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What happened to big 'ole floorstanding speakers?

29714 Views 43 Replies 26 Participants Last post by  JustinThyme
Why are all the new floorstanders like 9" wide, using puny 6.5" "subwoofers," and being tall so they look like an anorexic Hollywood movie star. My dad has Sanyo floorstanders from the 70's and those suckers look intimidating. They have 10" subs, and don't have an awkward skinny look. And could make your ears bleed.

I only looked on Crutchfield and brands I know, any of you guys know any speakers that look like you could actually set a drink on and not tip over? lol. I might just go on Craigslist and pick up classic used ones.
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i have a set of late 90's Jensen speakers on my entertainment center. 38" tall, 17.5" wide almost a 12" deep. weigh about 60#s they are a 4 driver system using two mids, a tweeter and a 15" sub on each.

I run these off a 200w Onkyo stereo receiver (i previously had a mid 80s vintage Kenwood receiver for years but that died several years back).

I use these instead of the integrated speakers in my tv. they also provide the audio for my secondary computer.

I am currently looking to rebuilding the cabs into something more substantial and possibly slowly updating the drivers.

i also have a pair of cheap DJ style speakers running another pair of 15s with two horn mids and horn tweeters each. but they are not currently hooked up. Think i might scrap the box and go with a scoop style cab.
 

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What's your price range?

Classic wide-baffle speakers are still very much available, and you can also build your own if you want to really go "all out."

If you can afford these, they are still pretty much the defacto- go-to standard for large floor standing party speakers:
http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?Partnumber=304-028

These are inexpensive and might be what you are looking for: http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?Partnumber=303-422

If you look carefully at either speaker there, you'll notice that if you turned them sideways and used the side baffle as the front, the dimensions aren't all that different from modern "narrow" speakers. As it turns out, modern skinny towers aren't as different from the classic floor standing boxes as you might think
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If you'd like some ideas for a home brew floor standing unit throw me a budget and I'll see what I can come up with. Or as others have mentioned, if you can get some damaged/used classic floor standing speakers (hopefully with bad drivers but good boxes, then just upgrade the drivers, install internal bracing if possible, and build a proper modern X-over for them you'd really have something nice IMO.

Eric
 

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To my ear a lot of these modern speakers sound better. They may have thinner profiles but they are usually deeper. Cabinet design is very important to the overall sound of a speaker and these modern cabinets are very good for the most part. I have a pair of these:
2mgl538.jpg

CSW Tower II, which are about a foot wide and a foot and a half deep, just eyeballing them. They sound pretty good with a decent bass response although there are some much better speakers out there today.
I like to pair a sub with my speakers though and set the cutoff at 80Hz. Then I balance my sub and speaker levels so that the bass doesn't overpower but goes lower than just the tower speakers would have.
 

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I heard the classic 4's when I was speaker shopping really liked them. At the time they were around $1500, looking around now they seem to be about $2000. For that price I'd rather get the classic 3's (bookshelf) and a rhythmic sub.
 

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Classic 3s ($798) + stands + a decent sub? Would be about $1.7k and probably be decor challenged, unless you get some of the high end stands and you'd be at 2k anyway.

And if you go Rythmik you'd have to get two subs to get any appreciable output. The cheapest sub they've, the F12 ($799), hits 10% THD at 31Hz @ 100db, which basically makes it a 90db sub. I have an F12 and home theater would be the last thing I'd use it for if it was purely stand-alone as it goes into pretty severe power compression above 90db. The Classic 4s have a pair of ported 10"s which will give far more output.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by astrallite View Post

Classic 3s ($798) + stands + a decent sub? Would be about $1.7k and probably be decor challenged, unless you get some of the high end stands and you'd be at 2k anyway.
And if you go Rythmik you'd have to get two subs to get any appreciable output. The cheapest sub they've, the F12 ($799), hits 10% THD at 31Hz @ 100db, which basically makes it a 90db sub. I have an F12 and home theater would be the last thing I'd use it for if it was purely stand-alone as it goes into pretty severe power compression above 90db. The Classic 4s have a pair of ported 10"s which will give far more output.
They have a cheaper sub now - the FV12.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdocod View Post

What's your price range?
If you can afford these, they are still pretty much the defacto- go-to standard for large floor standing party speakers:
http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?Partnumber=304-028

Eric
I might get the 12" version of those. Exactly what I was looking for, something that looks as badass as it sounds. And now I can say the bass is kicked in and the Vega's are pumpin! lol

Those RBH speakers were....interesting to say the least.
 

