Do we really need anything more than 8" woofer and 1" tweeter for medium size room?


With the right electronics good 8" can go down very low and relatively clean. And if that's not enough, well, two 10" subs would do it. 
Opinions?
inna
The trend seems to be more smaller drivers verses fewer larger ones, no doubt to help keep the bass as accurate as possible. Multiple smaller drivers eventually add up to one bigger one at some point but I think some companies take this concept a bit too far.

IMO, the companies choosing to use a bass driver smaller than 7" are using the wrong tool for the job, no matter how cool or fashionable it looks.

I'm a fan of the 3 X 7" Bass Driver or 2 X 8" Bass Driver designs myself. They seem to offer a nice balance of deep bass and very good accuracy.
Hi Inna,  In general,  not absolutes... 8 inch woofers that go down well, don't go out well in the midrange. That's why you see so many 5 or 6 inch 2 ways, the smaller drivers go out in the midrange better. Again no absolutes,  I have certainly seen very good 8 inch 2 ways.... so now bass... anyway you look at it,  larger drivers move more air and increase the impact.  so yes, in my opinion, in general, an 8 inch 2 way is fine for a small to medium room and also yes,  a couple of 10's would do it.... If they go down well.
I have very nice 6" woofers in mine, sub is for movies only.

The trick isn't the electronics, it's the room acoustics. A lot of people try to get more bass with bigger speakers, and it sounds terrible.

A well designed 6 or 8" woofer in a good enclosure, with proper room acoustic treatment is a real marvel not enough get to hear.

Best,

Erik
My monitors have a 7" mated to a 1" and I have all the bass I need. It helps that my room is about 10’ X 15’ so I get very usable bass down to the mid 30Hzs. It’s only down 4-6 dbs by then so I can clearly hear and feel it. Just ask my neighbors. :-)

All the best,
Nonoise
Hi Tim. I would think that 8" driver is overall a good compromise. 7" is not enough for bass and 10" won't do for midrange. The unattainable ideal is one driver, right? Well, big electrostatics, but that's different, we are talking about dynamic speakers.
Erik, let's assume that room acoustics and wall current are done right.
I would say that my 8"/1" with 120 watts/ch Redgum integrated amp go down to low 30s in a pretty good fashion. Vifa drivers. But that's still only $1.5k speakers with $1.7k integrated. I can imagine that the same speakers would do much better in every respect with, say, class A Gryphon or older Rowland or Lamm hybrid, and many others. Not to mention better speakers with better drivers.
The speakers cost $1.5k 17 years ago, and the amp cost $1.7k 16 years ago.
Inna, I agree that all things being equal, 8" would be much better for bass but my room constraints would just exacerbate those room nodes. I've learned my lesson from having too big a speaker. Again, ask my neighbors. :-)

As to a single driver, I'm with you on this. I used to have a pair of Hornshoppe Horns which satisfied me for quite awhile but that 4" single driver just couldn't plumb the nether regions to my satisfaction. That, and the lack of "meat on the bones."

I just feel that since all speakers are a compromise, one should get one that gets the highs, mids and upper bass as close to perfect as possible within the confines of one's space: just let the room fill in the lower end as best as possible unless you're fortunate enough to have a room large enough to use a good subwoofer.

All the best,
Nonoise


I have AZ Adagois ...two 6" transmission line .they sound killer.fantastic  speaker for the bucks ..mine are on 1.5" audiopoints( starsound)
I must confess i do have a sub it gets some use ,but not all the time 30hz down ..

Assuming here the OP is referring mainly about stand mount speakers, here is my take.

I have a pair of Klipsch RB-75’s that have 8" woofers and 1.75" compression drivers(titanium) with 8" horns and boy do they play bigger than they have the right to. Strong tight punchy bass, clear articulate midrange, and detailed but not strident treble. Dynamics would be an understatement. They are essentially floorstanders with "bookshelf" cabinets(20.2" x 10" x 11.8", 32lbs). I have owned other bookshelf speakers with 8" woofers but with 1" tweeters and none have the presence, smoothness, and dynamics that the 75’s have. I have the RB-75’s paired with a Klipsch RSW-10d subwoofer in a 4000ft3+ room and the combo has no problem filling the space with some ear punishing dB’s.

With all that said, I do think a well designed 6.5"W/1"T speaker with a smallish sub can hold it’s own in a small/mid sized room with decent dynamics.

