Have you been moving toward bigger or smaller speakers in recent years?

Have you been moving toward bigger or smaller speakers in recent years?
Bigger is better
47% (66 votes)
Getting smaller
32% (45 votes)
Size doesn't matter
21% (29 votes)
Total votes: 140

The conventional wisdom that "bigger is better" doesn't always hold true in audio. High-end speaker systems, for example, have evolved in both directions—some designs have grown enormous while others have almost disappeared entirely. Which trend do you favor?

Bruce A.  Brown's picture

I have Magnepans but am going with conventional speakers I haven't heard any conventional speakers that are as transparent as the maggies except for larger designs. (ie....Hales Transcendence 8 or Thiel 6's or VSR 4.5"

Todd A.  Lee's picture

Bigger still means better for the most part, except in home theater, where most applications include one or more powered subwoofers. This is an advantage multichannel playback has over two-channel stereo: smaller, more specialized speakers that rely on electronics for imaging and response, rather than just physical design.

David Brown's picture

Audio was my premier hobby during college, but the older that I get, the less time and hassle I want to spend on audio. I had planar speakers for five years, but their fickle nature outweighs their sonic benefits.

Dave's picture

My speakers are getting smaller, but better. My next pair will be Totem Model #1's

Eric Chang's picture

My last speaker purchase was a pair of Magneplanar MG-10s, which, by design, are "bigger." But they are thinner!

Marty Traxler's picture

Bose Acoustimass and NXT are indications that through alternative technology, you can get big sound from small speakers. Large doesn't imply status any more.

Al Marcy's picture

It ain't the size, it's the SOUND!

Brian Godwinn's picture

In this case, the ends justify the means. As long as the price and sound are sweet, I will live with whatever size necessary, within reason of course. However, with the current amount of good quality small speakers available, small may become the choice of the future.

Carlos_E's picture

I am upgrading from Bose AM 10s. To Vienna Acoutics Mozart and Haydn speakers.

herve.deletraz@ville-ge.ch's picture

Since I love true deep bass impact, one should consider that 80% of music doesn't contain much bass below 40 Hz. Of course if bass are missing, the ambiance is not restitued very acurately. The common thought is that big bass is better than no bass at all. The most important is not how much bass you get, but at which speed your speaker can reproduce them. I recently changed my speakers for Rehdeko RK175. No bass at first for the confirmed audiobud, but real and at right level ones for the few musicians who heard them. The common confusion is that wind is too often taken as bass. So next time you'll choose a speaker, just wonder about how much wind it does produce. Then you'll watch for real bass, and maybe you'll buy a smaller speaker than you thought before...

Mike J.'s picture

I've always preferred small two-way speakers, whether with one less-than-8" woofer or two smaller ones in a d'Appolito configuration, whether in a small box (Celestion SL700s, Totem Model 1s, Harbeth Compact 7) or a medium-sized one (Thiel CS1.5, B&W DM-7, Spendor BC-1). Certain things are so synergistic that they have to be chosen together: the cartridge and the preamp, the power amp and the speakers--and the speakers and the room. I would rather choose my room to suit my taste in speakers than be forced into doing it the opposite way around. Good-sounding speakers are rare, in my experience; good-sounding large speakers are even rarer. Real rooms just don't like too much bass. Aside from the Thiel CS3.6 and the Martin-Logan CLS, I can't name a big speaker I've ever heard that I like, and I've heard lots of them. And I don't have a room large enough for the CS3.6es. Many big speakers I've heard, even famous ones, sound so poor I wouldn't put up with them. Some of them (I won't annoy people by naming names) I think are horrid. Ironically, there is an anology in photography (my field): bigger and bigger prints have gotten popular with galleries and collectors in the past dozen years. I agree with a curator who said, of Ansel Adams's mural-sized prints, that he expended a great deal of work, labor, money, and expertise on his big prints, and as a result they're almost as good as his smaller ones. That about sums up my opinion of big speakers.

