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2-way vs 3-way in a front speaker?


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#1 of 4 OFFLINE   John_King

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Posted April 23 2003 - 04:31 AM

I just bought a Kenwood vr6070 (could not pass up the price deal at BB) and I am now starting a search for speakers to put with the unit. One thing I am wondering is how important is a 3-way speaker vs 2-way in the front speakers?

I am very new to speaker buying and will be on a budget of around $700 (US). Most of what I have seen mentioned on the board for that range (JBL, Paradigm, ascend acoustics, etc.) are all 2-way fronts and I didn't know if this was the expected norm due to price range or due to way sound is played in a 5.1 setup?

Thanks for any advice/help!

#2 of 4 OFFLINE   Adam.Gonsman

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Posted April 23 2003 - 05:22 PM

It all depends on the speaker and the drivers it uses. There are speakers in the multi thousands of dollars that are still only 2 way. At the same time the little crap speakers that come with many bookshelf systems are 3 way. Those POS 3 ways with their paper drivers can't begin to even remotely imagine competing with a pair of $2k 2 way speakers.

The theory (as you may already know) is that a 3 way speaker (verse 2way) adds a midrange driver so the tweeter doesn't have to play as low and the bass driver as high. This should allow the other drivers to be more accurate in the ranges they do play. While this sounds good in theory, it means nothing in practice.

Does that mean that a 3 way (or even 4 way) never sounds any better? Of course not. There are some very nice 3 ways out their. Probably some in your price range. But don't get too worried that you're not going to be able to have nice sound cause you can afford "only" 2 way speakers.

Something to consider is that at a given price point, a 3 way speaker must be using overall cheaper drivers since it has to add a 3rd driver. The cost of that 3rd driver either means the speaker costs more or the other components have to be cheaper. So, even in a given price point, a 3 way may not sound better or even as good depending on a lot of factors as a 2 way.

The lesson? Listen to a speaker and evaluate it on what it sounds like and it's real world performance. All the technology and theory and marketing in the world doesn't amount to a hill of beans if the speaker doesn't sound good in practice. There's that company that takes regular beatings on this forum for their "technology" and the crappy sound it yeilds. ("No highs, no lows....") Posted Image

#3 of 4 OFFLINE   Mike Veroukis

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Posted April 24 2003 - 04:37 PM

Don't forget about the 2 1/2 way speakers! :-)

- Mike
every artist is a cannibal, every poet is a thief
all kill their inspiration and sing about their grief! - The Fly, U2

#4 of 4 OFFLINE   ChrisWiggles

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Posted April 26 2003 - 05:53 AM

Ignore the "ways". It's like everything else about a speaker, irrelevant. Only the sound matters, so go listen, and pick out what SOUNDS best. You might end up with a stand-mount 2-way, or a floorstanding 4-way or something totally different all together. Really doesn't matter except what sounds best at your pricerange.