Placing the speakers on the floor is a widely used placement method in many home theaters. Because a lot of speakers are built to be placed on the floor. But do speakers sound better on the floor?
At A Glance: Placing speakers directly on a hard floor will create a few issues such as resonances and noise transmission, frequencies bouncing, and low-frequency pressure. This will affect sound quality, but home theater acoustics treatment and placing it on a stand will prevent this from happening.
Keep reading as we will be discussing them with scientific reasoning and I will also show you how to make on-floor speakers sound better.
According to my analysis. After applying all the below steps to speakers on the floor, my home theater sound improved by 389%
Speakers Resonance/Vibration Transmission To Floor
Every speaker’s body has its resonance because there is a lot of energy flowing in it. This resonance will be less or more depending on the build quality of the speakers. Cheap-quality speakers will produce a lot of resonance.
You can feel this resonance by placing your hand on the speaker’s cabinet.
By placing the speaker on the floor. This resonance will easily transmit to the floor. Like my subwoofer. I felt like the sound was coming out of the floor and not from the subwoofer.
This resonance transmission can trick your brain and will deliver sound with a poor experience.
Solution: Install Isolation pads and vibration absorption materials
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These are rubber-based pads that can be installed directly to the feet of the speakers or subwoofer. This will help to reduce the resonance transmission to the floor. But you have to take another step too.
Vibration Absorption Material
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You can install a specialized platform for these speakers like the above. You have to place the speaker on it. These platforms will absorb the last resonances left, but you can also place them on a dense rug or carpet.
These rugs can bring a few more benefits too. They will add to the design of the theater room and will also help you in limiting sound reverberation. Read my this guide on how to install acoustic panels. This will tell you how to completely kill this sound reverberation.
Speaker Frequencies bouncing off the floor
There are many first reflections points all across the home theater. These points can be located on the floor, walls, and ceiling. These are on hard surfaces.
When the sound frequencies hit these areas, they bounce back at you. By hitting these surfaces. These surfaces add their unique flavor to these sound frequencies.
You hear the sound a lot different from what it really is. This new flavored sound will not sound good and will also put a strain on your eardrums.
Read my this guide to optimize your home theater audio in 5 steps. You need many more things along with good speakers for the best sound.
Solution: Install Acoustic Panels & Dense Rugs
Take a mirror in your hand. Slide the mirror across the home theater with all surfaces. Mark the spots where you see the reflection of speakers in the mirror.
Install acoustic panels in these spots. This will help you to absorb these sound frequencies and will not let them reflect on you. This will keep the sound in its real shape.
Speakers’ Low-Frequency Pressure With The Floor
Every home theater speaker setup has low-frequency producing drivers such as subwoofers or highly equipped floor-standing speakers.
These low frequencies create pressure on the floor. This also affects the sound quality. This pressure will also be with the sidewalls and with the ceiling.
Solution: Elevate The Speakers
Adjust the pressure and control it. You must elevate the speakers and don’t place them directly on the floor.
For this, you have to install speaker stands. These stands will elevate the speakers from the floor. But make sure that your chosen stands can absorb the vibrations. Otherwise, you have to place it on a platform that we discuss at the beginning of this guide.
Know the characteristics of a good speaker stand. I have provided you with 10 points in this guide along with the budget you should consider.
Noise Transmission From The Speaker Cabinet To The Floor
There are many components inside the driver and then inside the speaker cabinet. These components move continuously to produce sound, and this movement creates noise. This noise will further transmit to the hard floor.
The hard floor will reflect this noise too. This will confuse your brain as a listener.
Solution: Place It On A Platform Or Stands
Place the speaker on the platform or on the stand to isolate it from the floor. This will prevent the speaker noise from reaching the floor.
Know how to soundproof your home theater completely. Your secrets will stay in the theater room after applying my this guide.
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How high should speakers be off the ground?
As a general rule of thumb, you should place the speaker at a height that their tweeter matches your ear level. There is no absolute number to follow, but their tweeter should match your ear level.
Matching the tweeter height with your ear level will give you a feeling of like the characters on the screen are personally talking to you. But please don’t take the harsh words of actors seriously. LOL!
Where should you not put speakers?
You should not place the speakers very close to the wall and not on the floor. Otherwise, the reflections from the wall and the floor will add flavor to the sound. The newly produced sound will not be pleasing to the ears.
Should a subwoofer be on the floor?
It should be on the floor, but should not be in contact with the floor. I think I confused you. The subwoofer should be on the floor but should be placed on a vibration absorption platform and should have vibration isolation pads on its legs.
Do speakers sound better on stands?
Speakers sound better on stands because they prevent the speaker noise and vibrations from reaching the floor. This will keep the sound alive in its original form.
But make sure that the stands have vibration and noise absorption capabilities. Otherwise, it won’t be able to stop these vibrations from reaching the floor.
Helpful Resources For The FAQs To Read More
- Know more from this guide, How high should each speaker be in surround sound? You will know about a few more tips. (Resource for the first answer)
- This was my opinion, read more about it on Lifewire Blog. (Resource for the third answer)
- This was my opinion, read more about it from Crutchfield Blog. (Resource for the fourth answer)