Port facing the wall or facing the room? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 37 Old 11-22-2008, 07:32 AM - Thread Starter
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So what's the better option?

I have my sub about 1/3 the way down my front wall with the port facing to the room. Is it more important where the driver faces or where the port faces, given that you've already found the best location in your room?

Or does it really even matter so long as the "best" location is found?

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post #2 of 37 Old 11-22-2008, 07:36 AM
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Best not to block the port. If the port is facing the wall but is far enough away, it shouldn't matter in that situation.

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post #3 of 37 Old 11-22-2008, 08:18 AM
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This really all depends on your situation and room response. Normally a subwoofer placed in the corner with the port facing the corner is a no no. A port simply facing a flat back wall in the middle would most likely sound good. Depending on your room acoustics facing the port toward you may give you more controlled bass but also may give you less bass in certain bands of frequencies. Location of the sub is very important yes, and the way it is turned is just as important depending on how picky you are. Turning a subwoofer just 45 degrees can yield drastic results. If you want the most accurate bass you can achieve, both are important.

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post #4 of 37 Old 11-22-2008, 09:34 PM
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I have a Tower and I will be adding a second Tower. I want them sitting sideways, not facing the listener because I don't want someone to accidently put their foot in the driver. So anyway, should I point the drivers at each other or should I have them facing away from each other?

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post #5 of 37 Old 11-22-2008, 09:50 PM
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Experiment. Facing it toward a wall, instead of into the room, can help to reduce the audibility of port noise.

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post #6 of 37 Old 11-22-2008, 09:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stepyourgameup View Post

So anyway, should I point the drivers at each other or should I have them facing away from each other?

You may want to start your own thread regarding this. Intuitively, to me anyway, facing outwards makes more sense, but I think it depends upon their measured (as in FR) performance in both orientations. BTW, there is another orientation (or 2, actually). Both drivers facing the same direction.

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post #7 of 37 Old 11-23-2008, 06:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sivadselim View Post

You may want to start your own thread regarding this. Intuitively, to me anyway, facing outwards makes more sense, but I think it depends upon their measured (as in FR) performance in both orientations. BTW, there is another orientation (or 2, actually). Both drivers facing the same direction.

Well, I don't want them facing this way:

| | | |
| | | |
---- ----

because I don't want someone accidentally putting their foot in the driver, and other reasons which I won't get into. I will have to use REW to see if there is a big difference between the top two.

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post #8 of 37 Old 11-23-2008, 07:15 PM
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You can fire your subwoofer into the wall just give it 3-4 inches and you'll be fine. How the sub is facing does have a minor effect on the frequency response but firing into the wall might be the best.
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post #9 of 37 Old 11-23-2008, 07:52 PM
 
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I disagree. It makes no difference which way you are aiming a good subwoofer. As long as the driver is aiming into the room and not at a wall or furniture, you are alright. At the theaters or mixing studios they do not aim subwoofers at walls or furniture, for any reason. This means nothing if it is downfiring.
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post #10 of 37 Old 11-23-2008, 10:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stepyourgameup View Post

Well, I don't want them facing this way:

| | | |
| | | |
---- ----

I can't tell what that is depicting, but I do not think you understand what I am saying. You said there were the 2 ways to orient them with the drivers firing perpendicularly to the front wall:

1. ___| |___

2. |___ ___|

And I'm saying there are 2 more ways you left out:

3. |___ |___

4. ___| ___|

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post #11 of 37 Old 11-23-2008, 10:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sivadselim View Post

I can't tell what that is depicting, but I do not think you understand what I am saying. You said there were the 2 ways to orient them with the drivers firing perpendicularly to the front wall:

1. ___| |___

2. |___ ___|

And I'm saying there are 2 more ways you left out:

3. |___ |___

4. ___| ___|

I got ya now. Sorry.

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post #12 of 37 Old 11-23-2008, 10:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveMo View Post

I disagree. It makes no difference which way you are aiming a good subwoofer. As long as the driver is aiming into the room and not at a wall or furniture, you are alright. At the theaters or mixing studios they do not aim subwoofers at walls or furniture, for any reason. This means nothing if it is downfiring.

