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  1. #1
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    bookshelf vs. floorstander

    Just wondering what the pros and cons of these two styles of speakers are. I will probably never have a large listening room, but would like to have full range sound at some point. Is there a minimum size room that works well for a full range floor stander? Thanks for all ideas!

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    Suspended superpanavision70mm's Avatar
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    Personally I would rather have a decent floorstander than an outstanding bookshelf.

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    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    "Search" is your friend. It's at the top of the page, almost dead-center.

    This topic comes up about once a month or so, so there should be no shortage of in depth analysis and all-out wars to wade through.

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    RGA
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    Your question is also too general. If the issue is bass you can add a subwoofer (though i've not been impressed with any Sub satelite set-up -- even one set-up by pros. But others like that set-up and you may too -- and you won't know till you try.

    That being said floorstanders generally offer higher senstivity so they are easier to drive will usually play louder with deeper bass -- but also generally they have more unintentional cabinet noise which can make the sound muddy. All that being said the words in general is what I'm using. Plenty of standmounts will play loud deep bass (ore than a great many floorstanders) and also be more sensitive (easier to drive) and quite also true is that a number of floorstanders don't add the nasties (cabinet noise) I mentioned above and are very good sounding speakers.

    Floorstanders save you some cash on buying stands -- and reselling stands can be a pain -- especially if you trade your standmount and want another one that is supposed to be at a different height. If I sell my standmounts I have to sell the stands with it because my stands are so low that virtually no standmount from any other company will work properly. SO these are things to consider as plusses for floorstanders.

    Spend the time listening -- and hear which is better for yourself -- after all we ain;t the one's who have to live with your decision - you do!

  5. #5
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by superpanavision70mm
    Personally I would rather have a decent floorstander than an outstanding bookshelf.
    Not if you have a good sub.
    Look & Listen

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    Suspended markw's Avatar
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    not really.

    Quote Originally Posted by shokhead
    Not if you have a good sub.
    You just don't have to depend on the sub to make up deficiencies in the main speaker's bass.

    For music. the lower the sub cuts in at, the better the imaging. For HT, it's a moot point. Everything below 80 hz (or so) is channeled to the sub anyway.

    I use floorstanders (Athena Audition AS-F1's) for my mains and, having them set to "large" in the receiver, I don't need the sub for music.

  7. #7
    Can a crooner get a gig? dean_martin's Avatar
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    Getting down to your specific question about room size, I'm not sure there is a minimum size room for all full range floorstanders. You may, however, be able to determine this on a manufacturer-by-manufacturer basis. Some manufacturers have fairly informative websites that include set-up diagrams for optimum placement. You'll find that most speakers sound best __ft apart, __in or ft from the front wall and __ft from the listening position. The measurements for the blanks will vary widely. For example, in just a few reviews of floorstanders I've read recently the optimum distance from the listening position has varied from 6ft to 10ft. The optimum distance from the front wall has varied from a range of 1ft to 18" on the low end and 3 to 4ft on the high end.

    There is a general rule that you start off with an equilateral triangle with the points being the 2 speakers and the listening position then work from there.

    As far as preferences go, I prefer standmounted/bookshelf speakers to floorstanders for music only. Mine go down to about 50Hz then "roll off" to about 38Hz according to specs. In my room, I can hear a bass solo in a jazz piece without having to crank the volume. The other night I listened to Massive Attack's Mezzanine without any consideration of whether I was missing any bass. Of course someone accustomed to floorstanders may have a different view. Whether my actual listening experiences match up with the specs, I'm not sure. It seems pretty close though.

    A lot of variables go into "soundstaging" and "imaging". I'm not even sure what those terms mean anymore, but I haven't heard a floorstander yet that can hang Miles Davis and his trumpet between the speakers like a good pair of standmounts. (Let the flames begin.)

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    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Did someone mention Miles....

    Quote Originally Posted by dean_martin
    A lot of variables go into "soundstaging" and "imaging". I'm not even sure what those terms mean anymore, but I haven't heard a floorstander yet that can hang Miles Davis and his trumpet between the speakers like a good pair of standmounts. (Let the flames begin.)
    You can not only hear the trumpet "hanging in the air", but you can feel the "room vibe" from where ever the recording was made.