Bill
I got floorstanding speakers, use Polycrystal spikes and Boston Audio graphite tuneblocks for speakers under the spikes. Wooden floor.
The stand mount adagios jr. are two 6" and they are amazing! imho. i have the floorstanders and love em..I couldnt imagine a 10-12" woofer in any speaker for me anymore .i had ADS  something 15" yrs ago with 2 10" they were ok for the times.Bring the low end if needed with a single or two good subs.(Although i am oftem perplexed on this forum why people rave over very "inexpensive subs but yet spend 10k plus on spkrs).. good subs make the difference to me within reason for your setup of course.And a good 10"  or two 8" tucked away properly will bring that bottom in fo' sho' ...I feel like an ad for room treatment but that is one of the bigest changes in my sound i have ever made in low end 

Willand, I like your description of "they are essentially floor standers with bookshelf cabinets". That closely approximates how I feel with my Clearwave Duet 6 monitors.

All the best,
Nonoise
I humbly disagree with the statement concerning anything under 7" i have 2 6.5 underhung drivers transmission line design and they are inpressive .earth shattering low end no ..but i dont want that i want a nuetral linear sound and again i back it up with a sub 30ish down
Respect..
Nonoise,

Just looked up your speakers, they sure are dense, solid works of art.  Love the forward tapering top.

Bill
Bill, 
You can't really tell from the photos but that taper is on all sides of the  front baffle and it's 2" thick. Rapping my knuckles on it results in basically, pain. 

All the best,
Nonoise
Depends on the music. For lots of commercial "Pop" music, the lowest note in a recording may well be the open E string of a standard 4-string Bass (electric or standup), which produces a 42Hz tone. For Classical organ works recorded in a Church, that's an entirely different matter; the lowest note produced by the far left foot pedal of the largest Pipe Organs is at 16Hz!
The Spendor SP1 is still one of the best speakers I know. Have a pair and rotate it with bigger and more expensive speakers. Will not play insanely loud or get down to 30hz. Use a REL if you want low bass. If I had to take one speaker with me it would be the one.

My speakers have two 6" TL drivers per side, and a ribbon, and I augment them with an EQ'd 15" sub in my 24' x 20' room--but that's a personal choice. I listen mostly to rock, pop, and old-school R&B and country, and my combination of speakers/sub delivers a decent amount of impact in my treated room. But I think the choice depends a lot on room size and listening preferences.
The big unaddressed question from the OP is "What constitutes 'relatively clean'".   At 85db in a mid-sized room, most 8" woofers are distorting horribly.  The good news is that the ear isn't terribly sensitive at such low frequencies, so you don't necessarily hear it ...... Until you switch in lower distortion (read larger) drivers to handle the bass.

To get a visual sense of this, visit the subwoofer tests section at htshack.com.  You'll see that a purpose built 8" subwoofer driver (like the Velodyne SPL8) produces vastly more distortion tha a good 12" sub (say Rythmik) at the same frequency/spl.  If you think that tests aren't indicative, I'd suggest you actually try it in you own home.  I did, switching out the little Velos for the Rythmik 12s. Instantly evident improvement.

FWIW 
Bigger Drivers tend to work less harder. Small Drivers work harder.

The Room is very important, smaller drivers disappear easily with not much effort put into the Room acoustics. Larger drivers can disappear just as well but you need to work on the room further.
I like this comparison.   "There's no substitute for cubic inches"
in the automotive field.  So there's also no substitute for woofer size "modifying" Hoffman's Iron Law just a little
If you listen to only certain types of music and never exceed certain volume levels, then I imagine the truncated frequency response, limited dynamic range and high distortion levels of an 8" bass driver really wouldn't present a problem.  If you want to go loud, you'll need more than 8".  If you want to go low, you'll need more than 8".  If you want to go loud and low, then size really does matter.
@gvasale

In absolute terms you are right. There's no way to get high dynamic range and low distortion bass without moving a lot of air, which means driver diameter.  However....

With proper room treatment, placement and tuning a good 6" to 8" woofer has much better bass and dynamic range than most people realize. Also, the lower in response the speaker goes, the more listeners get into trouble with room modes. The quality of the bass output doesn't align with the quality of the mid and treble anymore.

In car terms, what good is power if you can't turn on a dime? :)

Of course, how much one values each of these qualities is very much subjective. If chest thumping is your nirvana, then inches are your salvation.