What/who do you disagree with?

Of course the direction and the exact location of the driver and port will affect the FR.

What is wrong with being aimed into the wall and why is it wrong?

Why is a downfiring design any different from being aimed at a wall? The sub doesn't know up from down, left from right. My sub is rearfiring, is about 8" or so from the wall, and it sounds fine. With the passive radiator on the front acting as a decoy, you'd NEVER know it unless I told you.

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post #13 of 37 Old 11-24-2008, 09:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveMo View Post

I disagree. It makes no difference which way you are aiming a good subwoofer. As long as the driver is aiming into the room and not at a wall or furniture, you are alright. At the theaters or mixing studios they do not aim subwoofers at walls or furniture, for any reason. This means nothing if it is downfiring.

That may be true, but good studios and theaters don't have to worry about F'ed up acoustics. Take a subwoofer and stick it in a normal everyday room and point the port at the wall then point it at the listener, you will heard a difference.

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post #14 of 37 Old 11-24-2008, 10:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Audio View Post

Take a subwoofer and stick it in a normal everyday room and point the port at the wall then point it at the listener, you will heard a difference.

Sure, you'll hear a difference, but it is not only because you redirected the port. You've also redirected the driver (unless, of course, it is a downfiring sub).

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post #15 of 37 Old 11-24-2008, 11:51 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Audio View Post

That may be true, but good studios and theaters don't have to worry about F'ed up acoustics. Take a subwoofer and stick it in a normal everyday room and point the port at the wall then point it at the listener, you will heard a difference.

I will not disagree that simply aiming the port at the listener is acceptable, it's aiming the subwoofer driver directly into a wall that concerns me. Three inches? Can you really hear sound that is firing three inches into a wall? My own subwoofer manual suggest aiming the driver towards the front of the room sitting directly next to seating. This would be a nearfield placement, which seems more logical than anything if there really is that big of a problem with placement. Simply denying the rooms modes to interact and be diffracted in different directions is about as effective as placing blankets over the speakers to improve refections in the room. You want the sound from the subwoofer, not a wall. Would you also place a subwoofer not designed to do so under your couch, in the closet, the next room? How far would you really be willing to go just to get a better sound in the room and at what cost?
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post #16 of 37 Old 11-24-2008, 12:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveMo View Post

I will not disagree that simply aiming the port at the listener is acceptable, it's aiming the subwoofer driver directly into a wall that concerns me. Three inches? Can you really hear sound that is firing three inches into a wall? My own subwoofer manual suggest aiming the driver towards the front of the room sitting directly next to seating. This would be a nearfield placement, which seems more logical than anything if there really is that big of a problem with placement. Simply denying the rooms modes to interact and be diffracted in different directions is about as effective as placing blankets over the speakers to improve refections in the room. You want the sound from the subwoofer, not a wall. Would you also place a subwoofer not designed to do so under your couch, in the closet, the next room? How far would you really be willing to go just to get a better sound in the room and at what cost?

There is really no reason that a subwoofer's driver can't face a wall. A downfiring sub often fires from less than 3" into the floor. What is the clearance between the driver and the base of an SVS cylinder? How about an SVS cylinder in a corner? Lot of surfaces there.

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post #17 of 37 Old 11-24-2008, 12:13 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sivadselim View Post

There is really no reason that a subwoofer's driver can't face a wall. A downfiring sub often fires from less than 3" into the floor. What is the clearance between the driver and the base of an SVS cylinder? How about an SVS cylinder in a corner? Lot of surfaces there.

If there is a wall firing model I may reconsider my opinion. Until then I will stick with what I know.
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post #18 of 37 Old 11-24-2008, 01:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveMo View Post

If there is a wall firing model I may reconsider my opinion. Until then I will stick with what I know.

