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  1. #1
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    2-way vs 3-way which is better

    I was wondering, on good equipment, is two-way better better than three-way or is it just a matter of personal preference, I know the 3-way puts hgh/mid frq to twtr and mid/low frq to woofer, and 3-way is high to twt mid to mdrnge and low to woofer, but what should it be, like does it even matter. So which is better for quality accuracy and better sound reproduction? thanks.

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    it's a matter of the speaker designer and how good they are -- the best speaker I have ever hear at any price has been a two way large standmount speaker - but it does retail for around $30,000.00. Though heard speakers and systems that were not as good for 4 times that price...so in a way it's a bargain.

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    I prefer a well-designed 2 way to a well designed three way. Too me, there's just too much added complication to a 3-way, which always leads to added circuitry or more complicated design parameters intended to compensate for the problems inherent in adding a 3rd driver.
    That's not to say a good 3-way couldn't sound better than a good 2-way, I just feel you add cost.
    If cost is no object and ultimate performance is sought, then it's quite possible a 3-way could be superior.
    There are cases, however, where a 3-way could offer similar performance to a 2-way speaker and be less expensive. Much would depend on your goals for the speaker, and the environment the speaker will be placed in. My own bias is to keep things simple.

    Not all 3-ways split the frequencies as you describe. Some of the best speakers I've heard use 2 focused super tweeters and a full range woofer that handles everything below 8 kHz.

    I wouldn't recommend shopping for a speaker based on its driver complement unless you have good reason.

    My experience with speakers below $3000 or so is that a good 2-way will have fewer issues, but this is a broad generalization.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. budget
    I was wondering, on good equipment, is two-way better better than three-way or is it just a matter of personal preference, I know the 3-way puts hgh/mid frq to twtr and mid/low frq to woofer, and 3-way is high to twt mid to mdrnge and low to woofer, but what should it be, like does it even matter. So which is better for quality accuracy and better sound reproduction? thanks.
    A typical two way has some limitations which may or may not be significant for you.. In order to achieve deep bass response, you need a largish driver in a good sized box. Largish drivers start beaming at lower frequencies than smallish ones, so to maintain even dispersion very far off axis, the tweeter must be crossed over fairly low. Alas, tweeters tend to be more delicate and can't handle so much power. Hence, the typical two way has a fairly small woofer, about 6 inches or so so that the tweeter can be crossed over moderately high, but give up deep bass response and power handling capacity. Now, this may not be that much of a limitation for many people, for most people listen at reasonable levels. The typical reasonably priced high quality speaker is a two way.

    There are ways around this. The old Altec 19 had a robust 15 inch woofer crossed over fairly low to a sectoral horn tweeter, also quite robust. Those who think it was not a good speaker almost certainly heard them with the midrange and high controls poorly adjusted because they could be adjusted to be quite accurate. Paradigm, which makes its own drivers, has some very robust tweeters which can be crossed over fairly low. They and others also may use more than one woofer so the bass response and power handling can be increased.

    Now, a three way system can have one or more largish drivers devoted to the bass, a nice smallish midrange with excellent power handling, and then cross over to a tweeter and a somewhat higher frequency. This can give deep bass response, high power handling, and wide and even dispersion.. The crossover is more complex and since there are more drivers, the cost tends to be higher. So, if you need high volume levels, a three way may well be better, even if you have a subwoofer.

    You can have high quality speakers either way, and don't listen to those who say you can't. Two ways plus a subwoofer works fine for me but your needs may be different.
    "Opposition brings concord. Out of discord comes the fairest harmony."
    ------Heraclitus of Ephesis (fl. 504-500 BC), trans. Wheelwright.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pat D
    A typical two way has some limitations which may or may not be significant for you.. In order to achieve deep bass response, you need a largish driver in a good sized box. Largish drivers start beaming at lower frequencies than smallish ones, so to maintain even dispersion very far off axis, the tweeter must be crossed over fairly low. Alas, tweeters tend to be more delicate and can't handle so much power. Hence, the typical two way has a fairly small woofer, about 6 inches or so so that the tweeter can be crossed over moderately high, but give up deep bass response and power handling capacity. Now, this may not be that much of a limitation for many people, for most people listen at reasonable levels. The typical reasonably priced high quality speaker is a two way.
    Actually, there's tons of tweeters available that have high power handling, the delicacy of a tweeter only presents itself if a poor crossover is employed, and low frequencies are sent there in abundance. The crossover point is a function of acoustic performance in the midrange, the size of the woofer really doesn't have a whole lot to do with this.
    There are many drivers of varying sizes that have good off-axis response, again, for woofers, this is rarely an issue because of the wavelenghts of the frequencies woofers are responsible for.

