Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by Steve N, Feb 22, 2014.
I was told this by a dealer recently and wondered if it's true.
I do believe a good sub negates the need for floorstanders.
Even high end floorstanders can't do low bass with any real authority, most speakers will be rolling off below about 30hz-40hz and that is even ones with large 10" and over woofers.
Also you don't need as much amplifier power to drive a sub/sat system as the sub has it's own amp taking the strain off the main amp to drive the lower frequencies.
Define "Unnecessary", Lots of people have a Subwoofer to extend the low frequency response of their very high quality Floorstanders.
A good Subwoofer can bring benefits to any system.
If I had the choice, I would use Floorstanders for my front L and R speakers as they will 'generally' have more headroom and play louder with lower distortion than smaller bookshelf/satellite/standmounted speakers.
So in my case a Good Subwoofer would be Necessary if I had Floorstanding speakers.
I think this has an in between - I do not think it makes them unnecessary, but I do think it makes them LESS necessary.
IMHO opinion, they do a different job. I have a pair of Ruark Sceptres "Bookshelf" (You would need a chuffing big bookshelf though) speakers that go down to 30hz quite happily, but my sub adds the extra grunt to movies and helps with that bottom octave. Sitting here listening to some music, the sub is just ticking over. Muting it brings subtle differences not only to the extension, but also the timing and weight of the lower registers. The music always sounds more "in your face"!
Many floorstanders are nothing more than a tidy method of increasing the height of the HF without using unsightly stands, with the driver count and cabinet volume no bigger than some book shelf speakers. There are of course, proper floorstanders, with extra chambers and other exotica and I don't disregard those.
I would not want the design compromised to make the speaker go lower and do away with the sub. Placement would become even more of an issue and the amp would have to work even harder.
I have also seen many instances where a big, multi-driver floorstander has been squeezed into an unsuitable room, where a smaller pair would have sounded so much better. The main failings always seem to be flabby bass and lumpy response - both things difficult to cure if the speakers have to be set back against a wall and not allowed to breathe.
You see very few big floorstanding designs from the major manufacturers these days - Tannoy excepted, with most speakers smaller and more efficient. It helps with placement and sound stage, but of course, it also limits ultimate bass extension and weight. I will stick with my sub and bookshelf combination for now I think.
I'd like to one day get the chance to find out for myself;
Yes at £35k & £55k I would like to listen to them too.
I have listened to SL £75k & £170k systems and their bass was stupendous but you certainly pay the price, premiership footballers, bankers & lotto winners need only apply for everyone else a couple of £2k subs and a decent set of MK/KK satellites will have to do.
Those ATCs in that pic are monstrous lol
Does a good sub make full size floorstanders unnecessary?
It is not as simply as Sub or no Sub. It depends on the amps, and how the system is used. If you have an AV Amp with electronic bass management, then you have a lot of control over how finely integrated your subwoofer is into the system. Or if by change you have one of the very few Stereo Amps that has bass management, again, you can very smoothly integrate the Subwoofer.
However, I do not agree the a Subwoofer eliminates the need for floorstanding speakers. A Sub covers a very narrow and limited range of frequencies. The front speakers do quite a bit above the Sub crossover. In my system between the hypothetical Sub crossover and the lowest cross over inside the speakers, I have TWO 8" bass drivers pushing air. TWO 8" bass drivers moving air has a substantial advantage over a single 6.5" bookshelf woofer trying to push the same air.
The complication comes in when trying to integrate the Sub into a system that does not have electronic bass management. If we assume a Stereo amp with Sub Out, but no bass management, then the Sub and the Front speakers will always run in parallel. There is no way to limit the low bass on the front speakers. The only controls you have are the controls on the Subwoofer itself. That makes it far harder to smoothlessly and seamlessly integrate the Sub into the system.
So, the original question is far too limited in its context for anyone to give a definitive answer. In some systems sometimes a Sub can eliminate the need for Floorstandng front speakers. But many many factors come into play - Budget, Room Size, type of amp, the existance of bass management, personal preference, and a long list of other things.
