Moving from floor standers to bookshelf speakers

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by dennis1077, Jun 26, 2020.

  1. dennis1077

    dennis1077 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    My main speakers are a set of Polk R50’s. I bought them for $100 on Craigs List and can only assume they are mass-produced budget speakers. Even with dented tweeters, they sound good to me and I have no complaints.

    Wharfedale’s Diamond 225 speakers recently caught my attention. I’ve poured through the glowing reviews and these little bookshelf speakers appear to have quite a following. They originally retailed for $449 but are on sale for $299.

    I took the sale price as a sign to upgrade my speakers. Then I pondered, WOULD it be an upgrade? Perhaps moving from tower speakers to bookshelf speakers would actually be a downgrade.

    My original reasoning was a $449 pair of bookshelf speakers would outperform cheaper floor standers. I envision greater clarity, wider soundstage, and detailed imaging. BUT, I would be LOSING two woofers. Would bookshelves sound less full?

    I do have a roommate so my stereo is in my bedroom. It measures 10’ x 11’ with 8 foot high ceilings. As a listening room, it’s not ideal. All wall space is utilized, so the speakers come out into the room. I’ve taken a pic to give you an idea of my set-up.

    Imgur

    Would it be a mistake to move from floor standing speakers to bookshelves? Or, should I simply be content and not fix what's not broken.

    Thanks for any input you can offer!
     
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  2. ZenArcher

    ZenArcher Forum Resident

    Location:
    Durham, NC
    The Wharfdales are claimed to go lower in the bass than your Polks (45 Hz vs 50 Hz). Of course, different manufacturers measure this differently and you can’t always believe what you read. On paper, though, you won’t lose bass. Are you figuring in the cost of stands? I don’t advocate anything expensive but you will need stands.

    The Wharfdales are highly praised, and I don’t knower about the Polks. If there’s a good return policy, why not try them?
     
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  3. dennis1077

    dennis1077 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I did notice the extended bass frequency. That got me curious. Is it possible for bookshelves to have MORE bass than towers? Most of the Wharfedale reviews commented on how great the bass sounded.

    I did factor in stands. I was looking at some cheaper stands but ultimately decided to spend the extra money on Wharfedale stands. They are "specifically tailored for Diamond 200 Series speakers." It's probably just a marketing ploy but they seem like a genuinely solid set of stands.

    Wharfedale - ST-1 Speaker Stands | Shop Music Direct
     
  4. ZenArcher

    ZenArcher Forum Resident

    Location:
    Durham, NC
    Yes, it’s possible for standmounts to have deeper bass than floorstanders, depends on the drivers used and a lot of other factors. I think you made a good decision to go for those stands. You can be sure they’re the intended height, and the do look nice and solid.
     
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  5. PhxJohn

    PhxJohn Forum Resident

    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    My bookshelf speakers are AR 3a's.
     
  6. Helom

    Helom I'll take the monkey coffins

    Location:
    U.S.
    The problem with inexpensive floorstanders is the image like doo doo.
     
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  7. Rick58

    Rick58 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dublin, CA, USA
    I'd suggest moving either speaker pair a bit further apart, it's actually better to have them away from the wall behind them (where you have them seems great, just spread apart a bit more). This would get you a wider soundstage, adjust toe in to make sure the center image is still solid (vocals, drum set, bass usually image at/near the center). If things sound too diffuse either tilt more 'in' toward your ears or move them a little closer together.

    Standmounts can have better imaging and soundstaging (and better speakers / gear will have a sense of depth and space between and behind the speaker plane).

    I can't say if the standmounts would have more bass, I suspect not? Might want to add a sub if you get the standmounts but of course listen for a while before deciding. NEW speakers can take a while to 'loosen up'. My standmounts had NO bass for several hours (10 hours? I don't know) of playing time, then it came in, sounds great.
     
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  8. Benzion

    Benzion "Cogito, ergo sum" Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Yes, depends how both are built. A better-built bookshelf using better parts/construction can have better bass than a cheap tower, absolutely.

