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I  am currently still listening to a number of different speakers.My question  at the moment  is about 2 way and 3 way speakers.I dont if I am fooling myself under the guise that more is better,but I feel the 3 way speakers that I have listened to  have more presence than 2 way.One manufacturer said 2 way is most definitely better.I appreciate cost would play a part in  this,but  for an equal value what do members prefer.

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So we come down to objective versus subjective.   The LS3/5a is objectively not a very good speaker. Subjectively many swear by it.   Neither is necessarily right or wrong.   

If dynamics are a priority (to me they are the single most important aspect of a well engineered speaker) the more drivers the better. Every jaw dropping-ly realistic system I have heard has been a 3

mostly all said above, great examples exist for both. An important factor that was implied by @Tweaky in his post... ...is the way the drivers combine "off axis" in a multi driver speaker.

 

 

Less ways is usually better.  One reason - it's much harder to design 3 way, so more bad examples exist.

 

With speakers though,  just keep listening, and what you like, is what's best,  for you.

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The best examples of both are going to do the job very well, 2 way or 3 way. What happened to the 1 way full range single driver loudspeakers in your listening quest?:winky:

 

Cheers,

 

Keith

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4 minutes ago, cheekyboy said:

The best examples of both are going to do the job very well, 2 way or 3 way. What happened to the 1 way full range single driver loudspeakers in your listening quest?:winky:

 

18 minutes ago, mwhouston said:

As I see it a lot of voice with simple accompaniment may sound better with a smallish 2Way.  

 

 

Combining these thoughts, I would note that it took a LONG time to better my full-range single driver TQWT speakers being driven by SET amps playing female voice with simple accompaniment, and small jazz ensembles.

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10 minutes ago, aussievintage said:

 

 

 

Combining these thoughts, I would note that it took a LONG time to better my full-range single driver TQWT speakers being driven by SET amps playing female voice with simple accompaniment, and small jazz ensembles.

 

Yep, single driver TLs when done right are bloody hard to beat. Our CH2s are still one of my favourite loudspeakers and you've got to look hard to find a multi driver loudspeaker that will better them.

 

This album below would have sounded great on your old TLs and SET amps.:thumb:

 

Wonderful Sounds of Female Vocals.JPG

Edited by cheekyboy
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There's good an bad examples of both. In general I prefer the way a larger 3 way speaker energises the room to a bookshelf but both can sound excellent or crap depending on implementation. More drivers help with the efficiency of the speaker, or use high efficiency pro drivers and massive woofers. I will be building a couple of other types shortly. 1 being open baffle using lii audio drivers and the second being a wideband Russian 12" driver in a tqwt cabinet .

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Historically the argument for single driver over 2 way over 3 way speakers is driver coherence , the drivers should seem as the sound is coming from a single point, or as close to a single point as possible.

 

If you can hear the drivers switch over with frequency changes, then that argument rings true, usually that's more obvious with a 3 way, especially if you are sitting too close.

 

I always found this driver switchover very obvious with the old Infinity brand of speakers, but some people couldn't seem to hear it

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1 hour ago, niss_man said:

There's good an bad examples of both. In general I prefer the way a larger 3 way speaker energises the room to a bookshelf but both can sound excellent or crap depending on implementation. More drivers help with the efficiency of the speaker, or use high efficiency pro drivers and massive woofers. I will be building a couple of other types shortly. 1 being open baffle using lii audio drivers and the second being a wideband Russian 12" driver in a tqwt cabinet .

2 doesn’t have to be a bookshelf. 2 way towers often have excellent bass even from 8”” woofer/mid. 

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This is a common topic you can search past discussions like these 

 

If both are well designed the general consensus and personal experience usually goes towards a 3 way speaker having clearer and more detailed midrange and the bass being bigger and deeper because the extra drivers are less stressed across those frequencies and cabinet can be larger for bass duties, generally speaking. Your room size and amplifier has a lot to do with it as well generally to match.