    The biggest problem you will run into with 3-way (or more complex) speaker systems is the smooth transition from one driver to the next, and matching the sensitivities of each driver. I don't like just plugging resistors into the circuits to decrease the volume of a driver as it seems to alter the tonality in doing so.

    As for power output, there are some very good drivers with very high sensitivities that will play as loud or louder than three way drivers, not to mention those with high power handling capabilities. You have choice, but if you are going to increase cost by adding a 3rd driver, you can just as easily put that money into higher quality drivers in a 2 way.

    I think it comes down to personal preference and cost considerations. I love the deep, tight, accurate bass a transmission line speaker presents, the best t-lines I've heard were all 2 ways. No need for a large woofer for the bass here, 5-1/2 inch units are fine. Totem has acheived impressive results with small woofers in using isobaric designs.

    A good example of going the other way would be what Paradigm did with the Monitor 5's, replacing a bass reflex 2-way system with a passive radiator design...(not really a 3-way, but still). There's many ways to arrive at the same destination. I don't think it's as simple as saying a 2-way is better or worse than a 3-way, it would always come down to the speakers in question.

  6. #6
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    The other aspect with 3 ways is typically that they need a larger cabinet...even two way standmounts that have been converted to floorstanders have added cabinet to get more bass with highly suspect results -- the B&W 305 was essentially the 302 stuck in a bigger cabinet -- while more bass was achieved so was box resonance which muddied the sound.

    Many standmounts using cheap cabinets can get away with cheap cabinets because they don't put out a lot of bass -- this is one reason why so many speaker lines' best speaker is the standmount and not the floorstanding model. Mike Ranft and myself were auditioning speakers at Soundhounds and I agree with his take that big boxes also lead to big problems which need to be sorted out -- and I agree with most people who decide that when budget is a major consideration that 2-way standmounts are a better compromise in a number of ways but I only agree with the compromise if you are not sacrificing a large segment of bass response at pretty good levels as well as dynamics.

    Too many speakers sound disjointed with the two drivers doing their own thing...I favourably reviewed the B&W 604S3 but here again the bass is one note as if the bass driver is separated from the music...For the money it's good but the 602S3 sounds less conjested and less thumpy. Adding more stuff to be corrected out of the chain as an after effect is less desirable and it's not necessary. There are speaker makers that prove it so get one from them -- I mean Full range standmounts are ideal in that they offer the best of both worlds - and if they are also efficient and sensitive then that's icing on the cake. I have not run across many though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    Actually, there's tons of tweeters available that have high power handling, the delicacy of a tweeter only presents itself if a poor crossover is employed, and low frequencies are sent there in abundance. The crossover point is a function of acoustic performance in the midrange, the size of the woofer really doesn't have a whole lot to do with this.
    There are many drivers of varying sizes that have good off-axis response, again, for woofers, this is rarely an issue because of the wavelenghts of the frequencies woofers are responsible for.

    The biggest problem you will run into with 3-way (or more complex) speaker systems is the smooth transition from one driver to the next, and matching the sensitivities of each driver. I don't like just plugging resistors into the circuits to decrease the volume of a driver as it seems to alter the tonality in doing so.

    As for power output, there are some very good drivers with very high sensitivities that will play as loud or louder than three way drivers, not to mention those with high power handling capabilities. You have choice, but if you are going to increase cost by adding a 3rd driver, you can just as easily put that money into higher quality drivers in a 2 way.

    I think it comes down to personal preference and cost considerations. I love the deep, tight, accurate bass a transmission line speaker presents, the best t-lines I've heard were all 2 ways. No need for a large woofer for the bass here, 5-1/2 inch units are fine. Totem has acheived impressive results with small woofers in using isobaric designs.

    A good example of going the other way would be what Paradigm did with the Monitor 5's, replacing a bass reflex 2-way system with a passive radiator design...(not really a 3-way, but still). There's many ways to arrive at the same destination. I don't think it's as simple as saying a 2-way is better or worse than a 3-way, it would always come down to the speakers in question.
    One straight factual point: the Paradigm Monitor 5 is a 2.5 way speaker, which means both the bass driver and the woofer-midrange are driven. No passive radiator. ( A passive radiator is a port substitute anyway, a design choice.)

    http://www.paradigm.ca/Website/SiteP...nitorSpecs.htm

    Now, a 6 inch bass driver can do well in the bass at small signal levels (which can end up fairly loud). However, if you consider a crossover to a subwoofer at around 70 or 80 Hz, which do you think will run out of steam first at 70-8- hz and below: the drivers on my excellent PSB Stratus Minis or the driver on my 15 inch subwoofer. If I really wanted to play super loud, I would need one of the larger PSB Stratus speakers.