    I recently bought the 225's myself. They do sound very nice in my kitchen - way better than the Klipsch RB-51's they replaced, and with more bass (the RB-51 are bookshelves too). I can recommend them enthusiastically, but only for their own merit, not as a comparison to your Polks, which I've never heard.
     
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  9. Rick58

    Rick58 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dublin, CA, USA
    not the 225s !!! Wharfedale Diamond 225 loudspeaker seems like excellent little speakers.

    OOPS never mind! I missed the 'floorstanders' part. Maybe the inexpensive floorstanders are crappy imagers. The 225s should excel in that department (my holy grail!).

    PS/Edit: not sure if the Onkyo receiver will support a large/deep soundstage, but the 225s seem like they would 'survive' an amplification upgrade and 'should' sound better overall than the more inexpensive Polks. They may not have as much bass? but what they have should be tight and tuneful. The Onkyo will drive them to decently loud levels without issue.

    Maybe a good integrated amp next? Marantz/Denon make some really good ones in the $500 range ... and of course there are other choices too.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2020
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  10. dennis1077

    dennis1077 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    The floorstanders sound great.....but lack detail in imaging.

    Calling the 225s the "holy grail" in regards to imaging is EXACTLY what I needed to hear! Even if I lose some of the fullness of a Tower, better imaging seems like a worthwhile trade off.
     
  11. Rick58

    Rick58 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dublin, CA, USA
    Sorry, I meant that imaging/deep soundstaging is MY holy grail ... but the 225s seem to have the capability to 'throw' a very nice wide and deep soundstage (with the proper supporting equipment, setup, room, yada yada yada ...).

    NOT to discourage you from buying them, they seem like GREAT little speakers that 'punch above their weight class' plus being on sale/closeout is a great way to save $$$ and get something better than you could otherwise. I've done that with several purchases (bought refurb and 'scratch and dent' components, never been disappointed).

    PS/Edit: the comment about 'surviving' upgrades in amplification ... keeping the Polks, which I assume aren't as capable, could mask upgrades from the Onkyo to something better. The 225s seem to be good enough that they should allow you to hear improvements when you get better amplification components.
     
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  12. Rick58

    Rick58 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dublin, CA, USA
    read Wharfedale Diamond 225 loudspeaker including follow up reviews with the other writers, then read it all again. Seems like you cannot go wrong with these speakers! Including upgrading other components! Having them on stands a ways from the wall behind them is also ideal, which is how you 'have' to set them up.
     
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  13. ZenArcher

    ZenArcher Forum Resident

    Location:
    Durham, NC
    I’d agree with Rick58’s suggestion to move your speakers farther apart, if you can. Experiment until it sounds best. And, you’re lucky to have the out from the back wall. Too close causes all sorts of soundstage and frequency-response problems. That Inner Mounting Flame is gonna sound mighty good!
     
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  14. dennis1077

    dennis1077 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Got ya! I've officially made up mind. Still gotta wait a few weeks but I'm gonna pull the trigger on the 225's.

    I've already given thought to an integrated amp. I LOVE my Marantz CD player. At some point, I'd like to upgrade to the Marantz PM8006.
     
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  15. dennis1077

    dennis1077 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    One problem is my rear wall is equally crowded. I have a bed, nightstand, and desk against that wall so I'm forced to sit close to the speakers. BUT, I'm looking forward to experimenting. Maybe I'll even ditch my desk!
     
    Rick58 likes this.
  16. Brother_Rael

    Brother_Rael Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scottish Borders
    If you can find a pair, the Tannoy DC4 or DC6 would be well worth investigating. Trapezoidal dual concentrics, real wood enclosure and fabulous midrange with a nice treble. Bass in the smaller DC4 isn't as limited as you might expect on first glance either. Look at a NOS pair and you'll not go wrong. Loved my DC4s when I had them.
     
