Floor standers or Monitors?

I'd very much like to have things simple. simple is best IMO. it's not always that easy though.

I'm finding more often than not so called 'full range' speakers, aren't quite so full range. OK. 30hz is fine by me. Maybe even 40hz. but flat at, not -3db or more off at that point.

Also with Eff in mind I'm about give up on finding reasonably high eff floorstanders to provide full range sonics and am seriously considering going the monitor + sub route. Figuring a pair of 2K - 3K monitors should surpass 2k - 3k floor units, save for the lowest octaves.

Then what have been other's considerations here in selecting monitors vs. floorstanders, or vice versa?

Only esthetics?

I feel personally a set of monitors and sub (s), for the same money being spent on a pair of uprights, should surpass the performance of a pair of floor standers, shouldn't they?

Or am I being too simplistic?
First question is bass quality. How do you like it? I have trouble with integrating subs very well. For me, great bass is super important and for that I find that monitors +sub can't compete with floorstanders. At least so far.

However one big advantage of going with monitors + sub is that you can dial out your primary room mode if you do it carefully. You can have monitors that roll off before your room mode and then set your sub's crossover to be right below the mode. This can work great in a problematic room where floorstanders would never quite work out (unless you sacrifice bass extension, of course).

For high eff in a full range floorstander, I would take a look at Coincident Technology out of Canada. They aren't speakers on the beaten path but they are designed with a careful balance between extenstion and efficiency. Their reviews are excellent overall. And I bet your BAT would love their fantastic impedance curves.

I don't think you can generalize that monitors would surpass floorstanders in the same price range. It will absolutely depend on your priorities. Note that not everyone here will have the same priorities you do.

Von Schweikert, among others, have addressed the problem by producing speakers which are comprised of two seperate cabinets. An upper mid/trebile box and a lower bass module, physically separated from one another to isolate lower bass cabinet resonance from the upper unit. Seems to work quite well. I know I love mine and it seems to produce the level of imaging and separation I get from the monitors in my secondary system.
Good points from Arthur. I'd add my own generalization about the two different routes: Floorstanders certainly lend a fullness in the low end that monitors will fall short on. If the floorstander is a 3-way (or more), vs. a 2-way monitor, where I've found the monitor excels is in creating a more laser-focused image of instruments/vocalists in space whereas the multi-way floorstanders tend to diffuse that image slightly. It is not as much a matter of sound staging (width/depth), but one of focus. Monitors seem to be champs at both disappearing and at creating a very convincing soundstage, though I've heard some floorstanders that are pretty damn good. I think both designs well-implemented can do a great job creating a soundstage, but the fewer and closer the drivers, and the fewer the crossover points, it seems to me the more focused and sharp (lifelike, if it occurs to you that way) the images themselves become. This is one of the ways single-driver and concentric driver speakers excel, where the full range of sound is coming from a single point (or a single point on each side). Again, this is a generalization based upon my personal experiences over the years. I like what each route has to offer. I've not done much listening with subs, so can't comment much there, other than integrating them into system and room is ever so critical.

Blindjim, I think you've come to the same conclusion I did after building two M&K 2.1 sat/sub systems. I can't imagine ever considering floorstanders again.
yes, thanks much. I've not had Coincident, or Silverline, (which those two seem nigh on the first thoughts in high eff FS usually), but felt perhaps monitors + subs would be capable of attaining as good a performance level.

My sole concern is as you said, integration.

thanks, I believe you pointed to the item I now see more clearly, as the diffs I do precieve between FS & Mons. Focus.

I have two sets of speakers now FS & MONS. Over the past few days I've heard the mons... today I placed the FS. Apart from the greater range of the FS the mons are hands down way more focused. I could live quite easily with mons & a sub or two.

I suppose for me it comes down to the price of addmission. Mons that'll hit 40 before rolling off in a mid sized room and perform well tonaly shouldn't be out of reach... and I can add subs as I go.

Apart from the seemingly only reasonable choices the coins and Silvers, one piece floorstanders with good and deep bass are IMO priceyer by some bit.

...or I'm not looking in the right areas or brands.

