The placement of a soundbar can significantly affect your home theater experience, enhancing or diminishing both audio quality and aesthetic appeal. As soundbars continue to rise in popularity as a compact yet powerful alternative to traditional speaker systems, one question often arises: should you place your soundbar above or below your TV?
While each option comes with its pros and cons, the ideal placement largely depends on the specifics of your room setup, acoustic preferences, and design considerations. Today, we will talk about the advantages and disadvantages of each positioning, helping you make an informed decision for optimal sound and visual enjoyment. Let’s begin!
Did you know that LG’s OLED 4K TV is thinner than an iPhone?
Yeah! You just read it right. LG’s OLED 4K TV is just 2.57 mm in thickness, whereas the iPhone X is 7.7 mm.
Too much to swallow? Wonder what lies in the future!
Now, imagine inserting all the latest smart features, such as a 4k display, built-in Wi-Fi system, Speakers System, etc., into a 2.57 mm slim device.
Seems like a daunting task.
But thanks to nanotechnology, integrating multiple smart features into a slim device has been made possible.
The problem at hand
However, like everything in the universe, nothing is perfect.
As the great Stephen Hawking said:
“One of the basic rules of the universe is that nothing is perfect. Perfection simply doesn’t exist…. Without imperfection, neither you nor I would exist.”
And these modern thin TVs are also a victim of this imperfection.
The imperfection is, that the sound produced by the stock speakers of modern TVs is not up to standard or not loud or clear enough.
This is because, at the moment, high-quality speakers’ technology is not sophisticated enough to be fitted inside a slim TV. In other words, the speakers are not thin enough to be fitted inside the slim TV. Therefore, the sound produced is not good enough to experience the ambiance of a cinema.
This argument can be supported by the fact that all major brands of TV are offering external sound devices along with TV. Evidently, they know that the internal speakers are not only less than usual in size but are underpowered as well.
Furthermore, the internal speakers are integrated into a position where the direction of the sound is not directly reaching the audience. Rather it is downwards or punching the wall behind the TV, eventually. All of these factors have pushed the brands to make external sound speakers so that they can complement the crisp screen quality of the TV.
There is a lot of sound equipment to choose from the market. But the one gaining popularity these days is the Soundbar.
A soundbar is a type of speaker system that has multiple speakers embedded inside a long bar-shaped cabinet. They occupy less space, are easy to install, less expensive, and have less wire clutter than a typical home theater system.
Soundbars are an excellent complementary device to support the crisp video of modern TV. They upgrade the audio of the TV, and they’re quality is way better than the internal speakers of the modern slim TV.
Soundbar – Consideration when buying
When planning to purchase a Soundbar there are certain things that need to be considered. Like, for example, Should you buy a soundbar with a subwoofer or without? What are the best placement options for your Soundbar? Should you prefer a Soundbar or Home Theater for your room or department?
However, In this piece of writing, we’ll focus solely on Soundbar Placement Options. Where you should place it? And some recommendations before buying a piece as well.
Read Also: Best Soundbar for Gaming
Soundbar Placement Options
The correct placement of the soundbar is necessary for optimal acoustical performance. There are several options you can consider according to the setting of your room.
For instance, you can place the soundbar on a piece of furniture like a table, cabinet or stand, or you can mount it on a wall below or above your TV. Therefore, deciding where to place your soundbar depends on your personal preference and the decoration of the room.
Point to ponder when buying
When buying a soundbar, considering its placement options can simplify your decision. Also, it can help you choose the right device for your room or apartment. If you want to mount your soundbar on the wall then you need to consider the one that has specific features for mounting, keyholes at the back for brackets, for example.
On the other hand, if you want to place your equipment on a platform then you don’t need to consider such features. In such a scenario, a simple long bar without any keyholes would suffice.
Considering placement options can not only help in selection but can also help in getting the best sound quality. Mounting it in the wrong direction can really mess up your experience and opinion about the equipment.
A schematic diagram depicting how sound reaches the ‘sweet spot’ is shown. This shows if the soundbar is placed in the perfect position, then the sound from the soundbar can create a surround effect by reflecting with walls.
The sound from the soundbar is in blue color, and the sound coming after reflecting from the ceiling is red in color.
