A recent Wall’o’Fame submission of a customer’s beautiful 2.1 channel system got me thinking: how do you know if you’re better off with sat/sub combination or two floorstanding speakers?
Turns out the answer is pretty simple: it’s a matter of taste! Â A bookshelf-speaker-and-subwoofer combination can do an excellent job of reproducing both highs and lows. Â It’s a significant step up from the speakers built into your television, and it does a great job of providing high-quality sound in a small room, den, dorm, or an apartment where running wires for surround sound isn’t feasible.
It’s also a great step into 5.1 channel home theater if you’re building your system as budget allows.
Two floorstanding speakers are another way to approach a new audio set up in your home. Â By sheer volume of the cabinet, they produce more bass than a bookshelf speaker, and in some rooms you’ll get enough bass without feeling the need to add a sub.
Floorstanding speakers are often a three-way design, and the crossover is designed to separate the high, midrange, and bass frequencies. Â It’s defacto a fuller sound than a bookshelf speaker and a subwoofer, but with careful crossover adjustments you can do a good job of getting all the frequencies from bookshelf speakers. Â For more information on setting up stereo speakers, read Alan Lofft’s article entitled “Stereo Set Up Guide: Â What The Pros Know.”
Some floorstanding speakers, like Axiom’s, have ports in the front or back. Â These speakers are referred to as bass reflex speakers, and they use the port to move more air through the cabinet. Â If you’re fresh out of physics class, you’ll recall that the more air you move through a speaker, the louder it can play.
Floorstanding speakers are definitely the right choice for larger rooms, and if you know you won’t be adding a sub at any point they’re a great choice for getting a full range of sound in just two boxes.
What do you prefer – a bookshelf-subwoofer 2.1 channel system, or a great pair of floorstanding loudspeakers? Â Let us know!