The floor-standing speaker is the king of any home theatre setup. Almost always employed as the front left and front right speakers, floor-standers are extremely versatile. With a full complement of low-range, mid-range, tweeter and super-tweeter drivers, a floor-standing speaker will be able to recreate all but the lowest frequency audio. Indeed, some quality floor-standers are able to produce floor-shaking bass at levels that some budget subwoofers can only dream of. The ES90 floor-standers found in JBL’s ES900 Cinepack are a perfect example of this — we were impressed by the rumbling low-frequencies they could produce. Other great examples of floor-standing speaker technology are the JBL L890 and Bowers & Wilkins’ DM603 S3.
What’s Hot: The most versatile audio reproduction possible, imposing looks.
What’s Not: Usually very heavy and hard to manoeuvre, power-hungry, the most expensive speaker component in your system.
The subwoofer has one purpose in a home theatre setup — to turn low-frequency effects, usually around 100Hz and below, into powerful, booming aural explosions. A good subwoofer is able to shake floors, to perforate eardrums with tight and punchy notes and to provide long rolling bass for movie soundtracks. There are two kinds of subwoofer: ported and sealed. Ported subwoofers — the kind of unit found in the AAD M Series bundle — are able to produce louder sounds but suffer from more delayed, 'boomier' response. A sealed subwoofer like the Bowers & Wilkins PV1 is the choice for tight, clean notes but will require more power.
What’s Hot: The only way to get powerful bass
What’s Not: Heavy, bulky and expensive