The key to immersive audio with a soundbar is proper mounting. Wall, TV, or cabinet – each of these soundbar mounting ideas has pros and cons.
As an AV installation engineer, I installed plenty of soundbars. My preferred choice was using a wall mount below the TV. This setup removes any obstructions, allowing the sound to fill the room.
But this isn’t practical for all rooms. So here are some more ideas, plus a few placement tips to get the best audio possible.
- Wall mounting below the TV directs sound right to your ears for an immersive experience.
- Attaching the soundbar to the TV mount keeps everything aligned when adjusting viewing angles.
- Fine-tune placement and angle for the best audio sweet spot that transports you into the action.
Soundbar Mounting Techniques
Please don’t make the mistake of buying a soundbar before considering where to place it.
You will only get the best performance from your exciting piece of new technology if you put it in a good location.
There are three main ways to mount your soundbar.
- Mount it on the wall
- Attach it to the TV’s wall mount
- Place it on a custom cabinet or shelf
Each mounting solution has its advantages and disadvantages.
For example, you can avoid drilling holes and making a mess by mounting your TV and soundbar on existing furniture or cabinets.
However, this is not always the best solution, as you may compromise on the sound quality if the position interferes with the acoustics.
Here’s a quick comparison of the pros and cons of each soundbar mounting solution.
|On the Wall||
1. Maximizes room space
2. Sound can disperse evenly
3. Can prevent blocking TV screen or remote sensor
1. Requires drilling
2. Difficult to adjust or move once mounted
3. Cable management can be challenging
|TV Wall Mount||
1. Keeps soundbar and TV in sync when adjusting viewing angles
2. Reduces visible cables
3. Ensures sound direction matches screen
1. Limited by TV wall mount’s weight capacity
2. May not be compatible with all soundbars or TVs
3. Requires careful positioning to avoid blocking TV screen or sensors
|TV Stand or Cabinet||
1. No drilling required
2. Easy to install and adjust
3. Ideal for rooms where wall-mounting isn’t possible
1. Takes up surface space
2. Sound may not disperse as well
3. Risk of soundbar being knocked over if not secured
Read on for all the details of your choices.
1. Wall Mount: The Space-Saver’s Choice
Placing the soundbar on the wall provides a clean look and ensures nothing prevents sound from reaching your listening position.
You can buy brand-specific soundbar wall mounts with custom fittings or generic universal mounts that fit most soundbars.
Luckily, many universal mounts available online will work on all types of walls.
These mounts secure the soundbar to the wall using small adjustable brackets and come with various screws and plugs for mounting on studs, drywall, and masonry.
This popular universal soundbar wall mount by EVEO is suitable for most brands. It is excellent value compared to the more expensive brand-name versions.
Just make sure you check the width and weight of your soundbar to ensure it will fit.
There are also brand-specific mounting brackets that you can buy for your soundbar.
These are usually more discreet and have precise mounting points that provide a secure connection between the soundbar and the bracket. However, they will also cost more than a universal bracket.
Some of the most popular soundbars are the Sonos range.
The flagship Arc soundbar has a discrete wall mount you can buy, which fits perfectly.
A dedicated wall mount for the Sonos Arc soundbar.
- Specifically designed for the Arc soundbar
- Made by Sonos
- Low-profile, near-invisible fit
- Includes fixing hardware
- Only for the Sonos Arc - you'll need a different version for the other soundbars
- Third-party wall mounts might be cheaper
For more details, the Sonos Beam vs. Arc article explains more about the two most popular Sonos soundbars.
How to Install the Wall Mount
Here are a few points to consider when installing the soundbar wall mount.
Level it up: When installing your soundbar, it’s vital to keep it level with the bottom edge of your TV. Even a slight misalignment can be distracting. So, grab a level tool and ensure your soundbar brackets align perfectly with your TV.
Mark the spot: Once you’ve figured out the perfect alignment, draw pencil lines on the wall to indicate the position of the mounting brackets. Make sure to consider the soundbar’s feet when mounting it.
Drill, baby, drill: Use the marked lines and the frame of the soundbar as a template to position and drill the holes for the brackets. Make sure to keep your drill level to maintain the alignment.
Hide those wires: Look for ways to conceal the wires with strategic positioning of the soundbar. Learn how to hook up a soundbar for more details on your wiring options.