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I suppose the trend of today is Big Sound, Small Package
 

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Hi Lombax,

I know what you mean about puny front speakers these days, here's why and some solutions:

The problem with the abscense of properly large speakers these days is mainly because of the craze with subwoofers (because of movies and 5.1 or more surround sound setups). Their are lots of good subwoofers made by brands like jl audio which do a fine job of reproducing the very low frequencies that the 2 big ol main speakers use to handle themselves. The problem with that is it leaves the poor old stereophile left with bugger all choice on properly large stereo speakers (I consider anything at or above 8inch large). Don't stress out though because even though they are rare they still exist and here are a couple of good ones as examples:

For affordable big speakers that actually have the big hard hitting bass that your craving for then I reckon the Cerwin Vega VE-12f's are great. It's rated by Cerwin Vega at being capable of handling 300w rms max (93db 1w/1m) and has a stated deep frequency response of 28hz-20khz. I've heard Cerwin Vega VE-8f's (running through a onkyo 805 amp) and the sound quality was so good (which I was not expecting) that i'm going to have a listen to the VE-12f's with some cash in my pocket in a few weeks!

If your a bit more of a hardcore audiophile then the KEF Q-900's still have fairly large 8 inch cones (It goes down to 32hz) and reasonable power rating and sensitivity of 200w rms (91db 2.83v/1m).

Hope that helps. I'm saving up at the moment for VE-12f's and an onkyo 809 or yamaha rx-2010 reciever because I'm sick of all the sub craze too. I'm going to be running the reciever into them bi-amped so I can drive them to their limit and avoid too much amplifier distortion
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NB: From my experience with very large woofers, they don't seem to have very fast and articulate bass so I recommend avoiding any lower range speakers using them. I'm also VERY against horn tweeters because I have never heard a speaker with them that didn't sound harsh and tinny, ESPECIALLY when pushed so that rules out the whole XLS Cerwin Vega range for me. I have heard the CLS-12's and they didn't sound that great.

Regards,
Spencer
 

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Hello Karvoshk,

Passive speakers don't "got wattage."

Manufacture claims of frequency ranges without specifics about how the claim is arrived at are meaningless.

Having piles of thermal power handling is basically meaningless without more information. In the real world, any speaker that is not on a high pass filter is usually subject to mechanical limitations long before it is subject to thermal limitations. Boasting power handling ratings is silly bordering on pointless.

bi-amping has nothing to do with "pushing hard."

Woofer size is basically a non issue for accurate bass. The motor strength vs moving mass and rigidity are the important factors. There are many 15, 18, even 21" and larger drivers that can handle the transients of live musical instruments and reproduce them with all the intensity and slam you could ever hope for. I suspect you have been exposed to the likes of some sloppy 15" drivers and have a bad taste in your ears as a result. Sorry, don't spread misinformation based on one bad experience.

On that subject of misinformation, well made horn loaded compression drivers can be remarkably accurate and produce less distortion than almost any alternative at high listening levels. I'm sorry about your experience with cheap horn loaded tweeters but that experience should not be used to dismantle reality. Some of the finest speakers in the world are horn loaded configurations.

Eric
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I have two 15's in my car (Rockford Fosgate P1's), and even though I absolutely love the enormous sound as low as 28 hz, they dont go high enough. Looking at the XLS 12 vs XLS 15, the 12's low pass is 380 hz, while the 15s is 280hz.

Example: with my 2 15's in my car, the songs "The Motto" by Drake, almost the entire bass-line isnt on the subs. Those subs go up to 250hz.

Now, does anyone have experience with the Vega's XLS and VE series? Is the XLS worth the extra $100 each?
 

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Hi Eric

I agree with some of what you said because I was being a bit too general in my statements, this leaves me wide open for crticism but I didn't write total crap.

Point one: 'got wattage' ok i've worded it considerably better now, it didn't need to be taken completely literally but you have a fair point.

Point two: I agree with you here, unless the speakers have a +- 3db or less stated with the frequency response then they shouldn't be listed by the manufacturer although 28hz is hardly unbelievably low for a 12 inch woofer.

Point three: The thermal power handling is important, it isn't a completely accurate measure but I pretty much take it as the manufacturer saying once you've put the voice coils past this limit the voice coils will be bottoming out at mechanical xmax and the speakers will then overheat and fry themselves.

Point four: Can I not put a subsonic pass (high pass) on the woofer when I bi-amp it with a new reciever? If that's not possible I'll be really gutted!.

Point five: Absolutely! BI-amping by itself won't do anything UNLESS the single channel output of the reciever is considerably less than the speakers thermal rms rating limit, in this case you can drive the speakers much more cleanly when you are approaching the speakers rms limit (using a Bi-amp capable reciever). With my car audio experience I can tell you it's far better to overamp and go easy on the gain than under amp and push as hard but with high distortion. I also believe that with Bi-amping I can then run two different sets of crossovers for the woofer and the mid/high section (This is how the bi-amp speakers are usually split from the two terminals). If a onkyo 809 or yamaha rx 2010 can't do that PLEASE TELL ME !!!!!!

Point six: I'd love to hear 15 inch woofers and above which sound like what you are saying but even a focal 33v2 (13 inch) isn't really that clean at higher bass so this must be some crazy high end gear your talking about with amazingly strong voice-coils, ultra stiff spider and an incredibly lightweight and stiff cone. Get me one of those please! That does sound like audio nirvana!

