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Mid-Range 3-Way

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  • Mid-Range 3-Way

    Hey Guys,

    I'm just getting in to speaker building and obviously there is lots to learn and a lot left to learn. I am looking to do my first 3-way build. I'm trying to keep it as simple as possible. Here is what I am looking at:

    Woofer: Dayton Audio DC250 10inch
    Mid: Dayton Audio RS100
    Tweeter: Dayton Audio DC28F
    XO (not experienced enough to build my own): Dayton Audio 500/4000 hz

    I want to try and have the mid go to at least 4K. I found it difficult to find a 4-5 inch mid-range/woofer speaker that would go that high (I'd rather not go below 4inch, even though I know the mid I'm looking at isn't EXACTLY a 4incher). So, I looked at the Full Range ones which have no problem reaching those frequencies.

    Questions I have:

    1. The sensitivity of the mid is lower than the rest. In the computer software, it's not playing too well with the woofer and tweeter. Is this speaker out of the question for the mid due to the sensitivity? If so, are there ways to get around this? Different speaker with a higher sensitivity? Do something with the XO?
    2. Am I asking too much out of a mid-range of that size? Do I have to compromise and step down to maybe a 3 inch or even smaller to accomplish getting the mid to get to 4K AND have the sensitivity be be closer to that of the woofer and tweeter?
    3. Am I missing something completely which has made all of this project a waste of my time? Again, still learning and lots to learn! I know this won't be a perfect project, but one to learn from for sure.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

    P.S. On these kind of posts, do you guys prefer to have the all the details of the speaker or would you rather just have the link to the speaker itself?

  • #2
    Re: Mid-Range 3-Way

    I can tell you right off the bat that crossover will sound poor.

    You're either going to have to design your own crossover or build someone else's design. Start here:
    "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche


    • #3
      Re: Mid-Range 3-Way

      The RS125-4 is I think a better driver for this application. The DC28F will cross easily at 2.5k.
      But like Face said,:a crossover designed for your drivers in your enclosure is going to be much better than any prefab crossover. There are many people here that are willing to assist in designing your speaker so you get the most out of it and learn how to do it yourself along the way.

      You will get a lot of us suggesting you build an already established design to get your feet wet and learn some of the basics of good design. However if you are really set on doing your own from the start, great! Read all of the stickies at the top, look into other 3 way designs, ask lots of questions. Starting you DIY hobby with a 3 way design is probably going to he quite a challenge.


      • #4
        Re: Mid-Range 3-Way

        Thanks for the link, Face!


        • #5
          Re: Mid-Range 3-Way

          Yeah, its a little intimidating to build my own crossover as I'm just learning, but I guess I have to start somewhere. And that's a good suggestion about using an established design. And you are right, it is definitely a challenge. Thanks for the feedback.


          • #6
            Re: Mid-Range 3-Way

            You are welcome.


            • #7
              Re: Mid-Range 3-Way

              The RS-100-8 may not have enough sensitivity to match up. The RS125 is a good suggestion, crossed lower. This mid has a smooth response and should be able to cross higher: The DC28 is not the best choice for a crossing at 4000, it has a rather large face plate, bigger than the rs100. A smaller flange tweeter like these may work better:

              I recently built a 3 way using the DC250 and DC28 with the Tang Band W5-704D mid and am pleased with the way they turned out. I'd definitely build a larger cabinet to extend the low end:


              • #8
                Re: Mid-Range 3-Way

                So . . . how did your 1st 2-way design turn out?


                • #9
                  Re: Mid-Range 3-Way

                  Thanks for the feedback. Appreciate it. I have actually decided not to proceed forward with the 3-way. I'm working on putting together a budget 2-way that my dad and I will work on together. He used to to do DIY builds all the time.


                  • #10
                    Re: Mid-Range 3-Way

                    My apologies if I made it seem like I did a 2-way from scratch. It was just a refurb. Cleaned everything out and put in new drivers and x-over from Dayton. That was just to actually learn some terms and start to understand the basics of DIY. But they work fine for what they are!