 

Some 2 ways can be better than 3 ways due to design advantages and technology, such as a hybrid ribbon or electrostatic speaker and some other conventional dome tweeter and speaker midbass cone woofer designs.

Edited by Al.M
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If dynamics are a priority (to me they are the single most important aspect of a well engineered speaker) the more drivers the better. Every jaw dropping-ly realistic system I have heard has been a 3 or 4-way with large format drivers. Of course not every room would accommodate such speakers but if you want a realistic reproduction of live music, it's the way to go.

 

That being said I can completely understand the allure of the 15 inch Tannoys. They do certain things very well.

Edited by kelossus
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I have recently been auditioning a number of 2 way, 2 1/2 way and 3 way speakers with anything up to 6 drivers, stand and floor mounted. I ended up with a pair of  2 way stand mounts as to me they simply sounded the best and  gave the best presentation.

 

However I am sure there are a number of three way speakers that sound better.....likewise many  more that sound worse.

Edited by graham121
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47 minutes ago, graham121 said:

I have recently been auditioning a number of 2 way, 2 1/2 way and 3 way speakers with anything up to 6 drivers, stand and floor mounted. I ended up with a pair of  2 way stand mounts as to me they simply sounded the best and  gave the best presentation.

 

However I am sure there are a number of three way speakers that sound better.....likewise many  more that sound worse.

Excellent. If you are happy, what else matters? We all hear differently.

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mostly all said above, great examples exist for both.

An important factor that was implied by @Tweaky in his post...

On 21/11/2020 at 1:34 PM, Tweaky said:

the argument for single driver over 2 way over 3 way speakers is driver coherence

...is the way the drivers combine "off axis" in a multi driver speaker.

 

Manufacturers like Revel, JBL and others, and acoustic experts such as Toole, Olive and Geddes all discuss the benefit of a speaker with a smooth frequency response on and off axis.

 

It's "relatively" easy to design a speaker with a flat "on axis" response, 2 way or 3 way, although I would say passive 3 way is much harder, as the crossover slopes are generally not steep enough to prevent interaction of the filter stages at either end of the mid driver band pass.

 

Designing a speaker with a smooth off-axis response is much more difficult.

2 way has some great examples where this can be achieved - mostly with a waveguide tweeter crossing to a large mid bass driver (eg Econowave, Geddes Abbey, Redspade HE2).

 

The polar pattern of the Geddes Abbey is below

49503693_geddesabbey.thumb.png.8ae3fd57ec8af338b7eb299f7d6b1eed.png

 

There are fewer examples of a 3 way speaker with smooth off axis response (eg Danley's Unity/Synergy horn, @Paul Spencer's PSE144 2 way horn crossing to a pro mid bass driver).

 

The polar pattern of the PSE144 horn is below

PSE-dir-h.gif.2eb8adc44b2597175cd30fa0ff35c766.gif

 

Both examples above demonstrate good speaker "off axis" response.

 

Here's an example of the "off axis" response from a "typical"  2 way speaker, like a dome tweeter crossing to a woofer (source is Geddes paper on Directivity:  http://www.gedlee.com/Papers/directivity.pdf  ) :

1474157129_typical2wayspeaker.thumb.png.be2a95d06cff678ecb346ad4e9a0f23e.png

The graph doesn't show frequency, but it shows the discontinuity in the "off-axis" response between the tweeter and woofer (where the response narrows).

 

So why is the speaker's "off axis" response so important if we listen to speakers "on-axis"?...

...because the speaker's "off axis" response reflects off the room boundaries and combines with the direct sound - if the "off-axis" speaker response is "different" from the direct sound, they won't combine as well at the listening position.

 

On 21/11/2020 at 1:34 PM, Tweaky said:

the drivers should seem as the sound is coming from a single point, or as close to a single point as possible

I've never had the opportunity to listen to Danley's Unity or Synergy speakers, but I would expect that's what they would sound like.

