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This has confused me for quite a while and I'd be interested in all your opinions.


I'm in the market for all speakers for a 5.1 set up and I've been looking at a lot of speakers. Regarding the two fronts, is there any ACOUSTIC reason why -- as a general rule -- one would buy towers over bookcase-on-stand speakers? Or vis-a-versa?


I understand there may be aesthetic reasons. And I also understand that SOME floorstanding models have innovative port systems, etc. that seem to use the whole structure. But most towers look to me like bookshelves on a permenant base.


Also, my gut tells me that bookshelves should give you more bang for the buck (less materials needed), but what do I know?


By the way, if it matters, I think I'm spending somewhere between $1,000 and $1,500 on the whole system (so I assume somewhere between $500 and $800 on the fronts) -- though none of this is set in stone.


Thanks.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by spyrelx /forum/post/12956239


This has confused me for quite a while and I'd be interested in all your opinions.


I'm in the market for all speakers for a 5.1 set up and I've been looking at a lot of speakers. Regarding the two fronts, is there any ACOUSTIC reason why -- as a general rule -- one would buy towers over bookcase-on-stand speakers? Or vis-a-versa?


I understand there may be aesthetic reasons. And I also understand that SOME floorstanding models have innovative port systems, etc. that seem to use the whole structure. But most towers look to me like bookshelves on a permenant base.


Also, my gut tells me that bookshelves should give you more bang for the buck (less materials needed), but what do I know?


By the way, if it matters, I think I'm spending somewhere between $1,000 and $1,500 on the whole system (so I assume somewhere between $500 and $800 on the fronts) -- though none of this is set in stone.


Thanks.


Tower speakers tend to be large cabinets which is good for two reasons. 1) you can have more and/or larger drivers in it than a bookshelf/sattelite speaker can...this will allow you to get better clarity (ideally) and/or a large frequency response from a tower than from bookshelf or sat speakers. So Acoustically there's a Pro. Also Tower cabinets are much larger than bookshelf speakers and of course sats regarding internal volume. Drivers, need space to sound good. and in most cases the more space the better they sound (of course too much is a bad thing too, but the towers tend to leave the most optimal amount of internal volume for the drivers). That in addition to what you mentioned (ports/vents/etc) definitely helps the low and mid range frequencies of the drivers. Strictly from the mid-high range of frequencies, you might not notice much of a difference between towers and book shelfs and even sats. Cus tweeters and mid range woofers are small and dont need much space. But you will get a much more full sound from towers.


Lastly I like towers, cus when you have a sat, or bookshelf on a stand..they take up just about as much space as a tower, and the price of those speakers plus stands cost almost as much as the tower speakers as well..so might as well go for the tower..sounds better, looks better IMO. about the same price...sometimes even cheaper.


~G
 

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There is not any simple way to say this. Full range versus Mini-Monitors is personal preference, both have their advantages and disadvantages. Full range has more bottom bandwidth and monitors seem to disappear when set on stands and set up properly. I prefer monitors since I'm from a hifi background. Full range is a misnomer, all speakers are rolled off at certain freq's to keep the freq that are not in the drivers spectrum from distorting. The bottom roll-off on full range is either ported or uses a transmission line to get the lower freqs, and in the old days a bass reflex was common.


People buy towers for the lower freq they produce, some because bigger is better which is not even close to being true. Both are dependent on: 1) crossover design, 2) cabinet geometry and 3) quality of the drivers and capicators. Internal wiring(silver vs copper), binding post are also important but not as critical. It's really an art more than a science to make a good speaker.


I would recommend at your price point to look at the Paradigm Monitor line they have speakers that meet the criteria above.


Also rock n' rollers and classical people seem to prefer towers to mini-monitors. Jazz people like mini monitors. HT users both work because of the sub woofers.
 

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Thanks G. Does the fact that I'll have a subwoofer put them on more equal footing, or do you think towers are still (again, as a very general rule) prefereable?
 

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simple answer bring your favorite cd with you into the store ask for a demo most

shops worth their weight will let you see if you prefer one over the other.that being

said towers for me my collection of music varies but i like a strong midbass and

that is where towers shine.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by spyrelx /forum/post/12956839


Thanks G. Does the fact that I'll have a subwoofer put them on more equal footing, or do you think towers are still (again, as a very general rule) prefereable?

I have never heard bookshelves + sub that sounded as satisfying overall to me as towers at a comparable price. (Not saying it can't be done, just that if it has been I haven't heard it.)
 

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Yes, I think bookshelf speakers give you more bang for the buck for the reason that the sub can augment the bass so that the extra extension you get with a floordstander is not needed and that a bookshelf speaker is a lot less expensive due to the hefty costs of a larger cabinet.


The reason you do want a floorstander is to allow yourself to cross over at a lower frequency (may be more seamless) or you need the headroom and efficiency that a larger speaker provides. I've always said it's better to opt for very high quality bookshelf speakers with a sub than lower quality floorstanders for the same price


That is not to say that floorstanders are a waste of money, a good large floorstanding speaker coupled with a good sub will certainly play louder and offer improved dynamics as a result.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by spyrelx /forum/post/12956839


Thanks G. Does the fact that I'll have a subwoofer put them on more equal footing, or do you think towers are still (again, as a very general rule) prefereable?

