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satellite speakers vs. bookshelf/floorstanding (1 Viewer)

Dan Pham

Jan 6, 2003
I couldn't find any answers to my question when doing a search on this site. I have the Sony SW40 and was wondering if I went with satellite speakers, would I lose any audio quality. Can subwoofers compensate for a lack of a woofer on the satellites? Does size really count and an overall full sound could only be accomplished with floorstanding or book shelf speakers? My wife hates things on the floor so I'm looking to find something that would keep us both happy.


Supporting Actor
Apr 8, 2003
I really would avoid satellite speakers (ie 120hz sats), they just don't reach low down enough- the subwoofer is required to reproduce much higher and it sounds too sound boomy from the sub and thin from the sats. I recommend speakers capable of 80hz bass ability (or lower)

Floorstanders work well if you have the amp power/current, and prefer 2ch with no sub. Standmounts work well with no sub, as long as the small room itself reinforces low bass and doesn't suck out low bass (in which case a sub is needed)

Sam A

Stunt Coordinator
Oct 4, 2004
paradigm makes good satellites .

if movies are your thing, then satellites work, but if music is a big deal, id at least go with bookshelves.

satellites make you raise the subwoofer xover point and makes it very locateable.


Second Unit
Feb 4, 2004
id second that as well, i owned satellites and mine didnt go below 120hz realistically.. so the sub was very localizable.. upgraded to bookshelves and am a much happier person :) i prefer bookshelves even to floorstanders in fact.


Stunt Coordinator
Jul 12, 2001
I truly feel that satellite speaker compromise the sound because of the small driver size and a distinct void bewteen the crossover point of smaller sats at 120 or even 100 which makes crossing the subwoofer difficult. I used to have the Boston Acoustic Micro 90 which always felt lacking though they would go loud and had low enforcement with the sub.

I picked up Boston Bookshelves which go down to 51 making mating it with the sub a snap and seemless with the localization of low end and mid-range.

I would definitely go with reasonably priced bookshelves over satellites any day. If you have to keep it small check out the Mirage Omni-Sats.


Ricky c

Stunt Coordinator
Aug 28, 2001
Have a look at the definitive technology procinema system the can mixed and matched.I have the 100's in my setup.Specs are 50hz-30khz.They come in black or white and from the 60's,80's,100's, and 200's.


Jan 16, 2005
The distinction between bookshelf speakers and sats can be hard to make. I think of satellites as something that can easily be mounted on the wall, so it's out of the way of kids, furniture, etc... That's it. With that definition, we can find a few that go down to 80hz, at which point, the subwoofer can take over.

I like the looks of the Ascend HTM-200. Not too big, sealed so there is no worry about rear port being too close to the wall, can go down to 80hz, and has built in holes for mounting on brackets.
If you use that website's "system advisor" the HTM200s are only about $110 each if you get 7 of them. Bulk discount I guess!

Home Theatre Direct has some nice wall mounting brackets so that almost all their speakers can be used as "satellites" Their "Middies" look really nice, but only go down to 100hz. This is probably good enough most people, and much better than something like a Bose cube! Their Level 2 & 3 speakers go down lower than 80hz, but they might look kind of *huge* mounted on the wall. The prices here are great!

CambridgeSoundWorks is well regarded. Their MC300 satellites are on sale for $150 each. They go down to 80hz.

These are the online models I've been able to find that mount on the wall easily, go down to 80hz, and cost around $150 or less each.

Kenneth Harden

May 13, 2002
I don't care what people say about proper setup or what, but smaller sats (especially the ones with 3" mids) just don't seem to sound good. The mids also seem to take a hit.

The Def Tech 100 system (5.25" woofer and done tweeter) is awesome if you need/want smaller speakers. However, the smaller stuff starts to sound kinda vauge and hollow (their 60 system is amazing for the size, and a great Bose killer, but it just doesn't seem to 'do it').

Now go to a nice audio store and A/B some small sats to big bookshelf or floorstanders, and you will understand what I am saying.

Note: I am assuming this is for a fairly serious home theater setup. However, for a fun little bedroom setup, small sats can be fine if you don't need anything serious.


Supporting Actor
Oct 29, 2004
I spent 2 years auditioning speakers, from Thiel towers, to Dunlavy Audio towers, to Sonus Faber bookshelves, to Vandersteen towers, to JM Labs towers, to Dynaudio bookshelves, and others I'm not remembering at the moment. Most of these speakers were in the $2k to $6k range.

The best speakers I heard were the Dynaudio Contour bookshelf speakers, and they are the ones I bought.

Don't let size fool you.

Of course, with bookshelves you would want a sub that is capable of filling in the missing low octave, and that sounds as good, clean, tight as the rest of the system.

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