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Best Soundbar Placement Options – 2020 Guide

Before buying a soundbar, it is worthwhile to consider its placement options. This is because considering soundbar placement options can have a big effect on the user experience. You can determine where you want your soundbar to be and what placement options your sound bar offers, which will provide you with the best sounding sound quality.

As sound bars are placed in front of the TV, their placement has a big effect on the sound quality. If you want a noise-free, immersive experience, and you are not bothered by the distance, placement your soundbar just slightly above the TV’s remote control will give you the best sound quality. However, some sound bars offer users the option to place the soundbar within an arm’s reach of the TV’s remote control. For many, this is a necessary design decision, while others find this to be a distraction.

Here are our Picks for Best Soundbars of 2020:

Of the best soundbars that we tested, the Sony HT-X9000F Soundbar is still the best for the money.

Introduction:

You might find it surprising, but LG’s OLED, 4K TV is slimmer than an iPhone. LG’s OLED, 4K TV is just 2.57 mm in thickness, whereas the iPhone X is 7.7 mm. Add in the fact that Apple’s 7.9 mm thick iPhone X will also be available in 64GB of storage, compared to the OLED’s 32GB, and LG’s entry-level OLED TV is actually smaller than Apple’s upcoming iPhone X. The OLED’’s “depth” extends 1.7 times further than Apple’s OLED TV.

Imagine inserting all the latest smart features, such as built in Wifi system, a 4k display, Sound System, etc. into a 2.57 mm slim device. To do that, LG engineered a “Facing Mirror” display in the OLED TV so the viewer faces the TV from a different angle. The imperfection being, a viewing angle where the pixels are no longer able to line up at a perfect angle, creating a blurry mess of pixels in the corners.

The Problem

Nothing is perfect in this Universe

These latest Smart TV’s are also part of this imperfection.

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Since all TVs are now getting thinner, companies have been forced to find solutions to solve the problem of having poor sound quality inside slim TVs. Every TV manufacturer is trying to find a different way to fix this issue, but the one that’s been gaining the most attention is the soundbar. Some people think that adding a soundbar or bigger speakers to their smart TV improves sound quality while others think it’s a gimmick that detracts from a TV.

Furthermore, these TV also run low on power as well so there is no need for an external sound device as well. So the difference in sound quality is not as bad as the majority of other external devices out there (such as Blu-ray player). As a result, external sound can take the place of internal speakers in these TVs. While there are some components that are better suited for soundbar placement than others, they are all generally the same. Soundbars need to have a large sound output. The quality is still an important factor here as the sound bar needs to be strong enough to make the sound to bounce off the walls.

Even though soundbars can cover a relatively large area, the opening is rather small and the short distance between the TV and the wall also means that the TV will be casting sound into the room instead of reverberating the room itself. This means that in most cases, the soundbar needs to have a bit more open area in the room around it than the TV, in order to provide a better acoustical environment for the audio. It may also be possible to make the TV louder by moving it closer to the soundbar and using an additional fan.

These factors are both going to lead to a slightly warmer than normal audio environment.

The Solution

With Soundbar ability to add more sound from your surround sound system to the TV screen, is the better choice when you need external speaker.

Soundbar

A Soundbar is popular for both the home and the office. It makes it easy to fit home theater systems into smaller spaces, it is easy to handle and store, and it is a great alternative to small multi-speaker TV sets. Many soundbars have multiple driver and/or tweeter areas, which improves the sound quality of the entire system. This also includes more speaker wire which increases the total “cable” in your home.

They upgrade audio to stereo. While slightly larger than speakers, they don’t consume much space.

You can use a soundbar as the sound hub for all of your TV and computer monitors if you have multiple monitors, or you can just have the screen’s speakers (those in your TV) connected to the soundbar as well. For those working with multiple monitors, it is a great tool to use a soundbar as the audio hub for your home theater system.

Soundbars can also be used if you have an older high-definition (HD)TV without an optical input. To use the soundbar, simply plug in the soundbar into the TV and connect the remote control to the TV, Your device will be automatically detected. It is possible to run this combination of devices in different rooms. The soundbar can be linked up to an HDMI cable, though you cannot run it wirelessly (no PC as a remote control).

