2-way vs. 3-way Surrounds - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 25 Old 01-18-2013, 07:29 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm using:
Onkyo TX-SR 606
Polk Monitor 70's
Polk CS10
Polk RM-6751 satellites


My next move is to upgrade that AVR (and maybe add an Amp to better power my 70's) and replace those tiny surround satellites.

I wanted to get people's opinion. If you were buying Surrounds to pair with this, do you think a smaller 2-way speaker (like a Monitor 30) would be sufficient, or would you opt for a larger 3-way speaker (like a Monitor 40)?

And, once upgraded, do you think there'd be any value in continuing to use those little RM-6751's, either as Surround Back's or as Front High's? Or will they just muddle things up, and should be taken out of the picture?
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post #2 of 25 Old 01-18-2013, 07:39 AM
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First of all, the Monitor 40 is a two-way speaker. Polk oddly calls it a 3-way speaker in their archive literature, but that is incorrect. If you look at the product description on Amazon, WHICH IS DIRECTLY FROM POLK, Polk correctly calls it a 2-way speaker.

The fact that it has two bass drivers does not make it a 3-way speaker. It just gives more total cone area to drive the bass waves.

There is only a single crossover network between the bass drivers and the tweeter.

To be a 3-way speaker it would have to have separate bass and midrange drivers and TWO crossover networks.

The Polk Monitor 30 would be a good choice for rear/surround speakers, and the teensy ones can go away somewhere...lol.
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post #3 of 25 Old 01-18-2013, 07:41 AM
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It's the same question whether you are asking about surrounds or mains.

A 3-way can make it easier for a designer to go lower; but since a competent 2-way already passes the crossover point that shouldn't matter.

A 3-way can be designed to keep each driver more in its optimal range. Using a mid-range which goes higher and is asked to do less LF, which in turn can improve efficiency and performance... but sometimes the same results are accomplished with better drivers in a 2-way (which has fewer drivers (usually) and fewer crossover parts (usually) and is smaller (usually) and so can put the savings into what it does have)

Buy the best sounding speakers that reach your needed volumes, cover the needed frequencies, and fit in the space you have.

And the above poster is correct: the Polk Monitor 40 is a 2-way speaker. The extra driver is used to increase volume (presumably at the lowest frequencies so as to raise the -3db point)
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post #4 of 25 Old 01-18-2013, 07:58 AM
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Another significant fact that is often glossed over is that a 3-way speaker requires TWO crossover networks.

Every crossover network is a source of phase distortion and costs considerable money IF it is well-designed and made.

Unfortunately, only in very expensive speakers are the crossover networks made with the high-quality precision capacitors and inductors that should be used.

This means that lower-priced 3-way speakers almost always have poor-quality crossover networks which affect sound quality.

So....from a cost-effectiveness standpoint, I would always prefer a well-designed two-way speaker at most price points, since it requires less components which will tend to be of higher quality.

The ultimate, from a design standpoint, is to have a tweeter and woofer whose natural rolloff points eliminate the need for a crossover network altogether, but this is often expensive and difficult to achieve.

Anthony Gallo Acoustics follows this design philosophy, and it works very well to produce some exceptionally good-sounding speakers.
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post #5 of 25 Old 01-18-2013, 08:01 AM
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more likely 3, but that was already addressed.
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post #6 of 25 Old 01-18-2013, 08:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

This means that lower-priced 3-way speakers almost always have poor-quality crossover networks which affect sound quality..

Low price doesn't equally poor quality and high price doesn't equal good quality.

I've seen $2,000 3 ways use iron cores, cement type resistors, and no filters on the midrange. While the towers I have 3 way was around $900(shipping included) and they have high power sealed non-inductive wire wound resistors, high frequency capacitors are metalized polypropylene high quality units, heavy gauge air cores (2 gauge sizes larger than normal) level wound, and very large poly film caps.