The placement of a soundbar is dependent on how your TV is placed. Whether it is mounted on a wall or placed on a platform. We’ll discuss both the scenarios below:
The TV is wall-mounted
Before considering mounting your soundbar on the wall, you should know that installing your soundbar more than 3’’ from your screen may delay the audio from the video and can result in a poor listening experience. Therefore, the soundbar should be as close to the TV as possible for strong connectivity and the best listening experience.
When the TV is wall-mounted then the soundbar can be easily mounted above or below it.
Soundbar below TV
This is the default setting of most people these days. The sound produced in such a configuration directly reaches the listener, making the whole experience worthwhile. In this way, the sound is not scattered sideways and reaches the listener directly, with less echo and deflection from walls.
For better connectivity between the soundbar and TV, the soundbar should be as close as possible to the TV. The connectivity plays a major role in the synchronization of both devices. If both types of equipment are out of sync, then there would be a delay in audio and video and it would mess up the whole experience. If the soundbar is below the TV, then the chances of out-of-sync are minimalistic.
Another advantage of this placement option is that you can easily control the soundbar with a wireless remote without any hassle. The sensors for remote controlling of both devices will be in close proximity to each other, which would help in controlling them easily.
With a soundbar under the TV, the overall look of the room really looks modern and up-to-date. If both, the TV and soundbar, are black in color, then it really portrays a crisp design with in-contrast white walls in the back. It gives the room a neat, minimalistic, and techy vibe. The whole environment of the room lits up, and it makes you feel rich as well.
The drawback of placing it below the TV
A drawback of placing your soundbar below the TV can be if you have a table or a shelf below it, and you’ve placed some decoration pieces on it then they might be interfering with the sound and remote sensor of the soundbar. This can be seriously frustrating as the obstacles might be affecting the sound quality of the soundbar.
The best practice is to remove or avoid any such distractions and give the soundbar a clear path to perform to its ultimate potential.
Soundbar above TV
You can mount your soundbar above the TV as well. But it hinges on how high from the floor your TV is hanging. If it is at a lower height then it is a good idea to place it above it, but if the TV is at mid to high from the floor then it might not be a good idea to mount it above the TV.
The sound coming from the soundbar would be in a straight direction, similar to the soundbar below the TV. The two speakers at each end of the bar are titled at a certain angle which helps in creating a sort of surround sound.
Just like the eyes of the frog, you can imagine them giving the listener a peripheral sound vision. So, it doesn’t matter whether the soundbar is below or above the TV. It is rather a matter of personal preference and style.
However, if your sitting arrangement is on the floor instead of on a couch, and your TV is close to the floor height, then this configuration is best suited to you. Placing a soundbar below in such a configuration would not be ideal.
Considering the feel of the room, the soundbar on top of the TV looks awkward. It looks boring and not really fancy. Sometimes it almost feels like the sound is flowing above your head. I, personally, won’t recommend this position.
|Factor||Above TV||Below TV|
|Surround Sound Effect||Created by angled speakers||Created by angled speakers|
|Suitability BasCed on TV Height||Good for low-hanging TVs||Good for mid-to-high TVs|
|Sitting Arrangement||Best if sitting on the floor||Ideal if sitting on a couch|
|Aesthetics||Might look awkward||Generally looks better|
|Sound Perception||May feel like sound is overhead||More natural sound flow|
The drawback of placing soundbar above the TV
A major drawback is that you would’ve to go the extra mile in controlling the soundbar because the sensor would be at an extra height. If you’re not meeting the sensor of the soundbar, then it could be a painful encounter, and ultimately you would become frustrated.
It can be severely annoying if you’re not able to change the channel in your comfort. Trust me on this one. I’ve been there.
However, this is possible only in the scenario if you’re soundbar is really at a certain height. If it is at a certain height then it won’t be that much of a bother.
Cluttering issue and solution
Cluttering of wire is one of the main reasons why people avoid home theater. Most of the wires are left off with the soundbar, but power cords are still there. If the soundbar is wall-mounted, whether above or below the TV, then these cords can sometimes look untidy.
A simple solution to this untidiness is to roll the extra cord in a circle and clamp it with an adhesive or any other tape. Then you can simply tie the cord circle to a nail drilled into the wall behind the TV. This would most certainly hide your extra power cord hanging from the TV and soundbar.
Considering mounting your Soundbar on the Wall? Read this before you do it.