Soundbar – What to Consider at time of Buying

Consideration when buying a soundbar is that you do need to consider the placement of your soundbar when comparing to other devices. Basically, it depends on your home theater setup, and sound bar features. If your TV is a stand alone TV, or you have a TV with surround sound, then the soundbar works great. If you have a soundbar and TV installed in a common home theater setup, then soundbar placement should be your primary consideration. If you have a DVD player in a common TV setup and you only have a basic soundbar, then the soundbar itself should not be used in your home theater setup unless you have the space for a soundbar.

Moreover, look at how the unit will interact with the receiver and your TV’s front and rear panel components. And then also the quality of sound that you are going to get. If you are aiming for a system which relies heavily on the soundbar than as well there are certain things to consider. And of course if you are considering something which has multiple speakers and you are the sole owner of the TV then there is also certain things to consider. But in this article we will concentrate on how to best purchase a sound bar for the best outcome. In general, the best soundbar for the money is one with a subwoofer. This applies not only to the soundbar itself but also to the speakers that are connected to it.

Thus, when you’re purchasing a Soundbar, it’s important to know what soundbar to buy. However, there is a huge appeal to using soundbars as part of an all-in-one home theater system as they can get very high end, not just very good. This includes increased energy efficiency, better acoustical performance, improved audio and visual clarity, more space for larger formats, better bass and clearer sound.

Soundbar Placement Options

The soundbar can be placed higher or lower than the top of the amplifier to provide the best acoustic performance of the room and be in contact with your speakers. There are many alternatives to the common upright position of the speakers. There are low, center and high mounting positions. You should always choose a position that maximizes the distance between your speakers and the wall.

For traditional 1.1 system you can choose the default position of the soundbar where it is right under the top of your amplifier. It would be better not to place the soundbar directly under your speakers as the output from them could interfere with the sound from the soundbar. Another alternative is to place the soundbar higher than the top of your amplifier but the bottom of the amplifier is kept clear for your subwoofer.

The soundbar itself is positioned between the speaker and amplifier so it is usually more practical to position it right on top of your amplifier. In other cases, it may be more advantageous to tilt the soundbar up or down so that it is about 4-5 inches from the top of the amplifier but not directly over the amplifier. Soundbars and subwoofers are placed just above the floor under the speakers. It can prevent noise leakage, as well as vibrations from the wall can be reduced by using materials like aluminum or plastic.

Optimum Positioning

Typically most soundbars will fall into one of three categories: 2-way, 3-way, or bi-directional. If you have a stereo home theater system, you will generally find the 2-way configuration more common. If your home theater system has only single speakers, you will generally find a single 2-way configuration.

If your home theater system is capable of two channel sound, you will generally find the 2-way configuration more common. If your home theater system has a 3-way setup, you will generally find the 3-way configuration more common. The term bi-directional soundbar is often used to refer to a 3-way setup where you have a single speaker on the front speakers and a bi-directional array of speakers on the rear speakers.

Mounting it on the wall or in a corner can aid in sound isolation to help with preventing reverberation. On the other hand if you want to get a good frequency response and minimize distortion then you need to place it on the speakers. The placement of a soundbar is dependant on the type of room and personal preference. For example, if you place it in the corner of the room you will get a higher-quality output from the TV as well as be able to place it out of the way of floor to ceiling speakers. Also if your TV is near a wall it can help eliminate reverberation as well as improving the overall sound. Some soundbars can be placed on a screen above the TV’s sound and use a principle called the ‘Center Channel Method’.

The Wall mounted TV

Before soundbar mounting on a wall, we would recommend you look into a few factors, such as how many doors the TV has and how strong they are and how much space the TV is taking up. You can simply use this app to check the availability of your room. If you feel you have excess room in your wall, mount your TV behind a wall shelf, or have the TV attached to the TV stand.

The TV is set up to be mounted on a wall in a clear spot and a clear spot of many feet. For example, if you want to mount your TV next to a wall with 10 foot ceilings, you can have the TV placed 3 feet away from the wall and still see a clear spot from one wall. Once set up, select the motion plus speaker placement option in the TV menu.

The TV can be mounted in a sitting position (standing up), to stand, or in a reclined position. If you want to mount the TV on the wall, select the vertical mounting option. Even if you have a larger TV, an even taller soundbar can be mounted below the TV.

