Subwoofer location...

Posted by: SUBnet.192

Subwoofer location... - 08/24/10 07:05 AM

I'm building a dedicated HT room and I was thinking of using the empty space under the stairs to the basement and build an alcove for the subwoofer. I have an EP350 v2. Here's the pic of the space...

I would remove one of the studs and reframe an opening, then soundproof the back to ensure sound is kept inside the room.

Would that make sense? The goal is to maximize space in the 13 x16 room and I don't know where to put the sub.
Posted by: Murph

Re: Subwoofer location... - 08/24/10 07:16 AM

A sub is non directional, and as such, radiates sound in all directions. Confining it in an enclosure will probably not give you an optimal result. In fact, just it's distance to the nearest wall will have a big change on how it sounds.

To go even further, the general placement in the room itself is equally important and some people spend a lot of time moving the sub around the room finding the optimal spot for the sub so that it is least effected by nulls in the room that are caused by reflections canceling out the big lazy sound waves of the lower frequencies. For instance, in my small square room, if I place my sub between my TV and my right speaker, I get bass in the corners of the room loud enough to make your shirt shake but sitting on the couch I get very disappointingly weak bass. Simply moving it about 4 feet over to the right and a bit closer to the rear wall so that it is closer to a corner smoothed out the bass in the room so it is much better in my actual seating position. The difference can be very dramatic.

Personally, it is not something I would do but sometimes you have to do what you must.

You can purchase subs designed to work in a wall or an enclosure as you describe. However, the 350 is a great sub and I bet when properly placed, will sound better than most wall units. Why waste it unless you really need to reclaim that bit of space?
Posted by: cb919

Re: Subwoofer location... - 08/24/10 09:01 AM

Hi Subnet, I do agree with Murph - it may work but likely will not be optimal.

I was in the same situation when I was building my HT and actually built an enclosure into the bottom of my equipment rack to hold my EP500. I did that based on some bad advice from other sources (not this forum) suggesting that a modern day receiver could compensate for any placement issues - WRONG!!! I could tell within the 1st 2 minutes this was not a good place to have the sub. Bass was very 'boomy' at my main listening position. I then pulled it out of the enclosure, did the subwoofer crawl and found a spot that worked well both sonically and ergonomically. The enclosure I built is now used for video game accessory storage. blush
Posted by: SirQuack

Re: Subwoofer location... - 08/24/10 09:26 AM

most likely you would be sacrificing the performance of the sub by enclosing it...
Posted by: billy p

Re: Subwoofer location... - 08/24/10 10:41 AM

Enclosing it isn't so much the problem per se, as might be the location. As funny as it might sound, doing the crawl isn't a bad idea...that's after you finish the basement.
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Subwoofer location... - 08/24/10 11:01 AM

Just spend a little extra and get a good looking subwoofer and make it part of the furniture. I did this in my living room and it works fine. It's not where I planned to put it, but it ended up in a better location.
Posted by: EFalardeau

Re: Subwoofer location... - 08/24/10 11:22 AM

Yeah, just buy an EP-800 and tell visitors that it's an original monolith from 2001 Space Odyssey signed by Stanly Kubrick!
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Subwoofer location... - 08/24/10 11:25 AM

With stuffed monkeys touching it?
Posted by: cb919

Re: Subwoofer location... - 08/24/10 11:28 AM

Actually, that could be a pretty cool idea for a 'themed' custom home theater install!
Posted by: snazzed

Re: Subwoofer location... - 08/24/10 12:46 PM

EP800 with Monkeys. DOUBLE PLUS AWESOME!

Posted by: Adrian

Re: Subwoofer location... - 08/24/10 12:55 PM

I prefer the EP800-Henge theme myself.
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Subwoofer location... - 08/24/10 01:03 PM

That would be an awesome amount of bass. Just sit in the center surrounded by (a bunch of) EP800's, playing pipe organ music.
Posted by: thefwam

Re: Subwoofer location... - 08/24/10 02:07 PM

Didn't Micah try to enclose his subwoofer and was extremely unhappy for months until he moved it out of there?
Posted by: cb919

Re: Subwoofer location... - 08/24/10 02:30 PM

You have that right as I recall. Micah had the uber subwoofer tale/thread!

Hey, where is Micah lately anyway?
Posted by: SUBnet.192

Re: Subwoofer location... - 08/24/10 09:14 PM

So the general consensus is that it's a bad idea... However... The room is a dedicated theater room, and I want it to look the part, so I don't want to see any speakers anywhere. My guess is the best location might end up being in the front of the room, hidden in columns or something.