I own a pair of Redspade PSE144  2 way horns crossing to stereo Acoustic Elegance TD18 mid bass drivers, and the PSE horn top end is a point source from the high pass at 300Hz up - even with your head inside the horn all the sound "appears" to comes from a single point.

 

21 hours ago, kelossus said:

If dynamics are a priority (to me they are the single most important aspect of a well engineered speaker)

I agree dynamics should be a priority for any speaker, but IMHO, a smooth on and off axis frequency response is just as important.

 

At the lower end of the cost scale, a well designed DIY 2 way econowave speaker can deliver both dynamics and good "off-axis" response - but a 3 way speaker design would be much harder to implement...

 

...I'm not referring to the case of adding a sub or subs underneath the main speakers - only discussing 2 way or 3 way main speakers

 

cheers

Mike

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11 minutes ago, almikel said:

...I'm not referring to the case of adding a sub or subs underneath the main speakers - only discussing 2 way or 3 way main speakers

I would always recommend adding a sub or subs below main speakers - even with main speakers that can generate low bass at reasonable SPL into the "sub" range (say below 40Hz).

Main speakers need to be placed for good imaging at the listening position, which is rarely the best place for bass sources to produce the smoothest "in room bass" at the listening position.

Subs can be placed anywhere to produce the smoothest "in room bass" at the listening position....

 

Mike

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28 minutes ago, almikel said:

Main speakers need to be placed for good imaging at the listening position, which is rarely the best place for bass sources to produce the smoothest "in room bass" at the listening position.

Subs can be placed anywhere to produce the smoothest "in room bass" at the listening position....

 

That's a point I had not considered before.  Makes sense,   although hard for me to do with my Osborns with the "subs" built in.  However, if I decide to add a sub to my full-range TQWT speakers - then this placement option will help.

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To my thinking it is easier to set up a pair of quality 2 way bookshelf speakers and a sub with good room eq functions than a 3 way system with a bass driver in each box .

 

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On 23/11/2020 at 8:12 AM, mavi said:

To my thinking it is easier to set up a pair of quality 2 way bookshelf speakers and a sub with good room eq functions than a 3 way system with a bass driver in each box .

2 way doesn't have to be 2 way "bookshelf" speaker as mentioned above by @mwhouston

On 21/11/2020 at 2:15 PM, mwhouston said:

2 doesn’t have to be a bookshelf. 2 way towers often have excellent bass even from 8”” woofer/mid. 

 

"Bang for buck", I'm I big fan of the "Econowave" approach - a properly designed 2 way "Econowave" speaker with a decent compression driver tweeter in a waveguide crossing to a large midbass driver (say around 10"-18") will sound better "in room" than any bookshelf speaker with a tweeter without a waveguide crossing to a woofer...

...the "off-axis" response of "typical" box speakers where a dome tweeter crosses to a a woofer is always ragged/uneven - as the tweeter polar response widens at lower frequencies towards crossover, and the woofer polar response narrows at higher frequency towards crossover.

 

IMO matching the directivity/polar response between the tweeter and woofer to provide an even "off axis" response is very important to achieving good "in room" sound.

 

On 23/11/2020 at 8:12 AM, mavi said:

... it is easier to set up a pair of quality 2 way bookshelf speakers and a sub with good room eq functions than a 3 way system with a bass driver in each box .

I agree - but I would regard "good room eq functions" as the ability to delay the mains more than the sub/s (often required), and the ability to apply individual EQ/delay to each sub to achieve a smooth bass response across multiple listening positions.

I would also add that integrating a sub or subs to main speakers isn't a trivial process, and it's best achieved using room measurements - the human ear is not a great judge for achieving great "in room" bass.

 

I love DSP/EQ and subs - but good application/integration/measurements are required for great results.

 

cheers,

Mike

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Personally I prefer three way speakers, however there are some exemptions to that rule, if you have heard Mike Lenehan’s ML5’s then you have heard 2-way speakers that have no need of subs. Mike’s speakers deliver massive and well controlled bass like few other speakers out there of any design. 
 

