Floor Standers Vs. Book Shelf Speakers

Hello, I'm new to the audiophile world. Anyways, I've spent the better part of the last couple of weeks researching different models of speakers on the net before I audition them.
I've seen many rave reviews on very tiny book shelf speakers, and I'm curious as to how such a diminutive speaker can stack up musically against an imposing floor stander? It just seems like a floor stander would give you more base extension, bigger soundstage. So, do book shelf speakers superior to floor standers in any way?

Also, what do you guys prefer and why? Thanks so much for all your great help
There are a couple of downsides to smaller "book shelf" or monitor style speakers. In order to get the most from them you need quality stands, adding several hundred dollars or more to the cost. Secondly, monitors tend to be a little bass-shy so if you're looking for deep bass extension you'll likely require a sub woofer as well. Advantages of monitors? They tend to image like crazy, are more precise, tend to suffer less from cabinet resonance, take up far less space, and on average cost less than floor-standers do. There are trade offs to both syles of speaker, but the monitors are easier to tweak during set up (moving 200lb floorstanders around isn't easy), and again can be complimented with a subwoofer if you so choose. I've owned all kinds of speakers, depending on the rest of your gear, the music styles you prefer (monitors don't do Heavy Metal quite as well) and your budget, you can have a very satisfying set-up using either. If you were to tell us more about the room you intend to set up your system in, your musical preferences, the associated gear you have (or will likely acquire) and your budget for speakers, we can provide more specific advice. Welcome to the hobby, enjoy the music! Jeff
You said it well, Jeff! I'll simply add that a great 6.5" two-way is generally FAR preferable to an average larger 3-way at the same price-point. There's nothing worse than sloppy, incoherent, boomy-bass from poor driver integration or improper room-loading. I'd suggest you try a fine two-way whose midrange and dynamics you really like IN YOUR ROOM, and then much later on see if you can successfully integrate a separate subwoofer or a 3-way. You're apt to have an easier time achieving success if you keep it simple
initially. Good Luck!
Guys, thanks a lot for your responses!! Anyways, I'm going to have my setup in a 12X16 room. As far as my preference for music, I tend to listen to music that has a fast tempo like Blues, soul, rock etc...Also, I like to listen to my music at moderate to high listening levels. So, what do you guys suggest as far as speakers go? Thanks a lot!
Again, what will be the associated equipment (amplifier, CD player, etc..) and what's your budget?
Sorry for leaving out that information. I'm going to be driving the speakers with a Roksan Kandy integrated and a Sony CA9ES CD player. I'd like the speakers to cost <1,000 and I will also consider buying used, thanks!!
Jamma, my room is the same size as yours, and I'm also using an integrated amp. A Sim Audio Moon I-5 to be specific. I've never tried floorstanders in my room, only Sonus Faber Concertinos and ProAc Tablette 50 Signatures. At 70WPC, the I-5 powers either of these speakers with ease, and I'm sure you'd have equally good results with the Roksan. I run the little fellars full-range and use an NHT SW3P subwoofer to fill out the bottom end. I've worked hard to get my little system to where it is, and I'm really enjoying it now. I feel no need to upgrade to floor-standers. What kind of music do you listen to?
Ooops, sorry. I didn't see your previous post "I tend to listen to music that has a fast tempo like Blues, soul, rock etc..." Good luck.
One thing I've always thought was a myth is that there is a substantial size benefit to "bookshelf" speakers. If you put them on stands, they take up just as much usable room as most reasonably sized floorstanders. (Obviously, if you actually put them on a bookshelf, there are significant space savings.) Perhaps monitors on stands take up less visual space, though.
Gunbei, actually my musical tastes are much more broad than that. I'll from time to time listen to Dave Brubeck, Enya, Johnny Cash etc...I'm really all over the map when it comes to my taste. I guess the perfect word to describe my listening preferences is eclectic!

You mentioned Sonus Fabers and Proacs. These are both speakers that I've heard a great deal about! If you wouldn't mind, could you please list what there strong points are? Also, would pairing either of those models with a good sub bring them up to the level of outstanding floor standers? Thanks a lot!
Jamma, I've had good luck with both the Sonus Fabers and the ProAcs in my setup.

In my view the strengths of the Concertinos are their organic sound. They seem to accentuate the woodiness of acoustic stringed and woodwind instruments. Voices sound very nice with them too. Originally they were bright in my system, but since upgrading my CD player to a transport and adding a DAC that issue has been resolved. The SFs are very easy to listen to for extended periods. I like these a lot, but am considering selling them.

The Proacs Tablette 50 Signatures are the little guys I'm really enamored with right now. From what I've heard there seems to be a ProAc sonic characteristic that is consistent throughout the Response and Tablette line. And that is, a huge soundstage, precise imaging, and good harmonic detail. These have more extended highs than the Concertinos, so if your system is lean and bright, the ProAcs will not hide that. My musical tastes are not too unlike yours, and the Proacs create an involving musical experience like I've never had. Sometimes it even sounds like the performer is in the same room with me. Very spooky.

I've had good success integrating both mini-monitors with an older NHT SW3P subwoofer. I run the monitors full-range and have the sub's crossover set very low. Around 40hz. When you use Bookshelf speakers with a sub you need to find a good place for the sub and tune the crossover so it doesn't intrude on the purity of the mini-monitor's midrange. This can be a difficult and time consuming process, but also quite rewarding.

You might want to consider small floor-standers such as the excellent Meadowlark Kestrels or Vandersteen 2s. I haven't heard either, but I did consider getting them. Mateored is correct in that floor standers such as these take up roughly the same foot space as monitors on stands. I just like the smaller appearance of monitors.

If you have anymore questions, I'll do my best to help. I've been down the same road as you, and I'm sure you'll get great advice form the other more experienced forum members here.

Have fun.
Floorstanders move more AIR and "bookshelf" speakers can only TRY to keep up by using such tricks as double-coned bass drivers like e.g. Totem Manitou's...possibly a good choice. Remember that with smaller speakers you will need to get them up off the floor so that you can hear them properly...so good stands are neccessary...an extra cost! How about a used pair of electrostats...Martin Logan Sequel II's or Aerius are great value, plentiful, reliable, and a step toward revealing source limitations as well as fitting your room. Have fun!
I agree, good stands are very important. Since I'm using little monitors, I have them up pretty high on Lovan Imperial 29" stands. They have good adjustable spikes, and I filled each stand with 20 pounds of steel shot to deaden any harmonic resonances. Good luck with your search Jamma!
Jamma, you might want to try and hear a pair of Acoustic Energy AE1's. They can still be found used in your budget, and at one time they were considered to be among a very small elite in a stand mount.