High quality components in bland basic vinyl enclosure or cheap components and cut corners in fancy glossy enclosure. Of course that isn't true for every speakers, but it far from being true that cheap price equals poor quality and high price equals good quality.
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post #7 of 25 Old 01-18-2013, 08:12 AM
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A high price does not always mean a speaker is well-designed or made; but it is almost impossible to design and build something really good without using expensive components.

And it is absolutely impossible to build a really good speaker for a low price; the designer has to cut too many corners and use too many cheap components (while $900 might be cheap to some people, I would categorize that as a mid-priced speaker...not low-priced).
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post #8 of 25 Old 01-18-2013, 08:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

A high price does not always mean a speaker is well-designed or made; but it is almost impossible to design and build something really good without using expensive components.

And it is absolutely impossible to build a really good speaker for a low price.
You are trolling at this point
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post #9 of 25 Old 01-18-2013, 08:19 AM
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I have no idea what "trolling" means to you, but to me it is a term used when fishing from a boat.

I assume you are trying to insult me. If that is the only purpose of your post, you are wasting your time (and possibly violating the rules of the forum).


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You are trolling at this point
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post #10 of 25 Old 01-18-2013, 08:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

I have no idea what "trolling" means to you, but to me it is a term used when fishing from a boat.

I assume you are trying to insult me. If that is the only purpose of your post, you are wasting your time.

Yup, you got it. Floating slowly by with stinky bait out, hoping to get a nibble and have a fight.

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post #11 of 25 Old 01-18-2013, 08:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

First of all, the Monitor 40 is a two-way speaker. Polk oddly calls it a 3-way speaker in their archive literature, but that is incorrect. If you look at the product description on Amazon, WHICH IS DIRECTLY FROM POLK, Polk correctly calls it a 2-way speaker.

The fact that it has two bass drivers does not make it a 3-way speaker. It just gives more total cone area to drive the bass waves.

There is only a single crossover network between the bass drivers and the tweeter.

To be a 3-way speaker it would have to have separate bass and midrange drivers and TWO crossover networks.

The Polk Monitor 30 would be a good choice for rear/surround speakers, and the teensy ones can go away somewhere...lol.

Thank you. This was both informative and gave me the recommendation I was looking for. I appreciate it.

I was hoping to hear that those RM-6751's could still serve some sort of purpose, but half-expected to hear that their Services are no longer needed.
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post #12 of 25 Old 01-18-2013, 08:23 AM
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To JD in ....

What was that?

So he not only gives gratuitous insults but managed to totally misinterpret my statements and my intent.

ROFL.

biggrin.gif
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post #13 of 25 Old 01-18-2013, 08:26 AM
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I was merely confirming for you that you actually do understand the term "trolling" as it is used on forums.

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post #14 of 25 Old 01-18-2013, 08:28 AM
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Got it.........ROFL.

(actually, confirming is the wrong word, since I really was not clear about that until you explained it...thank you)

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post #15 of 25 Old 01-18-2013, 08:30 AM
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Perhaps "assuring" would better suit?

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post #16 of 25 Old 01-18-2013, 09:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

And it is absolutely impossible to build a really good speaker for a low price; the designer has to cut too many corners and use too many cheap components (while $900 might be cheap to some people, I would categorize that as a mid-priced speaker...not low-priced).

No its possible to build a quality speaker using top notch xover components, licensed fee xbl2 woofers, neo magnet planars(neo prices is through the roof) and well made cabinets. You also have to factor in distribution, sales channels (direct vs middleman), where its manufacturered (USA or China/Mexico) Fancy cabinet finishes (basic vinyl vs hand rubbed 7 layer piano gloss) Some companys charge more than $1000 just to have the piano or glossy rosewood. That doesn't improve the sound of the speaker but adds to the final cost. Making it more expensive which doesn't mean better components.