Mike’s ML5’s are no one trick pony either, they do everything else exceptionally good as well. 

 

cheers,

Terry

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I look at it from a slightly different perspective. IMO, you need a good mid-bass to upper midrange drive to cover about 5½ octaves (about G1 to C7). This gives you coherence. The other stuff, tweeter and (preferably 2) bass speakers fill out the blank spaces (you know, where you can hear the percussive on the drum.guitar, but not the note, or the strike on the cymbal, but not the note fading away).

If you don't mind the missing bass, then single drivers can fit the bill, especially for less complex pieces of music, as your ears will often fill in the 'blanks' better than an actual bass driver (or tweeter, for that matter). Ditto for a good midrange horn. I guess I just prefer the sound from a 'normal' mid-bass when it comes to a pistonic driver choice.

That being said, I'd prefer a huge 2-way ribbon (I love the sound of Apogee), but I also wish to stay married...

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On 21/11/2020 at 11:33 AM, Ian Lyons said:

I  am currently still listening to a number of different speakers.My question  at the moment  is about 2 way and 3 way speakers.I dont if I am fooling myself under the guise that more is better,but I feel the 3 way speakers that I have listened to  have more presence than 2 way.One manufacturer said 2 way is most definitely better.I appreciate cost would play a part in  this,but  for an equal value what do members prefer.

 

I love 3-ways.  Done properly!

Having built,  modified and looked inside quite a few speakers over the years, the main problem as I see it, is that 3-way commercial designs at price points accessible to the majority of hifi enthusiasts simply require more compromises.

Mainly in the areas of;  The choice of Woofer-Midrange crossover frequency, woofer size, quality of crossover components, cabinet size and the bracing & resonance treatments for the lower frequencies attained by having a dedicated woofer.

 

Most 3-way designs have the woofer-mid crossover point at around 700 to 900Hz.  Smack in the middle of the typical male vocal range and that of many instruments.  Bad choice.  But if you've ever looked at the cost of building a quality passive crossover at around 150 to 300 Hz where it should be, you'll understand why the higher frequency is chosen in most commercial designs.

The series chokes alone that I used in my current speakers for a 250Hz crossover point, were about the same price as the midrange drivers.  And the caps were not far off that either.  OK for a DIY project, but not viable in a mass production product.

Also, very few modern 3-way designs have large woofers anymore.  Most have one or two smaller woofers, which, if you do the maths, still don't provide the same total cone area (Sd) as a single 12" woofer.  (2 x 6.5" woofers have a total Sd of around 240 cm2;  2 x 8" around 430 cm2, while a single 12" has around 540 cm2)  This means longer cone excursions required for the same SPL, which can also mean higher distortion.

It doesn't surprise me at all when I see punters opting for a pair of well-regarded 2-ways with reasonable bass extension supplemented by a sub of the same or better quality.  With due attention paid to integrating the sub correctly I doubt you would better the result by spending the same money on a pair of 3-ways.

 

If you look at the various lists of 'best ever' speakers that have been compiled by a few of the hifi magazines, websites, etc. there's plenty of 3, and even a few 4-way passive designs on those lists, so it can be done right, but in eliminating the compromises, they are not cheap.

 

This video is not specifically about 2-way Vs 3-way, but is relevant given the speakers he references.

 

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Here are my thoughts on this:

 

  • I hate the addition of separate subs - they never integrate  with the mains properly into a cohesive whole;
  • there are very few really good speakers of any design;
  • two ways are much, much easier to get right than a three way;
  • it is extremely difficult to get the crossover of a three way right - hence great three ways are very very rare;
  • a three way has the potential to sound better than a two way due to the greater bandwidth and each driver being able to work in it's pass band.
  • forget four way and above - I have a pair of four way speakers that I spent over 1000 hours working on the crossovers.
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I also build and buy speakers, and a good three way will generally beat a good 2 way, mostly due to the dispersion issues from crossing a big mid woofer to a small tweeter.

