It is not so weird if you ask, “can I put speakers on their sides?” Many owners already put their speakers on the sides without asking questions.
You can put your speakers on their sides if they have side-oriented designs. Some speakers do not have side-oriented designs, so putting them on their sides is not advisable. Refer to your speaker’s documentation or customer support for further advice.
When you put your speaker such that they are vertically-oriented, the polar lobing will develop in a horizontal plane.
However, not only does the distorted frequency domain come into play, but there will also be a misalignment between both signals when the loudspeakers sit on their sides. This also disrupts the imaging.
Is It Ok To Put Speakers on Their Side?
Putting speakers on their side typically causes a narrower sweet spot. If you have a two-way speaker, you will get serious vertical lobes around the crossover frequency.
Therefore, it is not advisable to put a vertically-oriented speaker on their sides to sit vertically. Moreover, the vertical or side-sitting off-axis response is worse than the horizontal counterpart.
Also, putting speakers on their sides space the drivers horizontally from each other in the case of monitors. You will get a significant difference between each component and your ears.
The sideward placement causes a phase shift occurring between the two signals which eventually yields nulls and polar lobes. While the speakers sit on their sides, the polar lobes develop in the vertical plane as mentioned earlier.
This leads us to further related questions on many other speakers:
Can you lay a floor-standing speaker on its side?
You can lay a floor-standing speaker on its side by placing it on its side. Unfortunately, this eliminates the smooth horizontal dispersion that comes with your speaker.
You are literally putting your floor-standing speaker too high. This affects listening, giving you an off-axis experience.
A speaker that is oriented with the tweeter sitting on the woofer typically lobes around the crossover frequency. A floor standing speaker put on its side rotates the lobing into the horizontal plane.
Some experts would say that the crossover is misaligned when you put your speaker on their side. This is not really the case because the crossover alignment typically remains unchanged.
However, your listening position will move across the pattern of the coverage, letting you hear the varying responses over the space.
Can I lay bookshelf speakers on their side?
You can lay your bookshelf speakers on their side if they are designed to be laid on the side. If you place a bookshelf not designed for sideward placement on the side, you will experience vertical placement problems.
Many bookshelf speakers are built for vertical placement. However, if the purpose of your bookshelf speaker is merely to listen to audio, you can place them on their sides.
Can you put stereo speakers on their side?
Nothing stops you from placing your stereo speakers on their sides. Unfortunately, your stereo speakers on their sides are an ‘acoustic blunder’.
Your stereo speakers use innards not built to be positioned horizontally. The tweeters and bass drivers are vertically aligned. Thus, placing the stereo speaker on its side distorts imaging besides other issues.
Does It Matter if Speakers Are Sideways?
Speakers are reasonably designed to be used in the conventional upright position they are built for. Therefore, it matters if you position your speaker differently from what the design prescribes.
We have listed a couple of issues that accompany placing vertical speakers on their sides. Again, this causes the sounds from the two channels to arrive at varying intervals.
If you have a two-way loudspeaker, it uses multiple sources, including the mid-low and tweeter. It reproduces similar frequencies at the crossover region.
Again, depending on the wavelength spacing, polar lobes and nulls subsequently develop as a result of the summation of the two signals that are phase-shifted.
The outcome is that it yields destructive and constructive interference. These are noticeable in the pattern of the comb-filter manifestation interference in the 2d frequency response.
What to Look When Buying Speakers
Before you buy speakers to put on their sides, you want to look at speakers designed for horizontal positioning. Other features to look for when buying a speaker include the following:
You want a speaker that lets you enjoy the music irrespective of the conditions.
This is an optional feature to look for. However, if you must disc jockey outside, a marine-grade water-resistant speaker is your go-to solution.
A resistant speaker would use reinforced ABS housing and a protective metal grill that protects it in tough conditions.
2. Listening experience
You need an excellent speaker capable of outdoor and indoor use. Look at achieving perfection for your garage, living room, patio, basement, and more.
It should be such a speaker that guarantees lively tunes when played. Music is all about relaxation while with your glass of wine.
The tweeter is also the aspect to look at when buying a speaker. You can go for tweeters with dynamic balance. An anodized aluminum dome tweeter that uses a neodymium magnet and rubber surround can offer you a smoother response and handling.
Woofers play a part too; modern IMG (Injection Molded Graphite) woofer cones are rigid and light. This ensures that your woofer can produce a remarkable low-frequency response while the cone distortion remains minimal.
5. Swivel brackets
Look at the swivel bracket so that you can keep your speaker sideways in any place.
The swivel brackets should allow up to 120 degrees motion range and up to 90 degrees for the front facial rotation. This should allow for seamless placement and refined sound quality.
6. Sound clarity
The sound clarity is another aspect to look at when buying a speaker that you can put on the sides.
The produced sound should be unrivaled, at least within your neighborhood once connected. It should feature impressive power output levels and long-throw subwoofers that ensure sound satisfaction.
In this section, we are looking at the speakers you can put on their sides. Some horizontal speakers support putting them on the sides but do not expect the best performance.