Myself, in an AV Surround system, I wouldn't consider anything less than floorstanding with one or more Subs. However, in a Stereo system, I would not consider anything other than substantial floorstanding speakers. No Sub with Stereo.
These floorstanding speaker go down to 26hz at -6db. That's good enough for me -
Focal Electra II 1038 Be Speakers (Pair) for £7,599.00 in Speakers
These Floorstanding go down to an estimated 24hz to 26hz at -6dB. Again that is more than good enough for me -
Dali Helicon 800 Speakers (Pair) for £6,999.00 in Speakers
I have one pair of speakers (2x8" each) that go down to 28hz at -6dB and another that go down to about 40hz at -3dB (12" each). When playing action movies, I can literally shake the house. It's a stereo system. I'm not really sure why I need a Sub.
Yes in a multi-channel AV Surround system, you definitely want a Sub. But that desire to have a Sub is unrelated to what I might or might not have for Front speakers.
If you have electronic bass management, then you can very seamlessly integrate a Sub. If it is seamlessly integrated, it certainly is an advantage. But without electronic bass management, and given that Sub are not cheap, I'll take big solid floorstanding speakers every time.
All that said, I will confess that for some people, some of the time, under some circumstances, a Bookshelf/Sub setup is the ideal combination.
I've been listening to a CD by Lorde this week and there is some seriously deep bass in there that those -6dB at 26Hz wouldn't give me the same effect as I get from two (decent, but still technically 'satellite' speakers) plus a pair of 15" subs, since mine are flat down to 10Hz. So I don't think it's necessarily the case that just because it's music that you don't need to go below, say 30Hz.
Now that's not to say that £7k worth of floorstanders won't sound better in other ways than a pair of MP150s and a pair of home made 15" sealed subs at approx half the price, but it's a more discrete set up (the speakers are wall mounted, the subs will be finished to look like small oak side tables) and half the price of course. However, I'd probably need a higher end amp to power those floorstanders as well...TBH if I had £7k to spend I'd probably have bought the MP300 speakers at £4k a pair, plus a pair of USC18 subs.
I used to be in the stereo, 2 X floorstander camp until recently.
Most home environments can get rid of high frequency echoes but low frequencies are harder to control.
Ken Kreisal came up with the sat/sub combo for this reason. Echoes from one driver, corner-loaded (to eliminate echoes from 2 out of 4 walls) is easier to EQ than 2.
Of course, this means good electronic EQ and bass management. So its a means of using modern tech no overcome real-imperfections.
Larger cabinets to house larger drivers have problems with dispersions, vibrations etc. So the way B&W do it with the Nautilus is to actually decoupled every driver. So effectively they each have their own housing. The Diamond 802Ds and 800Ds apply this principle. In the case of the Nautilus, each driver is also independently driven by its own amp.
So yea, purity comes at a price. Huge one.
One thing that concerns me slightly with speaker manufacturers are how they try to get around the limitations of smaller drivers with the use of bass reflex ports. Its ok I suppose to play stereo channels neat. But is a nightmare for EQ as they cause all kinds of abberrant room response.
Perhaps it isn't so much an issue in music, but in HT where low frequencies are very complex, the bass in the mains cannot really cope and provide that bass detail and clarity. THX crossovers are set at 80Hz anyway, probably for that reason.
Floorstanders in many respects work best as satellites in a HT setup. A separate sub is just like the nautlius speaker. Separate LF speaker with ts own amp.
Is that necessarily a no against floorstanders? Not exactly. A speaker capable of producing clean bass down to 60Hz will always be easier to integrate and roll-off. As bass is localised above 100Hz, you still need a good drive pretty low. Spread across 3 drivers is better than getting a woofer to do all the work.
In B&W's case, they use a dedicated MR driver in the form of a Kevlar FST with no excursion, and in higher models, decoupled from the main cabinets.
MK and KK satellites use multiple tweeters to drop the crossover frequencies between tweeters and woofers I believe.
Fist sized satellites don't exactly cut it.