Even if your TV has built-in IR emitters, the signal will need to be amplified in order to reach the soundbar.

Soundbar Placed Under TV

These days, for many people, this is the default setting. It works best for watching TV in the living room. The TV in front of the soundbar is effectively turned off. That means that the soundbars sound is reduced to the TV itself. The TV then will still display picture while the soundbar is playing. While the TV can be used at the same time, you would have to turn it on and off in the middle of shows and movies to hear everything.

This is a great option for people who sit way in the middle of the TV room. The TV in front of the soundbar gets great sound that is very close to the TV you’re watching in a TV room. It also is a little cheaper than the panels integrated in the speaker, especially considering the lack of vibration from the floor.

To get great connectivity between TV and Soundbar, sound has to be close as possible to TV. This way, you get a cleaner look and more customization options when choosing what to mount. The placement on the TV itself depends on what you think the best placement would be for you. If both devices can communicate with each other and are directly connected (without using a TV router), the media will be synchronized easily. Since you should not place the soundbar too close to the TV, it’s recommended that the soundbar is placed as close as possible to the TV in the room. If it’s too far away, the sound will not get equally accurate. Choosing the placement of the soundbar is essential for 3D sound to work properly. It will affect the calibration of the soundbar as well.

Since the soundbar is positioned directly above the TV, there is no way for the soundbar to touch the TV with the cables. The wires would be visible on top of the TV. Therefore, the soundbar should be installed closer to the TV than how it is currently done. While you could actually display the connection between the two devices in the TV’s UI, we found it easier to select the soundbar and using the remote. The soundbar could definitely be moved back to the sides for those who prefer more space. The most logical way to display it on the side is to place the remote on the back of the TV. However, since the soundbar has no physical cable connections, there will be no ability to change channels or program, even in the remote control.

If both are light blue in color, then it would be a dark blue all black with bright whites in the back. Depending on the wall color, it can be a roomy look with crisp white walls in the front of the room. If the TV and soundbar are the same color in design, then you get a more sleek look with no whites in the back. You still get white walls in the front though.

The Flaw of Placing Soundbar below the TV

If you use various table or shelf pieces and you place some menu pieces on the table or shelf of the TV then the TV sensor will not sense them. The system of that TV needs to be moved to a different spot, and then you need to do that again. If the only damage to the TV’s soundbar was a light wipe, then you can look for a good stereo soundbar under the TV to replace it. The soundbar is much easier to cover as it is less heavy.

By placing your soundbar above the TV, the soundbar can be moved to any spot without having to replace the entire screen. A great option for bringing more and more room into your room and helping to create a more intimate experience. If the TV has surround sound capability, then you must ensure that you keep it in 4K UHD resolution (HDMI 2.0 required) and place it below the TV. This makes for a far less costly and easier repair. You can make your life easier if you can buy a second soundbar for better stereo sound, which is a bit of an out of reach option. Be aware that placing an onscreen overlay above the front display of the TV may cause issues with some TVs. The easiest way to avoid this is by keeping all onscreen viewing in the system’s application UI and only allowing to view certain content on the main UI screen. This will allow for better definition and better performance when interacting with the UI.

Soundbar Placed Above TV

If the TV is on a stand that’s less than 17″ from the floor, your soundbar can be above the TV as long as the TV is no more than 17″. If the TV is at least 17″ from the floor, your soundbar can’t be above the TV. It has to be between 17″ and 25″ above the TV.

This means if the TV is lower than 33″ from the floor, your soundbar can’t be over 33″. If your TV is between 33″ and 37″, your soundbar can’t be over 37″.

If the TV is towards you, then you can get good placement. The better the placement the more distance the sound will travel. If the TV is towards a wall then you will have more issues, since the soundbar will need to be in between a wall and your TV. For best results the soundbar will be placed about 2′ from the TV, or slightly closer if possible.

When moving the sound bar towards the television you would notice its speaker channels are slanted slightly towards the television instead of being completely perpendicular to it. These speaker channels are created by the placement of the sound bar above the television. For example, you can place it above or below the TV if you need to. You can even have both soundbar and TV on same shelf or floor. However, you can’t have both at the same time. You need to make a choice for your need. If you don’t have an option for this, you can always raise the height of your TV’s back and reach the nearest soundbar cabinet, thus having a side soundbar shelf. Considering the feel of the room, two very popular soundbar placement options are below your TV in a remote location or placed below it in a TV-free bar. By placing a soundbar above a TV that you will rarely use, you reduce any ambient noises that may distract you from the TV (this option helps if you live in a noisy environment such as office).