 

It is easier and cheaper to build a good 2 way.

 

Depends how picky you are.

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Not sure why this is even a discussion - when you aim for the very best. There is no way a two way is better than a threeway when all things are considered. You cannot close the anomaly (gap) that occurs when the dedicated midrange driver is missing in a good two way design vs a threeway speaker.

 

Its like asking Wilson Audio, B & W or Magico to design the best loudspeaker that they can, and ask them to leave the midrange driver out of the the equation ...they just wouldn’t do it?

 

Cheers,

 

Steve

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1 minute ago, Steve M said:

Not sure why this is even a discussion - when you aim for the very best. There is no way a two way is better than a threeway when all things are considered. You cannot close the anomaly (gap) that occurs when the dedicated midrange driver is missing in a good two way design vs a threeway speaker.

 

Its like asking Wilson Audio, B & W or Magico to design the best loudspeaker that they can, and ask them to leave the midrange driver out of the the equation ...they just wouldn’t do it?

 

Cheers,

 

Steve

This.

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Well, call me crazy but I am currently using a 5way loudspeaker to close all the gaps. Active system, five drivers, five amplifiers, five sets of interconnects and five pairs of speaker cables. Kind of nuts, but sounds good to me, engaging to the music.

 

Cheers,

 

Steve.

D0914E4A-8A23-4B3B-80CA-D60289AADE6D.jpeg

F924A254-3B52-4A97-8280-89B290049294.jpeg

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1 hour ago, sfdoddsy said:

and a good three way will generally beat a good 2 way, mostly due to the dispersion issues from crossing a big mid woofer to a small tweeter.

The dispersion/directivity control of a well designed 2 way with a waveguide loaded tweeter crossing to a large mid woofer (eg Econowave, Geddes, some of the Red Spade designs) will be superior to any box 3 way.

 

11 hours ago, dcathro said:

I hate the addition of separate subs - they never integrate  with the mains properly into a cohesive whole;

I disagree with this - I accept that good integration between mains and subs isn't trivial - but IMHO, 1 or more subs is important to achieve smooth "in room" bass, especially across multiple listening positions.

 

11 hours ago, dcathro said:

there are very few really good speakers of any design

I'm being cheeky - but surely Peter Walker's ESL57's would make it to the list of "really good speaker design"?

 

11 hours ago, dcathro said:
  • two ways are much, much easier to get right than a three way;
  • it is extremely difficult to get the crossover of a three way right - hence great three ways are very very rare;

I completely agree with this

 

11 hours ago, dcathro said:

a three way has the potential to sound better than a two way due to the greater bandwidth and each driver being able to work in it's pass band.

I agree, but IMHO only if dispersion/directivity/pattern control is part of the design, such that the speaker's on and off axis response is smooth down to the vicinity of the room's "transition" zone, where below that room modal behaviour takes over and speaker directivity doesn't matter anymore...

...and I'd reinforce your point above about crossovers for 3 ways - very hard/expensive to get right with a passive crossover, and still tricky with active.

 

11 hours ago, dcathro said:

forget four way and above - I have a pair of four way speakers that I spent over 1000 hours working on the crossovers.

I run 4 way active currently, with a single sub, so maybe it should be called 3.1

Wow - a 1000 hours on crossovers - ouch ! - I'm assuming that's tweaking passive crossovers?

 

 

I gave up on passive crossovers in the mid 1990's, and my 3 way analog active (LR4) crossovers didn't have much "design" work involved other than selecting the crossover frequencies to match the drivers - not very sophisticated, but they sounded good.

 

I swapped to DSP active in 2010, measuring speakers outdoors with dodgy structures to get the speaker as far off the ground as possible.

As long as your measurement technique is OK, with an understanding of the reducing accuracy/data points down low with windowing etc, you can configure up a new crossover in DSP in 10 minutes...of course you could spend countless hours comparing different crossover profiles, but with DSP active you can configure multiple different crossovers and instantly switch between them to compare - rapid prototyping of crossovers is a key benefit of DSP IMHO.

