that determines the sub’s ability to produce a bass that punches harder and louder without distorting or requiring nearly as much power.
On the other end are sealed box subs.
These subwoofers can produce a bass response that, while not as powerful, is much more accurate than bass port subs. So long as you understand that it’s not going to be as “punchy”, there are a lot of benefits one could get from a sealed box sub over a standard bass port sub.
Best SVS Sealed Subwoofer
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Now that we’ve looked into the different factors for your ideal sub, let’s now jump into the best listening position locations to set your sub in your studio.
The first thing that you should know is that where you put your subwoofer are generally floor-standing speakers and will have a huge impact on the quality of the sound as well as where you hear it the clearest.
Your subwoofer should ideally be set between your two main speakers or studio monitors. Outside of that, there are more guesses and general rules than anything hard and fast.
Since low-end bass frequencies do better when the feeling “surrounds” a person rather than is directed at them, it’s worth reiterating that your subs should be put right between your existing speaker setup.
While there are some arguments that subs work best when placed against the wall, theoretically causing the sound to bounce off the walls before developing an even deeper bass sound.
This is true to an extent, yes, however it also opens you up to creating a dead zone, where you’ll actually hear or feel nothing in that area.
If you have no other space, putting it in your corner will work well enough, though you do greatly limit the type of subwoofer you can get.
As an example, a bass-ported sub won’t have nearly as much room to let loose if it is surrounded by walls on all sides.
One thing that is worth considering is putting the sub out near where you’re going to be sitting. From there, walk around the area and find the spot where you hear the bass response the most clearly. This means that, when switched positions, the speaker and sub will be in the perfect place to give you the best bass listening experience.
Another consideration is sound isolation. This is the process of isolating the sub and speaker from the ground using a foam-based isolation pad or isolation feet.
Both are great options to consider though the foam-based isolation pads are more affordably priced, making them a more appealing option for those just looking to try something.
Powered (Active) Subwoofer
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Subwoofer Placement: The Verdict
While there are a lot of things to consider when deciding on where you want to set your subwoofer speakers up, it really just amounts to setting them out and listening to where they sound the best. a single subwoofer or you may have more than one subwoofer.
So it needs a little thought.
Between that, some of the suggestions listed above, and some trial and error, you’ll easily determine the best place to set your speakers and subwoofer in your studio.
The best subwoofer unit that we would recommend is the KRK S series.
Best KRK Subwoofer
One other thing that you should keep in mind is your outside situation. What I mean here is your family and neighbors. It’s one thing to rock out with a heavy bass shaking the house down if you’re living alone or at some distance from your immediate neighbors.
However, if you’re married or living with roommates, or you know your apartment neighbors aren’t going to be too happy, you’ll want to keep that in mind too so that you don’t end up getting a subwoofer that you can’t emphasize.
Ultimately, while the bass is very important, so too is sound quality. By finding the proper placement for your subwoofer, you can find that ideal harmony and balanced-sounding bass between these two so that you love what you’re hearing and can rock out to it all the same.