    When you talk about midrange performance, you seem to think that directivity has nothing to do with it.

    The rule of thumb is that as the frequency rises and the wavelengths get to be equal to or smaller than the diameter of the driver, the dirver starts to become more directional. The crossover to the tweeter should be low enough that it's dispersion is still quite wide, because the tweeter's dispersion will be quite wide at the bottom of it's range.

    Now, if you think that there are many tweeters out there that will surpass a good midrange drive in output capacity, that's fine. Go argue it out with speaker designers such as Paul Barton:

    http://stereophile.com/interviews/231/

    Check especially on page 3 of the interview:

    http://stereophile.com/interviews/231/index2.html

    In his review in Audio magazine, D. B. Keele called the PSB Stratus Gold-i
    "The 10,000-watt speaker!" This was with very short term signals, of course and certainly not in the bass. Go argue with Paul Barton about power handling.

    I heard and liked the Totem Mani-2, which has impressive bass response for a smallish speaker because it has two woofers, one behind the other in the box (isobaric loading). I'm sure the Stratus Gold-i can put out much more bass at 30 or 20 Hz than the Mani-2.
    I can assure tyou that my subwoofer surpasses the Mani-2 in performance in the deep bass both in extension and output capability. A small woofer can only do so much. I might prefer the Totem Mani-2 to the PSB Stratus Series, or might not. I've never directly compared them.


    "Opposition brings concord. Out of discord comes the fairest harmony."
    ------Heraclitus of Ephesis (fl. 504-500 BC), trans. Wheelwright.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pat D
    One straight factual point: the Paradigm Monitor 5 is a 2.5 way speaker, which means both the bass driver and the woofer-midrange are driven. No passive radiator. ( A passive radiator is a port substitute anyway, a design choice.)

    http://www.paradigm.ca/Website/SiteP...nitorSpecs.htm

    Now, a 6 inch bass driver can do well in the bass at small signal levels (which can end up fairly loud). However, if you consider a crossover to a subwoofer at around 70 or 80 Hz, which do you think will run out of steam first at 70-8- hz and below: the drivers on my excellent PSB Stratus Minis or the driver on my 15 inch subwoofer. If I really wanted to play super loud, I would need one of the larger PSB Stratus speakers.

    When you talk about midrange performance, you seem to think that directivity has nothing to do with it.

    The rule of thumb is that as the frequency rises and the wavelengths get to be equal to or smaller than the diameter of the driver, the dirver starts to become more directional. The crossover to the tweeter should be low enough that it's dispersion is still quite wide, because the tweeter's dispersion will be quite wide at the bottom of it's range.

    Now, if you think that there are many tweeters out there that will surpass a good midrange drive in output capacity, that's fine. Go argue it out with speaker designers such as Paul Barton:

    http://stereophile.com/interviews/231/

    Check especially on page 3 of the interview:

    http://stereophile.com/interviews/231/index2.html

    In his review in Audio magazine, D. B. Keele called the PSB Stratus Gold-i
    "The 10,000-watt speaker!" This was with very short term signals, of course and certainly not in the bass. Go argue with Paul Barton about power handling.

    I heard and liked the Totem Mani-2, which has impressive bass response for a smallish speaker because it has two woofers, one behind the other in the box (isobaric loading). I'm sure the Stratus Gold-i can put out much more bass at 30 or 20 Hz than the Mani-2.
    I can assure tyou that my subwoofer surpasses the Mani-2 in performance in the deep bass both in extension and output capability. A small woofer can only do so much. I might prefer the Totem Mani-2 to the PSB Stratus Series, or might not. I've never directly compared them.


    Hey, you're right, the Monitor 5 isn't a PR design. My bad.
    I agree, we could compare huge woofers to tweeters, and yes, sooner or later it's just going to be to impractical to design a high-output tweeter, but most of us don't listen 10,000 watt speakers in our home, nor do we typically try to achieve SPL's above 105 dB for extended periods, something many tweeters have no problem doing in even large rooms...how loud do you listen to your music?

    I'm not discounting directivity, but, just pointing out that large woofer size isn't the only way to achieve a full range speaker design. Some other designers would argue against larger woofers, claiming they sacrifice transient response, or a whole slew of other properties (something I don't necessarily agree with, you can design any size driver to do pretty much anything if you want to). Also, there are many woofer/tweeter combo's that present little dispersion problems (some of the world's best speakers are full range 2-ways).

    I will grant you, if we want sub 20 Hz response for musical sources (can't think of any instruments off the top of my head that reach that low, but I'm sure there's a few out there) then we'll probably want a larger woofer.

