Floor standing or stand mounted - and an itch to scratch?

I currently have a Uniti Star, Rega P6 & Rega phono, and a pair of KEF R5 floor standing speakers. The room is approx 5m x 7m.

I am going to demo a Supernait 3 & an NDX2 / ND5XS2 at a dealer tomorrow, hopefully with a pair of KEF R11 speakers. When I bought the R5 three years ago, some Focals (probably Aria 926) sounded slightly better, but the Aesthetics Committee was strongly in favour of the KEFs.

But this time I have a strong itch to at least consider a pair of Harbeth - probably the M30.2 or C7ES-3 - as I live ~1 mile away from their “factory”, and that has an appeal in itself. But I sometimes wonder whether not having a pair of tall floor standing speakers would be a mistake.

Thoughts? TIA

General advice is if you can accommodate floor standers then do so - stand mounts typically don’t have the “scale of sound” that a floor stander can produce.

Speakers are such a personal thing and matching with room is king so I would counsel you to engage a good dealer and try some - it is a bit of a faff but worth doing.

Good luck!

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Many people are happy with small to smallish stand mounts. They have some innate advantages as well, such as smaller cabinet size.

However, much depends on the room and its size (and yours isn’t small), the volume levels you typically use, and the music you listen to

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My manta is a “big” good speaker will be better than a “small” good speaker.

A few years ago I purchased a pair of Spendor A5’s as I thought my speakers were getting old. I heard a demo with Naim equipment in the dealer showroom. Mistake - should have heard them in my home situation for A/B comparison - mantra two. They are a quality speaker (later A5R have a better reputation) but I should have purchased a larger pair.
They did not make it past my second system.

I am fortunate to have a separate (but far from ideal) listening room so I can position speakers where I want without having to pass the “Aesthetics Committee” test.

So I suggest you go for “big” speakers and make sure you home trial them as speakers are a very personal choice.
I have floor-standers on stands! Fabulous.

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I agree with this. Small stand mount speakers simply cannot shift the air sufficiently to create a big sound.

If you have the space, go for floorstanders. In my experience from when I had a full NAIM system, Spendor and NEAT are a good starting point.

Harbeth do some quite large stand mounts to be fair. Event my M30s fill the room (4x4.5m) nicely

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A good stand mount is definitely preferable to a poor floor-stander…

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Clearly. But who would buy a poor loudspeaker. A good dealer is needed - listening is everything with speakers.

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Me! In the past when I did not know what I was listening for :frowning:

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Learns I’d share:
Take your time (simplest but hardest thing for me) but second hand market is bouyant for any mistakes.
Demo at dealers or even better at home.
More expensive is not always better - balance/synergy more important.
Large bass reflex speakers will probably require some acoustic room treatment to sound their best (but not absolutely necessary).
Free REW software allows you to understand your room’s likely acoustic properties and compromises you will probably have to make but better to know upfront.
Enjoy the process.

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Why?

Whilst for the same cost small / stand mount speakers tend to be better sound quality in the range they cover than large / floor standers, they are inherently limited in the bass, so if full spectral range is important to you they will always be compromised. Doing full bass well is challenging and hence more expensive than more limited speakers. At the end of the day it comes down to your preference in sound presentation and available budget. Whilst your room is not huge, it is a reasonable size - indeed in terms of British homes it is large, so I don’t see any reason why it shouldn’t accommodate full range speakers.

N.B. The best standmounts I’ve ever heard are well worth having in my view, but then they are full range, and not small - however most people don’t think of them as standmounts! PMC MB2

The Harbeth SHL5+ XDs are technically stand mount but their scale is every bit as big as floorstanders. Similar to Ryder35’s observation. You have to audition though. For me they are wonderful

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If you are much more likely to listen to Joan Baez and Django Reinhardt at moderate volume than Led Zeppelin/ The Fall/ Nirvana at serious volume, and prefer folk to grime, a truly great stand-mount may be all the speaker you want or need. You will get great music with anything from LS3/5a types to modern-looking Proac, KEF, Fyne and Harbeth designs - all good but very different.

Among floorstanders, I’d echo the Neat and Spendor recommendations above - which suits better may come down to your preference on purity versus engagement or what you play most. However, there is another entire thread here on ‘speaker pairing with SN3’. Rather than re-type the wisdom/ opinion of others, can l suggest you look through that, read a few reviews and arrange at least 3 home demos?

When I moved house and as a result the room my system lived in changed, I went from floor standing PMC’s to stand mount Focal Kanta’s.
In part because I wanted a change and a pair were “accessible” (dealer ex-demo, and basically brand new) but also because moving to a more compact space with different dynamics, I imagined a smaller speaker would better suit the environment, both aesthetically as well as being less dominant in presentation.
After breaking in the Kanta’s I never found them lacking in capability, they are in practically all respects a more enjoyable listen than the PMC’s they replaced and I’d been attached to those PMC’s for some years.
I’d be more inclined to try out a number of speakers based on the room dynamics and your listening tastes and ideally if you can, loan them for a week or two and try them in the room they’ll live in. The room itself is the measure of if you’ll live with them and love them or just be either impressed or disappointed in a heavily treated dealers demo room.

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I listened to both floorstanders and stand mounts in my listening space and ended up with the Harbeth C7’s.

So your getting mixed views here because you listening space is critical. I would demo at least two floorstanders and two stand mounts of your choosing. It will probably be a very interesting journey.

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Thanks All - lots of good advice. I had an interesting day today, listening to Supernait 3 / NDX2 / NACA5 / Naim app & Tidal, through some KEF R11 (£4k) and some PMC Twenty5 24i (£5.7k).

The KEF were fabulous - room filling sound & impactful bass, but I did find them underwhelming on some tracks … not what I ave experienced with my current system (Uniti Star / KEF R5 / Roon / Qobuz). By comparison, the PMC made all of the tracks sound “good”, but lacked the aural “heft” of the KEF.

I can understand that some might say that the PMC sound “more refined”, but TBH the KEF sounded more engaging and entertaining. Maybe that just shows that I am not refined!

I have booked a session next week to listen to some Spender D7.2 (£5.7k) and some ProAc D30RS (£5.4k), and will see how they sound. Both are more similar in size to the KEF R5.

Not an easy process, but interesting nevertheless …

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Are you able to demo any at home?

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Have you considered standmount speakers plus a subwoofer…or two!?

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You highlight how speaker buying advise is mostly meaningless as each person finds characteristics either rewarding or disappointing!
You’re doing the right thing by actually going and listening to them and importantly, take your time doing so, it’s a big cash investment and likely something you’ll be swapping out less frequently than other parts of your system.
If you are constrained to only demo at a dealer, always choose things you know/like to listen to and don’t be hurried along as you make an evaluation, I’d say you really want a good 30-60 minutes listening and ideally to be left to yourself to let your brain connect with the system.
Having some excitable sales person over your left shoulder constantly telling you how amazing it sounds tends to get in the way of your ability to dig deeper in to what the speakers are actually capable of.
Listen at different volume levels as well to see how they cope both very low and with a notch or two up on the dial, if it’s a SN3, it won’t take much past 10 O’Clock to get most speakers moving.

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You are doing the right thing, in my opinion - listening to as many options as you can.

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