Posted by: Nashvegas Rocks

Re: Subwoofer location... - 08/24/10 09:29 PM

Well my suggestion would be to just start the HT room from scratch. I would build on a west wing of the home and then begin thinking where you want your speakers to go.

Actually thats me just being a jerk cause im so freaking jealous you can build a dedicated room.
Posted by: JohnK

Re: Subwoofer location... - 08/24/10 10:35 PM

Marc, your guess is likely correct: in general the best location for a single sub is in the tightest corner(farthest from a large opening in the room)near the front speakers. If aesthetic considerations will limit your placement options, go with the general rule and enjoy the sound without too much concern about optimal positioning.
Posted by: Murph

Re: Subwoofer location... - 08/25/10 07:58 AM

If you are building the room from scratch, and you absolutely must hide the speakers, then consider the suggestions for an acoustically transparent screen which would allow you to build a false wall and hide the speakers behind it. This would at least allow you to plan some breathing room for your speakers, rather than dramatically changing the sound by enclosing speakers that were not designed to be enclosed. That or purchase speakers designed for wall enclosures.

My apologies if it sounds like I am trying to make a big deal out of this but it just so happens that during my recent vacation that I was in a friends house where he ignored my advice and built custom cabinets surrounded with pink insulation stuffed in beside each speaker in his HT room. There may have been other things at play, but I can tell you that I have never heard Paradigms (a speaker I am pretty familiar with) sound so terrible. The difference was not a subtle thing that only an audiophile would notice or think important. He actually brought me in because he was about to bring the speakers back to the store as they sounded aweful to him as well and I was summoned because they were on a short list (including Axioms at the top) that I recommended for him.

The best way that I could describe it in my limited terminology was that he had effective surround sound in the sides and rears (effective directionally)but up front it sounded a bit like he was using speakers that you commonly find built into a TV set.

We didn't have any speaker cable to try them pulled out of the cabinets but we did rig up a coax extension to remove the sub which solved his vibrating drywall problems. I told him he could consider removing the drywall and properly reinforcing the area and placing an isolating material between the drywall and the studs but when he took it out of the wall, he actually admitted it probably should never go back in there as it sounded so much better.

Since I left, he has called to tell me that he temporarily wired the front and center speakers up outside the enclosures and they now sound like what he remembered them to be, a beautiful sounding speaker. Now he is flip flopping between returning the Paradigms for wall units or writing off that his custom cabinetry job was a waste.

Sorry if I sound like I'm ranting but I just don't want someone else to waste money if they won't be happy after. However, as JohnK pointed out. Happiness is relative. Do what will put the biggest smile on your face.

Edit: I was saving this story for when I had time to start it's own thread but it seems better placed here. Also, as a curiosity, I called the local AV shop that I do recommend to people as they have a very experienced owner who knows his stuff and politely asked if they recalled him discussing him putting the speakers in cabinets. He did recall the purchase and also recalls explaining to him why that would not be recommended and showed him some completely invisible, hidden in walls. They are designed to actually blend into the drywall and be painted over. I had heard these before in there and was very pleasantly surprised (despite my doubts) as to how good they sounded at the time. The price, including insulation is CRAZY expensive though. I admit, I prefer to see my speakers for some reason anyways.

Posted by: SUBnet.192

Re: Subwoofer location... - 08/25/10 08:31 AM

The above picture shows pretty much what I intend to do for the front stage, however the EP300 is pretty large and I might have to make the side columns a bit bigger than I was hoping. I intend to use acoustically transparent fabric all around the speakers, so they are simply hidden, not boxed into drywall. Thanks for the input. So in the end, no using the under the stairs space, for that purpose anyway... smile
Posted by: Nick B

Re: Subwoofer location... - 08/25/10 05:14 PM

Another option is to go with a second ep350. If you have two subs then you can already be sure of the optimal location without the room being built, as long as the room is rectangular. In a rectangular room the best location is at the midpoint of two opposing walls. This would also, give you a nice more even bass response for every seat, whereas with one sub you won't have that.
Posted by: kazinvan

Re: Subwoofer location... - 08/28/10 05:38 PM

I have seen builds where people created sub enclosures as part of their walls. Your space may work for such an effort but I know very little about this.

Essentially you do as you said, but take it further and actually build a sub enclosure under the stairs. The opening to the room is where the driver goes. I have seen ported and sealed versions of these. The sub then takes no space in your room.

Others that know more about this can chime in.
Posted by: SUBnet.192

Re: Subwoofer location... - 08/30/10 07:29 AM

That's what I was considering as I have seen the same kind of builds too... But I think I'll end up putting it in front, under the front speakers as in the photo I posted above.