full range or mini's and a sub

Guys I'm not the most seasoned audiophile so I'm sorry if this is a stupid question.  However, here it goes...  I have heard many audiophiles talk about the magic of mini-monitors and their ability to disappear and soundstage.  Many say that it is very difficult to get the same advantages with full-range speakers.  Still most reference systems seem to be built around full range speakers.  If there is a true magic to mini-monitors why don't I see more reference systems with mini-monitors and subs for the lows?


The biggest advantage with mini monitors and subs along with an active crossover, is that you can put together a world class speaker system at a fraction of the cost. The down side is that it takes a little more knowledge and skill to do it correctly.

As Erik states a satellite/subwoofer system can be magical, but done incorrectly, you can have a real mess.

Full size speakers WITH subs is the correct answer. There needs to be a sound power hand-off between the sub and speaker. Most subs are far more dynamic than stand mount speakers, so the speaker will still be the limiting factor. There are exceptions of course, TAD comes to mind. 




You ask a great question. +1 to @erik_squires.

The answer is a huge it depends. It will depend on the room and a lot about your budget and values in sound. Either can disappear. 

There are so many important aspects to the sound of a system, all of which are trade offs. Also, how much experience you have at putting together a system comes in. Integrating a sub with mini monitors can be intimidating… but if well done effective. 

First we need to know more about your room like Erik asks.

FYI, I would choose a small room over a big public space. Control is key to getting good sound. While it can be tricky getting good sound in a small room, you can get better quality equipment with a smaller space smaller speakers / amp. You can use room treatments.



If you plan on speakers where you think you might add a sub, now or future:

make it Plural, plan on two subs, plan space so they can be forward facing adjacent to the main speakers, I say no port for the mains or subs, but if port, forward facing.

Low bass may start Mono, but the overtones become directional. 40/80/160/320/ ....There is a lot to be said for Stereo Bass. I listen to a pair of 15" woofers (1/side), the imaging of bass players is important and enjoyable..