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  17. Rick58

    Rick58 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dublin, CA, USA
    I keep trying to spend more of your money ... looking for integrated amps withOUT phono stage (since you have a good one already). Keep coming back to Cambridge Audio (which would match your phono stage). The newer CXA61 Cambridge Audio CXA61 Stereo integrated amplifier with built-in DAC and Bluetooth® at Crutchfield seems to have eliminated tone and balance controls? but the earlier CXA60 has them ... if you can find one on closeout or as a factory/authorized refurb might be a match made in heaven ... :winkgrin:
     
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  18. Rick58

    Rick58 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dublin, CA, USA
    Sitting close to the speakers is better! I use a nearfield arrangement with Titus monitors on stands well out into the room, forms about a 6' equilateral triangle with my head. Speakers 6' apart and 6' diagonally to my ears. "Soundstage City" as Sam Tellig used to say in Stereophile.

    Hey the Marantz PM8006 also seems like an excellent performer, good on you for looking at it! Yeah, welcome to audiophilia (upgradeitis) ... it's a nice affliction to have but of course don't go into high amounts of debt. PS: I see Crutchfield has a 'scratch and dent' version for $1000 ... Marantz PM8006 Stereo integrated amplifier at Crutchfield might just keep an 'eye' on sites for open box/refurb/s&d units. Accessories4less: High End Audio at Low End Prices! seems to be another site to watch (altho they don't seem to have any PM8006s ...).
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2020
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  19. Rick58

    Rick58 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dublin, CA, USA
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  20. Litejazz53

    Litejazz53 Perfection Through "Crystal Clear" Digital

    I think you are making a solid move. Those old Polks were not up to par, like say the LSiM series, which were entirely different animals! Your move to the Wharfedale's will absolutely provide more precise imaging and natural soundstage, obviously you will need some stands. If you are worried about the loss of bass, jump into a small sub, 8" or 10" and your bass will be more controlled, tighter, better all around than the old Polks. A 10' X 11' room is small, you will be soooooo much better with the Wharfedale speakers, do it tomorrow! :righton:
     
  21. csgreene

    csgreene Forum Resident

    Location:
    Idaho, USA
    If you want bookshelf speakers that will blow you away for the price you mentioned, with exceptional imaging, check out NHT SuperOne speakers. Amazon carries them for a stupid low price. I'm an NHT fanboy and have five pairs of their speakers. Do your homework and make sure you can get whatever you *think* you want for and in home test. FWIW, one pair of SuperOnes are matched with my Marantz PM8004. I have two TV/music set-ups with the NHT SuperZeros with two smaller Marantz amps, a PM6004 and a PM5005. Because they are an acoustic suspension design, you have a little more leeway in placement from the rear wall.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2020
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  22. jupiterboy

    jupiterboy Forum Residue

    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    Get some good stands and load them. Skylan is hard to beat.
     
  23. dennis1077

    dennis1077 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    THAT'S my complaint with the Polk's. They sound good. Nice and full. But the imaging isn't really there. Also, both tweeters are dented. I imagine that impacts imaging.

    The Polks were a Craigs List purchase so I have no idea how much they originally sold for. Apparently people were buying them NEW for $100 once Polk discontinued the R50's. They almost certainly fall in the category of "inexpensive floorstanders."
     
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  24. Brother_Rael

    Brother_Rael Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scottish Borders
    No issues with the seller. That's Cambridge Audio direct sales. They put a bunch of refurbished gear out online from time to time. Safe to buy there alright.
     
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  25. dennis1077

    dennis1077 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Seriously, thanks for all of your input! It's fun exploring different upgrade options.

    The refurbished Cambridge was VERY tempting. A bit of a gamble, yes, but financially feasible.

    $349 is a killer deal....perhaps too good. Last night the seller had TWO units available. By the time I woke up this morning, it was sold out! I've taken it as a sign to be patient and save. It may take a year or two to buy the Marantz but I imagine dropping $1200 on an integrated amp is instant audio nirvana.
     
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