Bookshelf speakers? I've yet to see or hear a bookshelf speaker on a shelf. I will say this: there is no better way to kill the dynamics, soundstage, the whole nine, of a speaker, then to put it on a bookshelf. If they are monitor type speakers or bookshelf, they, inorder to sound best, should be placed on stands. Killer speakers, require killer stands. Many of us, falsely think, we're going to save money with little monitor speakers and a subwoofer, rather than a floorstander. Forgeddabout it. The cost of the STANDS. Many forget the importance of the stands and the true extension of the speaker that is inherent in them. There is no better (well there are, but...)way to kill your speaker than place it on a crappy stand. Bookshelf? Nah. Just means they're small enough to put there, but why would you? peace, warren
Great question...most of the advantages of a bookshelf design are due to improved imaging(how accurately instruments and vocals are presented)...that is the smaller enclosure does not "smear" the sound as much...(difraction)...that being said...the added bass extension of a floorstander can have a more "seamless" intergration with a sub...however...in near field listening...this is less of an issue...but your right...the hidden costs of stands...which are pricey (for good ones)...can inflate the cost of a bookshelf substantially....hope this helps....
Warren, if I'm not mistaken, Eeerie1 acknowledges the need for stands in his question. Regardless, to try to 'answer' (ha!) the darn thing, I'm going to waffle - I think in some situations, it can be easier to integrate a sub when the speakers are not strong in the lower ranges, and the reverse can be true in other situations.
But I will say this: I wouldn't choose my speakers based on any theorizing about the sub factor - I'd try to get the speakers that sound the best in my room for my budget, a criteria that could wind up pointing towards either type of speaker, and then worry about integrating a sub afterwards. If the sub is for movies, and it's not seamlessly integrated, it often won't matter all that much; OTOH, it it's for music and it can't be seamlessly integrated, then you're better off without it anyway, providing you've already chosen the speakers that sound best to you in your application.
My own personal preference is: If you mostly listen to full-range, dynamic music, or in a larger room or at higher volumes, then try to get a full-range speaker if you can fit it into the room and the budget; if you listen mostly to small-scale, quieter music, or in a smaller room, you might well be able to take advantage of better quality for the same price (excepting those pesky stands), and quite possibly better imaging, with a stand-mounted speaker. In other words, everything I've said basically = saying the sub is not the determining factor when it comes to deciding which or what kind of speakers to get, but rather that the sub should follow the lead of the speakers (and therefore by extension [Sorry!] also the room and the source material used).
Complicating the matter some more is the fact that not all floor-standers qualify (or try to) as 'full-range' speakers in the first place, so simply dividing your choices into groups based on configuration is somewhat of a false distinction. Also, if you are using an amp the isn't a great choice for trying to control the woofers of a larger speaker design, you may be better off relegating more of this duty over to a sub with its own internal amp, so speaker/amp matching, as always, can come into play. Hope that made sense...I have my doubts...but anyway it may not be of much practical help... ;^)
This article talks some about bookshelf/monitor v. floorstanding design.
"I'm wondering if it is easier to integrate a sub with a more full range speaker, than with a bookshelf that may only go to 40 or 50 Hz"
The deeper down low you can cross, the phase and directionality issues become easier to integrate to a certain extent--longer wavelengths. The question is still to tough to answer given all the variables.
Oh this is one that's not a simple answer situation indeed. So much here depends on the gear being used, and the application, as well as the skill and knowledge of the person setting it up! I can't understate that last part enough.
ONe thing to consider, would be whether you are only doing 2 channel application, or multi channel HT/music set up. The latter tends to work best crossed over through some kind of crossover network, where the sub is playing the demanding bass info, and everything else is handled by the monitor.
I've heared a lot of people's systems for 2 channel, where it's better to play a full range speaker "full range", and play the sub in parallel. Usually however, this set up works best for the less demanding bass and heavy dynamics stuff I think. Surely most any passive speaker played full range for movies needs to have the bass chores taken off it's shoulders, and carried by the active powerd sub(s). In the case of DD/DTS movies, you're largely going to be better off crossing over even large towers as "small", playing the bass to a sub bellow about 80hz(also note proper sub set up for integration and localization is mandatory). THX recommends this situation, and it works very well set up correctly. And unless your speaker are active, and play low with bigger bass drivers, or you have active subs at least in your main speakers, playing your speakers as as "small", with the sub playing bellow that is the way to do it for DD/DTS movies.
With lots of music however, given the quality of the gear and actual set up appication, alot of people may get overall better results playing the speaker(bookshelf or floor stander) full range, and letting the sub play in parallel up to where the speaker roll off. If the speaker playes down low enough(like a lot of floor standers), you might have some overlap from where the sub plays up to and where the mains play down to. This is a compromise probably in ultimate "ideal terms", especially when you consider most subs adjustable crossovers start at like 40hz and go up! If you're full range speaker plays down to say 25-30 hz, you will be overlapping. But, notthings perfect. And there's likely an accepable balance to be had there.
Still, I find that for most of my needs, using either full range or bookshelf isn't that critical to match with a sub for most applications. I do prefer the smaller monitor with a sub, but I can get great results with either. They just take different care a bit. Either way, I'm crossing over the mains as "small" through a pre/pro for HT, and maybe heavy rock, techno, whatever. Dynamic bass heavy stuff does better through an Active sub bellow 80hz in my oppinion/experiences, and I don't care about "ultimate sonic purity" when listening to that stuff..so I don't mind enlisting the help of my digital pre/pro for that kind of music, so it's a trade off. But dynamically, the sound is more held together, more effortlessly dynamic, and distortion free when using the crossover. Again, everything still needs to be set up right. And if someone's not experienced in setting things up correctly (most aren't), then playing your speakers full range, and trying to fill in the bottom a bit with a sub might be the best scenario.
