Any reason not to place stand mounted speakers upside down?

I ask because, for example, Harbeth perform best when the tweeters are at ear level, but I have some very good stands (Osiris!) that are taller than ideal. So, if I were to place them upside down...

Apparently Alan Shaw sees no problem, but points out that the bass would be boosted. I'd be interested to hear other views.


If Alan Shaw doesn’t see a problem, then what's the problem? It will be fine.
Just curious about whether others have tried this with any speakers, and what their experiences were.
I’ve had this same thought. Wouldn’t the music be upside down? But seriously, hopefully someone comes along with experience to set the record straight. For starters, what do your speaker footers look like and how would you relocate them to the new bottom? 
He's saying the bass would be boosted? With the woofers * further * from the floor???
No, but do listen.  The ideal listening location is usually somewhere at or below the tweeter axis when placed normally, so you might very well prefer to listen on mid woofer axis anyway. 
Increase your chair height with a plywood base etc. Leave the Harbeths right way up.
with most crossover slopes you get better phase agreeance between the tweeter and woofer when listening below the tweeter axis.

Try it.

Get about 5-7 feet away from your speakers and sit on the floor. listen to the phase, listen to the mids and upper mids get a lot more snappy and clean. In most cases, that is.
Of course, besides flipping the speaker, you can use IsoAcousutic style pucks to tilt them. :)
I think teo audio mentions the important point.  The pattern of vertical dispersion is generally something like a wide fan, with a 90 degree width and a 10 or 15 degree height.  The fan is aimed slightly downward from the tweeter.  Imagine a cross section of this pattern that looks like a super narrow triangle, the tip of the triangle is the tweeter, and one of the long sides is parallel to the floor and the other long side is angled down by 10 degrees or 15 degrees from level.  So when the speaker is vertically oriented with the tweeter on top, the pattern is just a bit below the tweeter; flip the speaker and the pattern will reverse, it will be ever so slightly upward. So now you need to position yourself slightly above the tweeter.  The worst is when you rotate the speaker and set it on its side.   Now its a a narrow fan offering 10-15 degrees of width and a very wide vertically, splashing HF on the ceiling and floor.   Try it at home, its dramatic how a speaker on its side means that you move just a little bit left or right off axis darn near makes the tweeter almost go away.  This is a good demonstration in your house of HF pattern.  This works with almost every kind of conventional two way or more cone loudspeaker.
I’m with Erik on this one... just tilt them. Also, I would suspect that speakers turned upside down would be a slightly bigger balance risk as the woofer is always heavier...
Pierre Spray of Mapleshade Studio oft opined the best listening position was actually sitting on the floor and I think he might have been right. So flipping the speakers on their head might work out very well after all. 
Thanks for the replies! @millercarbon – he did not say that. I misinterpreted one of his responses on the Harbeth forum. He was referring to a speaker in a confined space. Though he did say that it shouldn’t matter (in terms of bass) whether the woofer is on top or bottom.

@teo_audio – I follow you, though it is interesting that Shaw, who certainly is science oriented, insists that Harbeth perform best when the tweeters are at ear height. Presumably he has designed that way.

Brad – thanks for the interesting input.

I am currently using the P3s, but will be using 30.1 or Super HL5+, and the Osiris stands woulds be taller than ideal.
The stands that you are using for the 12 inch high P3 are too tall for the M30 and the HL5, upside down or right side up. You might have to bite the bullet and get stands that are the correct height!
Experiment with the speakers and stands and hear the difference for your self. You could also create a crude speaker stand to achieve the height you desire to get an idea of the sound and from there decide what you want to do.
@onhwy61 Of course, but I was asking about the views of using any speakers upside down, not only Harbeth.
It really depends upon the specific loudspeaker.  Some will have problems, as others have noted, and some won't.  Same thing with turning them sideways.
Agree it w/onhwy61 depends on the design.

For example, you don’t want to turn a time aligned speaker on its head.

But sometimes depending on your speaker height vs seating position it could be desirable.
If your current Speaker placement is at a Null in the room then a Boost in 
Bass would be good ...