    In the end, I think goal of the speaker system will determine its design. If bass response in the high 20's is all that's desired, and output below 100 dB is the expected SPL, I would sooner invest in a higher quality woofer and tweeter at a given cost than lower quality woofers and tweeters just to obtain more output or lower response. If cost is now object, then things would probably change, but that's rarely the case.

    Curious, what do you like/dislike about the Stratus Mini's?

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    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    Hey, you're right, the Monitor 5 isn't a PR design. My bad.
    I agree, we could compare huge woofers to tweeters, and yes, sooner or later it's just going to be to impractical to design a high-output tweeter, but most of us don't listen 10,000 watt speakers in our home, nor do we typically try to achieve SPL's above 105 dB for extended periods, something many tweeters have no problem doing in even large rooms...how loud do you listen to your music?

    I'm not discounting directivity, but, just pointing out that large woofer size isn't the only way to achieve a full range speaker design. Some other designers would argue against larger woofers, claiming they sacrifice transient response, or a whole slew of other properties (something I don't necessarily agree with, you can design any size driver to do pretty much anything if you want to). Also, there are many woofer/tweeter combo's that present little dispersion problems (some of the world's best speakers are full range 2-ways).

    I will grant you, if we want sub 20 Hz response for musical sources (can't think of any instruments off the top of my head that reach that low, but I'm sure there's a few out there) then we'll probably want a larger woofer.

    In the end, I think goal of the speaker system will determine its design. If bass response in the high 20's is all that's desired, and output below 100 dB is the expected SPL, I would sooner invest in a higher quality woofer and tweeter at a given cost than lower quality woofers and tweeters just to obtain more output or lower response. If cost is now object, then things would probably change, but that's rarely the case.

    Curious, what do you like/dislike about the Stratus Mini's?
    There tends to be much less musical energy in the higher frequencies so in fact a tweeter does not have to produce the 105 dB, most of which is in the bass to midrange areas (and it's dangerous to listen at such levels for very long, too). Once CDs became popular, speaker manufacturers began using much more robust tweeters. If you try to push the crossover down much below 2 kHz, you need a pretty robust tweeter. I don't recommend trying to get most tweeters to play continuously at anything like 105 dB.

    The point of the comparison with the 15 inch woofer was that it would play much louder than the woofer in the Stratus Mini or the Mani-2 in the deep bass. A smallish two way system with a 6 inch woofer is not going to produce undistorted bass at very high levels, especially deep bass. 105 dB is really stretching it. Now, if you're talking of an Altec 19, that's another story.

    32 foot organ pedals have a fundamental at 16 hz. Also some electronic music gets around or below 20 hz.

    BTW, what are those 'full range' two way speakers that are among the best in the world?

    You have asked about my PSB speakers. Now, my Stratus Minis have excellent dispersion and show a quite even response where it counts most on and off axis. They are fairly insensitive speakers whose impedance gets below 4 ohms in the midbass. They have usable bass down into the mid-30s, believe it or not. Anyway, they seem to play plenty loud enough. While my listening seldom is over 85 dBa, sometimes it gets a little higher into the 90s with no problems at all. If I wanted to play much louder, I would have gotten a bigger model, whether I stayed with PSB or not, simply to enable the speaker to keep up with the subwoofer around the crossover frequencies. If I didn't have a subwoofer, I would have gone for one of the larger models, too, although the Stratus Minis are quite satisfactory on their own with most of the music I listen to.

    I haven't compared them directly to the Totem Mani-2, the Paradigm Signature S2, which I haven't heard for quite a while, so what I would think then I don't know. I haven't even heard any of the PSB Platinum speakers yet, some other speakers I would like to hear.
    We enjoy listening to music on the Stratus Minis and they don't seem to have any significant faults. I also consider them to be a very good value as they sound to me as good as a number of highly regarded speakers up to several times their price, speakers I also liked. I just put on Diana Krall's Live in Paris CD, which seems to be a superb recording, especially of her voice. I've put my consumer reviews here, at Audioholics and at MyAsylum. The one at Audioholics is the last one and probably is the most complete--anyway, I haven't changed my opinion of them and we now have them even better placed.

    http://forums.audioholics.com/forums...ead.php?t=3904
    "Opposition brings concord. Out of discord comes the fairest harmony."
    ------Heraclitus of Ephesis (fl. 504-500 BC), trans. Wheelwright.

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    RGA
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    Coincidence -- I just finished listening to Dianna Krall Live in Paris about 5 minutes ago.