Herdio 4 Inches Outdoor Speakers
Of course, this speaker is packed with a full range of high-quality sounds. This is the modern way to experience crisp sounds and clean highs from a deep-bass speaker.
Below are further reasons to invest in the Herdio 4-inches:
Herdio uses versatile swivel brackets that allow you to place your outdoor speakers in your most preferred location.
Apart from focusing on optimizing the sound quality, Herdio made the swivel brackets easier to install.
When you connect your Herdio, it is welcome to an outdoor experience that gives an unrivaled performance in the aspect of sound performance.
Its long-throw subwoofers ensure maximum and optimal sound satisfaction that is second to none.
It does not matter where you want to listen to music; Herdio’s artwork fits all conditions. You could call it a multi-weather speaker solution to place on the side. Click here to see on Amazon
Klipsch RP-600M Reference Premiere Bookshelf Speakers
Klipsch RP-600M uses a vented tweeter design that enhances smoother high-frequency reproduction. It achieves this by reducing the standing waves behind the tweeter diaphragm.
The RP-600M uses unique ‘Klipsch Cerametallic’ cones matted to a dual-layer copper-wound voice coil to improve conductivity.
To achieve low distortion and efficiency, Klipsch uses special Reference Premiere woofers fitted in a non-resonating steel basket and secured to a powerful magnet motor.
Klipsch gets it right by ensuring modernity in its speakers. This speaker uses scratch-resistant RP-600M ebony and walnut finishes.
This speaker also uses strong, flexible, and exceptionally magnetic grilles to protect the system and modernize your home. Click here to see on Amazon
Sony SSCS8 2-Way 3-Driver Center Channel Speaker
Sony is a known name in the industry. Of course, the SSCS8, s two-work sound artistry by Sony contains all you need in a speaker. Speaking of putting it on the side, of course, you can but might somehow impede sound performance.
Investing in the Sony SSCS8 is investing in a natural-sounding vocal that deeply strikes the heart. For this out-of-world effect, Sony uses a contemporary Wide Dispersion Super Tweeter built for the ultra-responsive and high-frequency audio response.
Sony SSCS8 is part of Sony’s CS series speakers. This series of speakers use specialized mica woofer diaphragms for readily adaptable sound quality.
Speaking of bass, perhaps, what you admire about speakers, Sony uses precise timing alignment throughout the frequency range. Get ready to rock your hearing senses. Click here to see on Amazon
How Important is Speaker Placement?
Your speaker placement is important for a sound outcome. In this case, how you place your speaker is important for the timbre and musical image.
Moreover, various frequencies respond differently when a speaker is placed on its side.
If you place your vertical speaker on its side, experts refer to it as an acoustic blunder. This could happen because monitor innards are built for vertical and not horizontal positioning.
Since the tweeters and bass drivers align vertically, placing the speaker on its side distorts the imaging.
Why Do People Put Their Speakers Sideways?
People may place their speakers sideways because it supports side placement. Some just want a new experience, which could be influenced by the room size or other factors.
However, many do not realize that their speaker built to stay upright may not be placed upright. Putting the speaker in its side shifts the bass driver closer to the speaker stand which distorts the bass response in the case of a monitor.
Various speaker systems have different dispersion on different axis. In a JBL 30x series, for instance, we have a rectangular horn tweeter. A rectangular horn will use wide dispersion in line with its long axis.
Meanwhile, if you have multiple stereo speaker listeners, being on-axis and equidistance will not work for everyone. In this case, someone can change the speaker’s position, like putting it on its side, to balance listening.
Also, listening while standing and sitting may require you to put your speakers on their side.
What Can Damage a Speaker?
Your speaker can damage for many reasons, putting it on its side may be one of the reasons. Let us consider other avoidable reasons your speaker can get damaged.
- Power surges. A surge in the power supply can damage your speaker. Ensure to use devices that protect your speaker against surges in power.
- High volume level. While inside, lower volume levels could be okay but going outside, you might want to max out the volume. This can clip the signal.
- Bad wiring. If you have bad wiring, this can cause your speaker to get damaged. Bad wiring results in an intermittent signal and transients capable of damaging your speaker. There could be problems of bad wiring in the amp, speaker cabinet, cabling to the speakers, the building, etc.
- Over/under powering. Increasing the volume of your 1000-watt speaker on a 50-watt amp with high volume can cause clipping or square waves. This damages the voice coil, affecting the performance of your speaker. Your amp turned on with high volume may result in transient damage. Arguments on various forums, including Quora, Toms Guide, etc. show that amps can damage your speaker.
- Unsuitable condition. For instance, some speakers are not designed to resist humidity, storms, oil, etc. Thus, exposing the speaker to such conditions can damage it.
Final Thought on Can I Put Speakers on Their Sides?
Let us conclude by restating that putting your speakers on their sides is an acoustic blunder. Depending on your speaker, the sound difference may not be noticeable.
Unless your speaker is designed to sit vertically and horizontally, placing it sideways causes impediments as listed in this piece.
Your user manual should tell if your speaker lay on its side or not. You can always get in touch with your product manufacturer for advice and recommendations.