Compact or tower speakers?
Let’s assume for a moment that Lady Bountiful stops by and hands you 2000 euros and challenges you to decide between tower and compact speakers priced at that level. Which do you go for? The tower, right? – Fooled you.
A lot of people believe that large, multi-driver loudspeakers deliver a better sound than small ones. Often enough exactly the opposite applies – in the same price segment. The bigger a cabinet, the harder and more expensive it is to keep it free of unwanted vibrations. The bigger the cabinet the more expensive it is to produce – and the less money there is left over to fund the rest (drivers, crossover, internal cabling, insulation). And if you have to purchase four drivers instead of two with the same budget at your disposal, then obviously the quality of the drivers will be compromised.
This is no all-out attack on tower speakers, but rather a plea to give compact loudspeakers a chance too, because they can be very much worth your while. In our experience compact loudspeakers also frequently provide a more coherent sense of spatial expression – in addition to the above-mentioned benefits. The fewer the number of drivers that need to be “coordinated”, the lower the run-time differences and phase shifts between the individual drivers.
Of course tower speakers also feature a range of benefits: Starting at a certain size and listening volume, they can simply deliver a deep bass sound better than compact loudspeakers. They can also often fill a room with a more uniform and extensive sound. And if you have children: last but not least they can take the impact of a Bobbycar more in their stride than compact speakers on fragile pedestals. Admittedly you still have to factor the pedestals into your total budget of course, if compact speakers are what you want.
Conclusion: Approach the matter in an unbiased way and don’t decide on tower or compact speakers before you even get started. You should only do that once you have conducted an extensive number of listening tests – and indeed on both versions.