In pure stereo terms, which should you go for is very debatable. While the there certainly benefits to a 2.1 system, the added complexity of bass management and necessity of good stands, and a good sub isn't necessarily going to be any cheaper than a power amp and good pair of floorstanders.
As I said before though, the emergence of musically orientated receivers like Anthem seriously question the necessity of running a separate stereo system to HT.
When I had sold a pair of floor standing speakers and awaiting another pair, I tried using my satellites with my sub for music. Sounded ok but not as good IMO. The satellites are of a similar calibre to the floor standers I had sold so it can't be that at fault. But one thing I did find is it intergrated better via high level. HT use I thought it worked well
The fact is that a good system means it needs to be setup nicely and that is true whether you go 2.0 or 2.1. Neither approach will give their all out of the box so there is no a priori answer here, just different approaches to hit different preferences and work within different room constraints.
Did the dealer also tell you about the room and potential issues of integration of subs with full range speakers? If they didn't i would question their motives and ask why?
One of my concerns is that when you want to listen to your system in pure direct mode, most AV receivers cut the feed to the sub. If your tiny sat speakers don't properly do below 80Hz, music will sound very thin and weedy!
Interesting discussion.... the only topic that hasn't been discussed is room size, and from experience I can tell you that "size" matters lol in rooms/ the space you're filling with sound. In my main (20' x 20' with a 9' door opening and a 14' cathedral ceiling) AV room I wasn't able to get the sound I was looking for without two subs, one being a HSU VTF15, and the other a homemade 3.5 cf 12" ...Think of bass / subs as having to produce pressure in an area.
Interesting that the KEF Q900s/ Q600 did a nice job in the front, but I tried a number of satellites for side and rear surrounds to no avail. By accident I ended up with a pair of vintage Dahlquest DQ-20s and they solved all the problems when I tried them as side surrounds.... I use them down to 40hz, with the fronts all set to 60hz in Audyssey... even though the Q900s go down to well below that.... I got the best sound from the DQ-20s when I first owned them in a stereo set up by using a Velodyne sub....
Point is that there are many variables.... but I agree with most of the posts that say a sub is usually necessary or something to aspire to... even with floor standers. I hope this is helpful.
This is very interesting, and again an issue I have been considering.
We always think surrounds aren't important as not much content goes in there. We tend to place some small, and even old speakers for surround duties.
And because they are small, we think we should set the crossovers higher.
Well funny enough, maybe not. And maybe this has something to do with the psychoaccoustics of surround audio Anthem was talking about at their Bristol demo.
We are more sensitive to sound behind us than in front. So for a sound of equal volume, our attention wil be drawn to the surround channel than the front. Hence Anthem has tuned down surround volume. And probably also why we can get away with smaller speakers.
But small doesn't mean poor. Perhaps because of our sensitivity to surround channels, we are more affected by changes in tonal quality. Hence matching is important.
Also, we appreciate surround most in effects. And a lot of effects like projectiles and so on, have a bass thump/ at the 100Hz mark. So surrounds really should crossover lower than that. But because we are sensitive to lower volumes, the volumes generated by smaller speakers are enough.
My secondary 7.1 system is in my garage... don't laugh, it's my man cave. I started with small/ used junk speakers and a little sub... and spent the last year upgrading everything with mostly used/ new to me vintage speakers and equipment (except the receiver), trying out many combinations. To the point, is that I was able to get significantly better sound using "bigger" sounding speakers for surrounds... in this case NHT SuperOnes... and I'm using them down to 60hz... However, it is another large space and I wish I had room/ for multiple floor standers instead, but these are an excellent compromise. I am using another DIY box / sub in that space... but the main speakers are vintage and rare Harman Kardon Fifty speakers that go down to 30hz or lower... they look like glass covered coffins and the wife will not let them in the house lol When all the doors are closed in the garage, the bass is actually pretty darn good.....
The DQ-20s work as side surrounds in my main system because of their wide dispersion and complete lack of "spot light" (directional) sound.... I am using KEF ds800 s dipoles as rears and the total effect is quite good. The whole system is nicely integrated and very musical as well as excellent for movies etc.