As I pointed out my RSW15 is a rear-firing subwoofer that is designed to fire into a wall or even a corner. As are (were) all the RSW subs. There is a passive radiator on the front. But other than the driver being on the back of the sub, there is no other specific design feature that makes the sub specifically amenable to being a rear-firing subwoofer. It was simply a design decision on Klipsch's part. I do not know what the exact rationale was for designing the RSW subs this way, but they did it for a reason. But they wouldn't have done it if it was detrimental. And it didn't just randomly end up back there.

Again, I ask, what is different about firing into a wall and firing into the floor (or baseplate)? The sound waves only 'see' a surface. They do not know if it is a floor or wall (or ceiling, for that matter).

As I said, if you heard my sub, you wouldn't know it was rear-firing unless you were told that. It is just not apparent. At all.

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post #19 of 37 Old 11-24-2008, 08:20 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sivadselim View Post

As I pointed out my RSW15 is a rear-firing subwoofer that is designed to fire into a wall or even a corner. As are (were) all the RSW subs. There is a passive radiator on the front. But other than the driver being on the back of the sub, there is no other specific design feature that makes the sub specifically amenable to being a rear-firing subwoofer. It was simply a design decision on Klipsch's part. I do not know what the exact rationale was for designing the RSW subs this way, but they did it for a reason. But they wouldn't have done it if it was detrimental. And it didn't just randomly end up back there.

Again, I ask, what is different about firing into a wall and firing into the floor (or baseplate)? The sound waves only 'see' a surface. They do not know if it is a floor or wall (or ceiling, for that matter).

As I said, if you heard my sub, you wouldn't know it was rear-firing unless you were told that. It is just not apparent. At all.

I reconsider. I will be happy for someone to point that model subwoofer into a wall. Again you ask? This is getting kind of frustrating. A wall and a floor are two different types of surfaces. Not all surfaces are created equal and espicially in HT acoustics. Thank you for your info but again, there is no sceintific evidence to suggest that firing a subwoofer into a wall is good practice. I don't doubt your subwoofer sounds great and I might not realize it was firing into a wall, but the point is that the sound is going from the wall, into the room, and not at another wall.
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post #20 of 37 Old 11-24-2008, 08:53 PM
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Pardon my ignorance on this topic but the reason firing a subwoofer into a wall or into the room makes little difference is that the size of a subwoofer soundwave is very large and not much affected by hitting the wall first before your ears much as a subwoofer firing downward and having the soundwave hit the floor before your ears.

Obviously you wouldn't want to point a speaker at the wall or floor because those soundwaves are much smaller and less powerful and hitting the wall (or floor) before your ears will have a much greater effect.

This is scientific although I have not presented evidence or proven my "theory".

I'm speaking only in general terms here as my understanding of the topic is only basic.

When I got my HSU subwoofer the only place I could put it was with the driver pointing at the wall. I contacted HSU with my concern and said it would not be a problem. I didn't understand why but I did understand HSU to be an authoritative source.
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post #21 of 37 Old 11-24-2008, 09:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveMo View Post

A wall and a floor are two different types of surfaces.

Why? Because you walk on one and slam your fist into the other?


Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveMo View Post

Not all surfaces are created equal and espicially in HT acoustics.

What is the difference between firing a subwoofer at a sheetrock wall or a hardwood floor?


Quote:
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..............there is no sceintific evidence to suggest that firing a subwoofer into a wall is good practice.

More importantly, though, is that there is no sceintific (sic) evidence that suggests it isn't. And there is a reason for that. No one here said that anyone should fire their subwoofer into the wall. Someone said, though, that you shouldn't. Why not?