    But, I suggest you DO NOT listen to Miles on a Maggie setup. (it's just going to ruin you for everthing else).
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  9. #9
    Can a crooner get a gig? dean_martin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoffcin
    You can not only hear the trumpet "hanging in the air", but you can feel the "room vibe" from where ever the recording was made.

    But, I suggest you DO NOT listen to Miles on a Maggie setup. (it's just going to ruin you for everthing else).
    Dang! I always fall for that reverse psychology stuff. Now I have to hear a Maggies setup and bring some Miles w/me.

  10. #10
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dean_martin
    Dang! I always fall for that reverse psychology stuff. Now I have to hear a Maggies setup and bring some Miles w/me.
    OK, but make ABSOLUTELY SURE, it isn't the 3.6r, or 20.1r speakers.

    You have been warned!
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  11. #11
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoffcin
    You can not only hear the trumpet "hanging in the air", but you can feel the "room vibe" from where ever the recording was made.

    But, I suggest you DO NOT listen to Miles on a Maggie setup. (it's just going to ruin you for everthing else).
    You should add any large ESL or any Apogees to that list. Any of those panels will ruin it. Wait till Flo see's this.
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  12. #12
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoffcin
    OK, but make ABSOLUTELY SURE, it isn't the 3.6r, or 20.1r speakers.

    You have been warned!
    You are so right! I have a buddy with 3.6R's with custom crossovers. He bought them from a guy who replaced them with MG 20.1's. I heard the 20.1's the night my buddy picked up his 3.6R's. I was with him to help with the loading and packing and just for the ride. As good as the 3.6R's are the 20.1's are even better. I mean better! Anyone who likes the sound of panels will never be satisfied with boxes.
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  13. #13
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Well I didn't want to beat him over the head with it

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeE SP9
    You should add any large ESL or any Apogees to that list. Any of those panels will ruin it. Wait till Flo see's this.
    But yes, there's just some music that's absolutely made for panels. Jazz is one that fits the bill.
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  14. #14
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Yes, the 20.1 are better

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeE SP9
    You are so right! I have a buddy with 3.6R's with custom crossovers. He bought them from a guy who replaced them with MG 20.1's. I heard the 20.1's the night my buddy picked up his 3.6R's. I was with him to help with the loading and packing and just for the ride. As good as the 3.6R's are the 20.1's are even better. I mean better! Anyone who likes the sound of panels will never be satisfied with boxes.
    It's the quasi-ribbon midrange that does it. It's simply better than planar-magnetic (what the 3.6r uses) for the upper mids. The fact that you can rattle the house with 25hz planar bass doesn't hurt either!
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  15. #15
    Can a crooner get a gig? dean_martin's Avatar
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    Alright guys. There's no reason to call in Flo. I've only listened to Maggies once. While I was on a trip, I happened to find a place in Denver that carried them. It was my last stop before having to get to the airport. I didn't have a lot of time with them. Based on the size and from what I've seen on the Magnepan website, I was probably listening to either the MG12s or MG1.6s. They were being driven by ARC gear and I was listening to the store's cd-r copy of an album I'm familiar with. I thought the musical presentation was "small" and the music was somewhat thin. (But, I have the same album on vinyl.) I wasn't blown away by the initial impression but I would like to listen to the line again when I have a chance. Heck, I still have a headache from my first audition of Martin Logans.

  16. #16
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Probably the 1.6qr

    Quote Originally Posted by dean_martin
    Alright guys. There's no reason to call in Flo. I've only listened to Maggies once. While I was on a trip, I happened to find a place in Denver that carried them. It was my last stop before having to get to the airport. I didn't have a lot of time with them. Based on the size and from what I've seen on the Magnepan website, I was probably listening to either the MG12s or MG1.6s. They were being driven by ARC gear and I was listening to the store's cd-r copy of an album I'm familiar with. I thought the musical presentation was "small" and the music was somewhat thin. (But, I have the same album on vinyl.) I wasn't blown away by the initial impression but I would like to listen to the line again when I have a chance. Heck, I still have a headache from my first audition of Martin Logans.
    You've discribed a common initial reaction to panels. A lot of people who are used to box speaker at first think panels are a little "thin" in their presentation. They are not, and you can prove this with a Db meter. The illusion of "thiness" is caused by a lack of boxyness (enclosure distortion). Listen to planels for a few hours and then play a conventional speaker of your choice. I can guarentee that you notice the box right away.
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  17. #17
    Can a crooner get a gig? dean_martin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoffcin
    You've discribed a common initial reaction to panels. A lot of people who are used to box speaker at first think panels are a little "thin" in their presentation. They are not, and you can prove this with a Db meter. The illusion of "thiness" is caused by a lack of boxyness (enclosure distortion). Listen to planels for a few hours and then play a conventional speaker of your choice. I can guarentee that you notice the box right away.
    Ok, are you saying that even when a decent pair of monitors is pulling a disappearing act you can still hear the effects of the box in the music? I was never quite sure whether panel advocates meant that you could tell the music was coming from a box or that boxes imposed certain sounds (like resonance or distortion) on the music.