As always, it's your hard earned money, get what you like!

Best,

Erik
With my 89db speakers and 120 watt/ch amp almost any recording sounds intolerably loud if I dial the volume control in past 11 o'clock. Normal position is from 8 to 10. Also, most recordings have a lot of distortion. Yes, you can hear and feel more distortion at 11 than 10, but I don't have top level electronics. We are talking about audiophiles not "chest pumping" whatever you want to call them.
Size does sometimes matter but still it is quality over quantity. 8" woofer can be very capable, just give it a current.
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Focal Utopia or Grand Utopia would probably be my choices, but not for medium size room, or no.
I was responding to the post that got removed while I was typing.
Ya thanks inna trying not to make waves ..
Respect i still say if i had the bucks jl then after that it gets real pricey spkrs would be az cresendos again just measly 6.5" drivers lmao .. Unreal for 20 k retail 15 on the market 
Yeah, good stuff should cost a lot, no objection from me. If someone claims that his $5k one 8" driver can do what others cannot, I'll say okay let's hear it.
As an example of something completely different, I just bought $400 5.5" custom knife mostly for the kitchen, though it can be used for many things. And you know what, it's a big bargain, it cuts thru everything like hell and edge holding is incredible. The man who made it is considered to be on top five list of American bladesmiths.
Great speakers should cost at least $25k or so, I would think. That's the reason why I am not thinking for now to upgrade what I have. I would need about $10k to get a great used pair, anything less would give me some improvement but no satisfaction.

Inna, here's a link that will bring the reality of what is being discussed into the light of day; we are not discussing "frequency" in an absolute sense, but music which incorporates a multitude of frequencies that bring a multitude of harmonics into play at any one given instant.


    http://www.psbspeakers.com/articles/The-Frequencies-of-Music


I had a hearing test that proved I have excellent hearing. I also went to a speaker store that generated "straight frequencies" that were not music, and I couldn't hear much over 16K. Now those two facts are in contradiction, because I know I can hear over 16K; therefore the answer must lie in the "harmonics".

If you look at the music chart in the link, you will see that not a lot of music is produced over 16K, but I can tell the difference in tweeters that produce very high frequencies, and those that don't; here again, the answer evidently lies in the "harmonics".

Although I'm an electronic tech who thought he had all answers in the days of Julian Hirsch, and Stereo Review. It was not until I got into the high end, that I discovered I don't have all the answers. For example; how can someone who knows absolutely nothing about electronics, know more than I do about the same subject in regard to speakers?

When it comes to "specifications" and the reality of the way we hear music, those are two different worlds; the "audiophile" who doesn't understand specifications, but knows the reality of the quality of sound that emanates from various speakers, trumps all specifications.



Enjoy the music.
Orpheus10, I think you are taliking about the perception and processing of those harmonics that you mentioned. Within the context of this thread, the designer of the drivers must be very advanced in terms of the ability to accoplish that. In other words, he/she must also be a 'musician' and audiophile, in addition to scientist and engineer.
When art and science come together then we get a true outcome.
Listen to enough live music and your concept of what the bottom end and room ambience are supposed to sound like will change.
Nothing will change. Room is a small box compared to concert hall or even to a jazz club. It means it is a very different environment.
I am sure that all participants here heard enough of live music. Live music can sometimes sound terrible too, so can poorly made and tuned instruments.

Inna, I just compared a 6 inch woofer on a two way, to headphones, to 12 inch woofer in the listening room. Bass is bass; naturally the 6 inch woofer on the two way in the bed room came up short, but so are the quality of the electronics. The headphones were better than the two way in regard to bass.

Since I've never had anything other than a 12 inch woofer, I can't comment on that, but a 12 inch woofer "feels" right; in other words I'm accustomed to "feeling" the bass. In regard to economics, an 8 inch woofer could cost more, and be of a higher quality than a 12 inch woofer, but the biggest cost increase is the cabinet; and that's more of a reflection of the manufacturers cost increase versus profit.

Without actually knowing the difference, I think you should audition the difference in your listening room. The enjoyment of music is very important to me; it's my main enjoyment, and when the economic factor is within reason, the only thing left is discovery. Audition speakers with 12 inch woofers in your listening room; in your listening room is a must because 12 inch woofers cause resonance problems.


