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2 way vs. 3 way

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  • 2 way vs. 3 way

    I'm not sure I ever heard a 3 way I liked better than a 2 way. I recall 30 yrs. ago auditioning some Genesis 310's and I ended up going with the 210's because they just sounded better to me. It must have something to do with the seamless bass to mid range that you get with the bass driver reaching towards 2000 in a 2 way. Does this hypothesis make sense?

  • #2
    Re: 2 way vs. 3 way

    Originally posted by Cosmic Charlie View Post
    I'm not sure I ever heard a 3 way I liked better than a 2 way. I recall 30 yrs. ago auditioning some Genesis 310's and I ended up going with the 210's because they just sounded better to me. It must have something to do with the seamless bass to mid range that you get with the bass driver reaching towards 2000 in a 2 way. Does this hypothesis make sense?
    Yes it makes sense in the days when crossover design was not very well understood - times have changed.
    Give a listen to something like PSB Stratus Golds - you might (should) be shocked.

    Consider that in a 2-way neither driver is very good at reproducing the very critical midrange.

    On the other hand the EPI 100 sounded quite good, and the Dyna A-25 had some "magic" going
    on but had a non-flat response. This should tell us something about the psycho-acoustic or
    perceptual preferences of listeners.

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    • #3
      Re: 2 way vs. 3 way

      Any speaker will have some tradeoffs. A 3-way has the potential to sound better, but will usually cost more. If the costs are the same, there's likely less advantage either way. A cheap speaker usually tends to have some shortcomings that some will find objectionable or lacking with some music, or when pushed hard. It can get hard to justify spending an additional $100 per speaker to make something 10% better. This is true with both 2-ways, and 3-ways. I'm in the process of building a 3-way from a 2-way that I like a lot. The 3-way is even better. It uses the same tweeter. The 2-way woofer is now the mid, and the x-over point between the two is the same. The added woofer of the 3-way allows an additional 6 dB of maximum output, or makes the lower SPL output cleaner. The midrange has less IM distortion since the mid no longer has to make the bass. The down side is the extra cost and size. These are drivers I already own, so cost isn't really an issue for me. It will thin down my x-over parts supplies though.

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      • #4
        Re: 2 way vs. 3 way

        The benefit, at least to me, is the ability to keep dispersion patterns even with a 3-way. It's harder to have a 2-way system with good polars due to beaming and decreasing the tweeters' crossover to make up for the narrowing dispersion of the large(r) mid typically will result in higher non-linear distortion.
        ErinsAudioCorner.com

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        • #5
          Re: 2 way vs. 3 way

          if you can live without that bottom octave, or do not need to listen at louder levels there are some 2 ways out there that are pretty magical. I am also a big 2 way fan. 2 ways have their limits though. I will be the first to admit that a big 3 way ( or more ) when done right is very hard to beat. the "done right" is the issue. the more drivers the more complicated things get. there is something about getting that lower frequencies right, and when you do, it creates a foundation for the rest of the music and everything just seems "more right".
          craigk

          " Voicing is often the term used for band aids to cover for initial design/planning errors " - Pallas

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          • #6
            Re: 2 way vs. 3 way

            I don't see how one could get by with fewer than 4 drivers for "complete" full-range down from the lowest harmonics through the highest and at HT levels. Of course, that includes subwoofers.
            "We are just statistics, born to consume resources."
            ~Horace~, 65-8 BC

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            • #7
              Re: 2 way vs. 3 way

              Hmm..this brings up a question I have had running through my head for a while.

              With a 3 way, two ways to approach the design could be a)have the mid driver handle as much as possible, with the woofer and tweeter filling in at the low and high ends. This may avoid an xo in the critical midrange frequencies. b)have the woofer and tweeter handle as much as they can, and just have the midrange fill in the frequencies in the middle where the woofer and tweeter are not comfortable reaching.

              The approximate xo freqs I would envision for a) might be 200 and 4000 hz, for b) might be 800 and 2500.

              Which is the better approach?

              Stan

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              • #8
                Re: 2 way vs. 3 way

                It is best to cross where the drivers tell you to by way of distortion, polar response, position of drivers, and power handling to name a few. Just an opinion but crossing over in the "critical range" is not a issue if done right.

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                • #9
                  Re: 2 way vs. 3 way

                  +1
                  craigk

                  " Voicing is often the term used for band aids to cover for initial design/planning errors " - Pallas

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                  • #10
                    Re: 2 way vs. 3 way

                    I think typical 2-ways are simply a lot more forgiving with respect to room placement and listening distance. They are much easier to set up right.

                    On the other hand, when it comes to dividing up the musical spectrum by driver, the most realistic and dynamic content up to maybe 500Hz seems to be best reproduced with good 10 - 12" woofers in the right room.

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                    • #11
                      Re: 2 way vs. 3 way

                      Originally posted by stan View Post
                      Hmm..this brings up a question I have had running through my head for a while.

                      With a 3 way, two ways to approach the design could be a)have the mid driver handle as much as possible, with the woofer and tweeter filling in at the low and high ends. This may avoid an xo in the critical midrange frequencies. b)have the woofer and tweeter handle as much as they can, and just have the midrange fill in the frequencies in the middle where the woofer and tweeter are not comfortable reaching.

                      The approximate xo freqs I would envision for a) might be 200 and 4000 hz, for b) might be 800 and 2500.

                      Which is the better approach?

                      Stan
                      I'm not very experienced... at all... but I seem to most often prefer your approach "A" (have the midrange driver deliver as much content as it can with the woofer and tweeter handling the extremes). But I also like a small-ish woofer... six to eight inches or so. So a subwoofer is needed to deliver the lowest frequencies with any authority. That stated, I've heard many excellent two-ways but those needed subwoofers too.
                      "We are just statistics, born to consume resources."
                      ~Horace~, 65-8 BC

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                      • #12
                        Re: 2 way vs. 3 way

                        my take is it depends. I've listened to many 2 ways that are just spectacular in their presentation (The Kairos come to mind) and handle the majority of music. And they are generally much more forgiving to room placement.
                        What I do enjoy with a 3way (and by that I am meaning larger enclosures) is the full integration between all of the drivers. Most 2ways with sub just don't quite seem to get quite there for me. But of course a larger room seems to work better. Then having very large speakers in a very small room can be a lot of fun too
                        https://www.facebook.com/Mosaic-Audi...7373763888294/

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