Full-Range to Monitors


Has anyone gone from a full-range to a monitor speaker? What motivated you to do so and were you happy with that choice?

rlb61
I have gone back and forth. I started with Miller & Kriesel satellite / subwoofer sets, then 2.5 way, now listen to a large custom 2-way "stand mount" with a sub for movies. 

What I have learned is that the smaller speakers stay away from the biggest problems in music and rooms: Bass. 

Integrating a true "full range" speaker without EQ into a room is nearly bonkers. 

The idea that small speakers are "fast" and big drivers are "slow" is 100% horse hockey. What matters is how well you'll get the bass integration into the room and speakers done. 

If I must do a "full-range" today I would bi-amp with DSP on the bass. If I cannot have this, I would rather get a smaller speaker.

Best,

E
Back in the 80s went from a big Boston Acoustics floor-stander (the one with the WIDE baffle) to some Mission stand-mounts. I did it because I'm a soundstage/imaging freak and the Missions did that much better. My current Vandy 2Cs do it even better than those Missions did.

Erik has already nailed IMO some very valid points so I won’t repeat,

”What I have learned is that the smaller speakers stay away from the biggest problems in music and rooms: Bass.

Integrating a true "full range" speaker without EQ into a room is nearly bonkers.

The idea that small speakers are "fast" and big drivers are "slow" is 100% horse hockey. What matters is how well you'll get the bass integration into the room and speakers done.”

It’s been about 6yrs that I had Dynaudio confidence c1’s but that was a monitor speaker that worked very well in a smaller room but also very well in my main system that was in a very large room and Offcourse had 2subs Intergrated with them.

Nowdays using a game changing all in one Lyngdorf 2170 with Room perfect correction helps with taking the room out of the equation and makes it so easy for intergration with any speaker or sub combo I have.

Enjoy,
Kenny.
Lots of great points already made. I’m not a big subwoofer fan maybe because I’ve never owned a very high end make/model so standmount monitors never gave me the sense of completeness that I like for my mostly low/mid volume music listening levels. My favorite size now is midsize floor standers, like 35” tall, on a short stand to bring it up to the 42”- 45” listening height. 
I recently had a pair of Paradigm Prestige 95Fs and McIntosh XR100s. In the end I dumped the floorstanders for a pair of Focal Sopra 1s. Initially it was for the silly reason of us having a small child and I figured it would be easier to replace banged up speaker stands then fix tower speaker cabinets, but that ended up being a non issue. In the end I’m thrilled with their soundstage and imaging. For monitors they went down reasonably low, but I ultimately ended up adding a pair of JL Audio Fathom subs and after that I don’t see me ever going back to full range speakers. In all honesty a friend has Focal Sopra 3s and I prefer the sound of my 1s with the subs over the 3s. Given they are in different rooms , with different electronics, but I’m definitely in no rush to swap my Sopra 1s for 3s. Unfortunately due to my initial concern, I do have a brand new pair of Focal sopra speaker stands collecting dust in my garage in case my original pair see any damage.
chachi -

The JL audio has the single feature I admire most: great self-calibrating software.

Otherwise I think they are way too expensive.

But besides that, they are pretty awesome and I like how you are thinking.

Best,

E
I also want to point out how much technology has really changed. Honestly the sub/satellite system from M&K was awful.  The sub was under powered, and in the room, without any EQ or room acoustics, it was either feast or famine. There was no good combination of settings which let me have a wonderful, immersive sound.

Now, a little miniDSP and the right measurement software and I'm in absolute musical and HT heaven. Of course, I make loudspeakers so what I consider easy may be a royal PITA for a lot of audiophiles. My point is just, the state of the art for the old satellite/sub concept has improved by decades. Not to mention vendors like Hsu putting out AMAZING hardware for dirt cheap prices.
I have never heard a system that was digitally EQ'd that did not sound unnatural.

If you find low bass room effects hard to deal with do not use subwoofers.

Reproducing lower than 30 Hz will just lead to frustration in all but the biggest rooms.

The transition from main speaker to subwoofer is always unnatural IMO.

I had to downsize to accommodate a smaller, shared living space. I considered larger “monitors”, but chose a small, sealed enclosure 3 way floorstander which occupies no more real estate than stand mounts. 67 pound weight per is manageable if the need to move arises. The sound is close enough to the range and scale of the much larger ones I replaced and satisfying bass soI don’t need a sub .
@don_c55 

I have never heard a system that was digitally EQ'd that did not sound unnatural.

I believe you have not. This is why I really like the JL subs. They do it very nicely. So do I. In both cases, we avoid EQ above the subwoofer. 


If you find low bass room effects hard to deal with do not use subwoofers.

Well, I don't know I would go that far, but I will say this is non-trivial. 

Reproducing lower than 30 Hz will just lead to frustration in all but the biggest rooms.

The transition from main speaker to subwoofer is always unnatural IMO.

I don't agree with you at all, but you illustrate why I give the advice that I do. Experience, bass traps and EQ are essential in most rooms to get this right. It is possible, and quite glorious, but it is so rarely done right that this experience appears mythical. Many have never heard this happen. So, in the absence of this, I agree, get a smaller speaker and avoid a sub, but this is not an impossibility either. 

