Floorstanding Loudspeakers

Floorstanding loudspeakers provide a high level of dynamics and bass power in a two channel speaker system. In general the best balanced performance comes from two floorstanding speakers and amplification that are size appropriate for a given room. In performance-oriented two-channel systems, subwoofers are best suited to supplying low bass, aka sub-bass, where they fill in the lowest registers to an already full-range floorstanding loudspeaker.

One of the most startling demonstrations I've ever heard was listening to a live recording of a female folk guitarist/singer playing in a brick building - guitar and a singer - no bass, right? First we listened through a pair of standmount speakers, then the same track through floorstanders. The standmounts gave me the guitar and singer, while the full range speakers transported me to being in that brick building and hearing the low level sounds from the stage moving with the music, the collective sounds of people and chairs moving with the music, the sense of sound on stone and brick. It was a much more realistic and involving sound.

The above story illustrates a few items that generate a sense of realism in playback. Another example is the sound of The Beatles A Day in the Life's final piano chord. On a full range speaker you hear and feel very physically that single massive chord on a 1200 lb piano resonating for a full 42 seconds. On a standmount it's good, on a floorstander it's epic.

The above photo illustrates the cabinet displacement and driver surface area of the Sonus faber Olympica Nova floorstanding speaker vs standmount. The largest floorstanding speaker in the series, the Olympica Nova V, absolutely dwarfs the standmount Nova I speaker in cabinet volume and driver area. Just like car engines, there is no replacement for displacement. A big speaker has a sense of sonic torque to its presentation, just like a V8 engine compared to a turbo-charged four cylinder. This displacement gives authority not just to the lowest frequencies, but to upper bass and lower midrange as well. Looking at the picture, imagine the Nova I playing Paul's piano chord, then the Nova V playing it - good vs epic.