I've seen my share of set up's with small monitors and full rangers a like, where the sub isn't set up well in relation to the speakers, and it's better to have the sub maybe "off" for music. Alot of why subs get a bad rap from audiphiles, stems dirrectly from poor set up, even more so than quaility of product!
I would mostly recommend full range passive speakers for people who are going to listen to more full range music, and want to keep the ultimate sonic purity and full range sound together as simple as possible. Then they can use the processors internal crossover set to "small" for movie applications, letting the sub do bellow 80hz. I find this the best for dynamic capability.(like THX). I do however think for most peoples applications and high end music tastes(if that's your gig), small quality monitors on stands might be the best way to go, even played full range in parallel to a sub filling in the bottom, or without. Then, for movies, you still cross over to "small"(80hz or so), and let the sub play bellow that. Or, basically even play the small monitors just by themselves for music, as with most types of music people are likely going to listen to, you might not need the sub. INfact a lot of small monitors will still play respectably down to the high 40hz reigion just fine. I happen to prefer the smaller monitors for quality, price, flexibility, immaging, and convenience often. But again, you can get excellent results either way if you know how to set things up.
All in all, I think either full range or bookshelf can do excellent with a sub if set up right. But I tend to prefer the flexibilty of the smaller monitor, as I'm still going to cross over even the larger speakers as "small" when it comes movie time.
Hope this helps
Lots of variables here. We all seem to agree with that. I prefer to let my main speakers run full range and let my sub handle only the Hz my mains cannot. Therefore, a very low crossover is desirable, for my taste. If your mains are very limited in the lower end, this can be very problematic. Subwoofer integration will be much more difficult. Certainly, not impossible, but tricky.
Z, I forgot to mention: E, does mention the stands, but almost as an incidental sidebar. It sounds like he was discounting them, by putting his speakers on a bookshelf. At least that's the way I read it. Maybe I'm wrong on that. I'm not for anything other than books on a bookshelf. Stands are critical with these little babies.
Thanks for all the input. I guess I wasn't clear enough in my question... sorry for the confusion. I acknowledge the need for a good stand with a "bookshelf" speaker. My question probably should've read, "besides the fuller range of a floorstander, what are the advantages/disadvantages of bookshelf (monitor) versus floor stander?" I'll also check out the link Ezmeralda mentioned. By the way, while my speaker was meant as a general question, I'm specifically looking at the Dynaudio 1.3 vs 1.8 (and leaning strongly to the 1.8... great deal on a new Mk2 locally).
Dennis, if you're thinking of the Dynaudios (great speakers), check into the Revel M20s. I love mine. With my stands (read my review, in the archives--Sistrum Mini Monitor Platforms) and sub, (and, of course, a few good electronics, to boot) I'm grooving. Be prepared, though. Monitors are VERY revealing. Imaging, yes, is quite amazing. If you set these babies up right you'll be one happy camper. good luck. peace, warren
Dennis, I have had good results with both my old Vandersteen 2Ce's with two subwoofers (Snell Sub 550's) and my new B&W CDM 1NT's. For both types of speakers, I run the subs in parallel with the mains. I haven't had any trouble integrating the subs with either type of speaker. I have an external crossover that seems to make this pretty easy. After having both, I think I prefer monitor type speakers. Visually they don't seem to dominate the room as much as larger floor standers and they image like crazy.
I second the comment on the Revel M20's (although I wouldn't kick the Dynaudio's out of my listening room). I almost purchased the M20's but they were a little out of my price range.
So it sounds like, in general, monitors are better performers than floor standers, correct? In that case, it's probably better to go the sub/monitor route. I will note that one of the most important things for me is the "speed" of the speaker (at least that's what I call it -somespeakers don't seem to have the resolution for fast percussion, so you have to really listen for it... is this what is referred to as the dynamics of a speaker?).
Warrenh, Mmowry, how do the Revel M20s differ from the Dynaudio 1.3SE? I'm going to listen to the 1.3SE today....
Thanks for the advice... it has really been invaluable.
Oh, and the bass being really tight (and hopefully with weight) is also very important to me. I don't like sloppy, diffused bass. I forgot to mention this in my previous post.
The difference between the M20's and 1.3SE's is hard for me to answer. I listened to both, but on different weekends at my local dealer. Honestly, I wasn't seriously listening to the 1.3SE's with the intent to purchase (they were way out of my price range). When I listened to the M20's, it was at the dealer's other store in a different room (I was actually there to compare the B&W N805's to the M20's). I was blown away by the M20's (N805's weren't too bad either). They had a nice balanced sound with what I thought was darn good bass extension for a monitor. The Revel stands do leave a little bit to be desired (it didn't appear that you can fill them with lead or sand), but at least Revel isn't robbing you with their stand prices like B&W seems to want to do. I suggest you take both speakers home and try them in your system. Due to the small size of both speakers, it shouldn't be a big deal to borrow the speakers from your local dealer(s) on a Saturday night for an extended audition.
Don't have a clue about the Dynaudios. Never heard them. The Revel stands suck. Yeh, you're right, they don't rob you $ wise. Just sound wise. I liked the M20s much better than the 805s. Just because I like the M20s better, doesn't mean you will. I'm sure there are one or two, out there, who chose the 805s over the M20s. Well, at least one. Happy listening. warren