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Do I need floor standers if I get a good sub?  

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I am in the process of building a HT and I have finalized on the following components:

Samsung HLN617W
Parasound C2 Controller
Parasound A51 Amplifier
SVS PB2-Plus
Bravo D1

Before I make a decision on speakers, I needed advice on whether I will get significantly better performance from a floorstanding speakers or a good set of bookshelf speakers complimented with the SVS PB2-Plus will be a better option.

My listening preferences are 80% movies and 20% music. I will appreciate any advise from the many experts on this forum.

post #2 of 22
if your options are:
a) Floorstanders, and no sub
b) Bookshelfs with sub

Then b is the better choice.

More placement options (the best place for your sub is almost never the best place for your front speakers).
Also you get more powerful bass, that can dig deeper and go louder.
post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 
Jared -
Maybe I was not clear in my message - I will be getting a sub. Given that, is there a big advantage of going with floor standers over bookshelves. My consideration is not so much with the cost as it is with the aesthetics (WAF) of the bokshelves over the floorstanders.

post #4 of 22
Asthetics wise, bookshelfs may be better.

Sound quality wise, you can great bookshelfs, or crappy bookshelfs.
Great floorstanders and crappy floorstanders.

Basiclly it depends on the speaker.
post #5 of 22
I think it also depends on room size, desired listening levels, and budget.

Some floor-standers can be hard to position right in small rooms while some bookshelves can sound strained while trying to get higher sound levels in a large room.
post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
Good point. I have a large family room (21 ft L X 15 ft W X 10 ft H) that opens into the kitchen/bar area - so it is one big open area.

I was hoping to get opinions independent of the different speaker brands and budget but if it helps here is what I am considering:

Budget: 4 - 5 K
Brands in consideration: Paradigm, Axioms, B&K, Energy

I have auditioned the Energy and the Paradigms but the dealers did not have any bookshelfs so I only got to hear the floorstanders and hence my seeking this advice here.

post #7 of 22
I think it's possible to get a slightly better performing bookshelf for the same price as a typical floor stander. For instance, in the B&W line, you can get into the 705 bookshelf for $2200 vs about $3500 for the equivalent floorstander. The tweeters and mid drivers are identical, so in theory you're only giving up bass performance which you can gain back by spending that extra money on one or two really good subs.

Ultimately I'll end up with Paradigm Signature bookshelves because their floor standers is just way out of my price range, but my decision is based more on price and less on a confidence that this approach is universally correct. Also the S4, while being a bookshelf is a full 3-way speaker that does have a very good frequency response at 36 Hz.

Btw, I would definately add B&W to your list of auditions if you live in the US. Might be tough to squeeze into the 700 series, but the CM7 or definately the 600 can sound great and should fit the price nicely. My demoes came down to Paradigm Signatures and B&W's.
post #8 of 22
I'm not an expert just a hobbiest but here's my $0.02; For HT I would agree that bookshelfs are fine specifically if you're going into that budget range. For music I prefer my bass to come from the mains, I don't care for subs much. Just my warped taste. But for HT - boom on.
I very recently spent about twenty minutes listening to the Signature 4's hooked up to an Anthem AVM20/MCA -20 combo - um - yep - SWEET. Frankly I don't know what a sub could of added. They are also stunning to look at.
I've got a friend with an HT in a similar size room opening to a dining room and with vualted ceilings. He's using Energy C-3's and an 8" sub - fills the room fine for HT. I like what the vaulted ceiling does or the acoustics.
post #9 of 22
I understand the preference for full floor range fronts. I demoed the S8's on a MacIntosh amp and they were simply incredible. On the S4's it has been my experience that a sub can definately enhance the sound. Overall they just seem "full" with proper sub implementation. And there's plenty of music with material in the high 20's and low 30's that the S4's probably can't quite handle. I found the Servo-15 to be the only sub that can stand up to music though, (I probably demoed 10 or so) so a very good sub is critical. The main benefit though is the additional "feel" that a sub can provide with a nice large driver. The Servo-15 creates impact without sounding boomy, which is exactly what I was after. It's not as good as something like a concert, but at least it's part way there. The S4's alone just couldn't generate that impact.

There's also the science of bass management that claims that proper subwoofer placement will go a long ways to achieving a much more level frequency response.

