2 way vs 3 way speaker design ? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews

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post #1 of 12 Old 06-06-2016, 09:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Question 2 way vs 3 way speaker design ?

Just curious because i can't find this info anywhere but what are the pros & cons when a 2 way vs 3 speaker design... Example Fusion 15 vs 1099.Thxs

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post #2 of 12 Old 06-06-2016, 09:35 PM
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Think of it this way- do you want a 4 speed or a 5 speed transmission in your car? Divide and conquer.
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post #3 of 12 Old 06-06-2016, 10:56 PM
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Originally Posted by partcrash View Post
Think of it this way- do you want a 4 speed or a 5 speed transmission in your car? Divide and conquer.
That is not a good analogy. The best type of transmission depends on the engine, and for what purpose you use your car.

If I had a large engine I would want a four speed because the gears are more beefy and the engine can keep use its superior torque to keep the vehicle in the power band without having to shift all the time.

OTOH if I had an anemic engine with little horsepower I would want more gears because I would need to keep shifting to keep the small engine within its weak power band. A small engine will not explode a smaller 5-speed tranny with horsepower.

Speakers are not transmissions, and more is not necessarily better.
+++

I prefer the sound of a two-way speaker with good drivers. In particular I like the HF driver to be able to dig low. Cheap drivers cannot do that.

In the case of the two speakers mentioned they both use high quality components. I don't have the Fusion 15 but I have its cousin, the Cheap Thrills. With a large mid-bass driver I think it beams a little more, which means it has a very live sound but may not sound as good off-axis. My CT has phenomenal mid-range for male and female vocals. You might even think of it as a three way because it was designed from the ground-up to be used with a sub.

I've never heard the 1099 3-way but I imagine it has strengths in areas the F-15 does not, maybe it is better as a full range speaker and does not need a sub, I don't know the answer. That question is best answered by someone who has heard them both.

In any case, I would NOT assume a 3-way speaker is automatically better than a 2-way simply because more drivers.
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post #4 of 12 Old 06-06-2016, 11:01 PM
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Its a difficult question and a complete answer would take a book. Well, more than one because various authors would disagree on some points and answer some things differently.

Think of it this way... there are certain aspects of a fullrange (ie one way) design that are superior to two, three etc ways and to some that is the ideal design!

Shortest answer possible... there is a long list of performance characteristics or attributes that are improved or degraded by each design choice. Some choices are contradictory such that you cannot optimize or maximize all performance characteristics simultaneously. Thus, speaker design and to the end user speaker choice is all about selecting the performance characteristics, and therefore set of design choices that emphasize those characteristics, that best suits needs, preferences, budget, etc.

In very general terms, when increasing complexity (two way to three way) you get increased maximum output, lower frequency extension, lowered driver distortion products, maybe better horizontal polar response, at the expense of higher cost, larger enclosure, less ideal vertical response, maybe increased comb filtering, more complicated and less ideal phase response...
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post #5 of 12 Old 06-07-2016, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Nexgen76 View Post
Just curious because i can't find this info anywhere but what are the pros & cons when a 2 way vs 3 speaker design...
Generally speaking it's easier to get more uniform dispersion in the mids with a three-way than a two way. But as is usual with generalities it doesn't apply in all cases.
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post #6 of 12 Old 06-07-2016, 08:32 AM
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the pros and cons are too complicated to go into, relating the practical to the theoretical isn't always clear cut, and at the end of the day performance is what matters anyways.


with respect to the two speakers that you mention, the largest differences (other than form factor) may be: 1. the off axis response, 2. the intermodulation distortion/cone breakup effects of the f15, and 3. the larger horn/lower c.d. crossover point in the f15. if the off axis response in the 1099 is acceptable, then either should work. if you can hear the difference in im distortion/cone breakup in the f15 vs the 10"/5" drivers in the 1099 go for the 1099 (most folks can't though). by having a lower crossover point and a little larger horn, more of the critical imaging cues that are present roughly above 1khz are better produced in the f15. if you need a reduced height center channel, go 1099.

they both have roughly the same performance, subjectively and objectively. small differences in frequency response can be changed with eq. if eq is not an option and a little more midbass output is preferred, the f15 may be the way to go.
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post #7 of 12 Old 06-07-2016, 09:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wvu80 View Post
That is not a good analogy. The best type of transmission depends on the engine, and for what purpose you use your car.

