Are towers they best way to go? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 69 Old 05-19-2020, 11:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Are towers they best way to go?

If a choice between towers or large monitor speakers .. are towers the way to go if you can fit them even if you are running subs ? Because with subs you would be running the towers are small right ?
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post #2 of 69 Old 05-19-2020, 12:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joxr View Post
If a choice between towers or large monitor speakers .. are towers the way to go if you can fit them even if you are running subs ? Because with subs you would be running the towers are small right ?
Some say yes, some say no.

I have a system with towers and another with stand mount speakers and am happy with both.

I got towers as in that room the cats knocked over the stand mount speakers.

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post #3 of 69 Old 05-19-2020, 12:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joxr View Post
If a choice between towers or large monitor speakers .. are towers the way to go if you can fit them even if you are running subs ? Because with subs you would be running the towers are small right ?
Space size? Budget? Seating distance?

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post #4 of 69 Old 05-19-2020, 12:21 PM
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You "might" be able to get a very minute more amount of volume out of towers compared to bookshelves/monitors when using with subwoofers.


IMO, there are 3 main things to consider when evaluating them:
  1. Price (you get more bang for the buck with the smaller speakers)
  2. Aesthetics (it is hard to deny a nice tower looks awesome in every room)
  3. Room functionality. The smaller speakers can be mounted off the floor freeing up even more space that can be used for optimum subwoofer positioning/tuning. There is some value to this if you want perfection from your subs.

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post #5 of 69 Old 05-19-2020, 12:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joxr View Post
If a choice between towers or large monitor speakers .. are towers the way to go if you can fit them even if you are running subs ? Because with subs you would be running the towers are small right ?
To answer your last question, yes configure your towers as small to allow the Subs to appropriately handle the frequencies that they are designed to handle.
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post #6 of 69 Old 05-19-2020, 12:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Statz View Post
Space size? Budget? Seating distance?
about 2900 cubic feet
Seating distance is about 8-9' .. listen levels around -10db


Im just wondering if you run your towers as small are the extra woofers doing anything if you are cross'd at 80

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post #7 of 69 Old 05-19-2020, 12:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joxr View Post
If a choice between towers or large monitor speakers .. are towers the way to go if you can fit them even if you are running subs ? Because with subs you would be running the towers are small right ?
Towers mainly for music listening in 2.0 otherwise for HT they are simply a visual/aesthetic preference compared to bookshelves with sub(s), unless you are a volume freak then they usually will get louder.
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post #8 of 69 Old 05-19-2020, 01:48 PM
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Extra woofers don’t have to move as much compared to a single 1. So less distortion.

You also have increased power handling and output.

Since they reach lower you are guaranteed to have a better crossover from mains to sub.

Harder to knock over. Generally towers cost just as much as speakers+stands but instead you are paying for 100% speaker.
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Leave it at 8 ohms and call it a day :)
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post #9 of 69 Old 05-19-2020, 02:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joxr View Post
If a choice between towers or large monitor speakers .. are towers the way to go if you can fit them even if you are running subs ? Because with subs you would be running the towers are small right ?
Strictly music? Towers at Full range and add sealed subs later on.

Music/movies?

Bookshelfs/towers and ported subs. Towers should be ran at small crossover should be 80hz LFE 120hz
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post #10 of 69 Old 05-19-2020, 02:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joxr View Post
about 2900 cubic feet
Seating distance is about 8-9' .. listen levels around -10db

Im just wondering if you run your towers as small are the extra woofers doing anything if you are cross'd at 80
Sounds to me like you'd be a perfect candidate for dual woofer bookshelves, e.g. Ascend 340SE or Chane A2.4, with a good sub or two. Especially if HT is 50% or more of your usage.
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post #11 of 69 Old 05-19-2020, 02:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joxr View Post
about 2900 cubic feet
Seating distance is about 8-9' .. listen levels around -10db


Im just wondering if you run your towers as small are the extra woofers doing anything if you are cross'd at 80
Most definitely. A small single woofer tends to distort quite fast in the 80-300 Hz range, so having 2-3 woofers covering this range makes the speaker more capable with lower distortion and better sound quality. If you never want to listen at higher than conversational levels it of course won't matter in terms of power handling, distortion, etc. Other factors come in to play for some such as aesthetics, as to whether you like how small speakers balancing on stands look compared to a normal tower speaker etc.

-10 dB requires 95 dB *peaks* at the listening position...most bookshelves will have a fair bit of distortion coming into play at that level. For example, using a small inexpensive but well designed and well regarded speaker of above average sensitive, the Ascend CBM-170 bookshelf speaker is hitting about 5% distortion from the single small woofer at 95 dB at 2m. Distortion at your listening distance at that level would be higher, since room and boundary gain is not going to increase sensitivity over the frequency range in which the woofer is distorting.

To further this, anyone who is optimizing spekaers for sound quality will be adding eq to the speaker below 300 Hz. At bare minimum, room eq will likely add 3-6 dB of eq, which doubles or quadruples the amount of power being dumped into the speaker. This will skyrocket distortion. Yep, things will sound intolerably loud from this.

