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  1. #1
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    Compact or Bookshelf speakers?

    Hi,

    It would be great if I can get some advantages and disadvantages of buying Compact speakers instead of Bookshelf.

    Thank you in advance

  2. #2
    Dustin Broke is hot!!! SpankingVanillaice's Avatar
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    Well I can say that if you get compact speakers then you will be able to put them anywere but the biggest problem is that the lack of bass.

  3. #3
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    bass handled by subwoofer

    Okay. But since Bass is largely handled by sub-woofer, shouldn't the compact speakers do the rest of the job?
    Thank you

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    I never realy understood the whole idea of having a sub-woofer. Where do you put it ? Under the bed, under the dining table ? In the seller ? On top of the tele, or do you put the tele on top of the sub ?

    Must be a strange feeling to have only one source for the bass - unless you use two sub-woofers, but then you have 4 boxes to play around with.

    I would go for some book-shelf speakers with "sufficient" bass for your taste and the size of your room. Some of the new speakers with 8" woofers have a pretty good bass ( so they say ).

    I have the book-shelf JBL L100 ( 500 USD ), they are vintage but good looking with hand made walnut cabinets, ever lasting speakers with plenty of bass ( 12" woofer in each speaker ) - but as I said - newer book-shelf speakers can do the job too.

    Compact speakers are toys and for the bathroom, kitchen or bedroom, not for reproduction of your favorite tracks when you want to relax or have a party. And that goes for the Bang & Olufsen BeoLab 8000 too - good looking but the worst sound and no bass.

    If you cant afford new ones, then buy second hand, but buy speakers which are "sellable" if you change your mind, meaning buy second hand "famous" speakers with demand. You might even try out various speakers without cost if you are a good trader and know the market price and demand of the speaker.

    Right now on e-bay they sell a nice pair of JBL L112 ( with a 12" woofer in each speaker ) for only 400 USD, you will never get a finer pair of book-shelf speakers for this price, even better than my own L100 but not quite as wanted and famous. THIS IS LESS THAN THE PRICE FOR A DEACENT NEW 8" SUB-WOOFER ! Similar new speakers would cost 2-4.000 USD each . Same thing goes for other top brand speakers like B&W.

    JBL L112 on e-bay: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...sPageName=WDVW

    Just my "uncolored" opinion
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    Last edited by console; 02-02-2005 at 02:53 AM.

  5. #5
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    What are you trying to achieve? What is your definition of "compact" vs "bookshelf" and why does it matter to you?

    BTW, getting a sub to integrate seemlessly with the mains isn't nearly as easy as it sounds. Not only do your mains need to play low enough to reach the crossover point of the sub, but you also have to consider room interaction, nodes, phase, and countless other integration challenges. Fast speakers require fast subs and so on.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by topspeed
    What are you trying to achieve? What is your definition of "compact" vs "bookshelf" and why does it matter to you?

    BTW, getting a sub to integrate seemlessly with the mains isn't nearly as easy as it sounds. Not only do your mains need to play low enough to reach the crossover point of the sub, but you also have to consider room interaction, nodes, phase, and countless other integration challenges. Fast speakers require fast subs and so on.

    Good point.

  7. #7
    RGA
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    Well there is a difference I suppose between a compact speaker (Bose Cube??) and a standmount Audio Note (which is larger than some floorstanders).

    Advantage for compact is being compact and may also offer better than average driver integration(though not at all always the case).
    Disadvantages: Generally can;t play nearly as loud, less bass (certainly at loud levels) less full range capability, sounds tinnier etc etc.

    Sub integration some say can be done perfectly - I have never heard this done. I will go to the CES show next January and will get to heard the designers themselves integrate their subwoofers - surely they the people who design and manufacturer their own speakers and subs can work a parametric EQ. We shall see.

  8. #8
    Forum Regular 46minaudio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swarna
    Hi,

    It would be great if I can get some advantages and disadvantages of buying Compact speakers instead of Bookshelf.

    Thank you in advance
    Is this for a 5.1 HT.or just 2ch?

  9. #9
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    5.1 channel

    It is for 5.1Home Theatre system. As mentioned earlier I was thinking on Cambridge soundworks home theatre system 108 - 4xMC100, 1xMC150, Sub Basscube 8.

