Does mounting a speaker to the front or back of the baffle affect the sound or dispersion?


I'm looking to build a pair of speaker with vintage Altec components including a 416 woofer in a 620 enclosure.  The early 416-8A could only be mounted to the rear of the baffle, but when Altec re-designed the frame, it could be mounted either way and from then on they were front mounted, along with nearly all the other speakers I saw or listened to since the 1970s.  Does a front mount have a sonic advantage or is it to simplify the building process?

I ask because some guitar players will mount their speaker to the front or rear of the baffle based on the sound they are looking for, including Altec's 417 musical instrument speaker.  I understand this is a single speaker with an electric guitar played through it (or organ, bass, acoustic, etc.), but was wondering if mounting a 416 for listening purposes would also have different sound or dispersion characteristics.  Can't find a thread for this outside of instrument use, and the consensus is it makes a difference, so was wondering if anyone has experience with this for listening purposes.  If it makes a difference, I will get a latter 416 version that allows for either mounting.

Thanks for your help.

oldschoolsound
You get some edge diffraction from mounting them from the rear. Big deal? Depends. Harbeth loves to do it like that. Focal fits rings around their drivers to make the surface seemless. B&W likes barrel shaped cabs to avoid edges. DeVore mounts them outside on gigantic baffles in cabs with proudly sharp corners. The phenomenon at work here is edge diffraction nonetheless. 
Why not recess the drivers into the baffle so they're flush? Use 1" ply.