What is the advange of going from bookshelf to tower speakers

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Brian Bowles, Dec 25, 2001.

  1. Brian Bowles

    Brian Bowles Second Unit

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    What is the main advantage when going from bookshelf speakers to towers. I was thinking of using tower klipsch rf-3 speakers instead of polk bookshelf speakers. Do I really need towers since I have a svs 20-39 sub now? Also my room is 20'x18' with 12' ceilings Thanks for your time
     
  2. AntonS

    AntonS Stunt Coordinator

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    Towers can have more drivers (3 way, 4 way, and even more). The base driver is usually larger. The acoustics of the bigger box itself is much better. So usually towers produce smoother sound through wider frequency range. Bookshelfs usually do not have very smooth response.
     
  3. Henry Colonna

    Henry Colonna Stunt Coordinator

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    I thought that, a few years ago, I had heard that those little teeny tiny itsy bitsy expensive speakers were going to be the wave of the future. I didn't know much then. In fact, I still don't :-]
     
  4. Tony Genovese

    Tony Genovese Supporting Actor

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    Rather than a tower vs bookshelf debate, you really need to decide whether you prefer Polk or Klipsch - two rather different sounds. After you figure that one out, then you can start worrying about tower vs bookshelf.
     
  5. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    Towers usually handle more power and play louder than smaller bookshelf speakers.
     
  6. Peter Johnson

    Peter Johnson Stunt Coordinator

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    Bookshelves generally image better, have less colouration in the midrange..however are usually less efficient, have less bass extension, are less dynamic and can not play as loud.

    The smaller cabinet requires less bracing etc to minimise vibrations. VERY few
     
  7. MarkO

    MarkO Second Unit

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    Alot has to do with room size. You dont want a large speaker in a small room. On the other hand you dont want a small bookshelf in a large room. Just something else to ponder.
     
  8. Mark Austin

    Mark Austin Supporting Actor

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  9. AntonS

    AntonS Stunt Coordinator

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    Making a big box play is a challenge, but it can be done and is being done. With small box designers have limited options. Crossovers are not a big challenge either, it also can be done. Two drives (even of the same size) working on two separate narrow frequency ranges generally produce smoother response that one driver working on one wide frequency range.
    So still, _properly made_ towers make smoother sound, but are also more expensive. Not properly made towers... we don't discuss [​IMG]
     
  10. Ariel

    Ariel Stunt Coordinator

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    it's easier if you will compare the specific model of the bookshelf with the specific model of the tower type.

    you can easily compare the measureable parameters such as

    sensitivity, max. input power, freq. extension, size (obvious), impedance etc... you can easily find what will fit your requirements then for the subjective part, it's up to your preference. this will again go to the bookshelf+sub vs. tower+sub topic.
     
  11. Mike Voigt

    Mike Voigt Supporting Actor

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    I would like to know of a floorstander that has a +/- 1dB variance over its entire frequency spectrum. My little $175/speaker bookshelves are, though!

    Personally, I see very little advantage in going with floorstanders for a home theater. They do, however, make great sense for a stereo system.

    Mike
     
  12. AntonS

    AntonS Stunt Coordinator

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    Mike Voigt,

    How did you measure "the entire frequency spectrum"? The problem here is that even if the response of the speakers is totally flat at every frequency (which is not hard to achieve) when you feed a calibrated sine wave to the speakers, in real life it will be so much different you would not believe it. There are latency issues when a driver just cannot adjust in time to two sequential sounds with significantly different frequencies, therefore producing harmonics. Just ask yourslef, why two different speakers, which both claim to have (and most likely do have) very flat response graph, sound so much different?

    You don't need good speaker for HT? I guess it's a personal preference...
     
  13. Bob_A

    Bob_A Supporting Actor

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    It depends on room size, listening preferences, etc. If you have a decent sized room and you have the money, I say go with near full range loudspeakers + external sub(s). This is topic which I have debated often in the past...I feel that--when considering a setup used for both music and movies--it is very misleading to ignore the ability of the main speakers to reproduce bass, even when used with an external sub(s). But ultimately, I would recommend comparing different setups and go with what you prefer.
     
  14. BruceD

    BruceD Screenwriter

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    You won't get a single best answer to this question, but for me (with both kinds of speakers to test) I found it easier to seamlessly integrate subs with my towers than with my bookshelves.

    IMO this may be due to the lower natural bass rolloff frequencies of the towers versus the bookshelves, the upper range of the subwoofer, and at what frequency this xover all occurs (i.e I prefer 60Hz with towers vs. 80Hz or 100Hz with bookshelves).

    I found using a full one (1) octave bandwidth range for this xover transition tends to smooth the overall response.

    In other words if my mains have a -3dB at 31Hz (my towers) and I set the xover to 60Hz (one octave higher), I liked it better than using the -3dB at 47Hz of my bookshelves and it's one octave higher xover at 100Hz.

    This testing used Dynaudio Contour speakers (2.8 towers and 1.1 bookshelves), a Marchand electronic xover, and an M&K MX-700 powered sub.

    BruceD
     
  15. Rich Kraus

    Rich Kraus Stunt Coordinator

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    imo, dollar for dollar spent, a bookshelf will sound better (within its response limits, of course) than a tower.

    i dont think anyone expects a $300/pr tower to out perform a $3000/pr bookshelf. (or vice versa)

    in short a $100 bookshelf will sound better than a $100 tower.

    by adding additional crossover points the build complexity and component cost increase, nodding an adventage to the simpler design (again speaking about one specific price point) the manufacture can spend more on higher quality components.

    towers are heavier. that means they cost more to ship to retailers, what corners got cut to pay for this.

    towers are trying to reproduce a larger frequency range, bookshelves can do a better job within their frequency range.

    anything else is a series of trades.

    so what do i own? towers.

    i built adire kit 281's (vented). the same components could be stuck into a well designed tower, or a well designed "bookshelf". there are still trades to both, but for me, a well braced tower was easier to build than a bookshelf and well braced stand and this outweighed the possible immage/soundstage gains had by a bookshelf design. the low frequency extension of the vented tower was little added bonus as my sub does a very good job and i cross them over above the added bass.
     

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