The Flaw of Placing Soundbar above the TV

If you want the best audio experience for your TV, you must try not to put your soundbar too high, otherwise you will just have a slight annoyance. That is why the first place where the soundbar should be placed is between the TV and the TV remote and speakers. It is near to the front speaker of the TV. It would be awkward to hear the sound of the TV above your TV. You would also lose the sound that comes from your speakers. The video is sent to the soundbar, via the HDMI cable, which will not be displayed in surround sound. There is no HD content to watch or listen to because you are using the soundbar in a way that doesn’t fit the screen and the position. Moreover, there is another notable condition when the soundbar placement could cause a lot of problems. This could be when you have the TV set to replace the soundbar in the normal height by changing its mirror.

Cluttering Problems and their Solutions

Most of the wires are hidden in a way that they are invisible to users. Cluttering can be a trouble with soundbar because it creates smaller areas for cables. This makes the wires that lead to the speakers more visible and invites unwanted reflections. Thus, people need to move the soundbar to keep the wires more under the body. If the soundbar is wall-mounted, then the wires will also need to be moved in the future.

The first problem that you may face is that you have to move the speakers to the wall. It can be difficult to keep the connectors close to the speakers. Sometimes, there are wires at the back side of the speakers which are trapped at the edge of the speaker or at the back edge of the box. To be safe, you can cut a small hole in the soundbar (left of the speaker) for the wires to pass through. A simple solution for these issues is to place the soundbar between the wall and the TV. You can place the soundbar as high as you would like.

You can also solve this problem by adjusting the distance between the TV and the soundbar by extending the soundbar longer to the back of the TV or closer to the TV. You will have to adjust the location of the speaker as well as the distance. If your TV has one more physical output, you may need to add an output extension from the TV to the soundbar to allow the TV to output sound over the soundbar. You could also attach this to the wall behind your TV but this would require using a speaker wire to lift the front panel. The solution could be best done if you have space for a small shelf for it (or even ventilated closet space to support it) .You can then choose to wall mount the soundbar or give it up and install it below the ceiling.As an extension, it can be done without all the complication of a ceiling mounted TV soundbar by simply attaching the cord circle to a Tv switch (or TV) in the bedroom.

Read this before Mounting Soundbar on the Wall

Some TV’s have a hole in the middle of their bottom in which the stand screw can be inserted. If you plan to mount your soundbar on the wall, this is a good option. Check your TV’s serial number and see if it is a plug and play TV or not.

Make sure that the noise canceling features of the TV are set to automatically and leave them that way. If you can make the TV work for you without interfering with the soundbars (for instance by setting the TV to change the volume automatically to the soundbar when switched on) it will be a better experience for you. Even if mountable kit didnt come with your soundbar, but it does have the keyhole slots which can be mounted via brackets, than you probably can buy additional detachable backets to mount soundbar. The brackets will need to be solid metal, so you should check if the plastic ones have a groove or mark at the bottom of the bracket. I like the look of them, but please be careful because they will cause rusting, so it may be better to get something already pre-assembled. Be careful not to drill holes to much into the plastic.

E.g LG 2.1ch 300W Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer and Bluetooth® Connectivity doesn’t comes with keyholes to help mounted on the wall. If they’re to be wall-mounted, then installing the shelves would be the way and resting them on shelves. Wiggly cabinet installers will not have enough access to help you do this so it is best to just install them on your router table or the floor in the dinning area of the home. It can be very confusing to install the speakers on a wall or subfloor. I recommend placing the speakers near the wall and router table as it will make installation and removal easier.

Whereas, Samsung HW-R450 Sound Bar-Easy to Install comes with Wall Mount kit Package to be easily mounted on the wall.

TV Placed on Cabinet, Stand or Table

If your TV is placed on a Cabinet, Table or stand, it must be mounted to a completely flat surface to prevent damage. The TV’s height and height of the TV Set and also the distance between the TV and the cabinet should be 3 1/2″ or greater. The dimensions of the TV cabinet and stand should be an exact size as the TV’s.