 

On 25/11/2020 at 10:32 AM, surprisetech said:

Also, very few modern 3-way designs have large woofers anymore.  Most have one or two smaller woofers, which, if you do the maths, still don't provide the same total cone area (Sd) as a single 12" woofer.  (2 x 6.5" woofers have a total Sd of around 240 cm2;  2 x 8" around 430 cm2, while a single 12" has around 540 cm2)  This means longer cone excursions required for the same SPL, which can also mean higher distortion.

^ this

Great "in room" mid bass impact is a trade-off between cone radiating area and driver excursion - larger drivers require less excursion to hit the same SPL as smaller drivers.

Higher excursion almost always equals higher distortion.

 

My best speaker upgrade ever was going from an 8" mid woofer to an 18" mid woofer...my wife says all the time that if we ever split up she's keeping the 18"s...she's dreaming...

 

On 25/11/2020 at 6:51 AM, Cloth Ears said:

IMO, you need a good mid-bass to upper midrange drive to cover about 5½ octaves (about G1 to C7). This gives you coherence.

wow - covering 5.5 octaves is a difficult gig for any single driver - all drivers that I'm aware of would be creating significant distortion at both ends of their passband trying to cover 5.5 octaves.

20 - 40Hz - 1st octave/ bottom octave (ignoring bass nuts)

40 - 80Hz - 2nd octave

80 - 160Hz  - 3rd octave

160 - 320Hz  - 4th octave

320 - 640Hz - 5th octave

640 - 1280Hz - 6th octave

1280 - 2560Hz - 7th octave

2560 - 5120Hz - 8th octave

5120 - 10240Hz - 9th octave

10240 - 20.5kHz - 10th/top octave

 

300Hz - 3kHz is often regarded as the "intelligence" range in human speech and used as a guide for speaker crossovers - ie don't put a crossover in this range - it's between 3-4 octaves wide, and a struggle for lots of mid range drivers.

 

In the DIY world, 2 octaves/driver is often a goal with multi way speakers to remain well within a driver's passband, but rarely achieved across 20Hz - 20kHz, with 3-4 octaves being more achievable for each driver, but active crossovers with steeper slopes are typically required the wider you go.

 

With more drivers, the harder it is to achieve a smooth "off axis" speaker response - a smooth "on-axis" response is relatively easy...off-axis things get lumpy quickly

 

Mike

 

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1 hour ago, Steve M said:

Not sure why this is even a discussion - when you aim for the very best. There is no way a two way is better than a threeway when all things are considered.

I disagree - not many of us can afford the very best and need to compromise - when all things are considered and IMHO especially the off-axis response of a speaker is important, the pattern control of a 2 way waveguided tweeter crossing to a mid woofer will be superior to a box 3 way.

 

1 hour ago, Steve M said:

Its like asking Wilson Audio, B & W or Magico to design the best loudspeaker that they can, and ask them to leave the midrange driver out of the the equation ...they just wouldn’t do it?

Do they publish the polar patterns of their speakers? I've never had the chance to listen to any of them, but pictures of their speakers lead me to think that pattern control is not a priority for any of those manufacturers.

 

Mike

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14 hours ago, dcathro said:

Here are my thoughts on this:

  • it is extremely difficult to get the crossover of a three way right - hence great three ways are very very rare;
  • a three way has the potential to sound better than a two way due to the greater bandwidth and each driver being able to work in it's pass band.

There are heaps of good three way speakers with incredible midrange and fully satisfying bass and integration like VAF I 66 & 93, Yamaha NS1000 & 5000, Spendor SP100 and the current range, ATC40, WAR Audio Reference 1, many Dynaudio models, Duntechs, Avalon, Wilsons, Many B&W models from 801-804, Kef Ref series and Blades etc etc. nearly every major speaker brand makes a decent to incredible 3 way model.

