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2-Way vs 3-Way | Pro's and Con's
2-Way vs 3-Way loudspeakers, what are the advantages/disadvantages?
Why would a speaker designer choose to design a 2-way or a 3-way?
As a consumer, how can I make an informed decision between the two?
Let's dig into it!
If we compare them apples to apples, a 2-way design has a few things going for it. 2-Way enclosure designs are less expensive than 3-way’s, requiring fewer parts, and are typically smaller because they require less front baffle real estate.
A 2-Way design can generally perform ok if only driven at far lower power levels than each individual driver was designed for. I’ve heard some fine-sounding 2-Way’s over the years but never at reference levels.
The Challenges of a 2-Way
If you are after a full-range, high-performance loudspeaker, a 2-Way design won’t get you there. Here’s why: A full-range, high-performance loudspeaker is often thought to play a relatively flat frequency response from 30hz to 17Khz. I can believe that because more than 99% of musical content is within that range.
Achieving this level of performance in a 2-Way design is extremely difficult, if not impossible. This mostly has to do with where you have to cross over the 2 drivers. For instance, I can’t recall seeing a woofer that would dig down to 30hz and also play flat up to 1Khz or so. On top of that, try finding a tweeter that will play from 1Khz to 17Khz, period.
Not only do you have the problem with the drivers not matching up but you would also be limited in the power you could send them. Resulting in such a low SPL that one could never consider it to be high-performance.
Let's Talk 3-Way
A 3-way speaker design offers much more flexibility to the designer. Firstly, in driver selection availability. Since your lessening the frequency range load on each of the drivers, it’s much easier for each one to meet each other at the crossover points. The more focused frequency band that we ask of each driver also means we are less likely to push the individual drivers beyond their design limits.
The extra performance of the 3-way design does come at a cost. For the speaker designer, this means added complexity. For the consumer, more components translate to a higher price point.
Why Choose a 3-way Speaker Over a 2-Way?
I believe it comes down to two things:
The volume that you like to listen to
The frequency response range that you require.
It’s often been said in the speaker design world that you can’t have it all. Compromises have to be made. Small enclosure, bass extension, or efficiency (SPL), you can have 2, but never all 3.
Pushing the Boundaries
At Heavenly Soundworks, using the latest technology, we’re as close as it’s ever been to attaining all 3 together. A small, bookshelf speaker with super low bass extension, that plays a full-range, flat frequency response at reference levels.
This could only be achieved by using the latest technologies available today. Such as modern speaker driver technology, DSP, cabinet building design, etc…
If you’re ready to experience the performance of a well-designed 3-way loudspeaker, give one of the Heavenly Soundworks systems a look!
Announcing the FIVE17 Studio!
Due to popular demand, the Heavenly Soundworks team has been working on a Studio version of our FIVE17 Loudspeaker System!
See more details by clicking the link!
Upcoming Hi-Fi Show!
Heavenly Soundworks Loudspeakers will be on demo at one of the major Hi-Fi shows this Fall! Look for more details to be announced soon!
A set of our FIVE17 Loudspeakers is currently being reviewed by one of the major Hi-Fi publications! We don't have a publication date yet, but we'll be sure to link to it once it's live!