Before, my little Mordaunt Short bookshelves were 15" off the ground, sitting on my horizontal entertainment center. Now, for a measly $33 shipped, got a pair of el cheapo 21" Techcraft MDF stands, put them on my entertainment center for a total of 36" off the ground---and OH MY GOD!!! It's like I have a new pair of speakers! The sound seems a million times richer, fuller and more opened up all of the sudden...am now questioning whether I really need to buy towers after all, the speakers fill up my cavernous living room surprisingly well. Makes me wonder how many people know about just what jaw-dropping wonders a pair of stands can do for a decent pair of small bookshelf speakers like that. Also, since the speakers are set on "small" and all low frequencies under 80-100Hz (I haven't decided which yet, still experimenting) are sent to my sub, the cheapie stands don't risk any resonance or vibration. Can't see any advantage for blowing $100-200 on premium stands, other than looks. Of course, the only drawback is yes I do have to agree with my wife that the stands are not the prettiest---any kind of stand really, it inevitably makes the whole setup look too busy, too many perpendicular lines. Thus my strongest remaining rationale for buying towers now seems to be more aesthetic than anything else. Or is there still something else I'm missing without full-blown towers? Found some JBL e90s online for a mere $290/pair shipped, though can't find too much discussion of them, people seemed evenly divided between liking them and finding them too harsh on the highs.