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14 hours ago, dcathro said:

Here are my thoughts on this:

 

  • I hate the addition of separate subs - they never integrate  with the mains properly into a cohesive whole;
  • there are very few really good speakers of any design;
  • two ways are much, much easier to get right than a three way;
  • it is extremely difficult to get the crossover of a three way right - hence great three ways are very very rare;
  • a three way has the potential to sound better than a two way due to the greater bandwidth and each driver being able to work in it's pass band.
  • forget four way and above - I have a pair of four way speakers that I spent over 1000 hours working on the crossovers.

 

As a loudspeaker designer, from my experiences, I can agree with the points dcathro has raised.

Others may disagree, but I have managed some limited success with Subs which can work moderately well but ultimately I have never been truly satisfied with the results, no matter the expense.

I have managed to get three way systems to work reasonably well, but this takes several times longer to get right than a good performing 2 way. I can only say that a 4 way is nigh on impossible to get right, having built just two of these!! Listen / measure / listen / measure.....

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3 minutes ago, Al.M said:

nearly every major speaker brand makes a decent to incredible 3 way model.

 

Yes, but at what cost?

 

I have yet to be swayed by a 3-way, large front baffle speaker that matches the realism of the humble, $2000 Ls3/5a. I exclude from that statement speakers that cost more than my car, because I don’t normally get to listen to those.

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2 minutes ago, Steffen said:

 

Yes, but at what cost?

 

I have yet to be swayed by a 3-way, large front baffle speaker that matches the realism of the humble, $2000 Ls3/5a. I exclude from that statement speakers that cost more than my car, because I don’t normally get to listen to those.

The OP didn’t mention cost but since you mention it in that range examples like a $1200 to $3000 used VAF I-66 three way speaker is way better than an Ls3/5a as good as they are within their ability range with much more detailed midrange, as good imaging and way better bass, much more full range. I’ve had both in my room playing on a range of amps from tube to solid state and across many types of music. If you are only focusing on a limited range of music styles an Ls3/5a is good but definitely not a full range sound.

 

Other used 3 way examples in that price range are B&W 801f and later matrix series of the 1980s and 90s, Spendor SP or S 100, $1000-1500 Dynaudio 82 3 way, $600 vintage Krix 250 monitor 3 way, $3-4K ATC40 etc.

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18 minutes ago, Al.M said:

is way better than an Ls3/5a as good as they are within their ability range with much more detailed midrange, as good imaging and way better bass, much more full range

 

I’ve heard this trope a million times over the last 30 years or so, alas, it is still nonsense to me. None of the “better bass” and “more full range” speakers I’ve heard could ever bring music to life like the Ls3/5a does. The lack of bass extension is commonly dealt with (if you desire) by subwoofers crossed over at 80Hz or bass extenders like the AB/1. 

 

Ls3/5a owners tend to keep this to themselves, after all, supplies are limited ;)

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1 hour ago, Steffen said:

 

I’ve heard this trope a million times over the last 30 years or so, alas, it is still nonsense to me. None of the “better bass” and “more full range” speakers I’ve heard could ever bring music to life like the Ls3/5a does. The lack of bass extension is commonly dealt with (if you desire) by subwoofers crossed over at 80Hz or bass extenders like the AB/1. 

 

Ls3/5a owners tend to keep this to themselves, after all, supplies are limited ;)

It just depends on what one chooses to value, focus on or exclude. I’ve had two Rogers Ls3/5a in my room and a friend has 4 pairs of them and the matching AB1 bass tower, which is quite lacking in-it-self compared to a modern Rel subwoofer, including the famed and much better Chartwell version and understand why people like them for their musicality and imaging but there is only so much that 40 year old vintage Kef bextreme midbass driver and T27 tweeters even with good design can achieve compared to what the vast rest of similar, later and modern ones have to offer. In the same room he has a mid 1990s Sonus Faber Electa Amator 2 way that really shows them up. There are other such examples.