    I am anxious to hear the Mini -- I didn't really feel the Silver had much bass response so it's a surprise that you're saying the Mini can produce such deep bass with authority.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    Coincidence -- I just finished listening to Dianna Krall Live in Paris about 5 minutes ago.

    I am anxious to hear the Mini -- I didn't really feel the Silver had much bass response so it's a surprise that you're saying the Mini can produce such deep bass with authority.
    I didn't say "authority," you did. The measured bass extension for the Stratus Mini is actually about the same as that of another small speakerf, the B & W CDM1, but the PSB is flatter in the mid-bass. I suspect you like that extra warmth in the mid bass. To obtain truly full range performance, either needs to be coupled with a subwoofer.

    Don Keele showed in Audio that the Stratus Silver is capable of quite a high level of output in the deep bass. You apparently prefer a somewhat different balance in the bass.
    "Opposition brings concord. Out of discord comes the fairest harmony."
    ------Heraclitus of Ephesis (fl. 504-500 BC), trans. Wheelwright.

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    RGA
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    Judging by the frequency response measurement of the mini it has a +3dbrise in the bass region according to Stereophile - the graph actually looks to be somewhat similar in shape to the AN E.

    The Stratus Mini
    Attached Images Attached Images  

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    RGA,

    Do you have the frequency response graph of the AN-E to hand so that we can look at it against the PSB Stratus Mini? a midbass bump is generally somewhere between 40Hz - 80Hz.

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    Quote Originally Posted by theaudiohobby
    RGA,

    Do you have the frequency response graph of the AN-E to hand so that we can look at it against the PSB Stratus Mini? a midbass bump is generally somewhere between 40Hz - 80Hz.
    It depends on what is meant by mid-bass. You're right if you follow J. Gordon Holt, but I see no particular reason to do so. However, with a graph, one can see where the rise is.

    One could interpret that particular graph for the Stratus Mini as a gently declining frequency response. PSB told me that they had made a minor crossover modification since.
    .
    So far, RGA hasn't been able to show us plots of the frequency response of the AN speakers. You can find the same graph for a speaker he does like, the B & W CDM1, at the following link in Fig. 3:

    http://stereophile.com/loudspeakerre...30/index4.html

    That does show an upper bass lower midrange peak. However, Stereophile's measurements below the midrange are not as reliable and also this is a frequency range in which room affects are very important to the balance. In any case, there's nothing wrong with liking some warmth.

    I like to see NRC measurements for speakers, supplemented by Stereophile's detailed dispersion plots, but this is often not possible.
    "Opposition brings concord. Out of discord comes the fairest harmony."
    ------Heraclitus of Ephesis (fl. 504-500 BC), trans. Wheelwright.

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    I don't have a lot of time to post right now, but just to say thanks a lot, I have a much better understanding now, there's an awesome amount of excellent wisdom on these forums. Thanks again.

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    RGA
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    The AN E has been described numerously as to roughly how it measures (which gives you zero indication of how it sounds). The AN E is +2.5db -3db in the main band similar to the PSB) and practically flat from 400hz to 20khz ((From 200hz up Paul Messenger said they measure as well as loudspeakers measure).

    The German publication audiofile noted the exact same thing graphically and so did Martin Colloms verbally.

    Frankly, it all means so little in itself -- the people who have heard and liked Audio Note are not going to all of a sudden change their view and buy Paradigm and the like -- I've been hearing those kinds of speakers for 15 years and not a single one of them can do a simple solo piano anywhere near as well....Dianna Krall forgettaboutit. Yet I have seen very similar measurements all the time -- and still don't get a resemblance and it may have to do with the presurization technique they use and no one else even considers or maybe it's because their woofers are not long throw maybe it's the baffle the cabinet the driver selection the tighter tolerances or a combination of all of that and the fact that leo Beranek wasn;t an idiot and neither was Peter Snell and maybe peter is semi correct in that the actual parts used do matter somewhat to the sound and not just any old part will do.

    As meaningless as the graph is here you go (the grey line is off axis which is technically flatter than the on axis response - the 45degree off axis response is identical to the 30degree figure but had a dip of another 4db at 1100hz (otherwise identical).

    By the way this is my recreation of the graph in excel then scanned into a JPEG. have no information as to whether this was done in an Anechoic chamber because I can't read German. The German Publication Audiofile gave the speaker 5 Jarres and had another graph similar to the 3d kinds Stereophile uses (a waterfall plot). Presumably they would not have given it high marks if that was poor...but I can no longer find it on the net. I don;t know why AN doesn't send it in because this graph is fine and there is no box noise -- turning it up would become muddy. i like a speaker that can detect the coloutration of the recording process -- few speakers can bring that out.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 2-way vs 3-way which is better-e-700.jpg  
    Last edited by RGA; 03-15-2005 at 06:18 PM.