Alternate options: If you don’t want to buy a dedicated soundbar wall mount, consider using a sturdy shelf. Ensure it’s large enough to support the soundbar completely – a too-small shelf can affect sound quality and stability.
Avoid resonance: To minimize vibrations, consider placing the soundbar on a rubber or foam pad. This can improve sound quality by reducing resonance with the mounting surface.
Perfect placement and installation are as critical as the soundbar to create the best audio experience.
2. TV Attachment: For an Integrated Audio-Visual Experience
Some TV wall mounts have brackets explicitly designed for soundbars.
The benefit of mounting your sound bar directly to the TV is less damage to the wall and fewer holes to align.
There are many different TV mounts that you can use to attach your TV to a wall; a popular solution is the Mounting Dream MD5420 universal soundbar mount for its ease of installation.
Transform your TV wall mount into a soundbar's perfect companion. Simple installation, sturdy design, and universal compatibility. Fits most soundbars and TV wall mounts.
This mount connects to the VESA mounting holes on the back of your TV and your standard TV wall mount.
You can also attach the soundbar at the top or bottom of the screen.
An advantage of this type of bracket is you can use it with your existing wall mount. And if you have an articulating wall mount, the soundbar will move when you reposition the TV.
Here is a video that explains how you would install this universal soundbar bracket:
The main problem is if you’ve already mounted the TV on the wall, you will need to remove it to install the additional soundbar fixings.
However, this should be relatively easy, and you can do it in a couple of minutes if you are OK with basic DIY tasks.
3. Cabinet or Table Mounting: Preserve Your Walls
You could mount your soundbar on a cabinet or table if you don’t want to drill holes in the wall or your lease forbids you.
The great thing about this is that you have numerous options, from custom-designed furniture for your audio-visual equipment to traditional lounge furniture.
But be careful. Placing a speaker on a table or cabinet can impact sound quality, causing echoes or muffled audio.
Avoid putting the speaker in an enclosed space, or it will drastically affect the sound you hear from your chair.
The main points to consider are:
- Always try and place the soundbar at the front edge of the shelf.
- Allow enough space above the speaker so it can project the sound out to the room
- Place the speaker as close to your ear height as you can. If not, tilt the speaker a little so it points at your ears.
Enclosing the soundbar is a particular problem for soundbars with Dolby Atmos and surround sound drivers.
If you block the sound at the sides or above, the surround effect won’t work.
A popular solution that will work for most rooms is this Walker Edison Wren Classic 4 wood TV stand.
There is plenty of room for peripherals, plus it has cable management holes for easy cabling.
Step up your entertainment game with this timeless wooden TV stand. Designed to support TVs up to 65 lbs and an additional 150 lbs on its top surface, it's the powerhouse you need for your tech. Two adjustable shelves handle 30 lbs each, and four cord management ports keep unsightly cables tucked away.
Another issue with using a cabinet for a soundbar is it can block the TV screen or remote sensor if the TV is not raised high enough.
If you have wall-mounted the TV, you’ll need to move it up a little (no easy task) or buy a shorter cabinet.
If your TV sits on the cabinet with its supplied stand, it should raise the TV enough so the soundbar doesn’t block the screen.
But if not, you can place something under the TV to raise it to the desired height. Just make sure it is firm.
The picture above is an excellent example of placing the soundbar on a cabinet.
There is plenty of space around the soundbar, so the sound isn’t blocked, and the speaker unit doesn’t obstruct the screen.
The height will also be ideal for when sitting down to watch TV.
The No-Go Zones: Where Not to Mount Your Soundbar
I’ve already mentioned some of the do’s and don’t’s for positioning your soundbar, but here are a few more things to consider:
- Near Heat Sources: Don’t mount the soundbar near radiators, heat vents, or other heat-producing appliances. Excessive heat can damage the soundbar’s internal components.
- Inside a Cabinet or Enclosed Space: Soundbars are designed to project sound. Mounting inside a confined space like a cabinet could muffle the sound and impair audio quality.
- Far Away from the TV: The soundbar should be near your TV for the best sound quality. If it’s too far away, the sound and visuals may not sync well, impairing your viewing experience.
- On Uneven Surfaces: Mounting your soundbar on uneven surfaces may cause it to be misaligned, resulting in distorted sound output and potential damage to the unit.