Enjoy the music.
Yes you do.
Orpheus10, I understand. One aspect of living in a rented apartment is that you can or have to move within a year. Speakers that work in one apartment may not work just as well in another. Two way 8"/1" would work in just about any smaller/medium size room. Besides, I don't really need to feel the bass the way you imply. But yeah, when listening to Helborg/Velez first track of Ars Moriende album, I wish the rig could go lower and better when going lower. I wonder what would it be like if I had, say, Lamm hybrid monos and tube preamp with the same speakers? Still, 8" woofer, at least this one, would probably be not good enough for this kind of music, but you never know until you try only suspect.

Quote: The big unaddressed question from the OP is "What constitutes 'relatively clean'".   At 85db in a mid-sized room, most 8" woofers are distorting horribly.  The good news is that the ear isn't terribly sensitive at such low frequencies, so you don't necessarily hear it ...... Until you switch in lower distortion (read larger) drivers to handle the bass.

That's really a loaded statement.... 85db is nothing. On todays drivers with stiffer cone materials, quality spiders and surrounds We really shouldn't be looking at horrible distortion... of course,  there was nothing said about the frequency that distortion was measured at, nor the normal excursion limits of the driver measured, its true that woofers normally have higher distortion than smaller drivers,  but overall,  today,  you just can't apply the above statement to "Most" 8 inch woofers. 

Tim

Need more than an 8" woofer?  Yes.

Get a large,sealed subwoofer and see just how much DEEP BASS you are actually missing in your music. My main Tekton speakers (Lore Impulse) are using pretty cheap 10" Eminence paper woofers and these speakers play LOW (and I mean LOW) already, but the REL G1 is generating bass tones and articulation below 20hz that I have never even heard before.
Do we really need anything more than 8" woofer and 1" tweeter for medium size room?

I once owned a pair of S.P. Technology Timepiece 3.0’s - lovely speakers. It featured a low fs 8" Seas woofer/mid and a 8-10" waveguide loaded 1" tweeter from SB acoustics, crossed over at about 800Hz. I’d never heard a sole 8" woofer per channel load a mid-large sized room with clean, deep bass down to (or even below) 30Hz as implemented here. The problem with my specific listening environment was that they simply overpowered the room in the central to lower bass, something that could have been dealt with more effectively than I ended up doing, but I also found they lacked the proper energy and snap in the upper bass/lower mids - perhaps co-influenced by the problems in the bass region (the solution turned out to be seeking speakers that housed bigger bass/mid drivers, at the cost of lower bass extension - more on that later).
The stand-out sonic feature of the Timepiece’s, as I heard it, was their waveguide loaded tweeter. For some years I’ve avoided direct radiating tweeters, because I find they sound more like small and strained domes rather than the instruments they should be emulating with a sense of ease. The waveguide de-stresses the dome tweeter of the Timepieces, making it perform with significantly lower distortion, and ends up multiplying its effective radiation area equivalent approximately to that of the mouth area of the waveguide (close to 10"). The high frequencies here didn’t sound like a tweeter, but like an extension of the frequencies below it with actual substance and a wonderful sense of fullness and dynamics; it sounded rather live. So, is a sole 1" direct radiating dome tweeter enough? No, if you ask me - certainly not unassisted.
To alleviate the problems in the bass region (to some extent by virtue of absence), and more significantly those of the upper bass/lower mids, I have ended up preferring a larger sized unit here - at first 12," and currently a hornloaded 15" driver. Not every 12" or 15" driver would do - certainly not those long-throw, heavy weight, polypropylene-like diaphragm and low fs units - but that’s another story unto itself.
To me larger paper coned bass/mid drivers simply offer a more realistic, full and relaxed tone compared to smaller, non-paper coned units, but typically they don’t do this without a sacrifice: lack of low bass extension. A light paper coned 12" or even a 15" bass/mid driver that doesn’t delve much below 40Hz may sound "smaller" in a sense compared to a deep-diving 8" hi-fi driver, but they generally offer something very else in terms of tone and naturalness. For true low-bass extension a subwoofer would be called for with this type of larger diameter drivers.
Whether an 8" driver would be "enough" in a mid-sized room depends on the specific nature of the question. 8" drivers can go low, but where they do and act as mids seem to sacrifice the latter, and that goes for even smaller (or bigger drivers) drivers as well. A higher fs 8" may deliver fine mids, but I suspect would come up short in the upper bass region. The aim for more radiation area, higher sensitivity and how the coupling to the air is achieved is, unless we’re dealing with pro use, not so much, if really at all about max. SPL or punch-in-the-chest abilities as it has to do with ease of presentation and overall naturalness. Pushing a limited radiation area rather violently (and using more effort), or a bigger ditto more gently - I believe it to be of significant importance, just as radiation area in itself is.