    Interestingly, the shop I heard the Maggies in had a separate room for them. It seems like they would have had a pair of box speakers in the room so they could switch back and forth.

  18. #18
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by dean_martin
    Alright guys. There's no reason to call in Flo. I've only listened to Maggies once. While I was on a trip, I happened to find a place in Denver that carried them. It was my last stop before having to get to the airport. I didn't have a lot of time with them. Based on the size and from what I've seen on the Magnepan website, I was probably listening to either the MG12s or MG1.6s. They were being driven by ARC gear and I was listening to the store's cd-r copy of an album I'm familiar with. I thought the musical presentation was "small" and the music was somewhat thin. (But, I have the same album on vinyl.) I wasn't blown away by the initial impression but I would like to listen to the line again when I have a chance. Heck, I still have a headache from my first audition of Martin Logans.
    I am a bit surprised by your comment of small (if it was the 1.6) because I found the horizontal stage quite nice and well spread out. I didn't think the front to back stage was realistic and I felt like I was getting the surface of the event without the in room pressurization that a live event offers and for which dynamic boxes present so well.

    There is no free lunch -- the 1.6 is thinner sounding because it cannot push enough air -- you need the box for that and real magnets - that is why most all of the industry and most audiophiles choose boxed loudspeakers and recording studios -- I don't understand the kind of implied assumption that the only people buying boxes are those who have not heard panels. My dealer has owned the the 20.1 for several years and went to a box which he claimed clocked in every regard. The 1.6 does some things very well and if you handpick the music they will do well you will be in for a treat -- the competing speaker the store had for around the same price is the B&W 604 and the Paradigm Studio 100V2 floorstanders and the 1.6 competes well here if you listen to small scale strings and acoustic instruments or stage music such as Gershwin. Neither of the boxed speakers are particularly great IMO so I can easily see why anyone would lean to the 1.6.

    They present a left to right stage more realistically than I could get from the floorstanders. The 1.6 and the 3.6 have a clearer sparkly presentation than the floorstanders could muster. The Mags could not go as loud before they began to get hard and brittle in the treble - the 1.6 has bass that lacks presence and power. The off axis response is atrocious -- you need to sit in a very tight sweetspot. That does not bother me though because horns are like this typically and I think the issue is overblown -- most people sit between their speakers so who cares.

    The Maggies have a holographic sparkly ribbony sound to them which the boxed speakers don't have -- if you like the sound of that presentation then I suppose the statement that no box will suffice is true -- but on the other hand the maggies don't do what the boxes typically do (and if you like the visceral feel of instruments in space the Maggie certainly won't do. As usual you are just noting the trade-offs. ALL us speaker owners have a difficult time of being objective because we think our taste is the end all taste -- and of course for us it is.

    I would suggest you try other panels -- the Quad 989 -- most of these speakers you can buy used for a decent price. You should not judge them based on the entry level models.

  19. #19
    Suspended superpanavision70mm's Avatar
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    If the speakers are good enough, they won't sound box-like on any level. I am amazed at how people comment that box speakers sound like they are producing sound inside a box. The technology behind great speakers are to fill the room and not sound like the source is being limited. I am not saying that going with a planar is a better or worse choice, however, there are far more speakers being made in boxes and even top of the line stuff. When I am listening to my speakers I have a hard time telling where the sound is coming from....it simply exists and just sounds like it's all over. I am not even listening in 5.1 at this point, but even in 2.0.