Lak has given you the best advice. I have the HL5+ and I use Skylan stands that are specifically made for my Harbeths. However, I had them build mine 2" shorter because of my somewhat low seating position. Perfect!
Id say close to zero [conventional 2way/3 way] speakers designed to be vertical can work properly sideways (rotated 90 degrees or horizontal).  The reverse is also true, very few designed to work horizontal can work vertical.  You must be aware of the speaker dispersion pattern and the designed orientation.  Think about headlights in your car that are designed to be wide and not "tall"-same idea.  Waveguides and driver interaction at crossover (when they are both playing the same thing) determines this dispersion pattern and tweeters usually need to be physically directly above the driver it crosses over to.  There are some exceptions, but few.  Upside down is at least vertical,  so you can at least figure out someway to make that work- most of the time.  But beware of energy hitting the ceiling just as you would energy hitting the floor in the "right side up" orientation (why rugs make so much difference).  Reflected energy is usually the source of most problems with speaker/room interaction and severely affect speaker imaging.  


This shouldn't be that difficult. Put your speakers on a platform of books at the recommended height and compare the sound vs having them on the too-high stands. Listen to them upside down. Choose the configuration that YOU like.
Trusting your own ears, appears to be forbodden in audio forums.

It's not like driving a car in public, so do what ya like. I especially give props to all posters in virtual systems. Some rigs, just by looks are  STELLAR setups, what they like!

It’s OK for you to trust your own ears. Just don’t expect me to trust your ears. 
Any reason to place stand mounted speakers upside down?

Maybe: setting them up while drunk?  ;-)
I paired some old, small Tannoys (603) with an NAD D3020 in a traveling system. The speakers had been loaned to a friend and I had not listened to them for a couple of decades. After setting up the system 1500 mi from home,  I was not happy- harsh highs with a weirdly recessed midrange. Flipped them on a whim and the overall sound improved noticeably - more open, natural  midrange and smoother highs. My wife noticed the improvement and advocated leaving them “upside down” for the three month stay, (even though these speakers have a definite top and an unfinished plastic bottom).Your ear is the final arbiter.

Thanks for the anecdote, @returntomusic. As suggested previously, I'd love to use the old Osiris stands if possible, but if it doesn't work out, I can always buy a pair of correct (in terms of height) stands.
Hey wipsaw,

Some years ago, I purchased a pair of sight-unseen 24" Target stands for use with my Salk Veracity HT1s from an acquaintance who had them stored at his parent's house, instate.  They turned out to be 28" stands, so I faced the same dilemma.  Always helpful, Jim Salk saw no issues running them tweeter down and I was very pleased with the results.  Later, I've been able to right the system with a pair of Paradigm Ultracube 10v2 subwoofers beneath the Salks with IsoAcoustics ISA-L8R200 stands, carefully adjusting for height and tilt (arrival times.) 

The results in my little studio cube are quite spectacular...nearly 20 years of room tuning and sophisticated DSP...first, do no harm /// or, if minor harm be unavoidable, be certain that it is heavily outweighed by success.  The golden paradigm of "straight wire with gain" I've found to be a misnomer in the digital world.  After giving up a hard worked - full blown SOTA/Fidelity Research fx64/vacuum/electronic flywheel rig two decades ago, overall, this is decidedly better.  Good luck, wipsaw!  Happy tunes and More Peace.  Pinthrift     
Not sure what crossover order the Harbeths use but these two links give a visual on the different lobing patterns.  Merely for visual, no claim by me to the content accuracy.

Then wouldn’t it be in reverse polarity then? I guess you could stand on your head then it would be in correct polarity. 
There should be no problems with mounting a speaker upside down, unless the woofer magnet assembly is being supported by an internal brace that is relying on gravity.  That would be an unusal setup (most drivers are not supported internally.  Harbeths are not supported this way).  

You can certainly try inverting the speaker.  However, there might be some complications as far as the sound is concerned.  This might increase the problem with floor bounce cancellation of lower midrange frequencies.  The higher the woofer is off the floor, the greater the chance of floor bounce being an issue.  To some extent, designers try to account for floor bounce, but, they never account for someone inverting the speaker and increasing the height of the woofer.