Inna, in regard to low frequencies, we're talking about feeling as much as hearing; that means moving a lot of air, which is a bad thing for apartment living. I think what you have is the best for your situation. Another 8 inch speaker might be more expensive and sound better, but wont help in regard to lower bass; that's a purely physical thing involving the volume of air that is moved on each excursion of the speaker.

In regard to Phusis post on pushing a rather limited amount of air violently; that achieves lower bass, but how does it blend with the rest of the music if it's a sub woofer?

Inna, I used a 12 inch woofer in my bedroom, and my son in the next bedroom complained, so I nixed the 12 inch woofer; lower bass will create more problems for you, than it will solve.


Enjoy the music.


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Phusis, that's the task for a driver designer to find the best compromise possible. 
Orpheus10, yes coherence is much more important than frequency extention. That's one of the reasons, perhaps the most important one, of why one set-up sounds right even if not at all perfect and another one wrong even if it could sound impressive for the first minute.

8" is too small. Show me a speaker with an 8" driver that goes down to 20hz with less than 5% distortion? Not room gained down to 20hz but real output. 
@james633

Show me music that has that much content below 40 Hz. Show me an affordable speaker that goes down to 20 Hz with measured low distortion. Show me a modest living room that doesn’t have significant room modes below 80 Hz.

So, I think for a lot of people, properly set up, 6" to 8" is a sweet spot.

Is it perfect? No, but, properly set up, it’s magical. For specmanship not so much, but spec’s don’t listen to music.

Getting that last octave right is a challenge financially, aesthetically and effort.

I have a Hsu 15" 1,500 watt subwoofer sitting right next to my main speakers with 6.5" woofers right now. It's not even going to be plugged in until I have guests over for movies. Why? Huge pain in the butt to get right. :) I've experimented and carefully calibrated it for music in the past.  It was honestly a "Meh" experience.

Depends of course on what part of music you want to experience. If that last octave is where you live and breathe of course this would be unnaceptable. 

By the way, these speakers have convincing output to 30 Hz in room and can play much more loudly than I care to listen.

Best,


Erik
Here by the way is a really good 2 way speaker kit with a 10" woofer, would run you around $1k to build it yourself.

https://www.madisoundspeakerstore.com/2-way-speaker-kits/seas-a26-10-2-way-kit-pair-based-on-the-cla...

I have no financial interest in whether anyone here buys them or not, just thought I'd offer it up to any who might be reading. One of the big advantages to building this kit is you can set the treble balance exactly how you like it. :) 

Best,


Erik
X2 on show me the music .
What constitutes affordable? I will say it till im blue in the face there are numerous spkrs with smaller drivers that are beyond killer . I have had probly 40 pairs of spkr in my yrs . Again my cerwin vegas in the 80 would peel your face off audiophlie nada . Kef,infinity,polk,logans,ads,ar, maggies,proac etc. etc rel velodyne hrs sunfire 8-15" subs etc . Jazz progressive rock and Rock mostly,guitarist arist for 30 yrs . I have adagios in my audio room 2 6.5" underhung transmission line floor standers love them . Sunfire hrs12" 1000w sealed spiked sub . Rarely turn it on treated room . Earth shattering bass no, bass hell yes. Room treatment and eguipment play a huge roll . 500-700 bks does not make a world class sub lets get what the goal and budget are first . A serious 12" driver alone is 500bks if you want to rattle the walls go big if you want accurate ya better be ready to drop big bks if your talking audiophile quality. Jl is the mark imo for the bks around 2k for a 12" . I would rather have two 10" jl audios then dam near any single any size sub until you start talking serious bks 5k up each .classical music generally goes much deep then rock as most of you already know
jmho
If you listen to big orchestra and opera you are in trouble from all directions beginning with the recordings and the size of the room. Any system that can convincingly separate and reproduce 100 instruments? They don't even quite know how to record it. Understandable, that's very very tough. Suppose they managed to get it close, you will need half a million dollar or more system in a giant room to make it more or less believable. One can still enjoy it under more achievable circumstances provided the expectations are not high.

inna-


an excellent 8" sub will work fine (Sunfire).