Are 'Thin-Tower' Speakers Voiced for HT?

These inexpensive tower speakers are a very crowded segment. They usually sell from between 1000-2000, and have very good bass response for their size and price, offering the seemingly impossible for audiophiles on a budget. They especially appeal to those of us who have been living with bookshelves, and want an upgraded, more full range sound.

Looking around the web sites for some of the mfg's, some openly claim that the speakers 'work well' as L/R channel speakers in a HT system. Most who admit this also add, as an afterthought, that the speakers are excellent for music, too.

Other mfg's simply market them as audio speakers, and add (again, as an afterthought) that they make excellent HT speakers!

Now, my understanding is that good HT speakers will be slightly forward in the mid range, as this makes dialog more audible and clear. Reading most of the reviews of these products, many of the reviews indeed include praise for the speakers' midrange reproduction, and for their suitability with Jazz and vocals.

Is it true that for $1000-2000 audio budget, a bookshelf speaker made specifically for 2 channel audio would be the better choice for music fans, and that if one desires a full range floor stander, one should be prepared to spend appreciably more for a pair voiced for music, or use a good sub made for 2 channel audio?

Is this a prevalent problem in the speaker market today, that mfg's are trying to kill two birds with one stone, and find the HT market appealing for it's profit potential, but don't want to lose it's traditional audio customers? So they build and design speakers that sound good in a HT environment, but take care to market them to both audiences.

I'm just wondering, because I don't want a speaker that was designed with HT in mind, no matter how good they might sound for music. I want a speaker designed and voiced for music. Does anyone have any suggestions for differentiating the two kinds of products?

I have 2 5.1 systems at home. In both cases, I've used speakers that were purchased originally for music. They work great for home theater. If a speaker can reproduce music,and good vocals, why would it not be able to do home theater? You might not get earth shaking bass, but it's easy enough to add a sub if you want more. Remember the dialogue comes mainly from the center anyway. I would recommend you buy something that you enjoy for the music side. I can't imagine they will disapoint you when watching a movie.
Stick to speaker Mfgr's that you know from experience produce quality products that are music first types that are also capable of producing a speaker that can be used in a home theater environment.

I would look at the likes of: Dynaudio, Paradigm, Mirage, Monitor Audio, PSB, Focal, Energy, Polk, Klipsch, B&W, Thiel, NHT, KEF, Tannoy, Martin Logan, Revel, Tyler and Dali.

It has been said before and I concur.... If they make good music dialog is a piece of cake!
The thin tower speakers are made primarily so the can be next to a TV. that is the only reason for their existence.
So.. is that a good enough comment?
I bought some, Canton CD300 (funny $1000 each on sale $350) and am happy with them for front and surround HT.
My 'real' speakers for two channel are magnepan 3.6s.
To Tom6897's remark: the marquee's you suggest are the biggest culprits! They may have a high-end audio line, but they almost all also market the kinds of speakers I'm talking about.

Elizabeth is right: the shape is partly determined by the ease with which they can sit in as l/r main speakers in an ht environment. I'm not against giving budget conscious audiophiles a choice, but the choice should be intelligent, with an idea of how the speakers are designed and the way they are marketed.

For myself, my next pair of speakers will have to be speakers designed especially for stereo music. If it narrows my choices, that is a plus - the speaker market is already overcrowded. :)

Thin towers can fall down easier than fat ones :-)
I am not sure I understand what you mean as "culprits".

The companies I listed are not inexperienced or in any way incapable of providing excellent speakers for your purpose. The drivers, enclosures and craftsmanship are top shelf as well. They are also legendary names in audiophilia with reputations and history behind them.

Are you inferring that the PSB Synchrony or Imagine series, Dynaudio Contour S3.4, S5.4 or Focus 260, 340, Mirage OMD 15 or 28 or the B&W CM series are somehow not extremely qualified for music or HT? I assure that they are. I think the reviews will bear that out as will their owners.

The "Audiophile System pages" are littered with these brands. I myself have owned Dynaudio, Mirage, Energy and TAD which is Pioneer "high -end". I have been very happy with all of them during the time I had them in my systems. As to the shape, I find that inconsequential. I buy based upon sound and reputation of the mfgr.
I can think of several that fall into this area;Merlin and Dunlavy are the 2 that stand out; there is no way that I would consider them voiced for home theater. These are both world class speakers and should be only judged as how they perform not their physical size.
If its good for music, it should be good for main 2 channels of HT also.

In practice, it doesn't work as well in general the other way around, but there are always exceptions.
2 different arguments here, thin in home theater is for cosmetics, thin in 2 channel audio is for less speaker to cabinet defraction.
07-19-12: Rleff:
I can think of several that fall into this area;Merlin and Dunlavy are the 2 that stand out; there is no way that I would consider them voiced for home theater. These are both world class speakers and should be only judged as how they perform not their physical size.

Thanks for the recommendations. I forgot completely about Merlin - they're a great speaker!
07-19-12: Tom6897
I am not sure I understand what you mean as "culprits".

I am suggesting that some of these speakers are designed so that those who buy them for HT will find them well voiced for this purpose. That is all I am saying. Not that they aren't perfectly good music speakers.

However, I think I'm more interested in speaker lines that were R&D'd solely on the basis of how well they reproduce 2 channel music. This may not always be determined by the ad copy or by the information posted on the web site. Prolly the best way to find out the philosophy behind a speaker is to talk to the designer.