The other point not mentioned above was that when you use a sub woofer, it puts a lot less strain on your amp or receiver.... pushing bass/ moving air takes power, which is why most of the good subs have amps that are 500 watts or greater
It was mentioned in post 2 in the thread.
What is the lowest note on a Piano? It's 28hz.
What is the lowest note on a electric bass guitar or stand-up bass? It is 40hz.
Only large Pipe Organs and electronic synthesizers have the capability to go deeper than 28hz. Even though they have the capability to do so, only rare do they. Few recording microphones have capability below about 30hz. Those that do go that low are reference or calibration mics, not typically music recording mics.
LFE (low frequency effects) in movie sound tracks can potentially go lower than the standard 30hz, but it will not be for music or a note or a tone, it will be special effects - shock waves, explosions, and similar. Yes, that can add deep impact to various sounds, but that ultra deep bass is of little us in common music listening.
Now, don't get me wrong, I'm sure multiple Subs bring the THUNDER big time to any sound track or music, but that has far more to do with how much air they move rather than how deep they go.
There is something called the Bass Presence Range, this is the range at which you most perceive bass. It is centered on about 100hz. That's above the typical Subwoofer crossover.
It is a rare piece of music that has bass below the 28hz low end of a piano. Even songs like "Bass I Love You" don't have that much really audible bass. Mostly what they have done is mixed subsonic frequencies into the sound track to make your bass drivers jump around. Apparently to some people, based on YouTube videos I've seen, how much you can make your bass drivers jump is some implied measure of sound quality.
Again, in your case, I don't think your advantage is bass depth, rather it is volume of air moved, and in your case, a volume of air easily moved since the frequencies are well within the capability range of the Subwoofers.
There is no right or wrong, if your multi-bass system satisfied you, then that is all that matters. But, the question was, does a Subwoofer eliminate the need for floorstanding Front, and the answer is - NO. In a surround system a Sub can allow you to have smaller front speakers. In a stereo 2.1 system it can allow you to have smaller front speakers. But it does not eliminate the need for or the desire for Floorstanding front speakers.
Many factors do come into play, like the size of the room, the size of the budget, etc.... As I (may have) said, for most people under most circumstances, Bookshelf/Sub serve the greatest need and provide the greatest satisfaction in the typical size room. But what serves most does not server all.
For myself, it will always be Floorstanding in front regardless of the presents or absents of a Subwoofer. You need to analyze this by frequency, and look at how a floorstander vs a bookshelf deal with the frequencies just above the typical 80hz crossover. A floorstanding does provide some advantage over bookshelf at the low frequencies at just above the Subwoofer crossover.
As I said, a lot of factors need to be weighed in making your personal choice as to which speakers to choose. But, in my view, the presences or absents of a subwoofer has nothing to do with the advantages gained from a Floorstanding speakers in Front. Next acknowledging, that floorstanding speakers are not right for every person in every situation, and they are expensive.
To the core question, the only possible answer is - Sometimes.
A 2.1 system is another way of achieving a 3-way speaker system with compact speakers. With a clean sub, it can be very musical. But component matching and crossovers have to be DIY, which can go horribly wrong. At least if its all preset in a floor-stander you can choose which speaker to go for.
Anddthis is the beauty of 2.1. If yo know your stuff, you can build your own 3-way. Smaller drivers are charming, sound lively and have great imaging. But cann sound strained with the low notes, and a sub to take care of that, give a little bit more weight, will provide the balance.
Of course, really expensive floorstanders can achieve that. I heard the refernce Dynaudio that look like 2 Roman pillars, but sound as light as a feather. gorgeou.
But its a lot more involved than simply getting a pair of bookshlves and slap on a sub. There are no shortcuts in this world.
As for subs, jthere are subs and there are subs. We tend to think of them as rumble machines, but I'm glad to learn there re subs which are bass speakers, with all the qualities we can expect from a streo pair. THey can reach the sub 100Hz cleanly without the use of ports, and therefore provie clean, precisse low notes. And its these sub I am referring to
They tend to be 1k and up. SO again, no shortcuts.
