2 way/3 way speaker differences? - AVS Forum
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Old 01-27-2005, 01:40 PM - Thread Starter
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What is the main difference between 2 way and 3 way speakers?

Are 2 way more "natural"?


Thanks.
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Old 01-27-2005, 02:30 PM
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There is no characteristic "all other things being equal" difference. It all depends on the specific speakers you are comparing. In general, as price goes up, you see fewer 2ways and more 3ways. Consequently, you might associate an increase in performance with the 3ways but only if all other things (like cost and sophistication) are NOT equal.

Make your choices on performance, not by counting drivers.

Kal

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Old 01-27-2005, 02:34 PM
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For a price premium, a three-way speaker can be better than a two-way, but there can be no real generalization.

However...take two speakers at, say, $500 each. One is a two-way and one is a three-way. The crossover is more complex in the three-way and there are three drivers; not two. The components in the three-way must be less expensive than in a comparably-priced two-way because there are more of them, and I don't care how many drivers are in a speaker...they have to be of high quality or the project is a failure.

For various applications, a two-way or a three-way may be better, depending upon the appropriate dispersion pattern, output, or power handling. In an intimate setting where a hemisphirical radiating pattern is desirable, a good two-way may be better. But not always.

Triad has a $3600 each speaker that is a three-driver two-way, but we have a four-driver three-way at $1750 each that may be better for home theater...and to confuse things...we have a two-driver two-way speaker at $1700 each. Why? They are for different applications.

My advice is to audition speakers with the grills on so you can't tell if it's got two thingies or five thingies on the baffle. ;) In the end, it may not make much difference. How's that for an obtuse non-answer?? :eek: "Natural" is determined by the talent of the designer, the integrity of the enclosure, and the quality of the drivers and crossover...not how many there are.

Usually.

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Old 01-27-2005, 03:07 PM
 
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I am quite surprised that neither Kal not Paul mentioned frequency response in their answers.

A speaker with no bass useful output to speak of compared with a near full range speaker would be a MAJOR consideration on the number of drivers crossed over in a specific speaker design.

--Bill
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Old 01-27-2005, 03:26 PM
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Sure, Bill, but there's no easy correlation here if you take money and size out of the issue. You can build a really big 2way with a wide frequency response that would excede that of many 3ways. Like comparing apples and oranges; too many variables.

If the OP compares the relevant speakers for performance, including frequency range, he can decide without counting drivers (especially if he add a subwoofer).

Kal

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Old 01-27-2005, 05:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, then, mantaining the same components quality, the key would be the crossover specific tech?


For example, JBL Northridge series:


E25 (2w) compared to E35 (3w)

E30 (2w) compared to E50 (3w)


http://jbl.com/home/products/series.asp?SerId=NRE



I can see that E50 (3w) has more sensivity, and lower freq. response ... but, is testing the only way to know color, deep, detail, ... of speaker?



Regards
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Old 01-27-2005, 06:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Charlie82
Thanks, then, mantaining the same components quality, the key would be the crossover specific tech?
I don't know what that means.

Quote:
Originally posted by Charlie82
For example, JBL Northridge series:
E25 (2w) compared to E35 (3w)
Hold on. With center channel speakers, the issue is quite different. Here, the 3ways hold significant advantages in their radiation patterns and are much more suitable to the horizontal placement typical for center channels.

Quote:
Originally posted by Charlie82
E30 (2w) compared to E50 (3w)
Here, I am skeptical about the big one's driver arrangement although it has a larger woofer and box resulting in a more extended bass. You should use these horizontally despite JBL's statements. I suspect, however, that the radiation pattern of the E30s, used vertically, will be more generous and blend better with the E35 center.

Quote:
Originally posted by Charlie82
I can see that E50 (3w) has more sensivity, and lower freq. response ... but, is testing the only way to know color, deep, detail, ... of speaker?
Testing and listening.

Kal

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Old 01-28-2005, 12:12 PM - Thread Starter
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I mean in abstract: a 3 way crossover must be better(or more detailed) than 2 way one at the same quality build?


I guess it depends of the crossover, right?



A lot of thanks.
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Old 01-28-2005, 12:38 PM
 
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I thought it was the order of the crossover that made a difference in transient detail, not whether it was a two way or three way crossover.

As I remember it, first order crossovers have the best transient response.

Am I in error on this matter?

--Bill
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Old 01-28-2005, 01:03 PM
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spider_bill: The order of the crossover itself doesn't necessarily determine the amount of transient response or detail one hears...simply the rate of roll-off of the driver...theoretically the other driver will pick up where one leaves off...in practice this can be a bit difficult to achieve.
There are advantages and disadvantages to using different orders, and choosing the order is often a function of how well the drivers compliment each other at the crossover frequency rather than a desired transient response.
If one was better, you'd think everyone would use that approach now.

Charlie: A 3-way speaker isn't necessarily any better than a 2-way speaker. In fact, I personally find that most 3-ways you see under $1000 don't really do a good job of it making the transition between drivers seamless.

Each designer, DIY-er, etc, has a goal in mind, then chooses the best way to accomplish this goal. Some may prefer using large cabinets in a 2-way speaker (ie: Audion Note UK, excellent full-range speakers in fat box cabinet) some choose to go with a 3-way model, and both of these could be full-range speakers of good quality. Often, a 3 way is called for when the designer is trying to isolate certain traits from each driver and combine these into one system. Sometimes, higher sensitivity can be achieved with a 3-way, but not necessarily always.

Then there's the 2-1/2 way speaker, which uses 3 drivers, or an MTM that wires 2 woofers in parallel. Not necessarily a 3-way speaker though.

As has been mentioned already, you're better off listening to the speaker and choosing based on sound, rather than number of drivers.

On my own projects, I've always found it easier, and had better success, keeping things simple. With a given budget in mind, I prefer to buy better quality drivers, and put more effort into the cabinet and designing a GOOD 2-way crossover rather than adding the complexity of a 3-way. YMMV.

Ken C
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Old 01-28-2005, 01:28 PM
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I think the question he is asking is are 3driver/2way speakers better or worse than 3driver/3way speakers.

For instance, I have noticed that a lot of speakers come with 1 tweeter and two identical woofers.

Why would a speaker manufacturer choose to do this over 1 tweeter, 1 midrange and 1 woofer.

IE
Tweeter
6.5 mid
8 woofer

vs
tweeter
8 woofer
8 woofer

Usually, the speaker with dual 8's are crossed the same, like My AS-F2, or my friends Klipsch SF-3
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Old 01-28-2005, 02:04 PM
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"Then there's the 2-1/2 way speaker, which uses 3 drivers, or an MTM that wires 2 woofers in parallel. Not necessarily a 3-way speaker though."

Well, that's still a 2way but with dual woofers. A 2-1/2 way would have the woofers in parallel only at the lower end of their ranges with one of them rolling off and the other acting as a midrange, as well.

Kal

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Old 01-28-2005, 02:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by tqlla
I think the question he is asking is are 3driver/2way speakers better or worse than 3driver/3way speakers.
Again, no generic answer.

Quote:
Originally posted by tqlla
For instance, I have noticed that a lot of speakers come with 1 tweeter and two identical woofers.
Why would a speaker manufacturer choose to do this over 1 tweeter, 1 midrange and 1 woofer.
More bass power handling at the expense of upper midrange dispersion.

Kal

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