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    Lightbulb Measurements have a bearing..

    Differences in the lower midrange are best illustrated by looking at the CDM1 in comparison to the 705.


    B&W 705


    B&W CDM1

    There is a key difference in the lower midrange behaviour of both speakers, I assume that the new PSB silver looks more like the 705, whilst the older model follows the CDM1 response characteristics. From the discussions I have seen here, some favour a slightly elevated midrange as evinced by the CDM1 and CDM1NT, whilst some other folks favour the more neutral midrange of the likes of 705 etc. Other factors have bearing, such as distortion, box noise, driver resonance, alignment etc. I know that RGA disagrees but box noise, more correctly cabinet resonance is most definitely evident in the AN sound and forms a key part of the basic sound signature, imitation is the best form of flattery and anyone who has followed the UK Audio press in recent months will have noticed that there is another player Bosendorfer on the market that regards the suppression of the cabinet vibrations as detrimental to the sound of a loudspeaker. On a humorous note, the Bosendorfer is a narrow baffled design , that follows the now classic Audio Physic approach of placing the woofers to the sides, but here only the side panels are allowed to go into controlled resonance, the very narrow front baffle (and some decoupling) ensures that the panels holding the tweeters remain fairly inert relative to the side panels. Looking at some subjective commentary on AA, it seems that both speakers share broadly similar strengths and weaknesses, their signature colourations decidedly favour solo and simple acoustic pieces.

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    Quote Originally Posted by theaudiohobby
    Differences in the lower midrange are best illustrated by looking at the CDM1 in comparison to the 705.


    B&W 705


    B&W CDM1

    There is a key difference in the lower midrange behaviour of both speakers, I assume that the new PSB silver looks more like the 705, whilst the older model follows the CDM1 response characteristics. From the discussions I have seen here, some favour a slightly elevated midrange as evinced by the CDM1 and CDM1NT, whilst some other folks favour the more neutral midrange of the likes of 705 etc. Other factors have bearing, such as distortion, box noise, driver resonance, alignment etc. I know that RGA disagrees but box noise, more correctly cabinet resonance is most definitely evident in the AN sound and forms a key part of the basic sound signature, imitation is the best form of flattery and anyone who has followed the UK Audio press in recent months will have noticed that there is another player Bosendorfer on the market that regards the suppression of the cabinet vibrations as detrimental to the sound of a loudspeaker. On a humorous note, the Bosendorfer is a narrow baffled design , that follows the now classic Audio Physic approach of placing the woofers to the sides, but here only the side panels are allowed to go into controlled resonance, the very narrow front baffle (and some decoupling) ensures that the panels holding the tweeters remain fairly inert relative to the side panels. Looking at some subjective commentary on AA, it seems that both speakers share broadly similar strengths and weaknesses, their signature colourations decidedly favour solo and simple acoustic pieces.
    The dispersion graphs would be useful, too. RGA's reproduction of the FR measurements for some AN speakers raises more question than it answers as we don't know what the details are.

    I would have liked to see the NRC measurements for my speakers but PSB isn't handing them out. Tom Nousaine apparently had his Stratus Minis measured there and his characterisation was that they were ruler flat! Of course, that's a not very detailed or precise verbal characterization.
    "Opposition brings concord. Out of discord comes the fairest harmony."
    ------Heraclitus of Ephesis (fl. 504-500 BC), trans. Wheelwright.

  19. #19
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    When you guys say bass,you need to say if its musical bass or LFE bass. You mains should be good enough for most musical bass but for the LFE bass,thats the sub's job. I think you can get a good 2-way that will be good at musical bass. I dont think you can get a 3-way that will do LFE,well for under 2 grand a pair?
    Look & Listen

  20. #20
    RGA
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    I have never readthat AN canonly perform well with simple pieces -- they are one of the few companies at the CES that isn;t afraid to play anything at any volume level -- and that was noted again this year when peter on his way to a show picked up several heavey metal cds at a shop and played then at ear splitting levels. He also likes to use a coveted organ piece to show off the E's ability to handle 16hz at very loud levels...the Saint Saens is an obvious busy track -- not a great musical piece in my view and more of a show piece for organ depth. I much prefer busy normal, if repetitive, pieces like Ravel's Bolero or Leahy: Lakefield to see if a speaker can keep up with what is going on...most speakers do such a brutal job with these. if you can't get the basic small ensemble works correct then there is no reason to believe that adding 20 more instruments to the mix is going to make it better.