Having said all that though, I do believe that proper subwoofer placement, calibration, and configuration is critical. I also think it's extremely difficult and very few people ever do it properly - but people here are not a random sample of average people. :) I have personally never heard a subwoofer system that I've liked, but I'm confident that I can be the first person I know to have done it right. I have the science on my side, and also I've heard it done properly in 2 of my demoes (out of about 10) so I know it's possible. :)
post #10 of 22
Remember, bookshelf speakers will require stands to sound their best. There are very few in wall or on wall speakers that sound good. IMO, floorstanders are a more "elegant" solution that often are in the same $$$ range as bookshelf with stand. YMMV...
post #11 of 22
to answer your question 'do i need floor standers if i get a good sub' the answer is no

you will get better bass i you do have floor standers, but you will be fine without them.
make sure your bookshelves have accurate bass though. even if the bass only reaches down to 70hz make sure it is accurate otherwise it may sound off
post #12 of 22
For your price range, I think you can find bookshelves that will work just fine. My personal preference is for floor standers. Just the way I am. :) I second taking a listen to the B&W line. Happy auditioning! If at all possible audition them in your listening room. :)
post #13 of 22
I prefer a good bookshelf for the same price as a floor stander any day. As long as the speaker goes down to 50hz you will be just fine crossing your sub over at 80. With a bookshelf you are spending less money on wood and more on drivers and x-overs. Also you can place them optimally for midrange and high frequeny (away from walls and tweeter at ear level) and not have to worry about tuning for bass as you would with a floorstander. If you are tuning for bass and mid then you are bound to compramize one or both. With the one sub handling the bass you are less likely to get cancellations in the LF area, and your speakers are already free to give you best midrange clarity. This can often times be the best option. As a matter of fact I am replacing my Paradigm Studio 60s, CC, and 40s as surrounds with 6 Monitor Audio GR10 bookshelfs in the next 2 weeks, and then over the next couple of months will be replacing my Rotel reciever with the same pre/pro and amp you are looking to get. I already have an SV Sub, and my system is shaping up to be about the best value I could put together, given my listening habits and preferences. Those are my 2 cents.
post #14 of 22
There are very few in wall or on wall speakers that sound good. IMO,
You've never heard Triad have you? Of course, they cost quite a bit.

post #15 of 22
Thread Starter 
Based on the opinions from this excellent forum and additional research elsewhere, I have concluded that good bookshelves on stands paired with a high performing sub best suits my needs.

Timfrommass - I am curious about your decision to replace your Paradigms with the Monitors. Did you audition other speakers before you decided on the GR10s?

post #16 of 22
You've never heard Triad have you? Of course, they cost quite a bit.

You'll notice I said "very few", not "none". I have heard Triads, they are great. I also have a friend in Michigan with Legacy Harmony's in-wall, and they are fabulous. But at $3,000/pr on up, I would question whether any of these meet motasim's needs...

post #17 of 22
With a large room its benificial to have more than one mid-driver per speaker...

thats why people get the larger speakers.

So if the choice is a bookshelf with one mid driver, or the same speaker configurations, except with with two mid-drivers, go with the two
post #18 of 22
Timfrommass - I am curious about your decision to replace your Paradigms with the Monitors. Did you audition other speakers before you decided on the GR10s?

But of course!! I have fallen in love with MA speakers for the price. I could not find a speaker below 3.5k (which was my original budget) that I like considerably better for a combination of music and movies. MA speakers have exceptionally nuetral and accurate midrange, and that to me is the most desirable quality in a pair of speakers. On top of that they image incredibley in 2-channel, are very fast and dynamic for HT, and are just a very uncolored speaker from the bottom of the frequency range to the top. Some say they are a little bright, but I don't find them to be so. They just really fit my listening taste. I have listened to nearly everything in the price range I listed, and have ultimately decided that bookshelf speakers are the way to go for a HT/2-channel hybrid setup in a small to mid size room. And out of all the speakers I listened to, nothing has impressed me more (price/performance) than the MAs.
post #19 of 22
Bookshelves vs floorstanders will always be as controversial as receiver vs separates, DLP vs LCD, cables and wire.;)

Determine your budget and go out and listen to a few bookshelf and floorstanding speakers from the same line. Try to listen with the sub for a good comparison. Listen for the integration between the sub and mains.

Finally, try and get both in your home for a demo - and listen in your room and with your amp/processor. Remember the room, speakers, sub and electronsics all make a difference. FWIW, I brought home B&W bookshelf/floorstander models in the 600, CDM and Nautilus series. I decided on the 9NT towers.

Good luck.;)
post #20 of 22
I decided on the 9NT towers.

Have you heard the new 700 series? The two people I know with CDMs are split - one is upgrading, one isn't...
post #21 of 22
John, yes - I briefly listened to the 703s, and No - I'm not gonna upgrade.

When I initially auditioned the 9NTs and the N804, I didn't think the N804s was significantly better than the 9NTs. Especially without very expensive upstream components. (I use a Pioneer Elite VSX-45 AVR) So I couldn't possibly justify an "upgrade" to the 700 series. I absolutely love my 9NT/1NT/CNT config. :D

My next upgrade will be to a front projector with a 100" screen.:D
post #22 of 22
Originally posted by John Robert

Have you heard the new 700 series? The two people I know with CDMs are split - one is upgrading, one isn't...
I believe they are going to be similar enough (incredibly similar) that I am considering a mixed system right now-- but I need to go listen and make sure the match is as close as I think it will be. (If they are THAT similar, why mix them, you ask, instead of just going with the cheaper ones? Good question... I never thought of it that way...)
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