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Are Heavier and Bigger Speakers Better?

There has always been some debate about the size of the best speaker. As devices get smaller and thinner, so do speakers. This may lead consumers to assume that these new, smaller speakers are better than the large, bulky ones, due to new advances and innovations. But there are still those who swear by the sound produced by large speakers. So, who’s right? This is the question I set out to answer, and now I’m sharing that answer with you.

So are large, heavy speakers better than small ones? The short answer is yes. Small speakers may have the advantage in size and cost (though not if you’re going for a high-end new model), but bigger speakers outdo the smaller ones in performance. And in general, performance is what we all look for most in a speaker.

There’s more to better sound than power, and the purchase of a speaker goes beyond how much power it can produce. The size of the space, the way the speaker will be used, and a consumer’s price range will all affect what type of speaker is best.

Why Large Speakers Offer Better Sound

Most people assume that big, heavy speakers are more powerful. After all, they look powerful, right? That’s because they are. They produce a clearer, stronger, and yes, louder, sound than small speakers are capable of. Here’s how.

Small speakers are not able to produce a clear sound in all situations simply due to their size. It limits them in terms of the power they can produce. These speakers have difficulty with large sounds, like explosions in a movie, as well as sounds that are too low in pitch. To fill in this gap, they are usually accompanied by a separate larger speaker called a subwoofer. The subwoofer’s job is to produce low frequency sounds. Smaller speakers generally don’t have issues producing medium to high pitch sounds. But when a small speaker attempts to produce very low frequency sounds you’ll hear a large amount of distortion in the sound.

Big speakers, on the other hand, were made for large, loud sounds. They include a subwoofer, which small speakers lack. The included subwoofer allows larger speakers to have a better frequency response than smaller speakers. Frequency response is the range of bass, mids, and treble that a speaker can produce without distortion. With large speakers, there are less strained sounds. While small speakers create the appearance of full sound, large speakers deliver it in reality. Sounds come off as full, natural, and realistic.

Music also sounds better when heard through large speakers. Subwoofers are intended for bass frequencies, but they still sound better through large, powerful speakers than through an attached subwoofer.

Remember that with a large speaker, you have everything you need in one piece of equipment. A small speaker is dependent on a subwoofer, and if the subwoofer fails somehow, you will notice vastly compromised sound quality. A large speaker is not dependent on anything but itself (and your ability to set it up properly).

Factors to Consider When Choosing Smaller or Bigger Speakers

There are other aspects to a speaker purchase that must be weighed: the size of your usable space, how you will use the speaker, and your price range.

The amount of space available to you will determine the type of speakers you can set up within it. If you live in a tiny apartment, you’re not going to buy monstrous speakers that will take up the entire space. You’ll likely go with a much more conservatively sized set. Just remember that they won’t provide the same amount of power as a larger set of speakers would. Larger speakers will usually provide a better experience overall, but make sure you have the room for them.

How you intend to use the speakers will also play a part in your decision. If you only need music for a bedroom or a sound system for a small home theater, smaller speakers with a subwoofer might be a more economical and efficient choice. But if you have a larger home theater or host a lot of gatherings inside your home, larger speakers will serve your needs better.

The final aspect of a purchase decision will be, cost. Small speakers generally carry a lower price tag than large ones. However, if you opt for one of the newer, more “advanced” models, the cost could be higher. Just remember, most of the time you will get what you pay for. If you pay a lower price then you’ll likely get a cheap speaker. Including the reduced sound quality to go along with it. A higher price tag for higher quality can go a long way. Not to mention, higher quality speakers are also more durable in general. This means you won’t need to buy new speakers as frequently as you would with a cheaper, less durable model.

The Best Large Speakers to Consider Purchasing

Once you know what to look for in a large speaker that will suit your needs, how do you go about choosing one? Here’s a brief buying guide to some of the best large speakers on the market right now.

The Signature Series S60 Floor Standing Speaker from Polk Audio offers reliable surround sound for an affordable price. The Dynamic Balance acoustic array includes polypropylene cones that are reinforced with mica, a high-resolution Terylene dome tweeter, ceramic motor structures, high-temperature Conex fiber spiders, and three six-inch drivers. The speaker includes precision cross-overs and a detachable, anti-diffraction magnetic grille. The Power Port Technology, a patented feature exclusive to Polk Audio, includes a diffuser that transitions air flow from the speaker to the listening area. This smooths turbulence in the air and minimizes distortions. These features combine to allow distinct sounds to come through clear and make for louder bass. They also make the speaker durable and efficient.

The speaker has a clean yet stylish look with rounded corners, a vinyl finish on the casing, and two colors to choose from, including classic black. It is slim and stands a little under 45 inches, allowing it to complement any living space.

The speaker is easy to set up. It is a passive speaker, so a separate amp and receiver are required. It features hookups at the bottom of the speaker, which can accommodate several set-up options, including straight speaker wires and banana plugs. Jumpers are included to connect the terminal to the receiver. The speaker is very sturdy with feet on the bottom to keep it stable. No floor spikes or other additions are necessary.

The design of the speaker allows for sound that fills the room, loud bass, and clear sound at both high and low volumes. The speaker is bi-amped, which opens up the frequency range and gives it more power in mid-range sounds. The drivers play a part in this: each driver captures its own distinct portion of mid- and low-range sounds. Each driver is responsible for its own portion of the sound, allowing the speaker to produce sounds that are graduated, natural, and blended.

The sensitivity of the speaker is efficient – you don’t need to constantly adjust the volume. The speaker features high-quality construction, both inside and out, making it very durable.

