A common question we get asked is “Should I go for Floorstanding or Bookshelf Speakers?” There are many variables that come into play when giving a recommendation. First, let’s give a quick description on Floorstanders and Bookshelf Speakers.
Floorstanders are large and tall speakers that sit on the floor. They are also called Tower speakers. They often have more drivers than a bookshelf speaker. Usually with several Bass woofers, a Tweeter and sometimes Mid-range woofer. Benefit of Floorstanders is in Bass response. They will always have a lower frequency response. This comes down to the larger woofers, AND the speaker cabinet size. Cabinet size is a factor in bass response a because the the woofers have a larger space to move and resonate within the physical box.
Bookshelf speakers are smaller to their counterpart and usually have 2 drivers. A single Bass/Mid-range woofer and a Tweeter. Often placed on speaker stands, a bookshelf or cabinet. Bookshelf speakers need a solid pair of speaker stands if you are using them for critical listening. Stands can take away the vibrations with the surface they are placed on and makes for a tighter sound.
Things to consider:
- Design: Do you (or your partner) prefer the aesthetics of a certain speaker design? For some, speakers can complement the design of the home and act as an item of furniture.
- Room size: Floorstanders can fill a larger room, but a subwoofer can do the same.
- Current Kit: Floorstanders require more power, does your amplifier match well?
- Sound preference: Floorstanders have more bass, some people do not desire/need as more bass.
Most speakers within a series will have a Bookshelf and Floorstanding versions of each other. If you are working within a budget, bookshelfs will always be cheaper than their floorstanding big brother. Within a series the Tweeter is usually exactly the same, so the highs and treble should sound similar across the board. Everybody’s got a budget so here are few recommendations from entry-level to top of the line.
Entry-level $600-$1,600: At Rapallo it is simple to recommend a budget friendly pair of speakers for HiFi. The ELAC Debut 2.0 series and Q Acoustics 3000i series. These 2 brands go head to head to claim the budget speaker territory. The ELAC’s are warm and performs well on all genres. Play anything through these speakers and you’ll get a smooth, easy listening response. The Q Acoustic 3000i’s are more efficient with a higher sensitivity. Meaning with the same amount of power the Q Acoustics will sound a little louder over the ELACs. The 3000i series have an accurate sound, you’ll be able to pick up the little subtleties in a well recorded track.
Mid-level $2,000-$3500: The Klipsch Reference Premier series are powerful, room filling speakers. The RP-600M would be the speaker we recommend for bookshelves, and the RP-8000F Floorstanders are great performers for their price. This Klipsch series deal a great amount of bass, and clear highs plus they are great for home cinema as well. The Elac Uni-Fi series are great musical speakers in the mid-range area. The Bookshelves are quite unique in the fact that they have a 3 independent drivers and are a true 3-way design. They come in a beautiful satin black or white finish.
Top-end: The Vela range or the Heritage series are at the top of our list. The ELAC’s have Jet tweeters and the Klipsch are horn-loaded. They each come with their own design characteristics. Whether you like the vintage look of the heritage series or the modern style of the Vela’s. We feature these speakers in our showroom, so feel free to visit and have a listen!
What about Subwoofers?
A subwoofer has the ability to fill in a lot of the missing frequencies that bookshelf speakers lack. The beauty of a subwoofer is that is can be placed anywhere in the room because bass frequencies are less directional. This means you cannot specifically identify where the bass is coming from no matter where the subwoofer is in the listening room. In fact it will actually appear as if the all the sound is coming through the front speakers. Don’t get me wrong, you are able to add a subwoofer to floorstanders, but you will hear the most significant difference when using it with bookshelf speakers.