Steve, there are plenty of high end recording mics that go a lot lower than 30Hz and lot's of musical energy down there as well.
Take the thud of a kick drum. Use a Shure Beta91 small capsule condenser and you get a crisp snap with little bass - as the mic essentially just massively overloads, but put a Beta56 on it and you get a huge lump of low energy, as the skin propels a big gust of energy towards the diaphragm. Some of this is EQ'd out with high pass filters, but there is still plenty there.
A double bass produces some really deep bass notes and can set up resonances in other materials well below the fundamental frequency as well.
Of course home cinema makes the most of subs, but don't write off a sub just because your system is for music only. There is a very good reason why PA systems - even for classical music use fairly substantial subs as well, even if the mains are capable of below 60 hz.
I think we are almost losing the point of the original question, it's now turning into the opposite question, does floorstanders make a sub unnecessary! I would take floorstanders over a sub but I prefer having both!
Kelvin, the Anthem sets the KK LPF at 160Hz for this reason. So it doesn't roll off to early. That's the whole point of crossovers. A smooth transition.
Going back to the question. Maybe a better way to look at it is, is 2.1 with bookshelves = 2.0 floorstanders.
Simple answer is yes.
If we go back to the basics of speaker building and about frequency distribution, it makes sense.
Using the Nautilus as an example, see how disproportionately big the bass driver is to everything else. Suggesting the energy required to drive lower frequencies go up on a logarithmic scale, the lower the frequency.
Given how bass starts to lose localisation, a single sub could take the place 2 bass woofers.
So its almost like asking, can you build your own 3-way speaker instead of a pre-built one.
Why yes, of course. mids and tweeters passively driven, and an active bass driver. Simplez. I remember some of the polk audio top ranges are like that.
Let's expand the question a bit beyond that narrow scope and explore why someone would think about this issue.
Let's take it from 2 directions.
Would I get more bang for buck. Here's a little thought experiment.
B&W 683 = 1k
B&W 685 + BK XLS200 + Custom Design stand = 380 + 315 + 100 = 795
Can the 2.1 sound as cohesive? possibly. But you also lose the FST driver that the 683 has. So...
Would I get better SQ? the Nautilus example suggest yes. You could potentially mix nd match qualities of different speakers without constraints and compromises of fitting them into one cabinet.
Having said that, many 3 way speakers have differently designed mid-range drivers which the 2-way designs in the range do not have. As such, the floorstanders bring an additional dimension to things.
In which case, floorstanders + sub would be the best combo. But it does mean there is flexibility in choosing the floor stander size without worrying about bass response. Not all speakers and not everyone likes exotic midranges.
And my answer to that question is the same - Sometimes.
It is all circumstance and budget dependent. I mentioned that my system is a bit on the unusual side. What that means is, I have two amps and two pair of speakers. One speaker has 2x 8" each and the other full range speakers have 1x 12" each. The 12" have crisper more present midrange, so they work out well for movies when played in addition to my 2x8" (each) speakers. The 2x8" go down to 28hz, the 12" go down to at best 35hz to 40hz. However, the 12" push a ton of air.
Like I said, I have no trouble Literally shaking the house.
This is all very modestly priced equipment. When the Diamond 9.6 were on close out they were about £380/pr. The 12" speakers I built myself. If I wanted to dump more money into them, I could push the bass down a bit deeper with new bass drivers.
Because I don't have the typical speaker configuration, my perception is a bit off. But for myself, I would rather put the roughly £300 to £500 for a basic Sub into better front speakers. Though I don't demand that others do the same. This assumes a Stereo system. You certainly want a Sub (eventually) in a Surround Sound system.
Also, if you don't have Electronic Bass Management, smoothly and seamlessly integrating a Subwoofer is much more difficult. But of course that assume you want the Sub smoothly and seamlessly integrated.
To the core questions -
Does a Sub make Floorstanding unnecessary?
And, do Floorstanding make a Sub unnecessary?
The answer can only be - Sometimes.
There is no one definitive answer, it is all situation, circumstance, preference, priorities, and budget dependent.
