SMALLER, lighter, more convenient. That’s what we want in our electronics, and it’s why we’re getting some great sound bars, earbuds and headphones.
So why would do tower speakers (or floor-standing speakers) still exist? These chunky examples don’t just occupy floor space, they usually have a tail of wires and require the entourage of an amp, pre-amp, and relatively massive storage devices. By all rights, they should have gone the way of the dodo long ago.
But they haven’t. In fact, here are 5 very compelling reasons why you may eventually favour a switch back to the good ol’ wired hi-fi systems.
01: Tower speakers can make your pad look darn classy
Not all tower speakers are drab affairs of black PVC and boxy design. Most manufacturers have realised that the size of the towers makes them good showpieces that should, minimally, fit in with existing decor. Done right, they add sophistry and gravitas to your living room.
See if these sexy sirens match your interior – Bang & Olufsen’s BeoLab 90 crosses the line between speaker and objet d’art, and minimalist interiors can certainly employ the AudioPro Addon T20.
02: They simply just crank out the juice
If music were wine, what you’re getting through your earbuds – especially wireless ones – is plonk; watered down, thin, and something you begrudgingly squeeze past your lips for lack of better options. Often this is a tradeoff for portability, but when you’re in your palace, you don’t need to compromise.
Tower speakers, on the other hand, deliver the Grand Cru experience. Rich, nuanced and bold notes pour forth from the orifices, sending tremors down your spine. Every gulp and breath your favourite artist takes – they are there. Once you’ve tasted quality, it’s hard to settle ever again.
Clarity of sound aside, simple physics dictates that you need a long column to produce deep, reverberating notes. We’re talking hair-raising, seat-vibrating undulations here.
The relatively tinny ‘bass’ you get out of ear cans are mere simulations generated by passing low-frequency waves through your skull and around your ear canal. Not quite the same thing as two towers and a subwoofer feeding you shivers through the skin.
For nutty bass, we prescribe the Polk T50 Floor-standing speakers, which come loaded with bass radiators that’ll do the trick.
04: All. Around. You.
It’s one thing to watch Batman smacking villains on the screen in front of you. But put in police sirens and muffled grunting going off behind you as Catwoman careens in from the stage left – all of a sudden, you’re living the movie, not just watching it.
This transporting experience can only be had with a dedicated surround sound system. Sure, headphones and earphones can attempt to recreate that with software, but the mind never really buys into such artificial depth. No. To be in the picture, you have invest in satellites and solid tower speakers.
Myth #1: Full surround systems are going to put a dent in your wallet. Not necessarily. The Onkyo SKS HT870 brings 7.1 to your home for under a thousand quid – and its got a sub that packs a pretty mean punch for its weight class, too. Just remember to add shipping costs.
05: You gotta treat your other hardware right.
If you’ve read this far, you’ve probably invested in some high-quality sources. These could be vinyl records and a killer record player, your old stash of .flac files, a pristine collection of CDs, or a Tidal / Spotify Premium account.
You’re not going to buy all that and pipe it through the proverbial gutter, are you? If you absolutely are pinched for space and dough, try on the Fyne Audio F302 – which retails in Singapore, saving you a chunk on delivery. They’re pretty handsome, too.