Can You Put a Soundbar Behind You? Behind a Couch?

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Can You Really Put a Soundbar Behind You?

When considering your soundbar placement a common question comes up:

Can you put a soundbar behind you?

Technically you can do this; however, optimal soundbar positioning calls for it to be in front of you.

If you choose to put a soundbar behind you, it’s important to note that it will not provide the intended audio experience, as sound bars are designed to direct sound to the listener’s position.

From my experience, there are usually 2 main reasons people would even consider putting a soundbar behind them

  1. They don’t have any space to put a soundbar under their TV (no wall mount, proper TV stand/furniture)
  2. The listener is under the impression that putting a soundbar behind them can create a surround sound effect

If you have legitimately no space to put a soundbar on a piece of furniture then I would honestly avoid getting one.

However, if you do have space I highly recommend getting some type of furniture (amazon link) that you can place your soundbar on whether it is a cabinet, shelf, or a new TV stand, make sure that wherever you plan on placing the soundbar it is at ear level.

You don’t want to buy a stand where the soundbar will be placed too low or too high.

You can also get a universal wall mount (amazon affiliate link), these are great if your TV is wall-mounted, you can just put it directly underneath no problem.

If you don’t want to drill any holes in the wall then there are soundbar mounts for that as well.

I would also encourage you to look at soundbars that are very small and can fit in compact spaces.

The Roku stream bar (amazon affiliate link) is great for this, it is very small yet produces crisp and powerful sound.

But any small soundbar will do, I will go over some of the best minimalist soundbars later in this article. You can skip ahead if you want.

Understanding Why Putting a Soundbar Behind You is Not Ideal


Putting a soundbar behind you can disrupt the intended directional flow of sound waves, critical for immersing yourself in the audio experience.

If you’re keen on maximizing your room’s audio potential, avoiding obstructions or altering the natural flow of sound waves is key.

Soundbars are meticulously designed to project sound forwards, complementing the visual element of your entertainment setup.

Should you place a soundbar behind the listener, you will compromise the clarity and richness of audio quality; after all, a soundbar is engineered to simulate a surround sound experience from a singular, front-facing unit.

If you’re positioning a soundbar, consider the space of your room, taking care to avoid locations that may barricade or muffle sound.

A soundbar’s optimal placement is within the listener’s direct line of earshot, ensuring the audio waves can travel freely.

Mounting a soundbar on a wall will allow these waves to travel freely with no distortion, although simply setting the Soundbar on a Tv stand is perfectly fine.

Also make sure you are sitting at a good distance from the soundbar, not too far.

Exploring the Acoustic Challenges with a Soundbar Behind You


From an acoustic standpoint, placing a soundbar behind you defies its purpose.

Soundbars are designed to simulate a front-facing surround sound experience, complementing your TV’s audio.

The soundbar positioning relies heavily on its interaction with the room’s acoustics and the direction in which the audio is projected.

For example, soundbars can behave differently in small rooms than they do in large rooms with high ceilings.

In larger rooms, you need a more high-powered soundbar to evenly distribute sound throughout the room. The Polk Magnifi Max AX SR is a great option for this.

Polk is a solid soundbar brand, they produce good quality audio.

Polk Audio MagniFi Max AX SR 7.1.2 Channel Sound Bar
  • A 7.1.2 CHANNEL SOUND BAR SYSTEM - The 2022 MagniFi Max AX SR includes Polk's flagship MagniFi Max Soundbar with 10" Wireless Sub and SR2 surround sound speakers, which together give you a room-filling sound in every corner, including over your head.Waterproof : No
  • A SUPER IMMERSIVE SOUND EXPERIENCE - MagniFi Max AX Soundbar features an 11-driver array with 2 up-firing drivers for virtual height effects, left/right tweeters & woofers & a dedicated center channel, delivering immersive sound & clear dialogues
  • CAPTIVATING SURROUND SOUND WITH POLK's PATENTED SDA 3D AUDIO TECHNOLOGY - This home theater system delivers certified Dolby Atmos and DTS:X cinematic surround sound with impactful bass & an expansive 3D soundstage for next-level music & movies experience
  • HEAR EVERY WORD CLEARLY - Polk's patented VoiceAdjust speech-clarifying technology works with MagniFi's integrated center channel speaker to bring up the voice levels without affecting the rest of the soundtrack. Enjoy clear dialogues and balanced audio
  • SOUNDBAR WITH SUBWOOFER SYSTEM - Includes a powerful plug-and-play 10" down-firing Wireless Subwoofer that connects instantly to the sound bar the moment you power it on. It delivers deep, effortless bass, at volume levels that are surprising for its size
  • COMPLETE WIRELESS HOME ENTERTAINMENT - Create a whole-home audio solution & enjoy high-quality music streaming directly from your smart TV or phone, tablet or computer via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AirPlay 2, Chromecast, Spotify Connect, and Alexa MRM
  • QUICKLY AND EASILY SETUP THE SOUNDBAR SYSTEM IN SECONDS using the Google Home app on your Android or iOS devices. This soundbar for TV & home theater systems connects in a jiffy. Includes a Polk soundbar remote to unlock MagniFi Max AX SR's full potential
  • NUMEROUS CONNECTION OPTIONS - (3) 4K HDMI inputs, (1) HDMI w/eARC output for connecting your smart TV and other devices, and an Optical port for Blu-Ray players. In addition, you can connect a multitude of devices using Bluetooth, USB, and the Internet
We will receive a commission if you click through and purchase