A tower speaker will play quite a bit louder before this distortion sets in. Happens at lower levels than people realize.

Bookshelves are fine for some, but towers hold very clear advantages in many regards even when crossed to subs.

Here is another much more expensive, very well designed, highly regarded bookshelf speaker at 90 dB @ 2m. 10% distortion at 100 Hz the steeply rising lower black line is distortion level)


Again, increase output to account for distance greater than 2m, eq, etc.

Last edited by bear123; 05-19-2020 at 02:23 PM.
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post #12 of 69 Old 05-19-2020, 02:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Russdawg1 View Post
Extra woofers don’t have to move as much compared to a single 1. So less distortion.

You also have increased power handling and output.

Since they reach lower you are guaranteed to have a better crossover from mains to sub.

Harder to knock over. Generally towers cost just as much as speakers+stands but instead you are paying for 100% speaker.

+1 put me down for this. This tends to be an unpopular opinion around here, but it's one I share. Mostly reiterating, but I like/prefer towers because:
1) They do tend to play louder with more ease (higher rated sensitivity)
2) They do tend to play deeper, giving you more flexability with setting your crossover into your subwoofer, and allowing them to drive down into and through that crossover point with more authority at high listening levels.
3) I don't hate Room EQ the way some purists (mostly on other boards) do, but sometimes I do like to turn EQ off anyway... and I like the closer-to-full-range sound I get from Towers while in Direct mode.
4) I like how they are generally sturdier and harder to accidentally tip (I've got small kids).


I do think the price difference between the tower and the bookshelf tends to be a little bit more than just a good sturdy (sand-filled) stand, but I agree with the point none-the-less. You chew up a good chunk of your "savings" by buying the (good/sturdy) stands. And stands aren't speakers and don't make music. And I'd rather spend my $$$ on speakers than stands.
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post #13 of 69 Old 05-19-2020, 02:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Sorry I thought I said this is for 100% HT .. no music

The speakers im trying to decide is between a full tower or a large monitor that has dual 8" woofers in it. So the towers have 4 8" woofers and the monitors have dual 8".


Thanks


Here are the speakers ... they are arendal 1723 towers vs monitors



monitors on the matching stand


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post #14 of 69 Old 05-19-2020, 02:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joxr View Post
about 2900 cubic feet
Seating distance is about 8-9' .. listen levels around -10db


Im just wondering if you run your towers as small are the extra woofers doing anything if you are cross'd at 80
Based on that, I would maybe go with towers in that case, but also have a sub if you don't already have one (or two).

Budget?

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post #15 of 69 Old 05-19-2020, 02:41 PM
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i discovered between b&w towers 702 S2 and the 'monitor like' bookshelves of the same series 705 S2, that the latter paired to a sub were better sounding speakers. But there is no rule of thumb, it can vary between manufacturer and models. If you have specific tower and monitor models in mind, go demo and compare them.

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post #16 of 69 Old 05-19-2020, 02:47 PM
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big room, loud listening, etc argues for towers. Budget restrictions (and bang for the buck) and placement issue, if floor space is ahrd to come by, argue for bookshelves. Both argue for subwoofers, especially for 100%HT.
Your situation cries out for a really efficient speaker...and likely the tower is the most efficient of the two you are considering, but I haven't looked at the stats....

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post #17 of 69 Old 05-19-2020, 02:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joxr View Post
Sorry I thought I said this is for 100% HT .. no music

The speakers im trying to decide is between a full tower or a large monitor that has dual 8" woofers in it. So the towers have 4 8" woofers and the monitors have dual 8".


Thanks


Here are the speakers ... they are arendal 1723 towers vs monitors



monitors on the matching stand

In your case, the design of those specific towers/stand mounts certainly takes a lot of the aesthetic issue out of the equation imo....they both pretty much have the appearance of tower speakers, vs the typical bookshelf balanced precariously on a thin little stand.

So in your case it will come down to what should be lower extension for possible improved blending with subs due to a deeper response and shallower roll off below crossover, and increased output capabilty before distortion sets in. In either case, they should be crossed to a good pair of subs. Nice looking speakers. Towers are 3 dB higher sensitivity, so require half the power to play at the same loudness.

I've never looked at Adrenal speakers before, they look REALLY nice....lots of nice info on their site too. I'm impressed.
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Last edited by bear123; 05-19-2020 at 03:02 PM.
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post #18 of 69 Old 05-19-2020, 02:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joxr View Post
Sorry I thought I said this is for 100% HT .. no music

The speakers im trying to decide is between a full tower or a large monitor that has dual 8" woofers in it. So the towers have 4 8" woofers and the monitors have dual 8".
You're only sitting 8-9ft away, you said.

If you really like it loud, PSA MT-110 would be fine, single 10" woofer. At most, MT-210 with dual 10" woofers or the tower version, MT-210T.

