Does a Soundbar Have to be Centered with the TV?

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A soundbar should be centered with the TV to deliver the best audio performance.

However, there are exceptions.

For example, if you sit in a position where you are not directly facing the TV and instead off to the side then you can put a soundar in a different area.

Putting it on a dedicated shelf (affiliate link) or stand directly in front of you and at ear level can work.

However, it is not a best practice and I will explain why in this article. With that being said it’s your living situation and sometimes you have to make compromises.

Centuring your soundbar ensures that the sound projects as intended which is evenly across the room and at ear level, this creates a more immersive experience for movies, gaming, etc.

I should mention that centering a soundbar with your TV is not just about audio quality; it also plays a part in the aesthetic of your room. It complements the visual appeal of your setup.

Aesthetics aside, when a soundbar is centered the sound is projected directly toward the listener and is synchronized with what is happening on screen visually. This is the best way our brains perceive audio.

This position allows sound waves to travel directly from the soundbar to your ears without unnecessary reflection or deflection that can occur when the soundbar is off-center.

In addition, most soundbars are designed with multiple speakers within a single enclosure, ensuring that high, mid, and low frequencies are delivered in a unified front when centered with the TV.

Aligning your soundbar and TV can simplify the wiring and configuration of your audio system, leading to a cleaner and more streamlined home theater appearance.

The simplest way you can center your TV is by putting it on a TV stand or mounting it on the wall, both of which I will explore more later in this article.

Does a soundbar have to be centered? Yes

Why Centering Matters: Your soundbar should ideally be centered with the television for the most immersive sound.

This alignment ensures that the audio matches the action on screen, providing a seamless experience.

  • Positioning Below the TV: The recommended spot for your soundbar is directly below the TV. This placement aligns the central channel of the soundbar with the center of your television, allowing sound to project evenly across the room.
  • Ear Level Elevation: The soundbar should face you at ear level when you’re seated. This heightens the clarity and allows the sound to reach you without obstructions, making dialogue and action scenes more intelligible and impactful.
  • Proper Distance: The soundbar should be at a reasonable distance from the listener. This ensures that the sound waves are not being distorted before reaching your ears.

Effect on Audio Quality:

  • Clarity and Directionality: A centered soundbar ensures that the dialogue and sound effects are anchored to the visuals, avoiding disjointed audio and video.
  • Balanced Soundfield: Central positioning creates a balanced soundfield around you, accurately reproducing spatial cues in the audio track.

Remember, each room has its unique acoustic properties, but adhering to these guidelines will generally provide a solid foundation for enjoying your audiovisual content.

Soundbar Positioning and TV Alignment Explained


Precise positioning and alignment can affect everything from sound quality to synchronized audio and video, let’s discuss this further.

The Importance of Centering a Soundbar

When your soundbar is perfectly aligned with your TV, it ensures that the sound originates from the same direction as the images, creating a cohesive viewing and listening experience.

Moreover, a centered soundbar guarantees that the settings and connections, like the Audio Return Channel (ARC) or enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC), function effectively.

These features, often accessed through HDMI ARC, allow your TV to send audio to the soundbar, ensuring seamless synchronization between sound and picture.

Make sure to get the proper HDMI cable for your soundbar, as it’s vital for both audio and picture performance.

I use the following 4k HDMI cable and can vouge for its performance.

Best 4K HDMI Cable
AudioQuest - HDM18BLUE150 Cable
  • AudioQuest’s BlueBerry 18Gbps HDMI cable is guaranteed to have the 18Gbps bandwidth required for compelling features like 8K/30 video, HDR (High Dynamic Range) imagery, and eARC (enhanced Audio Return Channel).
  • AudioQuest BlueBerry 18 HDMI cables use solid conductors to defeat both electrical and magnetic strand-to-strand interaction, major sources of distortion in cables.
  • The Audio Return Channel sends audio from the TV to soundbar, receiver, or ARC input. “enhanced” eARC is easier to use and enables lossless multi-channel. In AudioQuest BlueBerry 18 HDMI cables, the eARC conductor pair is internally controlled for direction to ensure superior audio performance.
  • AudioQuest BlueBerry 18 HDMI cables use Direction-Controlled conductors to minimize RF noise. For optimal Noise-Dissipation and superior audio performance, use BlueBerry 18 HDMI cables with the plug's arrows pointing towards the TV, or Source towards A/V receiver.
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Where You Should Place Your Centered Soundbar

When setting up your soundbar for the best audio experience, centering it with your TV either on a stand or mounted on the wall is essential.

