3 Reasons To NOT Put A Subwoofer In A Cabinet

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  • Learn where to place your subwoofer
  • Find out why you shouldn’t place them in a cabinet
  • Also, check out our post on sealed vs ported subwoofers!

If you’ve been planning to upgrade your home audio system, you might have encountered the subwoofer.

A sub is a type of loudspeaker that acts as reinforcement to your stereo speakers. It can produce low frequencies ranging from 20–200 Hz—a feature your stereo doesn’t offer.

As you see what a subwoofer looks like while browsing different brands, you may have asked this question: can you put a subwoofer in a cabinet?

The answer is no; you can’t because it won’t be able to perform at an optimal level.

Today, we’ll discuss how placing a subwoofer in a cabinet affects its overall efficiency. Let’s start!

Why Shouldn’t I Place My Subwoofer Inside a Cabinet?

Most people opt to hide away their subwoofers at home. Maybe because they’re big, black, bulky eyesores that can mess up a room’s aesthetic. Or perhaps they take up space that could easily be reserved for other furniture.

Whatever the reason may be, it’s crucial to avoid placing your subwoofer inside a cabinet.

Here are the reasons why:

Restricted Airflow

One of the main reasons why it isn’t a good idea to put your sub in a cabinet is that it doesn’t get enough airflow.

The large bass waves produced by your subwoofer need air to travel. With a limited amount of air, your sub won’t be able to generate the high-quality sound it’s supposed to make.

In addition, like any other gadget, your sub can be prone to overheating, too. Being enclosed in a cabinet with restricted airflow may contribute to that.

This can significantly affect your subwoofer’s durability and longevity.


Another reason why you shouldn’t place your subwoofer inside a cabinet is that you might be storing other items in your storage unit that can affect its performance. How so? 

Your sub creates strong vibrations that can shake the entire cabinet.

That means that if you’re keeping ceramic plates, cutlery, or figurines inside, these vibrations can cause these pieces to rattle, which can ruin your listening experience.


Your sub makes low-frequency sound waves that wrap around it. 

If you keep your subwoofer in a tight-spaced cabinet, these waves will continuously bounce off from the walls and into each other, causing a reverberation.

Reverberations can make your sub sound muddled and unintelligible, defeating its purpose of giving you high-quality audio.

Where Should I Place My Subwoofer, Then?

The best thing you can do is to remove your sub from that enclosed compartment and set it on the floor where it can function freely.

Your subwoofer generates low frequencies that require an ample amount of room. Positioning it on the floor will give it plenty of space to create the sounds it’s made to produce.

So, with that out of the way, it’s time to talk about room placement. The truth is that figuring out where to put your sub inside your room can be tricky.

We’ve put together the following tips that you can use to help you work out where you can place your subwoofer in your room!

Front of the Room

This tip focuses on your convenience rather than the sound quality you’ll get from your sub.

Your home entertainment setup is more probably situated at the front of your room. Setting up your subwoofer near it is going to make your room more organized and hassle-free.

How? Most subs need to be connected to a receiver or amplifier.

If you have your subwoofer close to the rest of your audio equipment, you won’t deal with long cables lying across the floor.

Corners and Walls

On the other hand, if you got a wireless sub, you may try placing it in one of the corners of your room. This will enhance your subwoofer’s output and allow it to generate louder sounds.

However, you still need to keep in mind the distance between that corner and your listening area. If it’s too far from where you usually sit in your room, it’s best to look for another spot.

Another location you can try is at the center of a wall. This will bring out a better bass response from your sub.

You should note that placing your subwoofer too close to the wall will cause a rumbling effect. So, keep a distance of at least eight inches between your sub and the wall.

Sub Crawl

We call this the sub crawl because this tip involves you literally getting down on the floor crawling!

You should place your subwoofer on your couch where you typically sit. Put on music with a melodic bassline, and then get on your knees (keep your mind out of the gutter for a second).

Crawl around your room to find that spot where you can hear/feel the bassline produce the most pleasing results. Make sure to hold your head near the floor while you do this.

Then finally, once you find that perfect position, set up your subwoofer over there, and you’re good to go!

I’ve timestamped a portion of Archway Tech performing the subwoofer crawl below, so you can get a better idea of the technique in action.


Can I Hide A Subwoofer In The Wall?

If you’re willing to shell out more for your home audio system, you can install your sub in your wall.

However, note that most subwoofers cause strong vibrations that can damage your wall. That’s why you’ll need to invest in a sub with an anti-shake device.

It not only reduces the vibrations that can shake your wall, but it also preserves your subwoofer’s sound quality.

Can I Put a Subwoofer Under My Furniture?

You can opt for this option if you get a smaller sub-model.

You can hide it underneath end tables, coffee tables, or under bookcases.

Can I Place a Subwoofer Behind My Sofa?

Yes, you can. This is another location we recommend you try because the sub will be closer to where you’re sitting.

Just remember not to put your subwoofer close to the wall.

Wrapping Up

So, ultimately, you can’t place your subwoofer in a cabinet. It will limit your sub’s full potential by depriving it of the air it needs, leading to sound distortion, rattling and even potential overheating and equipment damage.

Instead, you may try placing it in the front part of your room or maybe in the corners and walls. Finally, if all else fails, you can always try the sub crawl to find that sweet spot for your subwoofer.

All that is definitely way better than trapping your sub inside a cabinet.

Before you go, check out our guide to 5.1 vs 7.1 Surround Sound (Pros, Cons & Placement Options)!