Can You Put a Subwoofer on Its Side

Can You Put a Subwoofer on Its Side?

When installing a sound system, it is essential to think about the sound quality and aesthetics. Placing your subwoofer the way it was designed is not often aesthetically pleasing. On the other hand, looking for inventive ways to position subwoofers in your home can give your space a more creative and unique look. If you are wondering whether you can place your subwoofer on its side, the answer is yes, you can. That position can be an excellent way to maximize space and improve the appearance of your entertainment unit.

How to position your subwoofer on its side

Subwoofers are either down-firing or front-firing. The sound comes out from the bottom in down-firing subwoofers and vibrates the floor. An excellent example of a down-firing subwoofer is the REL Acoustics T/5i Subwoofer. On the other hand, in front-firing subwoofers, sound comes from the front and vibrates the air. An excellent example of a front-firing subwoofer is the Klipsch Synergy Black Label Sub-120 Subwoofer.

A down-firing subwoofer should sit close to the listening area, so you do not need to worry about placing it in your entertainment unit. In addition, placing a down-firing sub on its side would distort the sound. The frequency used to vibrate the floor would not work well for air and would produce a warped sound. Remember that bass frequencies move slower, and therefore their orientation and placement significantly affect the sound quality.  

When placing your front-firing subwoofer on its side, make sure that the speaker faces your listening area. If you do not do that, the sound will not be as good as you would like. In addition, placing your sub on its side is an excellent choice if the space in your entertainment unit cannot accommodate it in an upright position.

ProTip: If you don’t have much space, you could compromise on bass and go for a beefy soundbar without a subwoofer or some hard-punching bookshelf speakers that work fine without a subwoofer.

Things to consider when placing your subwoofer on its side

If you have a front-firing sub, consider these other things before putting it on its side.

Design

Think about the design of your subwoofer before placing it on its side. For example, placing your rectangular sub on its side might affect the quality of the sound. That is because weight distribution would change. Also, remember that the bass reflex port and speaker diaphragm should have the same space on both sides. In a cube subwoofer, changing orientation does not affect weight distribution. On the other hand, your sub may not look as appealing on its side.

Shape

Think about whether your subwoofer will fit in the space on its side or not. The shape will also determine whether it will be steady on its side. For example, if you have a rectangular one and your shelf space is half its height, it may not be stable on its side.

Sound

It is also essential to consider the sound that you want. Since this is subjective, take time to test out the sub on its side and upright before choosing orientation.

Pros and cons of placing your subwoofer on its side

Pros

  • It makes them easier to slip into compartments in your entertainment unit. If the space in your entertainment unit does not fit your subwoofer upright, placing it on its side is an excellent choice.
  • It improves aesthetic value. As mentioned above, finding new and unique ways to position your sub can enhance the appearance of your living area.

Cons

  • If putting your subwoofer on the side places the speaker on the side, it will affect the quality of bass you will hear.
  • Only front-firing subwoofers can be placed on their side. That is because if you put a down-firing subwoofer on its sides, it will warp and distort the sound.
  • Placing rectangular subs on their sides can also affect the quality of sound.
  • In some cases, you may notice excessive vibration when you place your sub on its side.  

Positioning your subwoofer is an essential consideration. If you already have a subwoofer that creates a vibration on its side, you can use a blanket to counter that problem. However, if the sound becomes distorted, you may have to return to its original position or buy a new one. You can check this post we did on subwoofer placement for more tips on the best way to position yours.

If you are upgrading your sound system and prefer placing your subs on their side, choose models that can work well in that position