Your to cut and dry with your thinking. Theres more to speakers than just cheap prices/cheap components vs expensive/high quality components. ID as just an example the SVS PB13 Ultra which I doubt you have any interest in would probably be $4-5K in a retail showroom, sell it direct and its $1999, big differences in price but yet its still the same subwoofer.
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post #17 of 25 Old 01-18-2013, 09:35 AM
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I had a polk 6005 system with what looks like those exact sattelites (sold it, last heard it myself about 2 years ago). I wasn't very happy with it but I did get some cash for them on Ebay.

I have Polk 50's in front and 30's in back. The 50's are more or less the same MTM setup as the 40's in a larger box. So I have some background here. IMO there is no way for the satellites you have to fit the system. I wouldn't (and didn't) spend the extra for the larger 40's in the rear and I don't really see the point. I think you can probably get the Monitor 35's for under 100 a pair on newegg with a discount code. The advantages of the MTM design of the 40's would really only be in the ability to handle higher volumes but being rears in a surround I doubt you'll really push the 30's anywhere near their limits. For stereo speakers playing music I'd pay for the upgrade.

I'm sorry your thread was a bit hijacked but IMO it's pretty funny to hear someone talk about how great low priced speakers can sound... and then their low priced speakers are 900 dollars a pair. With 90 dollar a pair speakers there are going to be some tradeoffs that probably don't take place in the 900~2000 dollar range, but the 30's vs the 40's are the same components (and therefore quality) it's just a question of whether you would use the added capability of the more expensive model.
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post #18 of 25 Old 01-18-2013, 10:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bepperb View Post

.

I'm sorry your thread was a bit hijacked but IMO it's pretty funny to hear someone talk about how great low priced speakers can sound... and then their low priced speakers are 900 dollars a pair. With 90 dollar a pair speakers there are going to be some tradeoffs that probably don't take place in the 900~2000 dollar range, but the 30's vs the 40's are the same components (and therefore quality) it's just a question of whether you would use the added capability of the more expensive model.

We are not talking just price or cube speakers vs large bookshelfs. We are talking about "cheap" 3 way towers vs expensive 3 ways. The point was that just because a 3 way tower isn't $7,000 doesn't make it full of shoddy crappy components and just because a speaker cost $10,000 doesn't mean its loaded with the more expensive highest quality newest technology availabe.

While we did get off topic alittle not by much because we are still discussing 2 way vs 3 ways. Which after reading the OP's post doesn't understand the difference between a 2 way and 3 way. Just because a bookshelf has 2 woofers and a tweeter doesn't make it a 3way its still a two way bookshelf.

There is trade off in every price range not just in the $90 range. Theres some $400 bookshelfs that use almost no crossover components at all and have the build quality of a $50 Sony bookshelf.

Adding that extra driver usually just means more output, sensitivity, and bass response (extra driver and alittle larger cabinet volume.)
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post #19 of 25 Old 01-18-2013, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by gtpsuper24 View Post

We are not talking just price or cube speakers vs large bookshelfs. We are talking about "cheap" 3 way towers vs expensive 3 ways. The point was that just because a 3 way tower isn't $7,000 doesn't make it full of shoddy crappy components and just because a speaker cost $10,000 doesn't mean its loaded with the more expensive highest quality newest technology availabe.

While we did get off topic alittle not by much because we are still discussing 2 way vs 3 ways. Which after reading the OP's post doesn't understand the difference between a 2 way and 3 way. Just because a bookshelf has 2 woofers and a tweeter doesn't make it a 3way its still a two way bookshelf.

There is trade off in every price range not just in the $90 range. Theres some $400 bookshelfs that use almost no crossover components at all and have the build quality of a $50 Sony bookshelf.

Adding that extra driver usually just means more output, sensitivity, and bass response (extra driver and alittle larger cabinet volume.)

I agree with you completely.

As to this particular line of Polks it's a bit odd. The advantage of the MTM (polk monitor 40) over the TM (polk monitor 30) could have been that they used the additional woofer to compensate for baffle step (rather than quieting the tweeter) and came out with a more sensitive speaker. At least on paper it doesn't appear that's what happened as they are both rated with the same sensitivity, it would seem that the only advantage of the MTM in this line is flat response to a lower frequency which is probably wasted as rear surrounds.

