3 Way Speakers

Is there an advantage of buying a 3 Way Speaker when Compared with a 2 Way Speaker.
Short answer: 1)Frequency response and 2) dynamic response/tone. With technology the way it is it is near impossible to cover the range of frequencies needed for music which are often quoated as 20Hz to 20kHz, or get even very close with a two way speaker. In addition, a two way speaker tends to(not always)push the drivers to their limit in order to cover as much as possible. The result is poorer sound. You will have a tweeter no matter what. In a two way system you are stuck asking the remaining driver to give you nice deep base and clear tight mids. The cone tends to be over worked and breaks up because you are asking it to do so many things (read distortion). Some systems ask the tweeter to do too much too. Tweeters hate that...to much excursion. If the crossover's rolloff rate(this controls how your tweeter shuts down as it receives lower frequencies) isn't steep enough your little tweet will crap out on you. On the other hand if you do not ask your tweeter to go to lower Hz than the burden falls on the poor remaing driver to fight a two front war so to speak.

Most 2 way systems are therefore designed as a comprimise. The middle frequencies (really most essential for listening) are muddied because either the tweeter or remaining driver is trying to handle too much, or the base is sacrificed in order to keep the mid-range better. A 2 and 1/2 way and 3 way system redistributes the load - more hands make lighter work.

That being said, there are some great 2 way systems out there and I have a very nice one myself in my office. They are nice because you can make them so small and in small rooms they fit the bill. (more driver surface, 3 speakers, will move more air and make more sound, sometimes you do not need that either)

IMHO, It is not how many drivers you have but the design and the quality of crossover that is important. I would much rather have a well designed 2 way, with good innerds (great design in the frequency distribution, and quality coils and caps) than a run of the mill 3 way. It is amazing how poor the quality of some crossovers is.

I'd say more but geez... I have to go to work.

Sincerely, I remain
usually given the same price point the 2 way will be the better sounding unit. Some three ways like the vandersteen 2 will compete out of it's price class. Usually the two way has an advantage of a less complex cross over and a better budget to spend on 2 drivers instead of three. The advantage of the three way if you get everything right is less complex signals for each driver to handle as well as often the ability to get better bass, since you don't have to use as small mid/bass driver. Thake each design on it's own merrits though. there are no hard and fast rules here.
The Pipe Dream is really a two way. just a diferent approach that can work very well. multiple small woofers can move alot of air and are low mass, say 16 or more 1" dome tweeters can also move air like a larger driver but with reduced mass. Listen to the sound coming out of the thing and let that be your guide.
If the speaker drivers were full range, than It wouldn't make a sence to even buy a 2Way speaker. There is no speaker driver that can produce a full range. Planar speakers still need a sub for a bottom end.
Theoretically 3Way design tended to get closer to the full range than 2Way design.
I prefere quality 2Way designs over 3Way(faster, more transparent, easier to drive, less signal path, more natural)
It depends on the school of thought you suscribe to. I have heard 2 way systems that sound great, but have also heard 3 way systems that are just as good if not better.

It really depends on the design of the speakers themselves not the number of crossover points used by the manufacturer. A well designed 3 way can rival a two way or vice versa.

Two way systems tend to combine the critical midrange driver with the bass driver. This driver usually crosses over to the tweeter at a lower frequency (2K 2.5K) to the tweeter. The theory is that you have less crossover points and the crossover is not in the critical midrange frequency of 3K as you tend to find in most 3 way systems. I don't subscribe to this because you are still crossing over in a midrange frequency regardless of the number. I guess I just don't believe in magic numbers. I think another disadvantage with two ways is that since the woofer shares duty with the midrange it has to be smaller and lighter to handle midrange duties. In contrast a woofer needs to be larger to be able to move more air. You run into a conflict of interest here. Something has to get compromised.

My preference has been to lean with 3 way systems that use sealed dome midranges. What I mean by this is that the midrange driver is enclosed within its own housing. I find the sound is more open and detailed with this type of driver design. I don't believe you can get as natural and clear of a sound with large diameter drivers that are ported being used as a midrange. This is what you tend to come across in two way designs.

The arguments against a three way are that crossover points always create problems. Having more drivers can lead to problems with musical coherence. I believe this means that you are further from the ideal of single point source. (i.e 1 driver design)

On paper, these argument may hold true. However, with the technology we possess today and the incredible quality of resistors and capacitors I seriously doubt that anyone can hear these theoritical imperfections with a well designed 3 way speaker.

If you want some speaker recommendations just drop me a line.
Well, I was taught a couple of simple ways of looking at speakers design,1 way,or 10 way. The ways actually do not seem to matter. If you are building a speakers and only have a marginal woofer and a marginal tweeter to work with, you may well need a marginal midrange driver to at least make the sound tolerable. If you use a very good woofer and a very good tweeter, you made not need
midrange as your drivers blend well to cover that important midrange area, If you are out in out trying to build the very best full range loudspeaker you can, you may well build a three way as you are able to compromise with the woofer/midrange drivers in that your woofer can be used to reproduce the lower frequencies it was really(on average) more designed to do. I think a lot of woofers in 2 way monitors are more midbass drivers, and there must be something there because I see a lot of subs being sold. I just had a pair of SR12 Silverline's, and where it may be the best bass I have ever heard in a monitor that size, I genuinely would not call it soul satisfying bass. IMHO, seems like a lot of high dollar(and unlike many in this group, I consider $1k high dollar) 2 way monitors are really unfinished 3 ways, waiting for a woofer. None of the rules are solid, I do think a lot of it has to do with parts on hand, how much money is being allowed for R&D(usually little)marketing(usually more) exotic veneers(makes a wonderful sonic difference on a 12 inch tall cabinet, doesn't it?) and actual production costs. There are some great 2 ways
Thiel, Fusalier, Silverline, Spica, Rogers, etc, just as there are some great 3 ways, Vandersteen, KEF,PSB's Utopia
etc. I really do think it has as much to do with what you have ready to use when you are designing a speaker to a specific price point in the market, especially a price point you need to be in quickly because profits are looming there. Nothing wrong with that, its business and none of these people would be in it if it was not tied to making money doing something you like doing. And I think they are pretty lucky to be doing that.
A good 3 way is always better than a good two way.Period.
Words like "always" and "all" seem to "always" draw my attention. I won't beat on you this time Makersmark as you deserve a break, but really. This is a very bold and sweeping statement and it takes great restraint for me not to go off on you. But come on. Have you herd "all" the 2 ways and "all" the 3 ways out there? This sort of preconception can color your judgment and lead you to conclusions that may be false. Keep an open mind. You gotta quit baiting me to abuse you. ok?
I think the answer is ..... no. Choose the speaker that sounds best to you. If you like true full range sound, then it will probably be a 3 way design. If you don't need the bottom end of the frequency range then a 2 way might be just up your street. I think the theoretical descriptions above (quality of drivers, complexity of crossovers) are very good.

And Maxgain (self-appointed audio policeman) .... can you cool it ?! Let's not intimidate others who disagree with us, just in case they occasionally contribute an interesting and stimulating post.
I thought that was cooling it Seantaylor99. Sorry, just in a bad mood with too much time on my hands. I do Take all this too seriously.
Seandtaylor99, I would invite you to look at my posts and tell me if you think that they all are Audio Nazi stuff. I should probaly find something better to do with my time anyway. I admit to ranting at times. The thing with vandersteen put me on tilt. I appologize to Makersmark for taking it out on him. Guess surfing for porn would be more relaxing. At least there are no pop ups here!