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post #22 of 37 Old 11-24-2008, 09:16 PM
 
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That's actually very intuitive Mucho. I admit I myself do not understand the full reasons behind my opinion. I was simply told flat out, aim the subwoofer into the room by my instructor. Not all methods in each practice share common beliefs and while some may consider my opinion narrow minded, and without basis regarding the basics of the laws of physics, there are fundamental principals to which I have standards by. If HSU says it is acceptable that will make it an acceptable approach by HSU standards. I have tested many circumstances in my room and while firing subwoofers into a wall was not one of them, I should have some with two of my subwoofers firing into the rear of couches. I will see if I can dig these measurement files up and find what effects this may have on decay, which I beleave would be most different.
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post #23 of 37 Old 11-24-2008, 10:01 PM
 
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Here is my measurement of two rear subwoofers (total of four) firing into the rear couches.



Here is my measurement of two rear subwoofers firing into the room next to the couches.



Both mesurements had equalization applied. I do think these are correct by the date they were taken. Does someone have a waterfall of a subwoofer firing into a wall and not that I could see?
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post #24 of 37 Old 11-24-2008, 11:14 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sivadselim View Post

No one here said that anyone should fire their subwoofer into the wall. Someone said, though, that you shouldn't. Why not?

I thought I was being fair and unbias. I said that I was expressing my opinion.
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post #25 of 37 Old 11-25-2008, 08:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sivadselim View Post

Sure, you'll hear a difference, but it is not only because you redirected the port. You've also redirected the driver (unless, of course, it is a downfiring sub).

I'm not saying that pointing the port toward the wall is always a bad thing. In fact a lot of subs I've seen have rear firing ports with the obvious intent on shooting the back wall. I'm saying that people with less than perfect acoustics need to be concerned with what direction the subwoofer faces in order to get the best possible response. If that means they need to fire the port and/or drivers at the wall or even a corner, that's what they should do. My sub has both the driver and port on the front. In my room it sounds the best facing at me and located in the corner. Normally me turning my sub around to face the corner would be bad, and it is for my room, but someone may need to do that to get the response they need.

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post #26 of 37 Old 11-25-2008, 08:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveMo View Post

I will not disagree that simply aiming the port at the listener is acceptable, it's aiming the subwoofer driver directly into a wall that concerns me. Three inches? Can you really hear sound that is firing three inches into a wall? My own subwoofer manual suggest aiming the driver towards the front of the room sitting directly next to seating. This would be a nearfield placement, which seems more logical than anything if there really is that big of a problem with placement. Simply denying the rooms modes to interact and be diffracted in different directions is about as effective as placing blankets over the speakers to improve refections in the room. You want the sound from the subwoofer, not a wall. Would you also place a subwoofer not designed to do so under your couch, in the closet, the next room? How far would you really be willing to go just to get a better sound in the room and at what cost?

I totally agree with everything you're saying, but some people might not have the choice. Sometimes exciting some room modes to achieve a descent response is necessary depending on the resources you have. Some may have to choose between massive bass gaps or some annoying bass that is less than accurate. For HT, the massive gap might be more acceptable, but massive gaps will destroy music. Nearfield placement does not always work even when it seams the most logical and is able to be done. I'm not saying don't try it, but it doesn't always work.

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post #27 of 37 Old 11-25-2008, 09:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Audio View Post

I totally agree with everything you're saying, but some people might not have the choice. Sometimes exciting some room modes to achieve a descent response is necessary depending on the resources you have. Some may have to choose between massive bass gaps or some annoying bass that is less than accurate. For HT, the massive gap might be more acceptable, but massive gaps will destroy music. Nearfield placement does not always work even when it seams the most logical and is able to be done. I'm not saying don't try it, but it doesn't always work.

What about a sub that is designed to side fire, like the HSU 3.3? I think they recommend only 2" of clearance from the woofer.

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post #28 of 37 Old 11-25-2008, 11:03 AM
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Manufacturers cannot recommend placement for every user. It is a very good bet that if you place the sub away from the walls and the corners that the sub will not perform well at all. However placing the sub too close to the wall can cause some really annoying artifacts. It is safer for any manufacturer though to say place the subwoofer near walls and corners because you are almost guaranteed to hear the sub there and loudly. My it be "less accurate"? Most likely, but having no bass is even less accurate than modal ringing. My Paradigm monitor 9s have the port in the front. Because of my room arrangement, my speakers put out almost no midbass where they are. If I put my mini monitors in their place which are rear ported, they actually put out more bass than my 9s. In order to get midbass from my 9s I have to stick them in the corner where my sub is at. Problem with that is then my speakers are too close to the side walls and I get bad high and high/mid reflections of the side walls which sound terrible. So I turned my old Paradigm sub into a midbass module that points at the rear wall.

