Originally Posted by Bond 007
Thanks guys. Sorry if I took it a little off topic. I know that 3 ways can be bookshelf, center or tower but I was more concerned about the advantages/disadvantages of a 3 way design.
The unmitigatable disadvantage of 3-ways is that all other things being equal, they cost more money. Any other disadvantage that I know of can be managed. Of course managing disadvantages costs more money.
The advantage of 3 way over 2 way is requiring less frequency range of each driver. The big disadvantage of 2-ways is the sharp change in directivity at the crossover point if the drivers are direct radiators.
It is advantageous for drivers being crossed over to have similar directivity at the crossover frequency. This is inherently mission impossible with true direct radiators because their directivity is largely dependent on size, but you can come closer if there are more frequency ranges.
The directivity issue can be managed by using a waveguide driver, which you guessed it, raises costs. The big cost of waveguide drivers can be in turn mitigated by replacing the usual compression driver with a direct radiator. The waveguide itself can be made more cheaply and is easier to package if it is shallow. The other way to mitigate the costs of the compression driver by having them made by the airfreight container load in China. But to do that you need volume, volume, volume.
Sounds like they are the way to go assuming you have quality design, crossovers and other components. Which, of course, equates to expensive.
That's been the situation for decades. The AR3 was a trend setter in the resurgence of 3-ways in the 60s. In the 60s crossovers were still somewhat of a mystery. The NHT 3.3 was a trend setter for 4-way systems in the 90s benefiting from progress in drivers and crossovers.
For the record the last two speaker systems I purchased were Infinity Primus P 363 and PC 351, both 3-ways. The new Hsu speakers appear to also use this technology.
One of the big advantages of the Mackie 824 and Behringer B2031 comes from a well-engineered direct radiator based waveguide.