After months of frustration, I was finally able to hear these SSCS3 speakers along with the SSCS8 center channel and SACS9 subwoofer in a properly arranged setup with a good sound source at a local Best Buy. I opted not to include the excellent SSCS5 bookshelf/surround speakers, as I had heard them previously, and my audition with the other (tower, center, and sub) speakers was enough to convince me to buy them all for my home theater with the excellent new STR-DN1070 avr. I had been genuinely skeptical regarding other reviewers' comments that the bass extension of the SSCS3's is very good even without a subwoofer to fill out the middle and low end of bass. The small size of the woofer drivers surely would prevent really good extension into the bass frequencies, I thought. The Best Buy setup allowed me to finally hear for myself, and push the volume up on action and dialogue scenes from two good test movies, Oblivion and Pacific Rim. I also listened back and forth in 3.0 and 3.1, switching the sub in and out while listening from low to very loud volume levels. After cranking it up awhile, a BB salesperson walked up ready to intervene and end my fun. Too late. The high and mid levels of the towers, which I had previously heard in other sessions were still excellent, even better. The treble and midrange blended perfectly down to the bass frequencies. When the subwoofer was included, that even balance and blending continued nicely down further or deeper into fairly low bass, as one would want for the full effect from very low to very high frequencies of varied music and home theater. Even with the sub off, the towers still sounded great with solid and satisfying bass - just less deep than with the sub on. The bass was definitely deep from the towers without the sub. By the way, the SACS9 is an overachieving sleeper worthy of your serious considration. The center channel also did its job very well, providing seamless and clear dialogue and bridging loud action sounds between well-separated right and left channels. Dialogue was not overly forward or "boxy" and was not ever lost in the simultaneous mayhem. The overall effect was outstanding, given the limitations of Best Buy's "Speaker Canyon." Whatever BB has done to improve the source, signal, or connections to these Sony Core Series speakers since my previous auditions that left me uncertain of their true sound, I have now heard them produce some really excellent full range sound and am no longer a skeptic about them. I prefer them with the excellent and very capable SACS9 sub, especially for realistic explosions, etc. and powerful, low rumbling movie effects, but I now completely agree with many other reviewers that the SSCS3 towers do indeed have sufficient low end extension (per specs, down to 45 Hz +/- 3 db) to sound really great even without a subwoofer, e.g. would work well in apartments where subwoofers are problematic with neighbors or to suit more subdued and sublime musical tastes that tend to not require the lowest frequencies of a subwoofer to sound perfectly full and rich. These sound really nice - rich and powerful from low to high with great detail that is not boxy, harsh and forward. I highly recommend these for anything from a 2.0 to 7.2 or more setup. The prices are definitely great, especially during BB's frequent sales, and the level of quality sound these deliver is punching far above the regular and sales prices. I personally prefer the detailed yet rich and full range sound of these over comparable and very capable, but "differently flavored" Klipsch and Pioneer speakers, including the famed Andrew Jones Pioneer models, and am confident that other skeptical shoppers like me who need to hear good demos before buying will appreciate these Sony Core Series speakers when fairly auditioned in the limited but apparently new and improved BB "Speaker Canyon" setup that I finally experienced. Check these out on an even and proper playing field. The most glowing reviews are on the mark, in my personal opinion. Respectfully, perhaps some of the other reviewers with reservations or criticisms may be lacking something in their sources, hardware, connections, room acoustics, or simply prefer either more laid back or forward sound from their speakers. To each his own. If they sound really good to you, then they are really good. You be the final judge with your own ears and personal tastes versus someone else's ears and tastes that may just differ.