  10. #10
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    Sub integration some say can be done perfectly - I have never heard this done. I will go to the CES show next January and will get to heard the designers themselves integrate their subwoofers - surely they the people who design and manufacturer their own speakers and subs can work a parametric EQ. We shall see.
    You really think that CES is the place to hear equipment at its best? You might want to ease up on the expectations, and try for a more realistic goal, like hitting a jackpot on the slots. A lot of the equipment displayed at CES isn't even plugged in! On top of that, most of the major manufacturers are in the convention hall, which is an acoustical nightmare a la Best Buy. A friend of mine who goes to CES every year told me that he only checks out the video equipment and the gadgets because it's pointless to try to critically listen to the audio equipment there. And a lot of the high end manufacturers don't even go to CES, rather they display at the concurrent T.H.E. Show (separate registration, separate location). From what I understand, T.H.E. Show is set up similarly to the Stereophile's annual Home Entertainment expo with audio rigs set up inside of hotel rooms. At the HE shows that I've attended, the better audio performance often correlated with whoever got the larger suites. Less cabin gain, less potential for room modes, more placement flexibility, more spacing away from boundaries, more space for installing room treatments, etc. Rooms matter a LOT. In some of the smaller rooms, they had more than one rig set up and I sometimes sat less than 3 feet from the speakers -- not exactly an ideal way to try something out.

    If you want to hear properly done sub integration, DO IT YOURSELF. It seems that you're just waiting for somebody to provide the answer for you, without having to learn any of the acoustical concepts or hands on experimenting for yourself. No form of driver integration is perfect, and I haven't heard anybody make a claim on perfect sub integration either, so I don't know who your "some" refers to. Integration involves a lot more than just working a parametric EQ. It's about accounting for the room effects and the time domain differences, and it takes time, measuring, and a little bit of know-how. Just because somebody knows how to design and build a speaker and subwoofer does not mean that they will take the time (or have enough space at the convention site) to properly place the sub, acoustically treat the demo room, or EQ the room mode effects.

  11. #11
    RGA
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    Ahh so it's not a perfect integration so there is an audible hick-up(Lack of coehsion) going from sub to standmount - well I've heard that already.

  12. #12
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swarna
    Okay. But since Bass is largely handled by sub-woofer, shouldn't the compact speakers do the rest of the job?
    Thank you
    If by "compact" speakers, you're referring to the tiny cubes or spheres that you see with some of these sub/satellite systems, they got problems galore if you value quality audio reproduction. First off, these tiny speakers simply cannot fully cover the frequency range down to where a bona fide subwoofer takes over. Otherwise, the common approach is similar to how Bose designs their Acoustimass system, in which they raise the frequency range that the bass module needs to cover. This approach negates the advantage of a subwoofer, which is to allow for maximum placement flexibility with the audibly nondirectional frequencies (below about 80 Hz or so). If the bass module has to go as high as 250 Hz (which is how the Bose AM systems are tuned), then it will sound very directional.

    The best approach is to go with a decent bookshelf speaker that can honestly carry its weight down below 80 Hz. The subwoofer will then take over where the frequency response of the bookshelf speaker starts to tail off (80 Hz or 60 Hz or even 40 Hz in some cases). A sub allows you to place the unit where the bass in the room sounds the fullest and the most even. Typically, the best place for bass is not where the main speakers are located, usually along the middle of the front wall. That's the best reason IMO for having a subwoofer. But, you still need to pair it with a quality set of speakers, and that's usually not going to be with those "compact" satellite speakers. Those small speakers are decor friendly, but they are not geared for maximum performance. Unless you have design limitations, then you should go with the bookshelf models.

  13. #13
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    Ahh so it's not a perfect integration so there is an audible hick-up(Lack of coehsion) going from sub to standmount - well I've heard that already.
    So, I'm assuming then that you HAVE heard PERFECTLY integrated speakers before? That's quite a tall order given that speakers by their nature are imperfect mechanical transducers with inherent inefficiencies.

    Unless you've heard PERFECT integration before, then you will hear some lack of integration from EVERY speaker out there, so your point about going to CES in search of perfection is basically a nonstarter.

    Is it possible to get the sub/speaker integration to the point that it's as seamless as the best floorstanders? Yes it is, and I HAVE heard that before. And we're not even on the subject of ROOM integration yet.
    Last edited by Woochifer; 02-02-2005 at 02:03 PM.