On a TV Stand


Placing your soundbar directly on a stand is the most straightforward option.

The soundbar should be centered with the TV to maintain an even distribution of sound.

Keep it at ear level, which usually corresponds to the height of the TV stand.

Make sure there is enough space on the stand to avoid blocking the TV’s IR sensor, which could interfere with your remote control functionality.

For connectivity, ensure that the HDMI cable or optical cable can reach the TV without being overly stretched.

If your soundbar has a wireless subwoofer or rear speakers, it can be positioned elsewhere in the room as long as it’s within a reliable connection range.

Make sure that the soundbar will look nice on your stand, some soundbars are very long and dangle off the edges.

A good soundbar that looks great on TV stands is the Sonos Beam.

I would know I own one, the sound quality and functionality are great and you can level up your experience by adding a subwoofer and rear speakers whenever you want to.

My Pick
Sonos Beam Gen 2 - Black - Soundbar with Dolby Atmos
  • 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.
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Mounted on the Wall


For a wall-mounted TV, attaching the soundbar to the wall directly below or above the TV is optimal.

The height should be set so the soundbar is roughly at ear level when seated.

Utilize a wall mount specifically designed for your soundbar model to ensure it’s secured properly. 

Here is a universal soundbar wall mount that is popular

Best Universal Soundbar Mount
EVEO Universal Soundbar Mount
  • Universal Design - Our soundbar mounting bracket can hold soundbars up to - 30LBS/13.6KG. 
  • Easy To Install – Soundbar mounting bracket under tv Easily Pair your L-bracket soundbar wall mount and secure your soundbar.  
  • Better Sound – Enjoy sound that projects through the room with greater clarity. Your soundbar bracket is here to maximize the punchy fidelity of your speaker while freeing up space on your TV stand.
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Mounting the soundbar in alignment with your wall-mounted TV not only looks clean but also allows for PCM or HDMI connections to be hidden, contributing to a clutter-free space.

Many people are hesitant to wall mount a soundbar as they don’t want to drill any holes in their wall, but you actually don’t have to.

I wrote an article explaining how you can wall mount a soundbar without drilling, I encourage you to read it if you are interested.

Ensure that the power outlet and any cables required for connection are easily accessible to avoid unsightly wires hanging from your setup.

Remember to leave enough clearance from the TV to prevent any obstruction of sound or remote control signals.

If your system includes wireless features, such as wireless connections to a subwoofer or rear speakers, secure a connection to these devices without physical cabling.

Where Not to Place Your Soundbar

Just in case you decide not to center your soundbar. Know that these areas are a no-go for soundbar placement. I’ve written individual articles for each.

  1. On the floor
  2. On the ceiling
  3. Behind You

Frequently asked questions

  1. How much space should be between TV and soundbar?
    • There isn’t a fixed rule for the space between a TV and a soundbar, but a general guideline is to place the soundbar close to the TV without obstructing the screen. Ideally, aim for a few inches of space between the TV and the soundbar. Experimenting with placement can help you find the position that provides the best audio experience for your specific setup.
  2. Should the soundbar be wider than the TV?
    • Not necessarily. While some people prefer the aesthetic of a soundbar being wider than the TV, it’s not a requirement for good sound quality. What’s more important is ensuring that the soundbar complements the size of your TV and fits well within your overall home theater setup. The key is to prioritize balanced audio rather than the width of the soundbar.
  3. How do I get the best out of my soundbar?
    • Here are some tips to maximize your soundbar’s performance:
      • Optimal Placement: Place the soundbar at ear level for the best audio experience.
      • Connection: Use high-quality cables and ensure proper connections between the soundbar and your TV or other devices.
      • Room Acoustics: Consider the acoustics of your room. Soft furnishings and carpets can help reduce sound reflections and enhance the audio quality.
      • Calibration: If your soundbar has an equalizer or sound modes, adjust them to suit your preferences and the content you’re watching.
      • Subwoofer Placement: If your soundbar includes a subwoofer, experiment with its placement to find the best spot for balanced bass.
      • Firmware Updates: Check for firmware updates for your soundbar to ensure you have the latest features and improvements.
      • Source Quality: Use high-quality audio sources, such as Blu-ray discs, streaming services with high bitrates, or lossless audio formats, to get the best sound quality.

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