One other thing, the two sets of speakers I have now a vastly different in the 'load' area. I have found just between these two samples, that the 85db 8ohm two ways, are near half as much trouble to drive as are the 87db 4ohm FS... just looking at the volume knob on the preamp is my high tech test method.

the 4ohm'er is a couple notches above the 8ohm'ers for about the same level. I do get a loud enough vol though with either. Just hate to push the gear more than I need to... so I figure 91-92db at 8ohm should do it... on paper.

Hi joe!
I do understand, and their bottom end wasn't bad at all, but mine are gone. sooo, next?

Of the loads of speaker makers runing the highways and byways of audioland, aren't there other choices besides Mr. Bloom's & mr. yun's units to consider in the realm of easy load and near full range without resorting to Hornsville?
Oh, and without too much 'unobtainium' in them too.
I feel personally a set of monitors and sub (s), for the same money being spent on a pair of uprights, should surpass the performance of a pair of floor standers, shouldn't they?

Any time you have woofers covering a less strenuous or broad frequency range then there is an opportunity for better clarity and lower distortion.....as long as the integration is properly designed (best stick with same manufacturer).

A sealed sub and sealed monitors instead of ported floorstanders is a great way to go.
Not opposed to doing FS, just having a hard time finding good sounding ones with the things I need, decent price,m easy load, 91-92db, and reasonable bottom end impact and res.

I don't feel mons are without issues either but mostly they represent at least easier loads. Mostly.
"...aren't there other choices besides Mr. Bloom's & mr. yun's units to consider in the realm of easy load and near full range without resorting to Hornsville? "

Ummm, have you given the Gallo Reference 3.1s a listen? They reach down to the lower 30s (without the sub amp, 22Hz with the sub amp), approx. 88-89db efficiency, have outstanding sonics and an immense sweet-spot. In addition, their tweeter is simply amazing. I know someone who is driving his quite nicely with less than 20 watts a side. I see them all the time here on Audiogon for $2k - $2500...

Just to point out some flaws in the distintion between floorstanders and monitors: My Cain Abbys are floorstanders with a single driver and all the positives and negatives of monitor - as Marco (Jax2) pointed out the destinction should really be between single driver, two way and multiway/multidriver speakers. Otherwise I will have to put my floorstanding Abbys into the monitor category.

As far as value for money goes: IMO the less drivers the better the value for money in many aspects - imaging, coherence, efficiency - there is something to be said for single driver speakers (just my personal poinion though). Adding a fast sub to a single driver, althoug difficult, seems like one of the best ways to achieve good, close to full-range sound.

Of course there are exeptions to any "rule" :)

Blindjim ;
Have you heard the Reference 3a Di capo i's ?
You can compare them to your past VS speakers and also to the Gallo's . All at the same time , place and with the same equipment ! The Di Capo i's will meet most of your requirements except ... they do much better with tubes !
Heck you could even checkout the Nola's and Ushers too .
By now I think that you know where I am refering you too .

Good luck .
Shadorne thanks much,
"A sealed sub and sealed monitors instead of ported floorstanders is a great way to go."

....please say Why this is so?

Restock I do apprreciate it.
I certainly have considered Abbey's. Prior to this thread it seems I have been ignoring or overlooking the idea about less drivers being better than more drivers... gee, I hate to put it that way, but...

As initially and usually, find the simpler way best overall, I can see how better imaging is resultant of fewer speakers in the mix.

So then, if less is indeed more in that respect, a near full range 3 driver FS should equal a pair of mons & sub. Personally I don't feel other than on paper, that's right though.

Fact is I just haven't been able to find affordable FS units which are truly satisfying in the area below 35-40hz.

...and now with my present bent on tube amps, and intentions to likely wind up with a 30wpc amp or no more than 60-75wpc, I need either way, something those sorts of amps will run without having to reload speakers each time I make an amp change. So I see an 8ohm load or flat impedance curve a necessity, as well as a minimum 92-93db sens, given the room size & LP... maybe 94db... and the price tag to be reasonable, around 3-3.5K and used is better IMO.