If I had a large engine I would want a four speed because the gears are more beefy and the engine can keep use its superior torque to keep the vehicle in the power band without having to shift all the time.

OTOH if I had an anemic engine with little horsepower I would want more gears because I would need to keep shifting to keep the small engine within its weak power band. A small engine will not explode a smaller 5-speed tranny with horsepower.

Speakers are not transmissions, and more is not necessarily better.
+++
Actually, I believe it is a good analogy. The torque curve of the engine is a curve. Even a properly blown or turbocharged engine does not have an absolutely flat torque curve (like an electric motor). Dense gearing will allow the engine to spend more time (at various road speeds) in the sweet spot of the torque curve. Thus the engine torque curve is a compromise of torque over the rev range- it is lower in the lower rev range, excellent midrange and (might) roll off at higher rpms. On the same token a speaker is a compromise of SQ and SPL over the frequency range. By making a speaker work in a smaller frequency range performance is maximized. Narrower rpm/frequency range- more tq/spl/sq. See the analogy ?

Oh, and dense gearing has negative impact on acceleration numbers if you are rowing your own manual gears- unless you can hit 60 in 1st like some of the older 911 turbos. However, in today's age the dual clutch autos (manuals with robotic clutches) have minimal effect on acceleration even if the darn thing shifts 4 times to 60 lol... but in the process in allows the rpms to stay right where the max torque to the ground (engine torque x tranny ratio x final drive) is obtained.
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Last edited by partcrash; 06-07-2016 at 09:38 AM.
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post #8 of 12 Old 06-07-2016, 12:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by LTD02 View Post
the pros and cons are too complicated to go into, relating the practical to the theoretical isn't always clear cut, and at the end of the day performance is what matters anyways.


with respect to the two speakers that you mention, the largest differences (other than form factor) may be: 1. the off axis response, 2. the intermodulation distortion/cone breakup effects of the f15, and 3. the larger horn/lower c.d. crossover point in the f15. if the off axis response in the 1099 is acceptable, then either should work. if you can hear the difference in im distortion/cone breakup in the f15 vs the 10"/5" drivers in the 1099 go for the 1099 (most folks can't though). by having a lower crossover point and a little larger horn, more of the critical imaging cues that are present roughly above 1khz are better produced in the f15. if you need a reduced height center channel, go 1099.

they both have roughly the same performance, subjectively and objectively. small differences in frequency response can be changed with eq. if eq is not an option and a little more midbass output is preferred, the f15 may be the way to go.
Mid Bass is what i crave the most so did i go the wrong route ordering 1299 a few days ago ?

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post #9 of 12 Old 06-07-2016, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Nexgen76 View Post
Mid Bass is what i crave the most so did i go the wrong route ordering 1299 a few days ago ?

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post #10 of 12 Old 06-09-2016, 08:23 AM
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Actually, I believe it is a good analogy. . Dense gearing will allow the engine to spend more time (at various road speeds) in the sweet spot of the torque curve. Thus the blah blah blah...
No, it won't.

If by "dense" gearing you mean close ratio gearing, no it won't if you pair a large engine with a close ratio gearbox. It does not help acceleration, it hinders it.

In racing you want a close ratio gearbox if you have an engine with less torque and it falls out of the powerband easily. That's why a 125cc MX bike has a 6 speed tranny, and the larger bikes in particular 450's have a 5 speed, which usually a tall first gear, and a wider ratio between gears. That's because the engine can handle the acceleration.