Of course it could also be Polk dumbing down the specs for us sheep... making sure the product line "matches"... assuming Audyssey will take care of the sensitivity difference for us anyway.
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post #20 of 25 Old 01-18-2013, 10:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bepperb View Post

I had a polk 6005 system with what looks like those exact sattelites (sold it, last heard it myself about 2 years ago). I wasn't very happy with it but I did get some cash for them on Ebay.

I have Polk 50's in front and 30's in back. The 50's are more or less the same MTM setup as the 40's in a larger box. So I have some background here. IMO there is no way for the satellites you have to fit the system. I wouldn't (and didn't) spend the extra for the larger 40's in the rear and I don't really see the point. I think you can probably get the Monitor 35's for under 100 a pair on newegg with a discount code. The advantages of the MTM design of the 40's would really only be in the ability to handle higher volumes but being rears in a surround I doubt you'll really push the 30's anywhere near their limits. For stereo speakers playing music I'd pay for the upgrade.

I'm sorry your thread was a bit hijacked but IMO it's pretty funny to hear someone talk about how great low priced speakers can sound... and then their low priced speakers are 900 dollars a pair. With 90 dollar a pair speakers there are going to be some tradeoffs that probably don't take place in the 900~2000 dollar range, but the 30's vs the 40's are the same components (and therefore quality) it's just a question of whether you would use the added capability of the more expensive model.

Thanks for the pro-tip about the 35's. I hadn't even bothered to look at the "Monitor" series (not sure why... just fixated on Series II and TSi), and those product numbers never turned up in any searches I did on Amazon/NewEgg while looking at/for other Polk speakers. They look to be almost identical to the Series II 30's, just an inch or two shorter in depth. I'll keep a look out for them.

And for the perspective on the 30's, 40's, and my satellites. The 6005 is a *little* different than the 6750, but for the purposes of our discussion here, I think they are essentially the same. I'm using them currently as my Surrounds, and they are inadequate. Having not upgraded to 7.1 or tried implementing Front High's yet, I was hopeful... but not optimistic. Thanks again!
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post #21 of 25 Old 01-18-2013, 10:35 AM
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The difference is that on the 40 they increased power handling (125) and lowered the LF response though the use of a second mid-bass driver.
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post #22 of 25 Old 01-18-2013, 10:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Would you guys agree that the 30's/35's would be equally appropriate/sufficient as Front High's?
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post #23 of 25 Old 01-18-2013, 11:38 AM
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From my experience just about any speaker would work as front heights. I've tried DTS Neo X, DSX, and a few others and theres just not enough there to warrant wasting money on heights. A good solid 5 channel setup should be the first main priority. If you have any old satelites or bookshelfs laying around just use them as heights.
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post #24 of 25 Old 01-18-2013, 11:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gtpsuper24 View Post

From my experience just about any speaker would work as front heights. I've tried DTS Neo X, DSX, and a few others and theres just not enough there to warrant wasting money on heights. A good solid 5 channel setup should be the first main priority. If you have any old satelites or bookshelfs laying around just use them as heights.

I concur. I wouldn't worry too hard about voice matching or anything like that when it comes to height speakers, I have some inexpensive old plastic JBL Northridges up on the walls that don't seem to have much trouble keeping up (and matching decently) with my B&W L/C/R.

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post #25 of 25 Old 01-18-2013, 11:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gtpsuper24 View Post

From my experience just about any speaker would work as front heights. I've tried DTS Neo X, DSX, and a few others and theres just not enough there to warrant wasting money on heights. A good solid 5 channel setup should be the first main priority. If you have any old satelites or bookshelfs laying around just use them as heights.

GREAT!

I'll upgrade the surround speakers and use the old RM-6751's as Front Highs!
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