    Bosendorfer makes arguably the world's best piano's and has been making Audio note's Cabinets for a long while.

    This is not a hard concept - yes the design approach is to control cabinet resonance not to try and throw a bag over it all...you cannot eliminate a cabinet resonance without also taking some of what you WANT to hear with it. So these so-called less coloured speakers I think I Understand why their being called less coloured, they are being damped sometimes heavily -- but as a result they sound like someone is singing with their hand over their mouth -- it sounds less open less resolute have less dynamics and less bass but gee they are less coloured...I guess I don't get why one would want to lose all those things. The cabinet resonance woud show up in the distortion numbers of the speakers...And this is what I don't get...I don't know Bosendorfer's numbers but the AN J and E are under 1% THD and IM across the entire audible band - nothing in a frequency response graph indicates it and certainly not the one I posted. largely because the one I posted doesn;t tell us much -- if the speaker was measured in the corner don;t know don;t knwo the distance don't know if it was in an Anechoic chamber. If it was in a corner --- if you pulled it out from the corner the bass band would drop 3db and that would be virtually dead flat...also what amp is driving it...across the bass band the speaker is 3.6ohms -- tough for a SET, arguably, so a Set may dip that entire band down a SS may not.

    I'm not disagreeing with you TAH, AN does use controleed cabinet resonance to augment the bass, and Bosendorfer may be as well (I know little about what they're doing)...AN is one of those (and not alone) that believes in getting as close to a direct through line as possible from source to speaker with as little to slug the sound as is possible in the stream...it makes no logical sense to continually be stiopping and recorrecting and running things through noise shaping and using things to block sound...I remember nakamichi claiming that their Dragon was far superior with all Dolby noise reduction OFF (indeed, i can;t remember for sure if the Dragon even came with Dolby NR) but for sure they wanted it OFF when listening. yes the NR took some tape hiss away -- but it also seemed to take away the musical message less treble less bass and seemed closed in when NR was on (Dolby C IMO was terrible and S was ok but overrated).

    What is more irritating with the colouration is that these people are noticing only with certain recordings and my argument is that well yes you are noticing more of what was recorded and the recording process than what the speaker is doing. I use Motley Crue Dr. Feelgood album as an example of this -- I have heard resolution on this cd that I've never heard on any other set of speakers. usually with this kind of music at high volumes speakers tend to become thin and very harsh or brittle in the treble and things get conjested...it's actually a fun recording to play at high volume and hear every individual thing going on with a very open and crystal clear clarity.

    Ravel's Bolero when played back to back with an OTO/AN K/Spe combo versus the B&W 705/Bryston 3BSST and Preamp when one plays this piece it has a momentum. The resolution Does not exist in the 705/Bryston combo at the quietest levels it seems forced and strident -- when the crescendo is reached it's game over because the 705 does not have the integration -- the whole thing sounds 2 dimensional and dull as if I heard a recording. The K/OTO has a space a power especially in the treble that jumps out at you. Interestingly you claim to have the exact opposite result I believe. So naturlally I doubt your claim and you will doubt mine, I'll disbelieve you and you will disbelieve me etc ... it really isn't that important though -- because hey I say listen to as much stuff and let people decide for themselves.

    When i recommend people to go to Soundhounds, I always WANT them to listen to B&W and Paradigm et al in a direct head to head session that way I've recommended them listen to speakers that all of you guys love -- even if I come across as a homer I do want them to listen to the stuff everyone else supports.

  21. #21
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    Who says everyone else supports those 2 brands?
    Look & Listen

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    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. budget
    I was wondering, on good equipment, is two-way better better than three-way or is it just a matter of personal preference...
    I rather prefer one-ways myself. And yes, it is a matter of preference.

    rw

  23. #23
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by shokhead
    Who says everyone else supports those 2 brands?
    Good point actually --- a lot of people I know don't like either one of those two but I was more referring to this forum where if you say anything even remotely negative about them you are immediately viewed as a heretic and a shill for something else.

    So it is merely taking my view out of the equation as much as possible -- I don;t like the idea of someone buying based off what i have to say -- By all means iof you think you hear things the way I do and vice versa then maybe you'll give something I like a try.

    And I used to be a massive B&W fan until some folks on AA kept bashing them and I was there to defend in rather very long argumentative threads the merits of their speakers. And then a few months later I had to eat crow becausde I actually bothered to give a few of their suggestions a shot - and people know I'm stubborn. I still recommend some B&W's but to be quite frank I can never go back. Paradigm is basically - I like some of their speakers -- but I would not want them.