                    • #11
                      Re: Mid-Range 3-Way

                      Building your XO is different from "designing" your XO. Generic off-the-shelf (pre-made) XO's assume the driver(s) have a constant impedance, like 4 or 8 ohms. The issue is that no driver is EVER a constant impedance. Impedance varies with frequency, so using a fixed number for one that constantly varies, well, you can see how that just can't work well. I tried all manner of pre-made XO's and textbook-formula-calculated XO components; yes, they passed the signal but I could never get them to sound remotely acceptable. I don't have golden ears or some sort of experienced, accomplished hearing that others do not have. I just wanted decent SQ with actual imaging, a smooth balance between the drivers and a quality that does not give you ear fatigue after 5 minutes. The problem is that your driver could be 10, 12, 15 or 20 ohms at your chosen cross-frequency...imagine what that does to the driver and it's intended performance. Since you calculated for a fixed number, all your component values will be off and the driver will not be crossing where you thought it would. Each driver is unique in it's parameters and characteristics, so a generic XO will never work properly. And that's just ONE of the variable specs that must be considered when working up a XO. XO's need to be designed for the specific compliment of drivers. You can accomplish that with a good measurement-based design program, like Jeff Bagby's PCD. It takes time to learn the program and how to use the data it needs, but it's a very comprehensive package that works very well. Listening to my pre-made and textbook-calculated XO speakers compared to a DIY design where the XO was designed with a measurement-based program like PCD, was a revelation. Wow, there was the imaging, transparency, smoothness/balance, resolution and all the other great qualities a good speaker should have! Up to that point, I couldn't figure out why the numbers always added up using textbook formulas (pre-made XO's are calculated using generic textbook formulas), but the SQ didn't match up with the numbers. The light went on and I never used any textbook formulas or a pre-made XO again. The differences were dramatic. If any XO "calculator" (the on-line ones) only ask for the driver's nominal/average impedance and an arbitrary cross-frequency, stay away from it. Same with pre-made XO's only requiring the nominal impedance and a cross-point frequency as their criteria. How do you know the particular driver will work well with the stated cross-frequency? You can't go by the listed specs, like the stated frequency response range. Some drivers will go up to a certain frequency, but it will not sound good doing so. Just because the specs say 40Hz - 5000Hz, that doesn't tell you anything about what's happening around 3000Hz to 5000Hz. Many drivers will break up in that upper area of their response numbers and it's not a pleasant sound. Before you buy anything, go to Paul Carmody's site here:


                      Read everything under "Resources" at the right. It won't take but a few minutes and you'll end up with a better understanding of what's involved. It will also clear up many of the OEM-generated misconceptions and outright lies regarding speaker designing/construction, and also some of the just-starting-out foibles & misinformation that many come here with. Doing a 3-way from scratch is exponentially more difficult and complicated than a 2-way. The pre-made XO 2-ways I tried sounded poor, but the 3-ways I tried that with were quite awful. My audio store experiences and my career there are in my blogs if you'd like a behind-the-counter perspective from someone who worked at a mom/pop "stereo" store and sold everything from $100/pr speakers to the 6-figure ones like Wilson.

                      Don't hesitate to ask if something isn't clear, or you need more advice. If you want to learn PCD, many amazing designs have been worked up with it, so help is available for that aspect also. And welcome to the forum. Another thing to consider is if you want to build one nice set of speakers and leave it at that, or if you might want to look at this as a great hobby and build or design more speakers.

                      John A.
                      "Children play with b-a-l-l-s and sticks, men race, and real men race motorcycles"-John Surtees
                      Emotiva UPA-2, USP-1, ERC-1 CD
                      Yamaha KX-390 HX-Pro
                      Pioneer TX-9500 II
                      Yamaha YP-211 w/Grado GF3E+
                      Statement Monitors
                      Vintage system: Yamaha CR-420, Technics SL-PG100, Pioneer CT-F8282, Akai X-1800, Morel(T)/Vifa(W) DIY 2-way in .5 ft3


                      • #12
                        Re: Mid-Range 3-Way

                        Thanks for the info. Much appreciated!