Should you position a soundbar above or below TV? Most people would say below, but did you ever think about the alternatives? Flat-screen TVs with quality built-in speakers might be a thing of the future, but not in the present. Things were so simple back in the 1990s when televisions had decent built-in speakers.
Buying a soundbar separately for your TV is the quickest route to audio heaven. Most modern consumers choose soundbars instead of speakers. But what’s the best soundbar position for the best audio? Above or below? Let’s find out more about soundbars and their recommended positioning.
What are Soundbars? And Why do we Need Them?
If you are late to the party, and not in a fashionable sense, we might have to start at the beginning. It does seem like a logical place, after all. Soundbars are a slab of built-in speakers shaped like a long bar. There are many different designs and styles, but that is the basic explanation, albeit an oversimplification.
When you bought your first LCD flat-screen TV, did you scramble around in the box looking for the speakers? Where are they? It makes no sense, right? It still doesn’t.
How can companies sell TVs without speakers that you can feasibly hear? That was my initial question. And it’s still a question we ask ourselves today. The answer is obvious to us now, but let’s not go there.
Soundbars or separate speakers?
Why do people opt for soundbars instead of dedicated TV speakers? Probably because soundbars are a cheap and viable option. They’re easy to use and very practical. However, often they don’t have the same robust sound you would get from speakers. But they are still head and shoulders above those tinny flat-screen TV built-in speakers.
A soundbar is not a long single speaker. Its multiple speakers placed side by side in the bar, therefore creating a stereo or surround sound experience. And the biggest benefit of soundbars is you can connect them to other devices aside from your TV, making them a multipurpose unit.
Where Should I Position my Soundbar?
Now we understand more about soundbars; it’s time to get real. Should I position my soundbar above or below TV? That’s the real question here. How do you get the best acoustic performance from your soundbar? Most people simply place it directly below the TV. It’s the simplest and most common-sense strategy.
There is also the option to mount your soundbar above your TV. There are many things to take into consideration. The layout and furnishings in your room could play a part in your decision. Some soundbar models are better suited to being wall mounted. Let’s explore these issues in great detail.
Placing Your Soundbar Below Your TV
Soundbars are usually placed directly below a television. It’s easy to do and doesn’t take any kind of drilling, adjusting, or ladder climbing. It seems like the logical stress-free solution. Here are some of the reasons why you should place soundbars below the TV.
It looks great
Most modern soundbars are designed to be positioned under the TV. They look better that way in most cases. Sometimes, soundbars look visually strange when positioned above the TV. From the above position, it can feel like the sound is going over your head.
But in terms of aesthetics, soundbars look great when placed below your TV. It’s that simple.
Best Audio Experience
It only makes sense that the best sound and audio experience is achieved when the speakers are positioned at eye level. The audio will hit you directly without any interference and without having to bounce sound off the ceiling or walls.
Limited reflection of the sound will create a much more accurate audio quality with less echo. And soundbars usually have front-facing speakers, so it makes positional sense to place them below the TV.
Easily Wired for Sound
Soundbars that are positioned below your TV simplify your cable and wire game. However, if you have a Bluetooth-enabled soundbar, it doesn’t matter too much. But, if you want to conceal the wires and cables from your soundbar to your TV, placing them below the television is the better option.
The ports that connect the TV and soundbar are usually positioned at the bottom of the television. From this angle, you can feed the wires under the TV for direct access to the connectors, hiding any surplus cables at the same time. This approach would also ensure that the cables are out of harm’s way so you cannot trip over them. It’s a win-win situation.
No Wall Mounting, Drilling, or DIY
We know you love getting the drill out to perform a spot of DIY. But let’s face it, the wife is still waiting for you to mount the spice rack in the kitchen that you purchased two years ago. To be fair, quality audio is more important than oregano. Unless you’re making Spaghetti Bolognese, of course, but let’s not get bogged down with technicalities.
Placing your soundbar under your TV eliminates any need for wall mounting. It’s much easier to simply plonk your soundbar down under your television than unpacking the DIY hardware. It’s less stressful and less effort. And the last thing you want to do after a long day at work is to start working again when you get home.
