Down Firing Subwoofer vs Front Firing

Down Firing Subwoofer vs Front Firing

The subwoofer contains a speaker driver which consists of frame, cone, magnet, coil, and assembly. As the cone produces vibration, it generates sound waves in the air.

Henceforth, the position of the driver dictates the quality of the sound produced. In this article, we shall be looking into the differences between down-firing vs. front-firing designs.

What are the subwoofer designs?

In the down-firing design, the driver points down across the subwoofer cabinet’s hole. The driver directs toward the floor. On the other hand, the sound in the front-firing design comes from one side of the cabinet’s opening. In this design, the driver is facing outside.

In general, the down-firing design offers more advantages than the front-firing design of subwoofers. Nonetheless, it is still recommended to listen to different models to determine which one is the best for you.

You must know that different sets of ears have a variety of preferences when it comes to speakers. Thus, it is best to listen to two versions brought by these different designs before deciding which one sounds better.

Differences between front-firing and down-firing subwoofers

There are other factors that affect the performance of each in terms of audio quality. These include the drivers and cabinet quality and its location. Hence, here are some of the performance-related differences observed on front-firing and down-firing subwoofers.

  • Driver protection – As the driver is not facing outside, it is more protected in the downward-firing design. In addition to that, this is excellent if there is a risk of bumping onto the driver due to pets or kids in the area.
  • Floor surface effect – There is a possibility that the floor surface may absorb the low frequencies of the sound produced by the downward-firing. Moreover, it also tends to get less directional.
  • Sag induced by gravity – Several experts are worried about the sag induced by gravity on the design of downward-firing.

Overall, there are pros and cons to both front-firing and down-firing subwoofers. With this, it is important to check first which one works best for you and your location.

Feature DescriptionDown-firing SubwooferFront-firing Subwoofer
Driver locationPointed downSide
Floor surface effectHighMinimal

Overall, the difference between front-firing and down-firing subwoofers are minimal under common circumstances. In fact, it is difficult to distinguish the two types separately just through the process of listening.


Given that there is a divided population between the two designs, there are several users who put their audio quality to the test. Here are some of the tests conducted by some users to help you choose which design is the best.

Down-firing vs. front-firing subwoofers: 

Choosing the best subwoofer direction: 

Final Thoughts

Several experiments show that these two designs of subwoofers are very similar. In that case, there are only minor variations that are barely audible. Therefore, we recommend you check which design, down-firing subwoofer vs front-firing, works best in your location.

Generally speaking, there are several suggestions to utilize front-firing subwoofers to allow the bass to push directly towards your spot. On the other hand, if you are placing it on the side of the wall or corner, you can go with a down-firing subwoofer design. This will deliver more bass evenly throughout your area.