Low Frequency Optimization

Consistent bass can be extremely tough to achieve, particularly under 100Hz. Using boundary element modeling, we model your room to determine the best locations for listeners, speakers, and subwoofers.

home theater subwoofer placement

The DIY Approach

Instead of scientifically establishing how speaker and seat placement influences bass reproduction quality, most audio enthusiasts put their seats and speakers either where they fit or where they look best. Not only does this approach lack rigor and methodology, it typically results in mediocre performance:

  • Boomy, resonant, one-note bass that ruins music and movies
  • Poor bass slam and articulation
  • Some seats have too much bass, others too little
  • Suckouts leave missing bass notes

“Just watched a couple bass heavy scenes from “Transformers 2” and was blown away, literally! Now I know what “good” bass sounds like. The bass drops and explosions are incredible, the “growling” I told you I enjoy now feels like the floor is being torn in two. It’s even, all notes are smooth and level, I can’t believe it! Just so smooth and at the same time extremely aggressive when called for. I’m blown away. All annoying rattles and vibrations in the room are gone too!”

Mr. Cordis, Tucson, AZ.

Subwoofer placement

Low Frequency Optimization Consulting

Acoustic Frontiers’ Low Frequency Optimization service determines the placement for speakers, home theater subwoofers, and listeners that delivers the best response in the region under 100Hz. This audio region is one of the most challenging areas to get right. Why? Because room modes can cause resonant peaks while destructive reflections lead to deep suckouts. And in rooms that require consistent bass in multiple locations, such as home theaters, the challenge becomes even greater.

Our approach to positional optimization uses sophisticated boundary element modeling to determine speaker, sub, and listener locations. In existing rooms with significant placement flexibility we’ll typically suggest a starting point for placement based on computer modeling before Room Acoustic Analysis. In other cases, the issues identified during Room Acoustic Analysis inform the optimization work required to minimize the impact of room modes and speaker boundary interference.

Although low frequencies can be optimized through speaker and listener placement, adding one or more subwoofers can often result in significantly flatter and better quality bass. Our knowledge and experience in subwoofer placement is among the business—we understand how to place and integrate subs to fill sharp dips and how to use room mode cancellation techniques to reduce the level of resonant peaks.

Low Frequency Optimization Service Deliverables

Annotated CAD drawings covering:

  • Speaker placement
  • Listener placement
  • Subwoofer placement
  • Signal processing requirements for sub integration and multi-sub management: crossovers, delays, and equalization

Low Frequency Optimization Service Benefits

  • Suckouts reduced or eliminated (dips can’t be equalized)
  • Room mode-related peaks reduced or cancelled
  • Fewer bass traps required
  • Consistent seat-to-seat response, allowing for effective equalization

Case Studies and Articles

  • Pre-fabricated damped drywall.

    Room Acoustic Design Insights: Five Steps to Amazing Bass

    Here at Acoustic Frontiers we use these five acoustic design techniques to create amazing bass. Bass that is tight, articulate, defined, impactful and even. Most people have not heard just how good bass can be when the room is taken out of the equation. Optimize the room dimensions For new build dedicated listening rooms, home [...]

  • Multiple Subwoofer Case Study: Acoustic Frontiers Demo Room

    This article is a case study of how low frequency modeling tools can be used to ensure consistent, relatively flat seat-to-seat bass response in a home theater. This particular case study focuses on the Acoustic Frontiers demo room and shows how we determined the optimal number and placement of multiple subwoofers using these tools.   [...]

  • Using subwoofers to improve sound quality: Part 1 – Speaker Boundary Interference

    Deep nulls in the frequency response in the bass region can be caused by phase cancellation between the direct sound wave from a sound producing device and the indirect sound wave that has reflected from a nearby boundary such as the floor, ceiling or walls. This phenomenon is called speaker boundary interference or SBIR for short. This article introduces SBIR and explains how these deep nulls can be ameliorated through use of a subwoofer.

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