Why "bookshelf" sspeakers?

This is not a rhetorical question. I’m asking because I don’t know.

The question is this: What is the point of "bookshelf" style speakers if they are not going on a bookshelf or table? In other words they are on speaker stands.

Here is the reason I’m asking. For a short time I had a pair of Aerial Acoustics 5T speakers along with a pair of Aerial Acoustics 6T towers (which I still have).

I listened to each set of speakers through a Bryston AV amp. I felt like the 6Ts sounded much better. More bass. Fuller sound. (I think a subwoofer would have resolved that easily for the 5Ts.)

The 5Ts are not exactly small and would barely fit on most bookshelves (although they are front ported and recommended for bookshelves by AE). The ones I listened to were on heavy metal stands which made them almost as big and heavy as the 6Ts.

So why buy smaller speakers which need to go on large heavy stands that make them as big as a floor standing speaker and not sound as good? Space saving does not seem to be the answer and I see some ’bookshelf’ speakers that are a good bit bigger than the AE 5ts.

I’m sure there must be a good reason since I see many people with them. And of course my assumption that a floor stander sounds better than a bookshelf might be wrong.

I guess cost comes into play somewhere in the equation as well.

Interested in people’s thoughts on this.


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“High” end audio is a niche for sure. Bookshelves are more feasible to ship and move on from. Other than that, yeah they take up just as much space as a floorstander. I will say when it comes down to a really good monitor vs a mid grade tower I’ll take the monitor every time. A lot of times they are even more coherent but IME monitors even with subs won’t do certain types of music the greatest. Passable but not quite there. 

Seems the main advantage in a mid to small room is the ability to own multiple monitors that can be rotated and stored much easier than floor standers.

They are really easy to box up and sell. We live in a world of convience and space saving.