Unless you simply prefer the looks of the other 2 options.
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post #19 of 69 Old 05-19-2020, 03:10 PM
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I prefer towers. In my last setup I found that crossing over the speakers at 60 Hz was preferable for the impact that I was looking for. That was with a sub of course.
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post #20 of 69 Old 05-19-2020, 03:11 PM
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Also note the crossover is not a brick wall; frequencies above and below the crossover frequency do not instantly drop to 0 amplitude. At 80 Hz and 12 dB/oct, typical for AVRs (or was, I have not looked recently), the sub is about half as loud at 160 Hz, and the mains about half as loud at 40 Hz. That means having some margin in the mains (and sub) to cover those extra frequencies can help the sound. I prefer to set the crossover an octave above the -3 dB frequency of the main speakers, or at least half an octave. That means I prefer mains with sufficient bass capability to provide good sound well below the crossover, whether towers or not. Towers usually provide lower response and higher sensitivity so deliver more bass with less power than smaller monitors.

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post #21 of 69 Old 05-19-2020, 03:15 PM
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The towers you're considering have a 100Hz crossover frequency between the woofers and mid-woofers. While that's good in terms of keeping the crossover out of the midrange, it means that you would be wasting the woofers' capabilities if crossing over to a sub at 80 Hz. If you decide to get the towers, you could cross over to the subs at a lower frequency i.e. 50 or 60 Hz instead of 80 Hz. But I think that would primarily benefit stereo music reproduction. If the system is 100% HT and you don't play stereo music on it, I don't see any advantage to buying the towers in this particular case.

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post #22 of 69 Old 05-19-2020, 03:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bear123 View Post
Towers are 3 dB higher sensitivity, so require half the power to play at the same loudness.

Per the specs, the difference is 0.3 dB, not 3 dB.

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post #23 of 69 Old 05-19-2020, 03:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joxr View Post
Sorry I thought I said this is for 100% HT .. no music









Here are the speakers ... they are arendal 1723
Arendal makes great stuff. IMO for that price I'd look at JTR or Power Sound Audio.
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post #24 of 69 Old 05-19-2020, 03:36 PM
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Quote:
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Per the specs, the difference is 0.3 dB, not 3 dB.
Unless I am looking at the wrong specs, its 89 for the monitors and 92 for the towers. This makes sense since doubling woofers adds 3 dB sensitivity. Am I looking at the wrong specs?
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post #25 of 69 Old 05-19-2020, 04:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Arendal makes great stuff. IMO for that price I'd look at JTR or Power Sound Audio.
JTR is out of my price range and while they make amazing stuff .. This is not a dedicated home theatre so looks do matter somewhat.

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post #26 of 69 Old 05-19-2020, 04:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bear123 View Post
In your case, the design of those specific towers/stand mounts certainly takes a lot of the aesthetic issue out of the equation imo....they both pretty much have the appearance of tower speakers, vs the typical bookshelf balanced precariously on a thin little stand.

So in your case it will come down to what should be lower extension for possible improved blending with subs due to a deeper response and shallower roll off below crossover, and increased output capabilty before distortion sets in. In either case, they should be crossed to a good pair of subs. Nice looking speakers. Towers are 3 dB higher sensitivity, so require half the power to play at the same loudness.

I've never looked at Adrenal speakers before, they look REALLY nice....lots of nice info on their site too. I'm impressed.

Yea I have always been a tower guy because I thought bookshelves on skinny stands looked terrible. But Arendals setup with the monitors takes that out of the equation. The monitors are backordered currently until mid june early july while the towers arent. I am trying to make the right decision. One of the main reasons for considering the monitors was that down the road if I am able to build a baffle wall and use a AT screen .. the monitors would be the best decision for that. I dont want to have to go thru the hassle of selling and rebuying.
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post #27 of 69 Old 05-19-2020, 04:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joxr View Post
JTR is out of my price range and while they make amazing stuff .. This is not a dedicated home theatre so looks do matter somewhat.
You haven't mentioned budget, so in order for people to rec something within that, state what that number is.

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post #28 of 69 Old 05-19-2020, 04:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bear123 View Post
Unless I am looking at the wrong specs, its 89 for the monitors and 92 for the towers. This makes sense since doubling woofers adds 3 dB sensitivity. Am I looking at the wrong specs?
I think you are right.

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post #29 of 69 Old 05-19-2020, 04:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Monitors Freq response

Sealed 58-20kHz (+/-3dB)
2 vents 34-20kHz (+/-3dB)

89dB

Towers Freq response

Sealed 55-20kHz (+/-3dB)
3 vents 38-20kHz (+/-3dB)
2 vents 34-20KHz (+/-3dB)

92db

5.2.4
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post #30 of 69 Old 05-19-2020, 04:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joxr View Post
Yea I have always been a tower guy because I thought bookshelves on skinny stands looked terrible. But Arendals setup with the monitors takes that out of the equation. The monitors are backordered currently until mid june early july while the towers arent. I am trying to make the right decision. One of the main reasons for considering the monitors was that down the road if I am able to build a baffle wall and use a AT screen .. the monitors would be the best decision for that. I dont want to have to go thru the hassle of selling and rebuying.
Haha I was actually thinking about being able to repurpose the monitors if needed whereas tower speakers will always be tower speakers.
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