As a general rule I think towers will still be more preferable. Regarding the mid. a Subwoofer will give you the very low frequencies, but the lower mid-range may still come from your towers..and or just sound better from towers. Again generally speaking. There are plenty of bookshelf speakers capable of producing the same sound as towers, or even better. but again depends on at what price point.

~G
 

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A larger speaker, all things being equal, will not have more clarity than a bookshelf that uses the same midrange and tweeter. The only reason for a tower is for bass extension, and if you're using a subwoofer, it will usually handle low bass better than a tower. In a system with a sub, the satellite speakers can be designed for higher sensitivity if they don't have to be designed for bass extension. Also, a sub can be placed where bass will sound the best and/or couple correctly. With a tower sitting three feet out into the room, bass will be more anemic. The woofer in a tower is; 99% of the time; a woofer; not a subwoofer, and it has to handle frequencies up to 1 kHz, or even 2.5 kHz in the case of a 2-way tower. A driver that can handle midrange always gives up a lot of performance in the low bass. And if a subwoofer doesn't mate well with a bookshelf, that is usually a setup and calibration issue. Actually, the ONLY advantage of a tower is better coherency between the woofer to the mid at the crossover frequency, and with sub phase controls and compensation for distance in today's receivers, that is a non-issue now.


I would always recommend a satellite and sub system, crossed at 80 Hz, or 60 Hz if the satellite is robust. Make that 60 Hz if your satellite is a tower, too. Caveat: If you are one of those who "don't like bass" or you think low bass ruins 2-channel listening, or you think your towers that extend to 45 Hz are "good enough," I have no advice for you. You have made your decision.
 

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If you always want balanced sound, go with tower. Satellite and sub are more flexible, but it can be difficult to get the sound "right". How about two sub (stereo sub), can it be best of both worlds?
 

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There are (used to be) towers like the JBL S412 that have a 12" woofer powered by a built in 150w amp for 32-250hz, a 6" for 250-700hz, a 4" for 700-3200hz and a 1" dome tweeter for 3200-20k hz. You don't really need a sub with these.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob7145 /forum/post/12960433


There are (used to be) towers like the JBL S412 that have a 12" woofer powered by a built in 150w amp for 32-250hz, a 6" for 250-700hz, a 4" for 700-3200hz and a 1" dome tweeter for 3200-20k hz. You don't really need a sub with these.

that depends if you want lower output there is a lot of info down to 20hz

out there and although a lot of mfg's state their towers go below 50 hz

is that at an audiable volume.
 

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My mains are four way Infinity Kappa 8.2i Series II tower speakers. The speakers are rated for 32Hz - 35 kHz @ +/- 1.5dB, and 27Hz - 45 kHz @ +/- 3dB. I have a VMPS Larger sub that is 0 dB down at 20 Hz and 3 dB down at 17 Hz.


I have had high quality bookshelf speakers teamed up with a sub and there is just no way that they can compete as far as projecting a large sound stage.
 

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I've asked myself the same question many times regarding the AV123 X-LS Encore bookshelfs and the X-SLS floorstanders. They look to have the exact same tweeter/woofer configuration. But the package is different. Other than not having to buy speaker stands, are there any other differences?


Also, most floorstanders I have come across (in the sub $500 range) are not full-range capable due to the lack of a true woofer and subwoofer. So I really question is there is a worthwhile advantage to opting for the AV123 X-SLS towers or the PSB T45/T55 towers as oppose to the their siblings in the bookshelf packages. The only semi-full range speaker under the $500 budget is the Polk RTi10 to my knowledge.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Scarpelli /forum/post/12959654


The woofer in a tower is; 99% of the time; a woofer; not a subwoofer, and it has to handle frequencies up to 1 kHz, or even 2.5 kHz in the case of a 2-way tower.


The woofer on my Kappa’s crosses over to the midbass coupler at 180 Hz, but they are a four way design.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by spyrelx /forum/post/12956239


I'm in the market for all speakers for a 5.1 set up and I've been looking at a lot of speakers. Regarding the two fronts

Uh... since when does 5.1 only have TWO fronts?
 

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The only acoustic reasons you should trust for towers over bookshelves (or vice versa) should come from your own ears. As others have said, go listen to a bookshelf and a tower from the exact same line using the exact same components. If you can't tell the difference, then save your money and maybe move up a line



But just for kicks, let's look at the math of it. You're going to be hard pressed to find a 2 way bookshelf, while 2, 3 or even 4 way towers are quite common. Basically, you can fit more stuff into a tower chassis than you can into a bookshelf chassis. So from specification point of view, you can get a better frequency response range and a lower crossover point, all at higher efficiency, from a tower than you can from a bookshelf.


As to whether that makes them sound better or not, we have come back full circle and end at "go listen to both and see."
 
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