The BP9080 High Performance Tower Speaker from Definitive Technology carries a high price tag, but offers impressive performance in exchange. A bipolar tower speaker is forward-focused and fills the room with immersive sound. The Intelligent Bass Control feature enhances the bass while maintaining balance in the overall sound. Aluminum dome tweeters and high performance drivers further enhance the sound quality. A two-way height speaker module is integrated into the top of the speaker for multi-dimensional sound.

The speaker features a simple, minimalist design that allows you to focus on the sound quality and nothing more. It is meant to be used as a floor speaker, but could be placed inside an open cabinet. The sound may bounce around a bit, but the speaker would operate as intended. There is no need for an additional subwoofer as long as the speaker is connected to an adequate amp like the Sonos Connect (our guide) or receiver.

The speaker is easy to assemble and set up, so you can start listening to great sound right away. Even a large open room will be filled with sound with this speaker, and everyone in the room will feel large sounds and bass in music vibrate with full, natural sound thanks to the 360-degree sound projection. Depending on the specifications of your space, the sound could seem even better than that inside a movie theater!

Some speakers might deliver some genres of music well, while others would be subpar. This speaker delivers impressive performance across all genres. Even at high volumes, there is no sound distortion – only crystal clear sound. Smaller, quieter, and more distinct sounds come through clear as well. You will find that the sound quality doesn’t need a lot of adjusting.

The speaker is very durable. After months of daily use, it still delivers clear, full sound. This leaves you with a speaker offering high performance for a long time to come.

The T1 Tower Speaker from Emotiva Audio provides great sound quality at an even lower price point than the others on this list. High-frequency sounds are reproduced clearly with an advanced air folded ribbon high-frequency driver, while a woven fiber mid-range serves mid-frequency sounds and specialized, advanced low-frequency drivers serve low sounds. The different frequencies and ranges are provided to these drivers by a durable precision cross-over. This makes sure that each driver is only taking care of the frequency that was designed for, allowing for a more natural sound overall. Also included inside the speaker are a folded ribbon tweeter and dual woven fiber woofers.

The design of the speaker is simple yet elegant. The front features a faceted style that minimizes diffraction and distortion, along with a magnetically-attached grill and a front bezel with a black lacquer satin finish. The side and back panels have textured vinyl that is high-quality but low maintenance. The speaker is built from durable, high-quality materials, allowing it to last for a long time.

Related Questions

Can you mix speaker brands?

Mixing brands is not recommended. Each individual speaker has a unique timbre, which is a sonic signature. Using two different speakers creates two timbres that clash with one another. Even different models or product lines from the same brand can create the same effect. It becomes even more chaotic when you have a complete surround sound system with more than two speakers – for instance, you might have a few front speakers and surround speakers in the back or on the sides. If these all have distinct timbres because they’re all from different brands, you could be hearing nothing but a chaotic mess. It’s always best to have a matched set, since they are designed to work together.

How far apart should your speakers be for best performance?

The best distance between your speakers will depend on the way your room is set up. You want it to be proportional to the distance between any listening position and the speakers. For instance, if you are using them for a home theater and your chair is seven feet from the TV, the speakers should be around seven feet apart. Your chair should form an equal-sided triangle with the speakers.

How do you arrange your room for the best sound?

For best sound, angle the speakers slightly towards your chair. Avoid placing the speakers up against a wall – this will cause the sound to bounce off the wall and distort the sound that you hear. If you place your chair against a wall, there will be less space for the sound to travel around and surround you, leading to a less immersive experience. It also causes the sound to bounce off of the wall behind you, allowing for more distortion. For best results, pull both the chair and speakers out into the room a little. Make sure your equal-sided triangle is still in place.

Alex30

Thursday 8th of July 2021

i mostly agree with the points raised in this article but do not agree at all with the notion that having the subwoofer incorporated into the tower speakers is more desirable than having separate subwoofers.

Firstly a high end dedicated subwoofer is capable of delivering excellent low frequency content and will intergrade seamlessly with the towers if set up correctly.

Secondly it is very important to place the low frequency drivers in the best position in a room in order to minimise possible adverse interactions of the long wave forms of the low frequencies with the boundaries of the room. Failure to do so can result in horrible nulls and reinforcements of some frequencies at the listening position.

With tower speakers your options of placement are limited as you also need to take into consideration other aspects such as soundstage, imaging. and localisation. With dedicated subwoofers there is more latitude in placement as soundstage and imaging are a non issue and this can allow smoothing out of frequency response for the money seats.

I love my Revel Ultima Studio2, and they are capable of playing at less than 30Hz in my room, but I cross them over at 100Hz to my SVS 2000 dual subwoofers to get the absolute best out of them. I would never play them full range because the place they need to be for soundstage, imaging and localisation would result in lumpy , uneven bass and a totally undesirable audio experience.

Snyder MacKay

Friday 18th of June 2021

Hi Jonah. Good articles. I'm downsizing and sold my Klipsch Palladium P-39's which were amazing. Cried for 3 days and starting drinking again. Cost aside, what much smaller speaker would come close to the Palladium's quality? Snyder

Manish

Friday 7th of August 2020

Hey,

I am trying to understand why would small speakers with a subwoofer will sound worse than a large speaker with a sub. For instance, I have Pioneer FS 22 paired with SVS PB1000 and the crossover is set at 80Hz. If we are crossing the speakers at 80 Hz, why not buy a small satellite speakers like SVS prime satellite speakers and pair then with the SUB and save space too?