 

Many believe the Ls3/5a is overrated, which I think is very wrong and they are very good and people just havnt heard them properly well setup and on the right music.

Edited by Al.M
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16 minutes ago, Al.M said:

nearly every major speaker brand makes a decent to incredible 3 way model.

Have any of them paid any attention to their off-axis frequency response? ie deliberately designed the off-axis response to follow the on-axis response, but falling off as you go further off axis?

A key criteria for "good sounding speakers" is a smooth on and off axis frequency response - plenty of research backs this.

 

Box speakers with drivers mounted to a flat baffle cannot achieve a smooth off axis response - woofers have a narrowing pattern at higher frequencies towards crossover (beaming), a tweeter's pattern widens as you go lower towards crossover - the same thing happens crossing a bass woofer to a mid range driver.

Box speakers with multiple drivers mounted on a flat baffle will always have an inconsistent/ragged off "axis response"/pattern control at crossover points which you hear when it bounces off the room's walls.

 

The humble Econowave speaker is a classic example of a 2 way speaker that punches well above its weight. It's a very well regarded 2 way DIY speaker that when well designed, will achieve good off-axis response/pattern control between tweeter and woofer - vastly better control than any box tweeter/woofer combination.

 

The only commercial 3 way speaker design I've ever seen that truly focuses on pattern control is Danley's Synergy speakers - point source 3 way speakers aimed at the pro market.

 

In our "normal" world of achieving decent sound at reasonable cost, I'd back a well designed set of 2 way active Econowave speakers matched with a pair of capable subs all managed by DSP to produce better "in room" sound over any 3 way passive crossover box speaker with drivers directly mounted to the baffle.

 

Manufacturers like Revel and JBL are mounting their tweeters in waveguides now for good reason - pattern control.

 

That's still just pattern control between the tweeter and the mid driver - if the mid driver crosses to a bass driver above the "transition zone" of the room, then you'll have the same issues where the off axis response has a dis-continuity at crossover.

 

The ideal speaker is able to maintain reasonable pattern control down to the transition zone in your room, which is usually around 250-300Hz.

No box speaker with baffle mounted drivers can achieve this

 

Mike

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With all due respect Mike, the things you talk about might be theoretically correct, but do not translate in a listening assessment - well, not for me anyway. It’s not just about the good bass response from a threeway, it’s the lack of a dedicated midrange driver that is the problem for me. All two ways to me, fudge both the midrange and bass frequencies, resulting in coloration and inaccuracies.

 

A true midrange (produced by a dedicated midrange driver) like in the speakers mentioned by Al M are just more accurate to me. You can hear this as a truly fleshed out and expressed vocal, no muddiness or smoothing over. This is a result of better TS parameter performance and less IMD achieved by a dedicated midrange driver + a dedicated bass driver found in a threeway vs a single midbass driver doing all duties in a two way.

 

I agree there are some very good two way speakers out there, but what I am talking about is an ultimate implementation of threeway vs a twoway, in which case a better result can always be achieved by a threeway spkr.

 

The only exception might be a two way electrostatic or ribbon speaker, which can perhaps seamlessly meld the midbass to midrange transition.


Cheers,

 

Steve

 

 

.

Edited by Steve M
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1 hour ago, Dark_Matter said:

Others may disagree, but I have managed some limited success with Subs which can work moderately well but ultimately I have never been truly satisfied with the results, no matter the expense.

I had always planned to build a 2nd sub - I've got all the bits for a small sealed "filler" sub - driver/amp/sheets of plywood/available output from the pre-amp etc...I just need to make sawdust...but the performance from my single "heavy lifter" sub produces pretty smooth bass across my listening couch and my lazy DIY gene kicks in...

 

...from my perspective a well integrated sub works spectacularly...and mine didn't cost a lot, the plywood/drivers/amps was < AUD$1000 for a dual 12" tapped horn sub.

Plenty of effort went into integrating it with my mains, but the result is excellent.

 

mike

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