With smaller bikes like a 125cc they have good horsepower at high RPM but less low end torque so they need more gears and a tighter ratio gear box to MATCH the engine for greater acceleration.

Your conclusion that "more is better" when it comes to speaker drivers is preposterous especially when unqualified. Fewer drivers of better QUALITY will trump "more cheap low quality drivers" every time. You are focusing on the "more" when the key is "better quality."

I hope the OP will not take your simplistic wrong advice to get a 3-way speaker because it is always better than a 2-way driver, and to get a 4-way speaker because it is always better than a 3-way speaker, in the same way a 5-speed transmission is NOT always better than a 4-speed transmission in all cases. IT'S NOT.

I've explained why. I hope that helps.
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post #11 of 12 Old 06-09-2016, 11:42 AM
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30 years ago the answer was 3-way for full range speakers

If you are using a 2-way with a subwoofer--technically, that is already a 3-way.

Right now, I'm using a pair of 3-ways with 8" woofers, 4" mids and 1" tweeter that does 35 to 20KHz---and a sub. Since my needs have changed to higher SPL capable cinema speakers, I went with a F10 two-way. Presently building magnetic grills for them to keep my wife happy.

25 years ago, in my PA days I used 15" 3-ways exclusively for full range speakers. I found the 15" 2-ways had poor midrange performance and very beamy. Run a 15 up to 1.6K to 2KHz and they do that. Power handling, cost, size and weight are factors so getting a 2-way "done right" in that it crosses 1KHz or lower under a ton of power is very, very expensive. The PA speakers I used had a 15" woofer, 10" midrange and large horn tweeter and they worked much better for mids/highs and gave broader dispersion. They cost about 40% more, were larger and heavier but their vocal performance was worth it to me.

In reality, it would be very hard to get 20 to 20KHz at reference levels for a two-way, two driver speaker. You could but the compression driver needs to be huge to go much below 1KHz. Since you would want 20Hz, going with a 15" will cause problems with beaming and off-axis performance. Removing the deep bass load from it improves performance drastically so going with a subwoofer to support that solves the problem (and makes it a three-way)

The Fusion 15 works because the components are both of the edge of their specifications but protected by steep crossovers to keep the bad things away. Big compression driver on a big horn at 1KHz and up works--and the woofer should be fine as the beaming should not be too bad when cut off at 1KHz.

The F15 VS 1099 battle continues--both are very good from AVS reports. Maybe the 1299 will be the best of both worlds? Watching the 1299 build with a box tuned to 30Hz--that should be good as a full range music speaker and great for cinema when used with subs. Give it a week or two, the first 1299 reports and comparisons should start showing up.
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post #12 of 12 Old 06-10-2016, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by wvu80 View Post
No, it won't.

If by "dense" gearing you mean close ratio gearing, no it won't if you pair a large engine with a close ratio gearbox. It does not help acceleration, it hinders it.

In racing you want a close ratio gearbox if you have an engine with less torque and it falls out of the powerband easily. That's why a 125cc MX bike has a 6 speed tranny, and the larger bikes in particular 450's have a 5 speed, which usually a tall first gear, and a wider ratio between gears. That's because the engine can handle the acceleration.
repeat after me: "everything else being the same the vehicle with more gears (assuming negligent shift times) will always accelerate faster than the one with fewer gears". welcome to the 21 century of 25-50ms shifts.

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Your conclusion that "more is better" when it comes to speaker drivers is preposterous especially when unqualified. Fewer drivers of better QUALITY will trump "more cheap low quality drivers" every time. You are focusing on the "more" when the key is "better quality."
oh agreed. my point was that given certain quality more speakers that are optimized for certain frequencies are better than fewer speakers trying to "shine everywhere" in the rev... err frequency band. there is a reason a subwoofer's design is much different than a horn tweeter and you really need both to cover the both extremes of the freq range. and then you need something for the mids ... which again is very different than the sub and tweeter in design (objective).
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