Have you ever been all pumped up to belt out your favorite verse of a song only to be let down by the speakers?
Well, subwoofers are a sure bet for a superb sound experience. These bass-oriented speakers deliver on the lower frequencies when other systems can’t. We’re talking about the 20-200 Hz frequency range, which is home to kick drums, bass guitars, and movie explosions.
However, the position of a subwoofer has a significant impact on its performance. Is it possible to place a sub in a cabinet? What should be the size of the cabinet? Is it okay if the device doesn’t adhere to the wall? Is there also room for a subwoofer amp?
Needless to say, there is a lot to think about so you can get the sound quality and volume you want. But most of these things may sound unfamiliar if you’re just getting started. To find out whether you can put a subwoofer in a cabinet, read this article to the end.
Putting a Subwoofer in a Cabinet — Does it Work?
In a nutshell, you can install a subwoofer in a cabinet. However, the true challenge is how to go about it. There are various aspects to consider for optimum performance before we get into the nitty-gritty of the actual installation.
1. Rattles, Resonances, and Cabinet Type
We wouldn’t recommend putting your speakers in a cabinet that stores cutlery, jewelry, or other pieces of decorations. This is because it would result in a sound that is ruined by vibrations and rattles, contradicting the purpose of buying such high-end speakers in the first place.
Custom-made cabinets are the ideal choice for a home theater setup. The problem of thin and flimsy back panels overcoming the rattling sounds is not a concern with custom-made cupboards. However, a higher-end audio system may come with its own cabinets.
Bass noises are a major concern when it comes to subwoofers, mainly because they tend to produce large bass waves that are difficult to restrict. After all, sound travel is reliant on the air molecules in their immediate vicinity.
Keeping this in mind, your cabinet doors should have the appropriate amount of visible apertures (several square inches). Plus, these should be proportional to the size of the subwoofer’s driver. The problem of airflow is one of the reasons we use padding, as it gives a degree of separation.
Similarly, some people have false walls built into their cabinets to provide optimum access to the subs from within the cabinet. Such creative solutions can significantly improve your home theater experience while also maximizing the subwoofer’s output.
3. Leveling and Positioning
Here comes the heart of subwoofer placement. We meant finding the best location for the subwoofer cabinet.
This refers to the height and the exact spot we may install it in the listening room. This consideration might seem redundant, but subwoofers aren’t something you can just put anywhere. As such, their cupboards’ placement also needs special attention.
Usually, people keep these speakers along the front wall of the room or on the floor. This positioning allows them to focus on low, high, and even mid-range frequencies.
Especially since we feel low frequencies more than hear them, putting the speakers on the floor allows them to propagate faster. So figure out your listening position to ensure optimum leveling and positioning.
How To Install The Subwoofers In A Cabinet?
Step 1 – Test the Room Acoustics
While we’ve discussed some of the ideal positions and levels to keep the subwoofers, we must remember that each room is unique. As such, the acoustics of each room is different. And when testing these acoustics, remember to test the subwoofer with the rest of the sound system.
Furthermore, don’t forget the primary purpose of a subwoofer. It’s to make small speakers sound more impressive than they are and not hear them as a separate sound source.
Some people even hide their sound system and subwoofer inside cabinets to maintain the impression of massive speakers. At the same time, others may keep it on their corner end table.
Step 2 – Get Your Measurements
Get your measurements not just for the speaker but the room as well. While home theater systems have dedicated sections for such AV equipment (called “entertainment cabinets“), not everyone has a home theater system.
Many of us have our sound systems in our living room. In this case, you need to figure out the maximum possible size of your audio system as a whole before you buy it.
Afterward, you need to get the height, width, and length of your subwoofers if you are going for a custom design.
Similarly, you need to figure out if you need one subwoofer or more and if you are going to keep them in separate cabinets. Of course, with a good, strong subwoofer, you won’t need more than one.
Step 3 – Design the Cupboard
The perfect custom cupboard, in this case, would be made of thick wood. The thickness should be around 0.75 inches.
The rest of the measurements depend on your subwoofer. Don’t forget to consider the design and color to ensure you get a stylish piece that easily goes with other furniture in the room.
Further, you need to assemble the cabinet tightly. That’s because the flimsier it is, the more unnecessary sounds it will make. T
o achieve the desired effect, you should take extra care when gluing together and screwing pieces into place. Although, if you have the option, it’s always best to use the custom cupboards provided with the cabinet.
Step 4 – Add Padding
Next, you should use some soft dampening material in all the cabinet parts in contact with the subwoofer. This precaution allows for a layer of separation and avoids the clattering sounds of the sub vibrating against the wood.
Moreover, if you have a lightweight cupboard, you can mass load for reinforcement. Most people use vinyl or rubber as vibration pads.
For an utterly contact-free shelf, decouple the subwoofer from the cabinet floor. You can do so by placing a padding material on the subwoofer’s feet.
Use spongy and forgiving padding, preferably. If you want to be super fancy and pull out all the stops, you can use Vibration Isolation Pads from Vib-X or elsewhere. This reduces the mechanical vibrations produced by the speaker.
Similarly, some companies now sell an anti-shake device with their speaker. Really, with all the help you folks are getting for such an audio system, you have no excuse not to try and get the best subwoofer output. And in this case, that comes from minimum sound vibrations.
Step 5 – Check the Wires
This point refers to making sure there is an opening for connecting wires to reach the subs inside the cabinet and that they aren’t too far away from other devices.
And if they are, you need to ensure they are out of the way. It’s important to maximize their connectivity and minimize the chance of someone tripping over them, hurting themselves, and wrecking your sound system.
Honestly, these accidents can do some serious damage to your system. Thus, if there are wires between the speakers and the audio input, tape them down or run them through a wiring pipe.
Although, if you want to avoid all this hard work, you could always opt for wireless speakers. Such Bluetooth-operated speakers make the entire setup process much smoother.
Why Does The Subwoofer Placement Matter?
When reviewing an IMAX film, critics frequently suggest viewers go to their nearest IMAX theatre as soon as possible rather than waiting for the film to be released on smaller screens. Such claims are made because the director intended for the audience to have a full cinematic IMAX experience.
More or less, the placement of a subwoofer follows the same rule. You could go without it, but you would be missing out. This applies even if you have surround-sound speakers.
Most importantly, you will not be able to experience a piece of music or a film in the way that the artist, filmmakers, or sound mixers intended. This is especially true when listening to hip-hop or electronic dance music (EDM). Don’t you want to feel the bass sounds in your bones, after all?
It is equally valid for full-throttle action movies that aim to deliver the most intense experience possible. For such an experience, you need the best sound quality and, as a result, the most powerful subwoofer. With subwoofers in your sound system, you can get a complete artistic experience.
In addition, most other speakers are incapable of handling low-range frequencies, and that’s where the placement of a subwoofer comes in.
These elements contribute to the reduction of music distortion, which is, without a doubt, the most annoying aspect of recorded sound. As true auditory connoisseurs know, there is nothing better than having your surround-speakers enhanced by subwoofers.
In short, if you want to get the full, immersive experience of media, you must know the correct placement of a subwoofer.
We can conclude that for an ideal listening experience, you need to get a hold of a subwoofer and cabinets that provide the perfect floor level for this essential AV equipment. So don’t forget to take advantage of these invaluable assets in your quest for better sound.
Low-frequency sounds and bass sounds are essential to consider when designing your ideal home theater system. Even if you are just placing them in your living room, be careful about these.
Hopefully, we could help you take the decorative element of these subwoofers to the next level. So brag all you want and have fun! What’s movie night with friends without some showing off, after all?