Although the height can be kept low with appropriate height devices and placement of the TV, the taller height also restricts the configuration of your project and may restrict other room use (Table, Stand, etc). Second, you have to consider the location of the TV on the base of the cabinet, stand or table. A heavy TV can cause a constriction and/or weight on the base or stand and can interfere with airflow around the shelf unit. In general, you want to use a stand that is not tall and does not limit the maximum height of the TV.

If the room ’s height from the floor to the TV’s height is less than 7.5 inches, your TV should be positioned higher so that it does not create a visual obstruction. It’s better to have a huge soundbar placed behind the TV because the sound will travel further than when the TV is kept at eye level. Moreover, in our opinion, soundbars that are placed in a cabinet/stand are one of the best scenarios when it comes to picture quality. The soundbar is a fairly lightweight device which makes it convenient to place against the wall and it is much more likely that the physical distance between the source and the TV will not be too much different. The stand is easily adjustable and can serve as the proper platform for soundbars and can have a number of nice options such as being mounted in the corners and/or to a column or other piece of furniture.

The higher you place the soundbar, the better, with it usually feeling better to place it towards the rear of the vehicle. Soundbars placed too close will create an “in-cabinet” sound that does not balance with the existing driving experience. Another option is to place the soundbar above the floor, so that it sits on top of the new vehicle’s floor mats. Be aware that this can be a very heavy option for most vehicles due to the extra weight of the soundbar itself. The placement may affect TV viewing and overall convenience.

When placing the TV/Soundbar on a table, the TV/Soundbar should be slightly elevated, thus, the potential chance of it sticking out from the table should be avoided. The stand can also be placed below the screen, so the one who installed the soundbar into the cabinet can sit with their feet on the lower part of the stand and soundbar.

An optimum placement of the soundbar and its surround/sub system connected to TV is shown below:

See How Brands Recommends Soundbar Placement Options:

1) Nearby Socket
For optimal sound quality, placing the soundbar in close proximity to nearby sound sockets will improve clarity and bass response.

2) The 1cm Rule
The “1cm Rule” of placement is the optimal distance between the two speakers for optimum sound transfer. So when you place a soundbar over your left ear, you’re maximizing the sound transfer to the left ear. The soundbar should then be placed to your right ear, based on what the driver of your phone or tablet is capable of, and on the physical size of the soundbar.

3) Grille Facing Into Room
When placing a soundbar you should pay close attention to the faces of the grilles. With the grille facing into the room, the bar would have to sit deeper in the center of the screen when you place the bar in the location.

4) Keep Wireless Equipment Away
Keep your wireless speakers and chargers away from your TV. The soundbar has a built-in anti-glare screen that will reflect more light than anything else. The heat from your wireless speaker or wireless charger could harm your TV.

5) The Smooth Surface
If a Soundbar is placed on a smooth surface like hardwood or marble, it is likely to touch the floor underneath the Soundbar and may result in a weak or noisy sound. Its recommended, to place it on Rubber and Stable Surface with its Rubber feet firmly resting on the Surface to support it.

6) Avoid Delicate Surface
Avoid placing it on delicate or varnish wood surfaces. A constant cycle of light and sound vibrations that constantly apply stress is a destructive process that increases the wear and tear on wood surfaces. The speaker provides a lot of impact forces when it hits the surface and may scratch the surface.

7) Avoid Confined Space
To experience best quality sound, soundbars should be placed in an open space that is free of obstruction. A soundbar placed in a confined space often hears sound booms and reflections from that area. Most brands indicate that a soundbar located in a confined space can receive extreme low end noise.

8) Preferred Place
The soundbar’s preferred placement
option is either below or above the TV. Most brands recommends offer two placement options, a placement below the TV or above. This placement has been shown to have benefits to visual acuity.

Final Thoughts:

In conclusion, buying TV with a soundbar is a good solution if your budget allows. TVs with soundbars are extremely common and will most likely be in demand in the future. The key is to decide which option feels right for you and delivers a good experience. After all, when you’re buying a television, your first priority is likely to be personal taste and comfort. Storing it above your TV beats all other placement options. Storing it at the very back of your TV beats all other placement options. Honestly this all comes down to personal preference. I hope this article will help you to find the best location for your new soundbar.

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