...any recomeds in that respect aside from Coincident or Silverline?
haha! ya got me... and you're right. it's just such a chore getting over there and back for me. but I do love Brian when he ain't being rushed or real busy. he's a real world wealth of info too.

we'll see if I can arrange that little trip soon. sure hate to lug my amp along though...
Any time you have woofers covering a less strenuous or broad frequency range then there is an opportunity for better clarity and lower distortion

To give the relief to the mains you mention; doesn't this always necessitate sending the signal through the added stage of the crossover in the sub's amplifier section? Would that also not pose some risk of somehow affecting that signal by sending it through added cables and circuits? The alternative is to send the pre-out to both amp and sub amp (requiring two pre-outs or a splitter), but then wouldn't that negate the effect you are describing of taking some of burden off the main speakers to push the lower frequencies? I'm just curious, because I've heard this very supposition before and wondered about it.

Marco, you are correct that there is a penalty for sending the signal through a crossover. However, the cost in distortion is a fraction of 1% (class A active crossover) compared to easily 10% distortion coming off the woofer.

Take a look at the speaker distortion measurements over at Soundstage. High passing a monitor (even most supposed full range floorstanders) is a very big win.

The bottom line is that nothing comes close to distorting the signal like speakers.
Jim- If you can live with fast bass down to about 30 hz, the Merlin VSMs may work for you. Flat, benign impedence curve but depending on room size, you may need to go a bit higher in wattage (Atms m-60s worked just fine in a 14.5 x 23' x 8.5' room). Used price should be in the upper part of your range.
On paper, monitors + subs will almost certainly "outperform" equivalent price floorstanders if you only look at the raw numbers.

The problem is this: Most subs are designed for loudest deepest possible bass in smallest possible box, and such details as sound quality and integration with main speakers are often not given high priority. I have owned, sold & built monitors, subs, and floorstanders.

If you do go the monitors + sub route, I highly recommend you get two subs. Look for models that have a 4th order lowpass filter on the subwoofer, as rapidly rolling off the upper range of the subwoofer will avoid detriment to the upper bass and midrange region.

Many subwoofers have a high pass filter to roll off the bottom end of the main speakers. They inevitably use cheap capacitors in this generic filter. I do not recommend using it; in my experience the result is loss of liveliness and greater listening fatigue. If you want to protect the satellites from low frequencies, either use an active crossover or a passive line-level crossover between preamp and power amp (which will necessitate sending a line-level signal from the preamp to the subwoofer).

Although in general fullrange floorstanders are smoother in the bass region, imho a system using two or more high quality subwoofers can potentially deliver very smooth in-room bass if set up properly, and may even surpass the fullrange speakers in this respect. I can go into detail on how this is possible if you'd like, though I've posted about it in other threads.

Another option is Triangle speakers. Incredible resolution, imaging, and efficiency from both their floorstanders and monitors. I had a pair of Antal ESw in my system and they sounded great. I also used to own a pair of Comete ES monitors and regret having sold them.

Just get the Jumpin Cactus' and be done with it.
I have so far always had the province to use the output of the proc or pre's being used for the driving of the sub.... not passsing it off from the amp to the speakers. I just figured to save the dough on doubling the expense of a second set of speaker cables that way.

I feel bass far more than articulate it. it impresses me always that some are capable of actually being able to discern artifacts below 30 or so hz. so acutely. Changes there, sure, I notice changes there. tonally though? Not as well. I feel the bootom end more so than hear it.

Bass fiddle goes to 41hz. Piano a touch less. Only Drums and organs reside lower. Kick and bass drums are more so impcatful than tuneful to me.

A solid bottome end however does set the table for the balance of the music... see reviews of good subs by owners and agents... especially those of the Rel camp. to a person they indicate the help of the sub to the upper regions of the musical pallet. I agree.

I am stuck in the mud as to a distinct advantage apart from the aforementioned imaging of monitors being decidedly better than FS units.

The cohesion factor seems only to remain with integrating monitors and sub... and one respondant said look to the same makere of monitors to that end... which really does make sense. Wouldn't they know the shortcomings of their speakers best?

the whole 'shebang' for me, here, is getting some advice on brands and models that will work "either path" to a satisfactory end with lesser powered amps.

I am getting a lot less picky lately, yet I do wish to improve upon the level of performance the JR's provided me by way of a more musical sounding presentation.. not simply one of accurate depiction... if you catch my drift here.

Maybe I ask too much. The JRs did sound good to me.. just not great, or even excellent, only occassionally.