    Rather than get into arguments over preferences WHY BOTHER? People here can go to the place I go to and listen to it for themselves and report back...one guy recently on AA sent me an e-mail under a different monicker who has argued with me in the past over AN -- went to Soundhounds and is now going to sell his current system. He just bought the speakers not long ago and the speakers were the very expensive speakers in the title thread discussed along with companies' top of the line amplifier.

    At the end of the day everyone sits in some sort of camp and I suppose ti makes sense -- people are adament about electrostats, magnepans, direct radiators, multi-directional speakers -- Skeptic for instance things direct radiators -- all of them -- are utter crap. Other people can ONLY listen to speakers that don;t have a box -- others want horns and nothing else. So it's not surprising that that some will be in the AN camp while another one of the other camps.

    the biggest reason I like AN above everything else I have heard is because I LOVE msot everything about what a good Stat does and what gfood horns do but to me they both tend to have some real big drawbacks...AN to me took the best out of what both offer up -- gave up a smidge to both in that the you give a little bit of the brute Dynamics and volume capability of the Horns and a bit of that air in the Stats...JNR had the Quads for 20+ years and the only box he could stomach and replaced his Quads for was - AN. Horn fans who want a more linear response and less shouty presntation give up some efficiency and volume for a smoother balance.

    people who love big Stats and Big horns like the Avante Guardes or even the retro horns like the K-Horn I can identify with more -- and even Skeptic in a way of his view on direct radiators --- because quite frankly so far the only Boxed speaker maker I would buy is AN...and then I would move to the open horns or Electrostats(not ML)...because the boxes sound stifled nasal shut in and boxy with one note bass. And gee the stats and horns also like SETs -- coincidence ?
    Last edited by RGA; 03-16-2005 at 10:09 PM.

  24. #24
    It's just a hobby
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    RGA, are you really sure of what you are saying that Bosendorfer builds Audio Note cabinets? I hope you realise that Bosendorfer is based in Austria, not Denmark nor Sweden nor Netherlands, Audio Note is based in Hove, England it is highly improbable that they are importing their cabinets from Austria! the logistics are highly suspect.

    I think you misundertood me, I said the the signature colourations favour solo and simple acoustic pieces not the other way round, I will respond with a longer post later but your graph validates the subjective opinion that the ANs are severely rolled off in the high treble, this roll-off is less severe as you move off-axis as per the graph, the dispersion graphs will be very useful in analyzing the lower midrange and bass behaviour.
    Last edited by theaudiohobby; 03-17-2005 at 06:27 AM. Reason: grammer correction

  25. #25
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    The cabinet resonance woud show up in the distortion numbers of the speakers...And this is what I don't get...I don't know Bosendorfer's numbers but the AN J and E are under 1% THD and IM across the entire audible band - nothing in a frequency response graph indicates it and certainly not the one I posted. largely because the one I posted doesn;t tell us much -- if the speaker was measured in the corner don;t know don;t knwo the distance don't know if it was in an Anechoic chamber.
    Hmmmm...no, cabinet resonance doesn't necessarily (if at all) show up in distortion numbers...that's usually more mechanical...though it might show up in the FR plots. FR plots I don't think capture enough though...at any given point only one frequency response is being measured, it's rare that our music emits only 1 frequency at a time.
    I'm not aware of any spec tests for measuring colorations, though we can all hear it when it's present.

    I think your on to something about cabinets and damping though. A well built cabinet (ported) doesn't need much, I've found poorer cabinets (inexpensive ones like your entry level PSB's, Paradigm's, B&W's, Athena's) tend fill a bit more. The trade off is absorbing some energy inside, allowing for less release of the energy (which I think relates to transient response, attack, and decay), and making a cabinet "appear" bigger to the woofer, more bass extension and SPL, not necessarily better sound quality though. For sealed cabinets, you often want to damp the bejesus out of it or you'll hit the other extreme (though this isn't always the case for subwoofers)...I think it goes back to the driver and crossover though, a "faster" midwoofer (which I recently learned use to be called a squawker?) probably would allow for more damping to a point. I think it comes down to taste, and the designer finding the balance he or she (or their customers) prefer.

    I've played around with some damping amounts in some of my speakers...right away I notice too much stuffing chokes off the bass...the cabinet can become too big for the woofer (bad), and it seems to reach all the way into the lower midrange which can be really annoying (seems to affect soundstaging too). Upper midrange seems unaffected, proably around the point were the sounds become more directional and don't have much interaction with the cabinet, though I'm not sure exactly.

    I don't know or care who builds AN's cabinets, but I can say that I've personally stood on my uncle's AN E's cabinets, not that my 185 lbs frame is massive, but they didn't give at all...a primitive test admittedly, but most people don't dare climb some other speakers. That says something.

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