Building the foundations

Paul McGowan writes .....

I have never understood the purpose of speaker stands for small two-way loudspeakers. If you’re not going to use them on a shelf, as intended, what sense do they make?

A small speaker box struggles with bass—it’s just physics. Sacrificing music’s full range for a small box only makes sense in tight spaces with zero floor space. As soon as you add stands to elevate bookshelf speakers your rationale goes out the window. A floor standing loudspeaker takes no more real estate than a speaker stand holding up an undersized cabinet.

Let’s agree if we’re not trying to make do with what we have, we’ll choose a floor stander for our system. This gives us the best shot at full range audio.

Choices of small footprint floor standing loudspeakers are as many as the opinions held for choosing them. There are single driver ‘full range’ (tweeter mounted inside a woofer), two-way (separate tweeter and woofer), three-way (tweeter, midrange, woofer), and hybrids (tweeter, woofer, and built-in amplified subwoofer).

The choices come down to budget and personal taste.

If it were my system I would go with something like the Goldenear Triton Five or Seven. These small-footprint full range speakers start at $1,500 and go to $2,000 the pair. The less expensive version uses a passive radiator to get bass extension, the $500 step-up has a powered subwoofer.

Others would likely recommend the fine work of Andrew Jones in the Elac series (I too am a fan). The Uni-Fi runs about the same price as the entry level Golden Ear.

Of course, there are plenty other slim-design speakers that take no more floor space than a pair of anemic bookshelves on stands.

If truncated frequency extremes are your thing, a bookshelf speaker on a stand might be the way to go.

If you want full range, stick with bigger boxes.