- Near Windows or Doors: Mounting a soundbar near windows or doors can interfere with the audio output due to external noise and may also expose the device to potential damage from elements like sunlight, rain, or wind.
- In High Traffic Areas: Avoid mounting your soundbar in areas where it can be easily knocked over, such as a narrow hallway or near a frequently used door.
Most of these points seem obvious, but it’s easy to forget when you are in a rush to install your new speaker.
As you can see in the picture above, the soundbar is in a small recess under the TV.
You might get away with this if all the speaker drivers are front-firing, but the shelf above will block any surround or Dolby Atmos effects.
In this case, it would be best to install the soundbar in a location that doesn’t impair the sound – maybe, on the top shelf under the TV or on the wall above the screen.
Installing the speaker in a position that looks good but will reduce the performance is pointless.
Pinpointing the Perfect Spot for Your Soundbar
As mentioned earlier, the placement of your compact soundbar is critical to its performance.
Even the highest quality audio device will only provide an excellent sound if positioned correctly.
The soundbar should be positioned just below the TV screen with speakers facing the ears where possible.
Bear in mind that you will probably be sitting down, so the height of your soundbar will be at most 3 or 4 feet off the ground.
Naturally, you’ll have to consider the design of your room, which may sometimes be a sunken lounge or a raised subfloor, depending on the interior décor.
You should also consider architectural features that may affect any upward-firing speakers’ sound quality and direction.
If in doubt, a qualified sound professional can assess your room and make suggestions based on the specifics of your AV devices.
Should You Place Your Soundbar Above or Below Your TV?
Deciding whether to place your soundbar above or below your TV is more complex than you might think. It involves considering your room’s layout, the design of your audio device, and your TV’s cable connections.
Sure, mounting your soundbar beneath your TV is the intuitive choice. It often simplifies cable management and drilling holes, especially when your TV’s audio connectors are on the lower edge.
However, it’s not the only option.
Sometimes, the space around your TV dictates the only available location for the soundbar – above the television. Remember to angle the soundbar toward your listening spot for the best audio experience if that’s the case.
A position below the TV could be more advantageous for high-quality soundbars that utilize Dolby Atmos technology with upfiring speakers.
These speakers bounce sound off the ceiling to create an immersive soundscape, something they can’t do effectively if placed too high.
Where your soundbar’s power cord originates can also influence its placement.
These are usually located on the TV’s bottom edge, making the placement under the TV sensible.
Ultimately, it all boils down to the specific characteristics of your space and equipment.
Achieving the best audio setup requires some thought to find the perfect location for your soundbar.
FAQ: Answers to Your Burning Questions
Can You Wall Mount a Soundbar?
You can wall-mount soundbars, and it can be an excellent option to get the best sound quality from your speaker. You can attach the speaker directly to the wall with a mounting bracket or to the TV mount with a suitable accessory. You just need to make sure that the power cord will reach.
Where Should You Mount Your Soundbar?
Soundbars should be mounted as close to your TV as possible, either above or preferably below it. They can be attached to the wall using brackets or positioned on a cabinet or table below the TV.
Should You Mount a Soundbar to the Wall or TV?
You can successfully mount a soundbar on the wall or attach it to the TV’s wall mount. It doesn’t matter which you choose as long as the soundbar has enough space to direct the sound into the room. Using a bracket attached to the TV wall mount will mean fewer holes in your wall, which might help you decide.
Should You Hire a Professional to Install Your Soundbar Wall Mount?
If you have experience with DIY projects and have access to a drill, levels, and screwdrivers, you can easily attach the soundbar on your own. However, if you lack confidence in your DIY abilities, consider hiring a professional to do it quickly and stress-free.
Can You Position a Soundbar Vertically?
In most cases, you shouldn’t position your soundbar vertically. All soundbars should be mounted horizontally, and placing them upright will affect the quality of your sound and any 3D sound features will be lost.
About The Author
Paul started the Home Cinema Guide to help less-experienced users get the most out of today's audio-visual technology. He has been a sound, lighting and audio-visual engineer for around 20 years. At home, he has spent more time than is probably healthy installing, configuring, testing, de-rigging, fixing, tweaking, re-installing again (and sometimes using) various pieces of hi-fi and home cinema equipment. You can find out more here.