  20. #20
    Can a crooner get a gig? dean_martin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    I am a bit surprised by your comment of small (if it was the 1.6) because I found the horizontal stage quite nice and well spread out.
    I was surprised with what I heard, or didn't hear. But, maybe I wasn't in the sweet spot. The different models were lined up the same distance from the listening position. Maybe I was too far away for the smaller 1.6r. Maybe there was something wrong with the cd-r. I thought I would at least come away with an appreciation of what die hard panel fans hear, but I didn't. Maybe next time.

  21. #21
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    Don't you wish we could all get together and listen to each other's systems?
    Anyone in the Las Vegas area willing to display their system?
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  22. #22
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Yes, exactly

    Quote Originally Posted by dean_martin
    Ok, are you saying that even when a decent pair of monitors is pulling a disappearing act you can still hear the effects of the box in the music? I was never quite sure whether panel advocates meant that you could tell the music was coming from a box or that boxes imposed certain sounds (like resonance or distortion) on the music.

    Interestingly, the shop I heard the Maggies in had a separate room for them. It seems like they would have had a pair of box speakers in the room so they could switch back and forth.
    Good monitors will disappear into the soundstage, but that has nothing to do with enclosure resonance.

    Simply put, enclosure resonance adds distortion into the mix. Resonant distortion is, for the most part, benign, and some would consider it "warm" and attractive, (as opposed to dissonant distortion) There are some people who really like that sound. I give you RGA, and his hopelessly resonant Audio Notes. That speaker was designed to accentuate resonant distortion, and it's quite effective at it. Most speaker designers shun this type of distortion though, and companies like B&W, Dynaudio, Revel, Wilson and others have developed sophisticately engineered enclosures to deal with it.
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  23. #23
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dean_martin
    Heck, I still have a headache from my first audition of Martin Logans.
    Wow, really? I mean you obviously don't still have a headache, but I'm surprised to hear that you had such a negative experience. I've been quite enamored with my SL3s. It has thus far been my experience that if decent amps are used and if good source material is used, that the results are outstanding---especially in the area of hangin' Miles or John C. or Dizzy out there. I am emphatically NOT trying to start a flame war, but it is it possible that one of these factors was messing with the synergy of your test system? On the same note, I'd be a little leery about using a CD-R of unknown quality in a test situation with any panel ( I read that Denver was not the optimal situation;maybe just a thought for next time ).
    Cheers to ya deano,
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    I said : "That's nothing - you should hear me play piano"

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    To be more specific, thoughts on the Tyler reference monitors vs the linbrook monitors vs the linbrook system 2's for detail, imaging, range, and use in a small (10 X 10) room? All tips appreciated.

  25. #25
    Can a crooner get a gig? dean_martin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobsticks
    Wow, really? I mean you obviously don't still have a headache, but I'm surprised to hear that you had such a negative experience. I've been quite enamored with my SL3s. It has thus far been my experience that if decent amps are used and if good source material is used, that the results are outstanding---especially in the area of hangin' Miles or John C. or Dizzy out there. I am emphatically NOT trying to start a flame war, but it is it possible that one of these factors was messing with the synergy of your test system? On the same note, I'd be a little leery about using a CD-R of unknown quality in a test situation with any panel ( I read that Denver was not the optimal situation;maybe just a thought for next time ).
    Cheers to ya deano,
    M
    The MLs were being driven by a Plinius integrated. A Diana Krall cd was used. I don't remember the cd player but I'm sure it was first rate. The leading edges of the piano notes went "bam", "bam", "bam". The sales guy must have been deaf. I think the main problem was that I didn't have control of the system and didn't have my own music. The build quality of the Plinius integrated and the engineering and build quality of the MLs were impressive, enough so that I wouldn't mine trying either or both again.

    On that same visit (this was at a shop in B'ham, AL) I heard a Jolida amp with a pair of Nola speakers that I liked very much.

    About 10 years ago I would've wanted that big, aggressive system. Now I listen to my music for relaxation. I eventually got the Jolida amp.

    I went to another place in Denver to check out some Quicksilver monoblocks that I was considering before I got the Jolida. I was psyched to hear some magic. The system included a Quicksilver preamp, Rega Planet cdp, and PSB Image floorstanders. I heard a glare that was obvious and annoying. It was soooo opposite of what I expected! Either the thin air in Denver screws everything up, or there was a mismatched component in this set up.

    My auditioning experiences are limited because of where I live, but when I know I'm about to travel for work I'll look up some audio shops in case I have extra time.

    Cheers to you too, Bobsticks and enjoy those MLs!

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