When a soundbar is positioned behind the listener, the sound ricochets in unintended paths, distorting dialogue clarity and the precision of sound cues, which are vital for an immersive experience.

Additionally, a soundbar behind you might cause audio delays, desynchronize sound from visual content, and muddle the acoustic space.

This misplacement goes against the core tenet of sound propagation, where sound waves are optimally heard coming from the direction of the on-screen action.

In essence, you’re subverting the soundbar’s engineering that steers the audio to create a coherent and unified field of sound, which makes for a seamless viewing experience.

So, while it’s tempting to tuck the soundbar out of sight, you’ll be compromising on both sound quality and the contractual design a soundbar offers.

Don’t sideline the acoustic science; it’s key to ensuring that every whispered dialogue, subtle footsteps, and high-intensity action scene is experienced as intended, with the soundbar in front, not behind you.

Why Sound Directionality Matters: Avoiding Soundbar Placement Behind

Sound directionality is a critical aspect of audio quality that underscores why you shouldn’t put a soundbar behind.

Soundbars are fashioned to project sound directly to the listener, creating an enveloping soundscape.

This is actually one of the many pros of soundbars but unfortunately, this will be compromised when it is positioned behind you.

Sound quality, room acoustics, and audio directionality are all affected when a speaker, especially soundbars, is misplaced.

Considering the Impact of Soundbar Positioning on Audio Quality


Your soundbar’s position mustn’t be compromised by furniture or other items that could distort the audio quality.

Tucking a soundbar behind objects or concealing it behind you contradicts its design, especially for models with upward-firing speakers.

The optimal distance from the listener and the meticulous avoidance of blocking drivers in the soundbar must be observed.

For instance, a soundbar placed directly beneath a TV might seem convenient, but the upward-firing drivers designed to bounce sound off the ceiling for that immersive audio experience could be impeded by the TV itself.

Innovations like Dolby Atmos soundbars invite you to embrace the spatial dimension of sound; thus, placing them in a suboptimal position could significantly undermine their performance.

Aim for a setup where the soundbar location aligns harmoniously with your listening space for a sublime listening experience.

How Placing a Soundbar Behind You Undermines Sound Experience

If you place the soundbar behind you the intricate balance of trebles, mids, and bass levels will be disrupted.

Having the soundbar behind can lead to a muddled soundscape, where dialogues are less clear, and impactful scenes lose their effect.

Additionally, the placement impacts the synergy between the soundbar and any satellite speakers, which are vital for a surround sound setup.

Assessing Soundbars: Why Front Placement Triumphs Over Behind You


Assessing the optimal positioning of soundbars within a home theater setup, it’s clear that front placement typically triumphs over placing a soundbar behind you.

Optimal sound quality is achieved with the speaker at the center of your field of audibility, much like in a movie theater experience.

This configuration ensures that the sound reaches your ears as intended, preserving the quality and integrity of the theater-like experience at home.

Soundbar Positioning Principles: The Case Against Behind-the-Listener Setup

In home theater systems, the center channel speaker is pivotal, working in concert with left and right speakers to create a cohesive surround sound experience. The same applies with a soundbar.

You want a full surround sound experience and putting a soundbar behind you will negate that. You want sound coming from all angles and not just behind you.

Unlocking the Best Audio: Why You Shouldn’t Put a Soundbar Behind


It’s crucial that you place your soundbar in front, as it creates a sound field that’s both wide and precise.