Point seven: Yes my opinion on horn tweeters is bit biased because it is based on fairly mediocre equipment, but you can't tell me that cerwin vega tweeters are absolutely the best money can buy. I have heard the cls horns (it was about 2-3 years old) and I didn't think that they sounded anywhere near as soft and sweet as the VE's tweeters. That's just my opinion based on a single recent listening of 10 minutes on equipment that I don't know how it was calibrated so I realise I'm not comparing apples with apples here.

NB: I am fairly new to high end house audio but I have quite a few years using car audio. My current set up: (alpine 9965e dead-head, nakamichi PA-1500 amp powering focal 27v2 sub, JVC 6604 amp powering JBL power series components). I'm craving a JL audio 13w6v2 and some better components at some point but I'm upgrading my home audio first.

Lombax,

The XLS speakers have higher sensitivity so they will be a little bit louder but from what I've heard the VE's have superior sound quality. I reckon you should go for the VE's. The maximum frequency stated on your subs and the Cerwin Vega's is way above where they are useful, your 2 subs are probably rolling off fast after 50-60hz which from there to 100hz is pretty much most of the higher bass your sub is missing. You could get some good 6 1/2 inch components and cross them over at 60hz with a 24db slope with some equalizer reinforcement in the bass area to improve your systems bass response.

Regards
Spencer
 

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Hello Spencer,

Sorry I couldn't resist giving you a hard time
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Coming from car audio you are probably accustomed to big amplification and tiny sealed boxes. The Tiny sealed box essentially acts as a damper on efficiency, resulting in the need for enormous amplification power to overcome. When woofers are loaded in large reflex enclosures, they maintain their sensitivity down to much lower frequencies. The result is that, they will generally run out of Xmax long before they run out of thermal power handling. I think you may be surprised to see how dramatic the effects are. Xmax limited power handling at 1/10th the thermal rating is not terribly uncommon.

Having plenty of clean power is always desirable, however, there is nothing inherently wrong with using a 10W amp to power a 1000W rated speaker, nor is there anything inherently wrong with using a 1000W amp to power a 10W rated speaker. It really boils down to what it is that the system is trying to accomplish and personal tastes.

The primary advantage to bi-amping, IMO, is the elimination of complex passive crossovers. Active x-overs are not effected by the massive variations in driver impedance through the listening range, and do not introducing phase/timing issues. When you set up a bi-amped system, it's important that you select amplifiers with matching gain structure. Hopefully the receivers you are interested in include the necessary information to properly select an separate amp. Personally If I were that serious, I would not buy a "receiver" but rather, a surround processor/pre-amp and then a series of dedicated power amplifiers. Perhaps bi-amping the 3 front mains (each channel would need a stereo amp), then just using an additional pair of stereo amps to power the 4 "surround" channels (no bi-amping there). Keep in mind that some speakers will not benefit from bi-amping unless the x-over point is properly selected and adjusted (amount of overlap), and in some cases, EQed. With many speakers, the passive x-over is tailored to correct for various dips and rises in driver efficiency and is actually used to "fix" issues with the drivers and the way they mate up, if you by-pass that and go active x-over and bi-amped, you are effectively eliminating the x-over contours that solved those problems and inserting "generic" roll offs. I suggest picking out a system with a calibrated mic and -good- EQ so you can solve these problems.

A 15" driver is always going to be limited to *relatively* low frequency ranges simply because of it's diameter. Off axis response of a 15" driver probably starts to fade somewhere in the 500-1000hz range (not sure exactly), and a 15" driver will (unless carefully dampened) have an on-axis peak that is pretty nasty around 1000-1500hz. The use of a 15" driver above ~500-1000hz gets tricky, through many implementations do use them up to 1K and well beyond, some more successfully than others (well designed/dampened 15" drivers in on-axis applications can be used to ~2-3K pretty effectively). As far as large drivers go that can sound good. Pro audio drivers from JBL, B&C, and RCF generally come very highly regarded and are commonly used in studio reference applications ( I'll take 2 of these when I win the lotto: http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?Partnumber=294-689 ). Though there are many well regarded pro drivers from less pricey brands that can deliver startlingly hair raising impact and accuracy.

I haven't heard cerwin vega horns so really can't comment (or if I have heard them, I don't recall). Decent compression drivers seem to start around $40-50, many popular models in that price range from Selenium are popular in the DIY community. Like anything in this world, you can always throw more money at the problem ( http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?Partnumber=294-410 )... If you've ever heard a really high end JBL sound reinforcement rig then you'd get a chance to hear a large format driver and horn that sound every bit as non-fatiguing or better than most high end "hifi" stuff.

Regards,
Eric
 

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Thanks for the info Eric,

I've bought a Yamaha rx-2700 for the job yesterday, will be a few weeks away till everything is complete and I can try it all out. It's good to know you can buy some half decent tweeter drivers without breaking the bank that shows it's the manufacturers fault for putting crappy horn tweeters in their speakers to save on material costs. I would have thought you wouldn't really use a 15' woofer (speaker not sub i'm talking) at anything over 150-200hz, by then I would have thought you'd be crossing over to the midrange speaker by then so using them for higher frequencies must be high end commercial use stuff. Anyway that clears up what you were saying quite a bit, I now get where you were coming from
 
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