Are Large Speakers Better Than Small Ones?

LG vs Small speakers

Since 1970, RSL Speaker Systems has built thousands of large floorstanding speakers and studio monitors. We traditionally packaged all of the speaker components including the woofers, mid-ranges, and tweeters within the same cabinet. This basic design has been essentially unchanged since the 1930’s. Many of us are familiar with those elegant two hundred-pound wood grain speaker cabinets from the 60’s – about as big as a washing machine, we recall. But changing times have created new needs which speaker technology has been forced to address. Among these are the limited square footage of many living spaces as well as the desire for less intrusion in a room. The emergence of video and its ever-expanding screen sizes along with the increasing number of speakers in a surround system has further created the need to explore the question of speaker size.

 It’s not that all-in-one floorstanding speakers don’t still exist – they do. But we have found that this design has some disadvantages when compared to a well-designed compact satellite speaker/subwoofer system. When you place a floorstanding speaker in a room, you are supposed to choose a location that will provide the best sound imaging. However, this is often not the best place for the woofer’s bass response and distribution. Why? Subwoofers usually require different placement than the other drivers. This is due to room acoustics as well as the behavior of lower frequencies. So, the location that works the best for midranges and tweeters is often not the best place for a subwoofer. Unlike the rest of the sound spectrum, bass distribution in a room is entirely determined by room dimensions. The subwoofer needs to be located in a spot that achieves even bass distribution throughout the room. Placing a floor-standing speaker in a corner will accent bass but will destroy the overall sound field. On the other hand, if you place floor speakers to maximize the sound field, you sometimes sacrifice even bass distribution. So, with floor speakers it’s an either/or option, neither of them ideal.

With a well designed compact speaker system and subwoofer, the advantages are numerous. First and most obvious is all the space you’ll save. Instead of a pair of massive column speakers that consume a large part of your room’s real estate, you’ll be able to place small, unobtrusive speakers on shelves, stands or you can mount them to the wall. Then, you’ll have the flexibility of placing a subwoofer in a convenient place for best bass distribution, or out of view under a table or behind furniture. Then, there’s the sound advantage. With our patented Compression Guide Technology, our small speakers have the potential to sonically disappear more effectively, making it harder to pinpoint where the sound originates. And because they integrate perfectly with our subwoofer, the bass response rivals virtually any large speaker system.

With that being said, there are reasons that many compact speakers call attention to their reduced size. First, the satellite speakers must have enough low frequency response to seamlessly blend with the subwoofer; which is often not the case. As a result, there is an audible gap between the subwoofer and the satellites, resulting in sound that constantly reminds you that you’re listening to a small speaker system. Second, most subwoofers are slow and sloppy, when compared to the satellites, which prevents them from integrating properly. So whenever you hear the bass, you can always tell its coming from a separate subwoofer.

You’ll find that our compact speaker system provides all of the fullness, detail, and imaging of the very best floor-standing speakers. And paired with our Compression Guided subwoofer, you’ll hear the full sound spectrum without compromising bass or imaging. We guarantee that if you closed your eyes, you wouldn’t know the difference.