Soundbar positioning principles suggest that the sweet spot for audio output is at ear level and in front of the listener, thereby opposing a behind-the-listener setup.

Following these guidelines will ensure that you’re not undermining the sound experience and that you’re on the path to unlocking the best audio possible

Speakers and Soundbars: Navigating the Facts About Proper Placement

When it comes to placing speakers and soundbars, navigating facts about proper placement is essential for optimal audio quality.

The center of a surround sound system should anchor the space, with satellite speakers strategically placed around the room to create an immersive environment.

A soundbar, which can be a centerpiece of a home theater, is not designed for behind-the-listener setup, as it undermines sound experience and placement quality.

The principles of soundbar positioning advocate for a front, rather than a behind you, setup.

Placing a soundbar behind negates its role in your audio system.

Speakers, particularly in a surround setup, can be placed around for a more encompassing effect, but the soundbar should remain front and center to ensure your space resonates with the clarity and caliber of sound it was engineered to deliver.

Best Small Soundbars

Most Compact
Polk MAGNIFI-Mini-AX Soundbar
  • POWERFUL SOUND: Upgrade your TV to Dolby Atmos and DTS:X and experience the cinematic thrills of powerful music and immersive sound enveloping you from every angle | COMPLETE WIRELESS HOME ENTERTAINMENT: Enjoy higher-quality music streaming from your phone, tablet, or computer over Wi-Fi with Apple AirPlay 2, Google Chromecast, and Spotify Connect
  • HEAR EVERY WORD CLEARLY: Polk’s patented VoiceAdjust speech-clarifying technology works synergistically with MagniFi’s integrated center-channel speaker to bring up the level of voices without affecting the rest of the soundtrack | INCLUDES A PLUG-AND-PLAY WIRELESS SUB: MagniFi’s powerful, next-gen, wireless down-firing subwoofer connects automatically and can be placed anywhere up to nine meters from the sound bar to deliver the deep, effortless bass that Polk is famous for
  • EASY SETUP AND UNIVERSAL COMPATIBILITY: Easy, one-cable set-up with any TV via HDMI eARC/ARC (HDMI cable included), optical, or AUX-in | EXPAND YOUR HOME THEATER SYSTEM: Upgrade your home theater with height speakers to unleash a fully immersive 3D audio experience, or engage all speakers to create a 3D audio sensation from legacy content even without height speakers
  • This Bundle Includes: Polk MAGNIFI-MINI-AX 3.1 MagniFI Mini AX Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer (2022) | 2 Year Extended Epic Protect Coverage in Addition to the Included Full Manufacturer Coverage. Intended for Residential Use Only
Budget Pick
LG Eclair
  • All-In-One Design - The Sound Bar SE6 delivers powerful sound without an external subwoofer giving you thunderous and rich bass with everything you watch and listen to. Utilize the most out of your space with a stylish and compact design that complements your interior.
  • Cinema Sound Solution (Dolby and DTS:X) - Add a new dimension of sound that makes you feel like you’re in the middle of the action with Dolby Atmos* and DTS:X** to bring realistic spatial sound to your room—It surrounds you on all sides letting feel the immersive sound with every scene.
  • Quad Passive Radiators - The LG sound bar delivers big and impressive bass with 4 passive radiators. Packed with power in a small design, the sound bar gives you a full range of sound, allowing you to enjoy your favorite movies and shows.
  • Smart Up-Mixer - Create a wider sound stage to fill your room for a richer immersion of surround sound. Leverage all speakers to convert 2-channel audio into a multi-channel experience.
  • WOW Orchestra - Create the perfect harmony using the audio from the LG TV and LG Sound Bar* to produce the ultimate listening experience. Feel every detail of sound. Use the LG TV and LG sound bar speakers at the same time* while using one remote to adjust the settings interchangeably.
My Pick
Sonos Beam Gen 2
  • Enjoy vibrant bass, crystal clear dialogue, and a panoramic soundstage.
  • Experience a 3D surround sound effect with Dolby Atmos.
  • Stream music, radio, podcasts, and audiobooks from all your favorite services when the TV is off.
  • Control with the Sonos app, your TV remote, Apple AirPlay 2, and your voice using Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.
  • Breeze through setup with only two cables, step-by-step guidance from the Sonos app, and smart Trueplay tuning. Easily expand your Sonos system over time to enjoy true surround sound and multi-room listening. Everything connects over WiFi.
We will receive a commission if you click through and purchase at no extra cost to you

Leave a Comment