If your TV is wall-mounted then you need to consider the soundbar, which can be easily mounted on the wall. Read the description of the soundbar carefully, and check if it is mountable or not.
Some soundbars come with mountable kits, while others do not. Even if your soundbar doesn’t come with a mountable kit, but it has the keyhole slots to be mounted via brackets, then you can buy the additional detachable brackets to mount it.
For example, the LG 2.1ch 300W Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer and Bluetooth® Connectivity does not have the keyholes to help them mount on the wall. If they are to be mounted on the wall, then shelves have to be installed, and them you’d have to rest them on the shelves.
On the other hand, Samsung HW-R450 Sound Bar-Easy to Install comes with a package of Wall mount kit to easily mount it on the wall.
TV placed on a table, cabinet, or stand
If your TV is placed on a Table, Cabinet, Stand or any way other then mounted on a wall, then the soundbar can be placed in front of the TV.
in such scenarios, there are certain conditions that need to be considered when connected in such a configuration.
First, you have to consider the height of the soundbar. The height should be low enough so that it does not cut the visibility of the screen. However, most of the bars these days have a low profile and they do not interfere with the view of the screen.
However, before buying a soundbar, its height should be compared with the height from the bottom of the TV to the top of the table or cabinet so that it can be easily placed in front of the TV. An advantage of this setting is that the soundbar will be close to the TV, and as a result it’s connectivity will be strong as well.
Another factor to consider is even if the height of the soundbar is not interfering with the view of the screen, it should still be minimal enough so that it does not block the TV’s sensor or the TV’s remote sensor. Otherwise, it would really be a painful act of changing positions in order to change the channel on TV.
Lastly, the soundbar should be placed as forward as possible on the cabinet, especially if it is placed inside the cabinet, so that the sound can reach you directly without any hindrance. But it should be ensured that the soundbar doesn’t stick out of the cabinet or shelf because it would look untidy and would have the chance of falling over and breaking, consequently hurting someone if nearby.
An ideal arrangement of a soundbar and its auxiliaries connected to tv is shown below:
Soundbar Placement Options – Recommendations by Brands
Here is a list of recommendations to consider before placing your soundbar.
What are the benefits of using a soundbar?
Soundbars provide a complete music experience without the need for a large, heavy hi-fi system. They are a great way to enhance the audio quality of your TV, offering a streamlined look and better sound quality.
Where should I place my soundbar in relation to my TV?
You can place your soundbar on top of a table close to your TV but not in front of the screen. This ensures that the soundbar’s connectivity is increased and your TV remote works properly.
Can I mount my soundbar on the wall?
Yes, mounting the soundbar on the wall near your TV is a very good option. It requires much less space and is one of the most commonly used placement options.
Is it advisable to place the soundbar under the TV?
Placing the soundbar under the TV is a smart option, especially if the soundbar is larger in size. This allows for complete connectivity with the TV.
Can I place the soundbar behind the couch?
It is not recommended to place the soundbar behind the couch as it may affect the sound quality.
Is it safe to place the soundbar on the floor?
You can place the soundbar on the floor, but it is not recommended if you have small kids at home. Kids can potentially harm themselves or the soundbar.
What are the best positions for a soundbar subwoofer?
You can place the subwoofer in a corner of the room, behind the sofa, under the TV, or next to the TV or console table.
What should I consider when mounting a soundbar?
Ensure that the soundbar is securely attached and does not cover the Infrared light of the TV. Also, remove any objects that might interfere with the sound waves.
Can I connect my soundbar to other devices?
Yes, many soundbars come equipped with Bluetooth and/or wireless internet, allowing you to connect them to your smartphone or other devices.
In conclusion, buying a soundbar with a TV is a no-brainer. You just simply cannot rely on the internal speakers of your TV.
Soundbar placement options should be considered before selecting your piece. Placing it below your TV beats all other positions. Also, It is a matter of personal choice whether to place your soundbar above or in front of the TV. At the end of the day, what pleases the eyes and the heart matters the most.
Finally, I would like to say that I’ve tried my level best to provide you with the best guide there is on soundbar placement options. I hope I’ve done justice to the topic. Also, I’m always open to suggestions. If you feel I might’ve left something out, or you want to share your personal experiences with the soundbar, feel free to share it in the comments section below.