Best,


E


Just to clarify, I love the JL audio auto-eq, but wow, those are pricey beasts. 
As usual, I agree with Eric.
Newest issue of TAS has a Harley review of JL Audio F113 v2. With a sidebar about how to time align a sub. Time alignment is crucial. JL’s auto EQ is excellent. Proper EQ and time alignment make all the difference. I suspect that the people who hate subs have never heard it done right.
I recently went from Wilson Audio Sophia 2s to Focal Sopra 1s and a subwoofer.   Very happy with the change and can’t imagine going back to full size speakers.
Regarding subs, the Swarm subs seem to be getting good reviews, especially for the price, if you have space to place all four where they need to go.
I have tried many full range speakers in my room. Big Infinity Rennasaince 90's, Magnepan mg1.6, Horns. I just could not get them to throw a credible stereo image in my 12' by 24' long room. I have gone to Proac 1sc, with Marchand, line level, passive crossovers, driving  
Yamaha servo  subwoofers. I am very happy with it
"Time alignment is crucial..... JL’s auto EQ is excellent. Proper EQ and time alignment make all the difference."

Couldn't agree more.
I purchased my Rythmik F12G from an Agoner here, and he kindly offered the advice of paying attention to the sub's distance setting after room EQ for proper integration, noting that he added about seven extra feet in his listening setting in order to properly marry the sub to his speakers.
In my less-than-ideal listening room, after every run of my DSP/EQ, I end up adding anywhere from 8.5 to 9 extra feet to the sub's distance setting to get it to integrate properly with my MMGs. 
Goofy as it may sound, I get it dialed in to a tenth of a foot (typically after a half hour or so of fiddling around and driving the wife slightly batchit).
I went to Lipinski L707's. Great sound, but I needed 2 subs and I don't like subs. Want big sound you need big speakers and drivers. When I sold them and my subs I used Wilson Witt II's for 3 years, and now run Legacy Whispers. No need for subs ever with either speakers. I do run a small pair of Klipsch sb1 ;s in a second system but only when I don't want to use my tube system.YMMV.
After going back and forth between floorstanders and monitors, I feel that monitors provide a certain level of intimacy that I prefer. It’s like having a beer in your best friend’s cozy family room vs. going to a posh restaurant for dinner. Of course, most of my gear has been mid-fi at best, so maybe things are different at higher price points.
Over the years I have owned many full range and many monitors. I prefer monitors. They just seem to disappear, where floor-standers never did. It also depends on what monitor is being used. I prefer LS3/5A type monitors. Set em and forget em!!
Yogiboy said it perfectly.  I have been using a large monitor for years.
A big advantage with stand mounts is you can take the room out of the equation to a large degree .
My room is relatively small - 13' wide by 15' deep at it's deepest. Yet I've never had much trouble getting great sound from large speakers.  I suspect this is likely due to the room not being square - the symmetry broken by large bay windows - and the large room opening to the hall so bass frequencies don't load up too much.

I've had many floor standing and stand mounted speakers in my room.
Some of the "floor standing" speakers: Quad ESL 63s w Gradient subwoofers, Von Schwiekert VR4 Gen2 (full range), Waveform Mach Solo, Audio Physic Virgo, Libra and Scorpio, Meadowlark Heron-i, Shun Mook Bella Voce, Hales Transcendence 5, Thiel CS6, 2.7 and 3.7.  Joseph Perspectives (for audition).

Stand mounted:  Waveform Mach Solo, MBL 121, Hales Transcendence T1s, Spendor,  Meadowlark, Thiel, Harbeth, and some others.

This is what happens to me every time I go with a stand mounted speaker:

"Wow, this sounds so beautiful.  I LOVE it.  So open, controlled, great tone...why do I need anything more than this?"

But inevitably I start to notice the deficiencies, all those times that a bigger, lower sound really makes a differences in drama, realism and immersion.   And back to floor standers I go.

The thing is I've always chosen floor standing speakers that image and soundstage like champs, and I've virtually never had any problem getting to do this in my room.  So it's not like I "miss" those qualities when I move from a stand mounted speaker.  I pretty much get everything I heard in the stand mounted speaker, but more.

With the exception that every speaker sounds different, with it's unique tone, and I do love the sonic signature of some of the stand mounted speakers, which is why I hang on to them.  I love stand mounts as a place to visit now and again, but for fuller satisfaction I need a floor standing speaker.

(Leaving aside the subject of subwoofers for now).





 
I went (mostly) the other way about 2 years ago from Tekton 6.5t monitors to ProAc Studio 148s.  While I would consider the 148s full range I would not consider their behavior to follow "full sized" boxes given their 2.5 way speaker and slim tower design plus downward firing ports.  Definitely worth a listen.
The OHM Walsh full range floorstanders are the only floorstanders I value enough to ever own again. Otherwise its monitors only moving forward. Too big bulky and hard to tame acoustically in most rooms!