Placing a Soundbar Over Your TV
When everyone liked dance music, did you prefer hip-hop? Do you like to go against the grain and take a different route? Are you awkward and unique like that? Fantastic. We are just the same as you, always looking for viable alternatives to the norm.
And if so, here are some reasons why placing your soundbar above your TV is the better option.
Using Upward-Firing Speakers
If your soundbar product has upward-firing speakers, you simply have to place them above your TV. They were designed to be positioned that way. If you place upward-firing speakers at eye level, the sound will go over your head. When placed above the TV, the sound bounces off the ceiling as intended.
These types of upward-facing speakers are designed to use the walls. They take advantage of the room’s natural acoustics to form a well-rounded and fuller sound.
This will create an immersive soundscape, which is great if you are looking for a surround sound experience. Soundbars with upward-facing speakers poisoned under the TV would be an audio catastrophe that inhibits the sound quality.
Limiting Remote and Sensor Blockages
When a soundbar is placed below the TV, it can cause all manner of obstructions and blockages. This is especially true when the bar is positioned right under the TV’s bottom bezel. This positioning can come between your TV and the remote control. If it blocks the sensor, you won’t be able to change channels or do anything else.
The two ways to counteract this issue are by wall mounting your soundbar or jigging the height of your TV. Alternatively, you could buy a soundbar that is thin and doesn’t cover the sensor. A wall or ceiling-mounted bar will eliminate unwanted obstructions and blockages.
Kid and Pet-Friendly Soundbar Positioning
Do you routinely have a bunch of kids and pets continually running around your house? We know the feeling. Kids and pets are great, just not when you are trying to achieve world-class level audio and sound. But what can you do because you can’t legally exterminate them?
Don’t worry, because a wall-mounted soundbar will make your living room a safer place. Kids and pets will continue to run around playing no matter how loud you shout. The only viable solution is to keep the soundbar away from them.
Can I Vertically Position my Soundbar?
We often get asked the question, “Can I vertically position my soundbar?” It’s possible, but not advised. Most soundbar products are designed to be used in a particular direction, mostly in a horizontal position. It could potentially ruin your audio experience, so don’t bother placing them vertically whatever you do.
Highly Recommended Soundbar Products
Now we have determined the best positions for your soundbar; we can use this knowledge to source highly recommended products. So, here are some of the best soundbars as recommended by myself and other experts and industry insiders:
- Nebular Soundbar with Built-In Subwoofer
- Bose TV Speaker Bluetooth Soundbar
- Samsung HW-T450 Soundbar with Dolby Audio
- VIZIO Soundbar with Surround Sound and Subwoofer
- Majority Tetron Bluetooth Soundbar with Subwoofer
Looking for Great Speakers?
We have lots of informative reviews to help you find the perfect set, so check out our in-depth reviews of the Best High End Home Theater Speakers, the Best Smart Speakers, the Best Sonos Speakers, the Best Wireless TV Speakers, the Best 7.1 Home Theater System, and the Best Bookshelf Speakers you can buy in 2021.
You may also like our comprehensive Sony HT-S350 Soundbar Review, our Definitive Technology BP9020 & CS9040 Plus Center Channel Speaker Review, our Sony SS-CS3 3-Way 4-Driver Review, our Fluance Signature Series HiFi Review, and our Klipsch R-10B Review currently available.
And don’t miss our detailed guides on How is Surround Sound Different Than Stereo, How to Connect a Soundbar to TV Without HDMI or Optical, and Floorstanding vs. Bookshelf Speakers for more useful information.
Soundbar Above or Below TV? – Final Thoughts
Will you place your soundbar above or below the TV? As we have learned, this will dramatically depend on a few factors. The consensus is that under the TV is the best position because it’s simple and hassle-free. Plus, you won’t have to crack out the drill or perform any DIY. However, underneath is not always the best option.
If you have a soundbar with upward-facing speakers or you have lots of pets and kids, wall mounting your bar above your TV is essential. As with most things in life, there is no right or wrong, so do whatever works best for your situation and your equipment.
Until next time, happy listening.