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post #29 of 37 Old 11-25-2008, 12:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveMo View Post

Here is my measurement of two rear subwoofers (total of four) firing into the rear couches.

SteveMo, couches ARE different from walls and hardwood floors.

But that is irrelevant. Of course a sub will measure differently when it faces a wall versus into the room. As will, too, a sub measure differently when it is rotated 90°, raised 6", or placed in another location. OK. So? Maybe positioning a sub along the left side of a room but firing into the wall from 8" provides the best measurements? Or not. Of course, if you measured a sub with it's driver facing a wall and then spun it around 180° and measured it again, the measurements would be different! So? Could you definitively attribute something about the measurements to the wall? Maybe. Could you call it detrimental? Maybe. Would all subs, rooms, and measurements show the same affect of the wall upon a sub's output. Maybe. How many different HT environments would you need to do the measurements in? And how many different distances to the wall? Would it be possible that in some HT environments an orientation that fires into the wall is best while in another it is not?

Can you show me someone's measurements that definitively show that positioning a sub so that it is firing into the wall will ALWAYS produce detrimental results?

I have a feeling that you think that a wall can somehow either absorb or alter the sound of the sub in a detrimental way. Sure, it may produce terrible boom. Or it may not. It may create a null. Or it may not. It is just like any other orientation or location. If the FR is terrible in a particular orientation and location, then you wouldn't orient it that way in that location. Simple. If you discovered that positioning your subs so that they were firing into the wall provided much better measurements than any other orientations, would you not orient your subs that way? There is no rule of thumb that says a sub shouldn't or can't be set up so that it fires into a wall. Not that I have seen, anyway.

Does a floor-firing subwoofer sound characteristically different than a front firing sub? Sure it does, unless you have a perfect room. I can remember a few years back, people were removing the baseplates from their downfiring SVS subs and flipping them on their sides with the drivers facing out into the room. Supposedly provided more punch. Fine. Did it sound "better"? To someone it did. So? But others still preferred the sub in a downfiring orientation. So? SVS still makes downfiring subs, as do several other manufacturers. Look at the eD P7-650. I suspect that many of the owners of HSU's sidefiring subs have their subs oriented such that they are firing more toward a wall than into the room.

There is nothing inherently different in the behavior of the soundwaves produced by a sub that is firing at a hardwood floor or baseplate from 3" vs. a sub that is firing at a wall from 6" (or 3", for that matter). Why are you OK with a floor firing sub, but not OK with one that fires into a wall?

And forgive me if my tone is too adversarial. That is not my intent. I just want to know why a sub, generally and universally, shouldn't be oriented so that its driver fires at a wall.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveMo View Post

I thought I was being fair and unbias. I said that I was expressing my opinion.

Opinions are NEVER unbiased. EVER.

But, why do you have this opinion? Is it just a hunch? Just doesn't seem like a good idea? You've seen a lot of measurments examining this issue? What?

"All men are frauds. The only difference between them is that some admit it. I myself deny it."
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post #30 of 37 Old 11-25-2008, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Audio View Post

I'm not saying that pointing the port toward the wall is always a bad thing. In fact a lot of subs I've seen have rear firing ports with the obvious intent on shooting the back wall. I'm saying that people with less than perfect acoustics need to be concerned with what direction the subwoofer faces in order to get the best possible response. If that means they need to fire the port and/or drivers at the wall or even a corner, that's what they should do. My sub has both the driver and port on the front. In my room it sounds the best facing at me and located in the corner. Normally me turning my sub around to face the corner would be bad, and it is for my room, but someone may need to do that to get the response they need.

right

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