  14. #14
    Forum Regular 46minaudio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    If by "compact" speakers, you're referring to the tiny cubes or spheres that you see with some of these sub/satellite systems, they got problems galore if you value quality audio reproduction. First off, these tiny speakers simply cannot fully cover the frequency range down to where a bona fide subwoofer takes over. Otherwise, the common approach is similar to how Bose designs their Acoustimass system, in which they raise the frequency range that the bass module needs to cover. This approach negates the advantage of a subwoofer, which is to allow for maximum placement flexibility with the audibly nondirectional frequencies (below about 80 Hz or so). If the bass module has to go as high as 250 Hz (which is how the Bose AM systems are tuned), then it will sound very directional.

    The best approach is to go with a decent bookshelf speaker that can honestly carry its weight down below 80 Hz. The subwoofer will then take over where the frequency response of the bookshelf speaker starts to tail off (80 Hz or 60 Hz or even 40 Hz in some cases). A sub allows you to place the unit where the bass in the room sounds the fullest and the most even. Typically, the best place for bass is not where the main speakers are located, usually along the middle of the front wall. That's the best reason IMO for having a subwoofer. But, you still need to pair it with a quality set of speakers, and that's usually not going to be with those "compact" satellite speakers. Those small speakers are decor friendly, but they are not geared for maximum performance. Unless you have design limitations, then you should go with the bookshelf models.
    I agree,,The other option (if you must have compact speakers)is to buy a receiver with an adjustable Xover..Some go as high as 200hz..If you go to high with the xover though you the sub will start to hear things through the sub ,and tell exactly where it is......Best bet is to go with a bookshelf that goes lower than 80 HZ..

  15. #15
    Forum Regular 46minaudio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA

    Sub integration some say can be done perfectly - I have never heard this done. I will go to the CES show next January and will get to heard the designers themselves integrate their subwoofers - surely they the people who design and manufacturer their own speakers and subs can work a parametric EQ. We shall see.
    RGA please, get of the snob wagon...Have you ever measured your ANs .If so(I highly doubt it) do they intergrate perfect with your room...???

  16. #16
    RGA
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    Driver integration has nothing to do with the room. Any speaker can be positioned and repositioned entirely by ear to sound right. If you need the measuring devices you need to listen more to live music. The measuring equiment is useful to solve room issues - unless you move your head 4 inches when it all changes.

    The room is overly used as a cop out --- I understand for owners of certain speakers - I would want to blame the room a lot too.

  17. #17
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    Oh Good Lord, here we go again

    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    The room is overly used as a cop out --- I understand for owners of certain speakers - I would want to blame the room a lot too.
    Please enlighten us how AN's aren't affected by room interaction. I can't wait to hear Peter's explaination on how his magical speakers are able to overcome the basic laws of physics.

  18. #18
    RGA
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    I can't speak for AN's design - all sound is affected by the room it is placed in and where you sit in the room -- Just as is the case as sitting in different locations in a live concert changes the perception of the sound you get and just as having someone play a guitar in your bedroom or playing it in your living room or you kitchen. The room excuse for bad sound is a cop out which is why Audio Note never ever has a static display - this is not to say it won;t sound better in one room as opposed to another.

    AN speakers sound like instruments period. When a speaker doesn't no room is going to help it - and when it does - it will sound like it any room.

    The issue is that measurements are not telling us the truth about the reality of the sound eminating from the systems out there. Measurably SET is inferior to the point that many measurement worshippers don;t even or never have bothered to listen to the best examples of it. Listening to Bryston - a very fine example of what SS amplification has to offer --- certainly going by the measurements ---is roundly and easily beaten by a basic entry level Audio Note SE amp. Before TAH gets on me his beloved and world class expert Lynn Olsen agrees. --scroll down to world of triodes http://www.nutshellhifi.com/

    But of course it actually matters that people stop reading audio geek and start listening to the music. But hey I'm not going back into the sub debate - the goal is to make you happy - if it does that -- then enjoy.

