Do you Need a Subwoofer?

We are asked all the time about the placement of speakers and the subwoofer(s). To be perfectly honest, it is impossible to tell you exactly where, until we see the size of the room, where the place is located and what your overall system will be (5.1 or 7.1). With that said, we can give you some good general advice that will help your Jensen speakers be their best. For the rest of the article, let's assume you have a standard room that will be your home theatre room. While house sizes vary, most people will be setting up their system in a 12 X 15 room or something equivalent to that.

Subwoofers are known as nondirectional, meaning you can't tell where the sound is coming from. The caveat to that is not having the speaker within the parameters of your set up. If it is too far away, you will tell where it is coming from. It must also get integrated into the system and be in a place not too far left or right. In other words, it isn't just there to be tucked away and not seen!

Subwoofer Positioning in a Home Theater System.

The first and most common place to put the subwoofer is in the front of the room by your two front speakers. This standard set up happens for a lot of reasons, but the most common is it is easiest to hook up with speaker wire. This setup doesn't mean its bad though. The key with most subwoofer setups is to be able to put it against a solid wall, which helps it direct that base. Many times your best bass sound will come from a corner wall, so either the left or the right front corner wall might work for you.

The second most common place to put the subwoofer is right behind your seating. If you have the couch as your main watching area, you will place a subwoofer center and behind that. Since it is close, it will give you the best sound and bass. The key is to make sure it is still the same distance as the two speakers to your left and right. You want all the sounds to hit you at once! The negative to putting it here is it can take a lot of cabling to reach your receiver.

Let's say you aren't sure about either of those places. You can try a technique called "crawling" to find the best spot. Take your subwoofer and place it where you will be sitting. Turn on some good bass music and move to one corner of the room. You then move throughout the room to all corners until you get back to the original position. Where were you standing when the bass sounded the best? This standing spot is the place you should put the subwoofer then and point it to where you were sitting.

How important is a subwoofer?

In a Jensen system, the subwoofer isn't essential but always recommended. Jensen in-wall and in-ceiling speakers are designed to go quite low into bass frequencies but our EHT-707 down-firing subwoofers take the bass to the next level, especially for home theatre. I would go so far as to say it is these low frequencies that make that full productive, three dimensional sound that we love from movie theatres and live concerts.

Should a subwoofer be on the floor?

It is common for most people to place the subwoofer at the floor level. The size usually dictates this as the proper placement. Also, the low frequencies that subwoofers pump out, are felt, and having it on the floor gives you more "shake." That shake, though, can be very problematic and not wanted. People in adjacent rooms will also be able to feel the sub. You want the subwoofer to permeate throughout the room, not just at the lower levels. If you think about the sound coming out in a cone, you are missing half of that by having the subwoofer on the floor. The best bet is to raise it off the floor as much as possible within the real living arrangements. A small 12 to a 20-inch box will be a good compromise in this situation.

Should I buy 1 or 2 Subwoofers?

How many subwoofers is an interesting question for sure? Despite what most people will tell you if you have a little bit larger room, then you most likely will need two subwoofers. If you have multiple seating positions (think a small sofa and two recliners or something similar), then you most likely won't have optimal listening in all seats. You might also find that you can localise one speaker and tell where the sound is coming from. With two subwoofers, you will never be able to localise that bass! The key to a "real" experience is not being able to tell what speaker is providing the sound only that it is all around you.

If I have two subwoofers were should they go?

Once again, based on style and actual living arrangements, most people put the two subwoofers in the front either right inside the front two speakers or, if possible, in the two corners at the front. While this will work, it is not the optimal positioning. Many tests have been done on this, and one way was the clear winner. Put the subwoofers on opposite corners of each other. If you have one in the front right corner, then have the second one in the back left corner of the room. The sound will fill the whole room, and you will have a tough time determining where it's the origin.

We have answered a few of the questions we get about subwoofers. Every situation has its nuances, and we can only generally make recommendations. The best thing to do if you are unsure is to call, email or chat to us to ask. We will happily help you create the perfect sound system for your space.