I trust given the price for them, there are better out there. Not just different which will suit my needs for a bit more eff and easy load.

I am a bit confused about Triangle and their price points. I have only looked breifly at the info online about them. Another French speaker maker Renaud was also pointed out to me.

when I hear words like extreme resolution I tend to shy away, as I do not wish a clinical or sterile sound. My front end, cables and such are now so that should not be at issue, but those words still threaten me... transparency is far more attractive a word to me. the treble for me meeds to be non articulate as well. Insightful yes, and maybe sweet is better used here.

triangles do that? and don't need lots of power to preform realy well??

Jumping Cactus. Interesting. The name sure is attractive. you won't soon lose that in a parking lot. Hmmmm I'll look into them some. thanks so very much for that option.

Hmmmm Most curious.

I am about to pull the trigger on something. What, I do not know... I just hope the barrel is in the right direction.

I was hoping you would have said the Lipinskis were the real deal though.

As options are truly what I seek now I sure appreciate that one. It's hard to put into words just how much in fact.
If you want to try something with an entirely different presentation than your VR4 Jr, and if you'd like the opportunity to try it in your home for 4 months before you have to make a decision, then consider Ohm loudspeakers. They have several models tuned for specifically for different room sizes. They go deep (into the mid 30s), have relatively small footprints, and start at $1700/pair.

They require some power, though. Low power amps (less than 100wpc) probably won't get the job done.

Just an out-of-the-box thought.
Thanks for clearing that up for me Bob! Sounds like something I should give that a try at some point.

Duke - I'm interested in your input here too. Rather than reiterating it on this thread, would you post a link to the other thread you posted your viewpoints on? TIA.

Hi Marco/Jax2,

I've talked about scattered multiple subwoofers a time or two on Audiogon threads, but can't seem to find any of them at the moment.

Audio Asylum threads tend to be more, ah, permanent - so here's a link:


Inmate Richard BassNut Greene disagrees with me, and brings up a number of objections as the thread winds along. It ends up being a very long and boring thread, but he gave me a good work-out.

As options are truly what I seek now I sure appreciate that one.

Why not climb the Von Schweikert ladder? There's a pair of VR-10's that just came up here on A'gon. You can save $55K on the price of new and get lows down to 10hz and .01% distortion. They oughta' make you real popular with your neighbors. Should be fun to move around and tweak your soundstage too :-)

Seriously, I've been intrigued by a local (to me) independent builder's designs. I've read some good input on his speakers and have corresponded with someone who bought a pair of his smaller speaker, the T-7's. He is Stuart Chapman, and the company is Chapman Speakers. Website sucks, but from what I've read the product is worth looking into as a very coherent full-range design for a reasonable price. Having not heard either these, or your speakers, I'm only suggesting this from the things I've read and nothing more. From direct experience I'd point you to Silverline. Alan Yun cannot seem to do anything wrong in speaker design. I've heard Sonatas, Sonatinas and SR17's. All three are marvelous choices in their own right, and are known for being on the 'warm' side. The Sonatas are most like what you already own in their range and specs. I don't know how they might differ from the VR4 Jr's in sound though. Sonatinas may sound a tad thin compared to what you are used to - they are a more midrange focused floorstander to my ears. SR17s are suberb monitors. I've owned three pairs over the past five years. They do everything a great monitor should: disappear like ghosts, and image like virtual reality. Disclaimer: I am currently selling a pair, though you can read my comments about them in many threads long before this. The DiCapo suggestion is a good one too for monitors. Someone mentioned the Gallo 3.1's, I think. I went and listened to a pair of those for an hour or two at a local dealer, pushed by a pair of Parasound Halo JC1's and a good front end. I brought my music. Didn't float my boat - too clean and analytical for my tastes. Could have been the SS amps though. They certainly did get the lows, even without their sub-amp attached (I heard it both ways). Very neutral sounding speakers.

Just so you know where I'm coming from with my comments: My tastes tend to run toward tubes + horns, and towards what could be considered to be a "colored" sound by some. I tend to like a midrange-centric, warmer presentation I guess. Musical preferences are largely in more simple arrangements of accoustic and vocals. Alt, folk, jazz and classical, and lots in between. Not a big listener of orchestral or heavy rock, or anything heavily layered or complex for that matter - not to say I don't listen to any of that kind of music - it is just a minority in my library.