There is no one size fits all solution.
Ive recently gone from my kef iq5se with 6.5" drivers with a 12" b w 750 musical sub to some 15" cerwinvegas and with them spiked bunged and equed I dont think I would go back to a sub Sat as it gives me that atmosphere.
Yes, the questions are almost the same but the quality of the standmounts need to be taken into consideration with the first question, the second question standmounts are irrelevant as you already have floorstanders! I don't use a sub for music unless it's in 5.1 on an sacd as the sub isnt wired up to the stereo part of the system. This is mainly due to the fact I get very low in room response anyway because the room isnt acoustically brilliant. With HT it does help but doesn't make a huge difference tbh. In a different room with different speakers it would though. When I had N804s they needed the sub, the 803S not so much!
IMV, a good sub is no substitute for anything, as without good speakers it will never be at its best. I do think that you can add an amazing subwoofer into a really ordinary speaker system and transform the system, but poor speakers with a good sub will only drag that sub down.
When you look at the science of it all, there is absolutely nothing that a good floor stander can do that a good sub/sat package cant, but very few floor standers can match the capability of a higher end sub/sat combination.
The problem I find with floor standers, ignoring the fact they need extra money spent on good amplification if you want to drive them with any authority, is that if you try to employ them into a system as you would a satellite speakers, they generally dont sound very good, and at best only as good as purpose designed equivalent sats. A floor stander is generally designed to work with a full range signal, and the various components within it are designed to work that way. Change that with bass management and filtering and I find it usually takes something away from the speaker making it less enjoyable, and this doesnt happen with sats.
You then have to consider how bass propagates into a room. The optimal position from which to produce your mids and highs within a room is pretty much never the optimal position from which you bass and deep bass should be produced. To further optimise bass performance, room eq is generally a very good thing to use, ans with a subwoofer you can apply eq in a way thats simply impossible with a full range speaker.
The only really impressive floor standers and/or full range speakers that Ive heard are incredibly expensive and generally very large, with multiple large bass drivers built in. The only way to compete with the sound of such systems in home Ive found is with a proper sub/sat package, and in that sense the subwoofer makes floor standers completely irrelevant and inferior IMHO.
I run a sub/sat package in my own home, and I am more than happy for anyone to come and have a listen to my system and test out the theory as well.
There is one caveat to all this though, and thats preference. An individual might just prefer the sound of a particular floor standing speaker. I think they as a range generally have a more tailored sound that might lean towards warm, or clinical, or what ever the designers had in mind, and there is more variation in this respect between products on the market. It may well be the case that person X loves a particular brands sound or whatever, and there is no disputing that. The only thing I will say is that I reckon a good high end sub sat package can be tuned to replicate the character of any floor stander with a bit of time and effort put in, and that this would then again exceed what the floor stander can do, so even with this caveat I would personally still never prefer a floor standing design for the vast majority of products out there on the market.
In the future, I might be interested in bringing my setup to a comparison against a full range setup using very high quality floor standers with dedicated amplification, and if anyone is ever up for such a day, then I think it could be an interesting, and certainly enjoyable if you like that kind of hobby, comparative exercise.
Great post Dan. That's a conclusion I am increasingly coming to, and also a comparison I would love to experience.
How a Floorstander to Bookshelf/Sub setup would compare depends on what you are comparing. Certainly at bookshelf/sub is going to have more bass, but is more bass the best measure of a speaker system?
I still say for music, it is not the depth of the bass that matters, rather it is the air moved and the fact that you can control the Subwoofer independently. Ideally, the Sub would be seamlessly integrated. When properly integrated you shouldn't even notice that it is there. Keeping in mind the lowest bass you are ever likely to encounter in music is 28hz, and that would be rare. Also, the bass you think you are hearing is likely closer to the Bass Presence Range centered on 100hz.