LymanGL DeLiguori, Sr.'s picture

I'm Italian. It's genetic .

Federico Cribiore's picture

Now, if cash wasn't a hinderance (be it in the size of my living/listening quarters or in the size of my speakers) then I'd say that Bigger is EASILY better. Unfortunately, not all of us can afford Grand Utopias and NYC lofts... (sigh...)

Anonymous's picture

3D spacious soundstage is where it is at! Big speakers just don't do this!

Haavard Davidsen's picture

Smaller speakers don't mean "smaller" bass!! midband is what realy matters.......

orlando rodriguez's picture

size should not be an issue; it is a matter of personal preference or one that relates to the size of the room where the speakers are expected to perform. it is the music and the sound that matter. size,price,shape, etc., are only choices and options.

John at JC3RD@AOL.COM's picture

I almost said "Getting Smaller" but I realized that I don't really care how big a speaker is, only how it sounds in my room at the time. At the moment I have a small 15.5 x 13 ft room so a small speaker is the way to go. I prefer to buy the best speaker I can afford in the size that works in my room the best. At the moment said speakers are PSB STEATUS MINI'S.

tony esporma's picture

I like small stuff... besides minimonitors image so well. Of course, the Entec woofers required are pretty big! but they fit behind the stands I put the main speakers on.

Rob Cornelson's picture

Wouldn't it be nice if the prices stayed the same or even dropped as the soundstage got "bigger?"

Dr.  A.  Nonymous's picture

It's not the size that matters. It's what a truly GREAT engineer can do with it that counts. I am of course refering to the loudspeaker designer.

Marc Phillips's picture

Funny you should ask . . . this week I'm trading in my Spendor S20 minimonitors for a pair of Spendor SP100s!

Scott Miller's picture

Like most of your other readers, I've heard excellent-sounding speakers of just about every shape and size. I haven't bought speakers in several years, but my current speakers are what I would call medium-sized, and I expect my next pair will be too. As good as a small speaker can sound, I like a fairly deep and solid bass, and so want a fairly large speaker. Unfortunately, I have neither the room nor the money to buy really big, high-quality speakers, so I compromised and got something a bit smaller. I think my next pair of speakers will be between 3 and 4 cubic feet per enclosure.

Anonymous's picture

I started with small bookshelf speakers, and keep seeing marked improvements as I get bigger and better speakers.

Federico Cribiore's picture

Now, if cash weren't a hindrance (be it in the size of my living/listening quarters or the size of my speakers), then I'd say that bigger is EASILY better. Unfortunately, not all of us can afford Grand Utopias and NYC lofts . . . (sigh . . . )

Charles Purvis Kelly, Jr.'s picture

In my case, bigger is going to be better. When I improve from my KEF Reference 102s to Vandersteen 2Ces next year, I am going to be retaining the midrange transparency and high end of the KEFs, but I will be getting a deeper and more extended low end that the KEFs will never match. Use the right cables (MITerminator 2 biwire speaker cables), and the low end will be tighter as well as deeper---an ideal combination for R&B, rap, and hip-hop. You see, we A-A people prefer "a little welley" with our music. No more needs to be said.

Joseph V Navikas's picture

Small speakers sound ok but the sound and space from a large system can't be beat.

bcurrul@tq0s.com's picture

smaller size, bigger price tag

Dean Stransky's picture

Small to medium speakers when combined with a sub- woofer sound the best to me...especially Polk!!

MacGregor Rucker's picture

Somehow I've found myself with a houseful of small speakers. They all sound nice, I suppose, but I really miss size and scale. These little boxes don't do a damn thing to approximate a grand piano, even in a small room. They completely shrink symphonies, and no matter how sweet the strings sound, they can't touch the timpani. And on the other end of the spectrum, I've yet to hear a small speaker that could truly truly rock. My next speakers will be full-size, full-range monsters, because there's music that just requires it.

Rollo J.  Brewster's picture

It ain't the cone, it's the motion that makes these ears rock. Physics be damned---each subsequent year somebody is making smaller better!