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Tower Speakers Guide

Tower speakers are also commonly referred to as "floor-standing speakers" or simply "floor speakers". They tend to be taller and generally bigger than bookshelf speakers. Sizes vary from those that are small enough to require stands to the behemoths from companies like Dunlavy or Genesis.

Floor Vs Bookshelf Speakers

Although I am a big fan of bookshelf speakers, I must admit that they may not be the ideal choice for everyone.

Bookshelves tend to lack deep bass and even though you can add a subwoofer, this creates added complications. Also, proper integration can be quite difficult to achieve without extensive knowledge and experience in speaker setup. The best bass I have heard are from gigantic full range tower speakers like the Apogee Diva, Dunlavy SC-IV, Wisdom Adrenaline, and Wilson WAMM or more reasonable floor speakers like the M80ti or AS-F2.

Another disadvantage of bookshelf speakers is the need to buy suitable stands. Decent speaker stands can sometimes cost as much as the speaker itself. The recommended stands for my old Proac Response 2s cost over $600. I guess this is why some people simply plonk their bookshelves on a shelf.

Tower Speakers and Listening Height

With tower speakers as long as the tweeters are situated at ear level, for listeners seated in the primary listening location, there is no need to be concerned with stands. I estimate that ear level for most listeners in a typical home is between 35 and 45 inches.

Floor Speaker Bass Response

According to Hoffman¡'s Iron Law the bigger enclosures of tower speakers will deliver more bass into the room. A bigger cabinet will also accommodate many more and much larger drivers to move more air in the room. All this means that you will get more bass slam, impact and thus better reproduction of movie effects, rock and large-scale classical music.

Buying Guidelines

Since a tower speaker may tend to dominate your listening room, you may want to consider such things as:

  • Footprint size and height ¡V a small footprint with a slimmer appearance takes up less room space and looks far less imposing.

  • Cabinet finish ¡V high quality furniture wood, high gloss finishes, and colors adds to general aesthetics depending on the existing décor of your home.

  • Grill design ¡V most grills are black cloth although some manufacturers will provide other options. I tend to play my speakers without their grills provided there are no small children at home of course.

  • Setup demands ¡V some tower speakers like to be placed out into the room, away from room boundaries, for optimum performance. This can be very intrusive where space is lacking.


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