Thanks for the link, Duke. Looks like an interesting debate. I'd tried out a pair of subs from TBI that my friend loaned me for a month. They seemed to integrate into the system better than the only other single sub I've tried, but the input was very subtle to my ears, and when I managed to get it to be more authorative, it did not seem to integrate as well. It certainly sounded more natural, which perhaps supports your argument. Could be a whole lot of factors contributing as far as my results are concerned, but it was a better solution as a subtle boost, than was the single sub I've tried (can't recall the brand/model right now, but it had a good reputation as a 'musical' sub). Still, it didn't make me want to go out and buy subs, even though I do have a yearning for a fuller range at times. Perhaps I just didn't know how to best integrate them at the time.

Blindjim, the NHT Evolution 6 system -- M6 monitors, U1 subwoofers and X1 crossovers. Sealed boxes. All pieces designed as a system. I think the system has a lot going for it at a very reasonable price.
G-man, ya know... we apparently have no other erstwhile life... that or we read and type really fast.

uh, thanks. entering into a life of crime at this juncture of my life seems less and less an option. Waht days I have left I'd prefer them done as a freeman... even if I have to listen to a Bose desktop.

ok I give. I do. If i have to use horns, or single driver units six feet tall... I give up.

I'll just add another amp for the bottom and go with the majority... like the good sheep I am. baaaa. Baaaaaa. B&Wwwwaaa.

...or not.

thanks Bob_R... I do appriciate it.
Seriously consider a single driver speaker -- add a sub as necessary.
I Hope I'm not straying too far off topic here but I'm currently using a pair of Morel Prelude 2 way xmission line floorstanders that go down to 34 hz (a true 34 hz) and also have an Adire Rava subwoofer that I was using with my previous speakrs Quad 21 L's the the lowest I can cross the sub over is 40 hz and while it integrated well with the quads I'm not too crazy about the way it sounds with the Preludes. I was always under the impression that you should cross the sub over at or near the lowest freq your speakers are capable of reproducing which in this case is 34 hz. aren't the drivers in your speakers for the most part capable of producing more tuneful bass then the sub is? The midbass is a 6 1/2" Morel double magnet driver which in tandem with the xmission line provides a full tight clean bass. Even though the 12" Shiva driver in the Adire is also known for tight accurate bass the speakers seem to sound better without it. Perhaps if I could cross it over below 30 hz it might sound a little better. Aside from home theater is a sub really necessary if your speakers can go down to the lower 30 range.

Jim, my mention of the Ohm Walsh loudspeakers was prompted by the discussion about single driver, crossover-less designs.

The following quote is taken from a January 2005 review of Ohm Walsh loudspeakers by John Potis on 6Moons.com.

Another thing that makes the Ohm speakers unique (then and now) is that they are almost a 1-way speaker. The CLS driver handles frequencies from the bass through about 10kHz, at which time they (finally) hand off to a (metal) dome tweeter. In doing so, they remain completely free of all known deleterious effects of crossovers usually located in the all-important midrange. Coherence is the natural by-product of one driver doing most of the talking - or singing as it were. So are phase coherence and time alignment.
..as always, your thoughts are entirely welcome. Anytime. My concern as to the "ohm" was the level of power you indicated that would likely be appropriate.

that ain't gonna happen. Not for a while. I am dumbfounded... yes, even further than usuall by the product the vk60 is serving up. ...with way difficult units too.

I'll go back to the little FS stand mounted two ways for a time as they are far easier to drive with almost as much bass... just to save the tubes some.

Nosing about for some "well received" alternatives... I ran across merlins, natuarally, and Zu Def's. some Utopia's too.

Primarily the interest for me was in the JM Labs 1027, Mini's; Zu Def's, and the Merlin VSM MXE in no real order.

Two FS and two mons. All of which will require likely more resolve to wait than I can probably muster... maybe. Just to fade the expense. but I do see them all as possible last stops. I so want that last stop bit.

Talked to Bobby P. of Merlin, and got straightened out on some of the merlin jargon that was confusing me.. still not real clear on a couple things but in all, I'm better now in that single regard.

