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are tower speakers necessary in 2022?

kenshone

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With the proliferation of subwoofers with amazing performance and value, aside from the case where you cannot use a sub for some reason, what is the point of getting a tower speaker nowadays? It would seem like you could match the performance of any good tower with a good bookshelf and a good sub, often for cheaper.
 

HooStat

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There are no absolutes, but towers tend to have better power handling and better loudness capability, and higher sensitivity. Some people have preferences for the look. Towers provide more options for 3-way (or 4-way) speakers.
 

Kal Rubinson

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Unless you're going for a big bass hump in the lower end of the FR, would a tower produce bass that a good subwoofer couldn't?
No but it could produce higher output at lower distortion in the upper bass/midrange than would a small(er) monitor crossed over to that sub.
 

McFly

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Some people just dont want to use stands. The tower and bookshelf typically have the same footprint, and some people only have the floor to put the speakers on. Might as well go towers in this case, you can even get 2-way towers that consist of only tweeter and 1 mid bass, so a bookshelf speaker but in a floorstander body.
 

amper42

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If my room size offers 160sf or less a bookshelf will do the job nicely for me. But, if the room is 300sf to 800sf I much prefer a powerful tower setup with subs.
 

Canuck57

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Some people just dont want to use stands. The tower and bookshelf typically have the same footprint, and some people only have the floor to put the speakers on. Might as well go towers in this case, you can even get 2-way towers that consist of only tweeter and 1 mid bass, so a bookshelf speaker but in a floorstander body.

Exactly, same footprint!
 

MattHooper

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No but it could produce higher output at lower distortion in the upper bass/midrange than would a small(er) monitor crossed over to that sub.

I see subwoofer aficionados talk about that a lot. Many have tower speakers crossed to subs and appeal to the phenomenon you mention as justification.

I'm wondering how audible that is in most "real world" listening.

When I crossed subs over with my floor standing (Thiel) speakers I frankly couldn't notice any difference I'd attribute to lower distortion or "ease" or whatever.

Of course it's ultimately going to depend on the speakers (and drivers) used, the sound level playback etc. (Lots of subwoofer fans like to feel the music, so I'm sure playback louder than I do).
 

steve59

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One concern for me while listening is ...1 are the sub/s raising in volume at the same db as my mains as I adjust the volume?
2. Most rock music has no content below 50 hz anyhow
3. A sub that can play flat to 20 hz rattles the ductwork in my house.
so give me a decent floorstander that plays to 35 hz or so that I can add a 2nd, more powerful amp to the woofers if I want more lower mid bass slam and I'm good
 

Kvalsvoll

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There are at least a handful similar threads on this forum on this, presumably because there is a desire for small speakers and thus validate the use of small speakers on a objective, technical foundation.

"Unfortunately some quite essential sound properties are missing to achieve this engaging and alive sound, it sounds nice and smooth, but lacks kick in transients and power down the lower midrange. Radiation is wide."

This is a quote from this article, in which I attempt to explain why small speakers can not do what a large speaker does:
https://www.kvalsvoll.com/blog/2018/10/20/can-a-small-speaker-perform-like-a-big/

Then when you look at the reasons why a small speaker sounds small, it also explains why most large hifi-speakers actually sound like small speakers. In that case, there will not be much of a difference between the larger floorstander and a small bookshelf on stands, because neither are capable.
 

pablolie

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I have stated this before. But as a long time audio aficionado, I think big tower speakers are obsolete dinosaurs... UNLESS... you have the room for them, you have the preference for the look, and you're willing to invest in the required amplification.

I am convinced to the core in the vast majority of cases (and I think the 80/20 rule is generous if we apply it here), a well set up 2:1 system will beat the pants out of a tower setup squeezed into the wrong environment. Let's face it: integrating bass and everything with towers in a real world room is much more challenging than simply positioning your standmount bookshelves optimally and setting up the bass boost location separately and accurately. Especially if you have the ability to xover the under 70-80Hz stuff out of the speakers competently.

For many years I was proud about that big equipment rack and my tower speakers. I have become a big believer in the power of elegant minimalism.
 

Kal Rubinson

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When I crossed subs over with my floor standing (Thiel) speakers I frankly couldn't notice any difference I'd attribute to lower distortion or "ease" or whatever.
Sure. I was not saying that adding the sub(s) would make a noticeable difference in lower distortion or "ease" with a floorstander. I was comparing the floorstander+sub with a small monitor+sub and predicting that the sub would not help the small monitor+ sub. I said the former "could produce higher output at lower distortion in the upper bass/midrange than would a small(er) monitor crossed over to that sub."
 

Everett T

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With the proliferation of subwoofers with amazing performance and value, aside from the case where you cannot use a sub for some reason, what is the point of getting a tower speaker nowadays? It would seem like you could match the performance of any good tower with a good bookshelf and a good sub, often for cheaper.
If you can successfully integrate the sub, sure.
 

MaxwellsEq

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Generalisations can be risky, but placing the same driver in two different sized boxes results in different outcomes. In other words, the box is doing more than just holding the driver steady. Assuming the driver is too up to it, the bigger box will be more efficient. This allows more choices in design, e.g. trading some of the efficiency for a greater LF extension, or operating with less distortion for a given SPL.
There are downsides to bigger boxes, including handling rigidity and resonance in the cabinet
 
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