Further, if we look at power across the spectrum, for full orchestral music, the peak power band is between 250hz and 500hz, centered on 355hz. (Badmaieff/Davis)
But Ideal and Appeal are not the same thing. Ideally the low-bass to mid-bass transition is seamless. However, for many people the appeal of over-amped bass is high. Just as it is for some people who play with the Bass control cranked to the max. I can't say that the over-hyped bass is wrong as long as you hear the music the way you like to hear it. But it is not accurate no matter how good it sounds to you.
The true measure of a speaker system is clarity and life-like presence. If you spend more money, that is what you should be expecting your money to buy.
Next, the myth that large speakers need large amps. I've always had very big speakers with very big bass drivers (consistently 12" bass drivers), and have typically run them on 45w/ch and 50w/ch amps. Though admittedly I now have a 100w/ch amp. Some big speakers need more powerful or stronger amps, and equally some small speakers need more powerful or stronger amps. The best the average user can do is to strike some balance between the quality of the speakers and the quality of the amp. Keeping in mind, some of the best quality amps are not necessarily the most powerful amps.
Next to the implication that using Floorstanding with a Sub somehow diminishes the sound quality of the floorstanding. On the contrary, when the bass is pulled off the Front, and shifted completely to the Sub, the Front Floorstanding actually sound better. This assumes the AV amp is set to SMALL. Even if the AV amp is set to Large, the floorstanding front re-enforce the Subwoofer down to about 30hz.
Too many people see the spectrum as bass and everything else; not so. If you move up the spectrum frequency by frequency, and ask yourself which drivers are playing at any given frequency, you will see that there are real advantages to floorstanding above the Sub crossover.
For example, if we take a typical bookshelf and Sub combination, the Sub covers everything from 20hz up to 80hz. Above 80hz a single 5" mid-bass driver covers everything up to about 2500hz.
With my floorstanding combined with a Sub, again, the Sub cover 20hz to 80hz, just above 80hz, I have TWO 8" bass drivers covering up to 150hz. Above 150hz, I have ONE 8" bass driver covering to 1khz. From 1khz to 2.5khz, I have a 2" silk dome Midrange covering, and above that I have a 1" silk dome tweeter.
Clearly I have an advantage between 80hz and 1khz. The point is, it is not bass and everything else, it is far more subtle and detailed than that. A bookshelf an a Sub is not the equal of a floorstanding or a floorstanding and a Sub.
But also keep in mind that I say, for most people most of the time, in an AV system, bookshelf/Sub serves music very well and serve movies exceptionally well. But like everything else it is about getting the most performance for a fixed budget. Increase the budget, and I'm not likely to have bookshelf speakers in front. For pure music systems, with a limited budget, bookshelf alone can be very good. If you are a total bass head, the bookshelf/Sub will do the job for you. But, if you have the cash, and you want clarity, impact, and accuracy, then Floorstanding alone are the best choice.
But this illustrates my point, circumstance matter as do preferences and priorities. It is these aspects that should be satisfied, not some hypothetical idea of what the universal best is.
You, your preferences, your priorities, your circumstances, your listening habits, your budget, these are the factors that mold your choices, not some internet opinion, or some salesman's opinion.
But, as I have said many times - To get what you want, you have to know what you want.
Every possible combinations is a valid combination for someone, and equally an invalid combination for someone else.
Yes, I prefer floorstanding without a Sub, but I don't insist that everyone do the same. I can see why some people might prefer Bookshelf or Bookshelf/Sub or Floorstanding/Sub or, though I cringe, Sat/Sub systems. For some PA Speakers as opposed to HiFi speakers. They are not wrong as long as the choice they made serves their needs.
Does a Sub make Floorstanding unnecessary?
And, do Floorstanding make a Sub unnecessary?
The only possible answer has to be - Sometimes.
Sometimes Floorstanding on their own are the right answer. Sometime Bookshelf on their own are the right answer. Sometimes the presence of a Sub is as right as the absents of a Sub. And sometimes it is NOT.
While the general question is worth discussing, when it comes to actually buying equipment, you and your circumstance and your budget are the guiding factors, not Internet hypotheticals.
Once again -
You can't get what you want until you know what you want.
Concentrate on the knowing before you start to focus on the getting.
But then, that's just my opinion.
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