Down-firing subwoofers are unique because most outdoor speaker or Bluetooth owners won’t configure their subwoofers this way.
In this short article, we’ll quickly explain the advantages of a down firing subwoofer and also, their disadvantages.
ADVANTAGES OF DOWN-FIRING SUBWOOFERS
The debate of front-firing vs. down-firing subwoofers is a raging topic amongst audiophiles.
Even though the majority side with front-firing subwoofers, we’ll explain why you should consider down-firing subwoofers.
Force Of Gravity
Drivers in a speaker come in different flavors. A driver is also known as a horn. The different type of drivers are domes and tweeters to name a few.
Driver material differs and it’s one of the reasons why there is a kevlar vs. propylene speaker debate. A lot of what a speaker is made of depends on the manufacturer. There isn’t one size fits all when deciding what a driver is made of, but there are advantages with each one.
Now that we gave a brief explanation on drivers, let’s discuss how gravity relates to it.
An advantage of a down-firing subwoofer is the driver won’t move out of place. Usually, drivers are forward-firing or side-firing.
With music blasting from your speakers, drivers tend to wiggle and squish a lower part of a rubber all while stretching the upper part falling downwards.
If your subwoofer is down-firing then you don’t have to worry about a subwoofer falling out of place.
Another benefit relating to gravity is the driver is placed on the bottom. And when the driver is on the bottom, it also brings its magnet with it.
With the driver on the bottom, it acts as an anchor for the subwoofer and makes it less likely the subwoofer itself will shake.
This is one you’ve probably never even heard of. But it’s something worth mentioning.
What we mean by subwoofer protection isn’t an actual cover, design, or equipment. What we mean by subwoofer protection is by facing your subwoofers downward, you indirectly protect it from environmental factors.
By environment, we’re talking about rowdy kids, pets, party guests, and more. By placing your subwoofers downward, it’s less likely to get hit.
DISADVANTAGES OF DOWN FIRING SUBWOOFERS
Music Instrument Replication
A downward facing subwoofer messes with the way musical instruments sound.
Any amplifier or kick drums that come out of the speakers produce a direct pressure wave. And this wave is straight-forward, not downward.
When the sound waves face downward, the floor absorbs the energy instead of your ears. Sound quality worsens by 2 when musical instruments are part of the track but it comes through the subwoofers.
When it comes to sound reproduction for instruments, it’s hard to replicate because the speaker is trying to mimic the pitch and amplitude of the instruments.
Sound software can get close to sound reproduction, but it doesn’t match it exactly. This is why audiophiles tend to purchase vinyl because it sounds like they’re in the studio with the artist recording.
A down-firing subwoofer box produces a domino effect if placed inside a room.
The domino effect starts because of the shaking of the subwoofer box. And since the shaking directly affects the floor, the floor starts shaking.
Since the floors connect to the walls, they’re also going to shake. After that, the ceiling comes next.
If you’re a Californian then earthquakes are enough when it comes to shakiness. Why would you want to deal with shakiness from your subwoofer?
WHAT WE THINK
Do you think the down-firing subwoofer advantages outweigh the disadvantages?
Because we believe every situation is different. A lot of it depends on what type of speakers you have.
Determining whether they’re outdoor speakers or Bluetooth speakers makes a huge difference. Another huge factor is the placement of your speakers. Knowing whether they’re indoors or outdoors determines what type of acoustics you’ll get.
What we suggest is trying both front-firing and down-firing positions.
The best way to know what you want is to experiment and iterate from there. Every audio owner has their own preferences and we can’t decide what they are for you.