Anyone see any of these now listed items not fitting with a path utilizing lower power, in a mid sized room?

or... any pre-requisite of subs?

I know nothing of the 1027 or Diva. Not terribly more about the Zu Definitions.

Thanks in advance.
I'd offer up the best monitor I've heard as you were looking for monitor vs. FS solutions.

The Gamut L3 "mini" monitor is fantastic and reaches the
frequencies you specify quite convincingly. I heard them
at last years RMAF and feel they're the best monitor I've heard for body and prat at the same time. I actually preferreed them to the Gamut floorstanders and by a wide margin. They are easy to drive, and there's a pair on Agon right now for $3600. I can't recommend them enough.

I suppose the larger Sonus Fabers would fit the bill as well, I have heard them be impressive beyond they're size.

I've rarely, and I do mean rarely heard a sub set up well enough to live with for extended periods. That's just my opinion, I have tried for months on a few occasions with limited results and eventually sold both types of sub pairs.


thanks, mind pointing me towards some press on the little two way from Gamut?
don't forget about Escalante!!!! These are truely great speakers!!!!
No reviews, however a regular search turned up a few sites
selling them with some descriptions. www.gamutaudio.com/products yields some more stuff. Reviews I've found are not in english.

A friend who lives too far away for me to have heard his
actual system with new L-3's, dragged me into the Gamut room at RMAF and they (the L-3's) just flatout impressed me (and toward the end of the show at that- many great systems showed up there which had already raised the "good sound" bar a bit).

I'm of no affiliation, I know no dealers, I wanted to hear what a buddies new speakers sounded like and I just plain like a good stand mounted monitor every bit as much as the bleeding edge monsters FS designs. Even more maybe, dragging full sound out of a small box has physical limitations, and the consequential design balancing act that the really good speaker designers have to dance is gloriously laden with nasty pitfalls. At least the crossovers are generally easier, but really good stand mounts are just plain really good speakers.

I considered buying some L-3's new at full retail myself. No minimonitor aside from the large Sonus Fabers had ever been as emotionally involving, I think that's where the difference between accurate monitors and wonderful speakers
lies when your talking stand mounts. I still have some LS3/5A's, and as wonderful as they are in the nearfield, there ultimately is a lack of impact and body that becomes
tiring after a few weeks and I have to swap them out for
floorstanders. I can't imagine the L-3's would produce that same restlessness from lack of bottom fullness. Obviously they only go so far down, but I was very suprised at how little they lacked.

I thought I had heard Escalante's, but the ones I heard
didn't look like the ones on their website so I can't comment. I thought the ones I heard had horn shaped side panel insets.

Sorry to ramble,

thanks. Again, any press on the Pinions? 'cause the freemonts are too high for me. Probably the Pinions too... I've not seen any used here on the 'gone.

Thanks... yep... saw the same Danish review... couldn't make much of it though.. other than I believe they liked it. I think. ha

Wonder if you can copy and paste it into bablefish...??

It will be way important for me to have a mon that can get down flat to 40hz. Absolutely. Transparency in the mids, sweet on top, and great imaging, otherwise wil do. Add in a bit of jump to it and i'm there as I listen to a number of genres... not just females & acoustical.

Whatever the name on it is, ain't real important to me.
Well I want to thank everone that shared their thoughts here with and for me and anyone else, for that matter.

I decided to go with floorstanders. Sonata IIIs. Two reasons:

1 I want to try some lower powered amps and they seem to have the numbers necessary for that purpose.

2 I really want to not have to use a sub. the VSA JRs weren't too bad without a sub so maybe the Sonata IIIs will do well too.

We'll see soon enough... again, thanks so very much.
I have tried numerous versions of both. I much prefer a solid floor-stander with a narrow width, unless you can find a monitor that bolts to the base.

I currently own Usher 6311 (see auction) and 6371s. I also have Maggie 3.5Rs which I am now using in my main system, along with 2 SVS powered subs.

The key is if you get a speaker that doesn't go too deep, and blend it with a good sub via a DBX type crossover (I am using the DBX 223- <$200!) you can get KILLER sound.
Tried many subs before you bought the SVS? Music, movies, or both?

At just under 100 hrs. a sub with these Silverlines may well be just an option and not a prerequisite.