  19. #19
    RGA
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    Here is an illustration very recently of what I'm talking about - the E in a relative bad room - hard wood floors and glass behind the speaker - STILL they sound excellent, Most speakers would be an utter disaster in a room like this. Soundhounds has a room that's about 28 feet long and 9 feet wide speakers on the 9 foot wall - outstanding - then a room that has no corners the speakers on a wall that's about 45 long and 20 feet back the speaker on the 45 wall about 8 feet apart ---another room maybe 14X22 --- makes zero difference. AN may appear untechnical by viwieng the ouside of the box - looks like many things in life can be deceiving. http://www.pbase.com/nnicot/audionote_gear -- The poster is at http://www.audioasylum.com/forums/au...sages/631.html

  20. #20
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    Perhaps the main problem arrives when you both want to use the speakers for cinema and for your favorite music tracks. Cant imagin how "The End" from "Abbey Road" will sound with only one woofer !

    I know little about the system requirements for cinema, but I do know that you need a pair of rear and a pair of front speakers, something in the middle ? And then the famous sub-woofer.

    Why not use 4 good book-shelf speakers with a nice 8" or 12" woofer in each speaker ? I think even some good 2-ways with a good ( 12" ) woofer could do a pretty nice job for both applications. Most cinema effects are deep bass anyway - so the woofer is important for the full effect of your movie.

  21. #21
    Forum Regular 46minaudio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    Driver integration has nothing to do with the room. Any speaker can be positioned and repositioned entirely by ear to sound right. If you need the measuring devices you need to listen more to live music. The measuring equiment is useful to solve room issues - unless you move your head 4 inches when it all changes.

    The room is overly used as a cop out --- I understand for owners of certain speakers - I would want to blame the room a lot too.
    RGA we are talking about sub intergration here..If you measure a 15 db peak at 75 hz with your ANs then you do not have perfect intergration.With a sub and a peq one can correct this problem..So your point about never seeing a perfect sub sat intergration is useless..I do not know of any speaker that is unaffected by this.Unless however your ANs have perfect intergration with every room.

  22. #22
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    Are these Compacts or Bookshelf?

    Dimensions of Cambridge Speakers below:
    MC100: 6 " H x 4 5/8" W x 4 " D
    MC150: 11 3/8" W x 4 7/8" D x 4 1/2" H

    Frequency Range: 100-22kHz

    So in my setup, subwoofer has to handle from 100Hz...that's not bad or is it?

    Thanks

  23. #23
    Forum Regular 46minaudio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swarna
    Dimensions of Cambridge Speakers below:
    MC100: 6 " H x 4 5/8" W x 4 " D
    MC150: 11 3/8" W x 4 7/8" D x 4 1/2" H

    Frequency Range: 100-22kHz

    So in my setup, subwoofer has to handle from 100Hz...that's not bad or is it?

    Thanks
    Na,though make sure your reciever has an adjustible Xover and set it to 120hz..

  24. #24
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    Why 120hz and not 100hz?

    In Yamaha 5740 receiver I can set the crossover freq. Also on the subwoofer the frequency can be set. So I can set on both 120hz....why not 100hz?

    Thanks in advance

  25. #25
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by 46minaudio
    RGA we are talking about sub intergration here..If you measure a 15 db peak at 75 hz with your ANs then you do not have perfect intergration.With a sub and a peq one can correct this problem..So your point about never seeing a perfect sub sat intergration is useless..I do not know of any speaker that is unaffected by this.Unless however your ANs have perfect intergration with every room.
    I'm talking about basic driver integration between woofer and tweeter - it sounds as one as instruments sound - the room is the room but a person playing a piano in my room it sounds like a piano in ANY room no matter how disasterous room modes are. Many speakers don;t get the timbral and tonal qualities correct at the outset and NO ROOM on the plane and no parametric eq can FIX that. You still have to position the AN's like any speaker for their optimum position to get the most from them but if the speaker starts it correctly the rest is easy - if it starts incorrectly then forgettaboutit.

    I agree with Steven Rochlin "First we will discuss what i feel is the most important issue of all. That being tonal (and harmonic) balance and accuracy. If a reproduced trumpet does not have the same tonality and harmonic structure as a real one, then who cares if it is precisely imaged or how deep it is within the soundscape? It still does not sound close to that of a real trumpet."

    If it gets it right then it makes zippo difference what room it's in because it will sound like the real thing. Then it's a matter of getting over some bass boom and room induced colour etc. AN tests their speakers in 100's of rooms to get consistantly similar results. They manage to sound crystal clear in any room without the thuddy thuddy many speakers exhibit because they use a pressurization model in their design that goes beyong frequency and amplitude.
    Last edited by RGA; 02-03-2005 at 01:43 PM.

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