Single driver vs traditional 3 way loudspeakers

What you prefer , single driver , no crossover, full   range  loudspeakers powered by low power SAT  or traditional 2-3 way design ?
591a00e8 7d91 4804 acd5 68a0a631b9e1bache
@bache I have moved to the single full range crossover-less Cube Audio Nenuphars and Scott Sheaffer’s Found-Music SET 2A3 monoblock amps.
Well I have over 40 something pairs of speakers .I have all types and I find different types of speakers sound different with different types and source's of an audiophile  hoarder...
I didn't know you could buy a single driver FULL range speaker. 
I have a pair of Emerald Physics 3.4s; open baffle, 12" carbon fiber woofer with concentric polyester tweeters. so it requires a XO but DAM
@david_ten , Did you feel something the sound becoume slightly thinner
especially when you listen cell, low octave of piano or mens vocal ?
Or not
@bache   In my specific application / component chain, and with the balance of components I've worked with to get there, no. 

 Very good ,  but for my experience and design, if you choose Single driver , the baffle need big size  
I like my 2 way no crossover Ref 3A de Capos :)
@grinnell  you wrong  , look stereophile specification 
Description: Two-way reflex-loaded loudspeaker for use with stands 26-28" high (not included). Drive-units: 1" impregnated fabric-dome tweeter, 7" woven carbon-fiber cone woofer. Impedance: 8 ohms. Sensitivity: 92dB/W/m. Frequency response: 44Hz-20kHz, ±3dB. Crossover frequency: 3kHz.    (  that mean you got crossover )
Not having a crossover network the De Capo instead uses Mundorf Supreme Silver Oil capacitors as a tweeter high-pass filter.
Full range single drivers do have their following.  That being said, it's incredibly difficult to engineer a single driver that will do a wide range (from low 50 Hz all the way up to high 20 kHz).  Some can do this, but with compromises.  I think the Mark Audio paper drivers are some of the most natural sounding full range, but they don't have good low bass response and the highs are soft and rolled off.

I've listened to several full range driver speakers and all have compromises.  Either they are soft, or lack bass, or have whizzer cone artifacts.  The Cube Audio Nenuphar look interesting with a 10" woofer and 3 whizzers.  I have not heard them directly, but youtube videos seem to reveal the typical whizzer cone effect.  It's a type of echo or resonance or shouty effect.  It's not perfect and is not going to be as transparent or clean as a traditional tweeter, but it provides a single driver full range scenario.

The Seas Exotic 8 is another possibly decent full range solution.
Single fullrange speakers suffer from bad distortion in the highs because the cones are not high quality enough to do high frequencies. You would never use a 4 inch dome as a tweeter in a 2 way speaker would you? Most tweeters are one inch. They need to be small and light to work well. Secondly small fullrange speakers cant do bass. Not just 50hz but even 150hz. 

What you need is at least two drivers. Each handles one half of the frequency range. A crossover device is then used to split the signal in half. 

Speaker design is not rocket science.  
@grinnell    Single driver crossover less design assuming no any  coil or capacitor involve, for 2 way like monitor DE Capo   the woofer may connect direct with no crossover network, but tweeter using capacitor that meaning first order crossover design involve  for tweeter only, They must using capacitor to avoid blow up tweeter .   Most of 2 way design using one High quality coil ( Inductor   ) for woofer also to  get off cone break 
frequency. If De Capo dont using any coil i dont know is good or no .
@auxinput   Agree for 100 % , in all my design i am simply remove whizzer cones 
@kenjit  agree, how whizzer cone , just piece of paper can be compare with High quality tweeters , This is Woo do. Basically whizzes cone   drivers was used  in all analog Tube amps and Pro acoustic in Cinema
How they widely used in High End is magic 

I’ve listened to several full range driver speakers and all have compromises. Either they are soft, or lack bass, or have whizzer cone artifacts. The Cube Audio Nenuphar look interesting with a 10" woofer and 3 whizzers.
PHY has introduced a 6" driver that has no whizzer cone and yet is extended and smooth at high frequencies. Its hard to get it to go below about 60-70 Hz, but at that point you can use a sub with it quite successfully. I recommend keeping the deep bass out of that driver- to make the highs right it has a very lightweight voice coil that simply does not handle a lot of power. But it is 96dB at 1 watt, so you don’t need a lot of power to make it work in most rooms.
A 6 inch or even 4 inch cone will never be better than a real 1 inch tweeter for high frequencies. The dispersion will be narrower and more distortion. 
I prefer keep it simple with as few drivers as possible, usually 2, but 3 can be good too.   One is OK but will always have limits. 
I prefer keep it simple with as few drivers as possible, usually 2, but 3 can be good too. One is OK but will always have limits. Reality aside, 1 is best  ideally at least.  
Bottom line is coherence is what holds my attention listening.  Various ways to achieve that. 
Well not exactly a single driver, my Canterbury’s sports a dual concentric 15” surround with a embedded 2” aluminum/magnesium alloy dome.

Frequency response is pretty impressive as well...28 Hz - 27 kHz (-6 dB) with a crossover frequency of 1.1 kHz.
In my opinion a good "fullrange" driver can do many things well, but the frequency extremes are generally not among them.  I'd be inclined to keep bass frequencies out of it and use a dedicated woofer, and to add a tweeter to improve the top-end dispersion (and extension if needed).   

There's a speaker company in New York that does this.  I think their name is Bache Audio, or something like that. 


My first commercial effort fifteen years ago was almost that (6" Fostex + powered bass section + tweeter), but I made the fatal mistake of not high-pass-filtering the "fullrange" driver.   Might give it another go some day.  

The best single-driver, truly fullrange speakers I've heard are the big SoundLab electrostats. 

disclaimer: I'm a SoundLab dealer
Of course, this is a great subject to recommend DIY experimentation.  Madisound, among others, has a number of affordable full-range (single driver) kits you can play with while you are stuck at home with the kids. :)
I prefer a single full range driver to multiple drivers. I have a pair of Charney Audio horns and love what they do. Over the years I’ve had multiple driver towers, 2-way bookshelf’s, open baffle, etc... None have ever come close to the intimacy of a single driver horn. Charney Concerto and Lumaca with the 8” Voxativ and AER drivers will do exceptional full range sound. 
Parts express have full range speakers..yes tweeter is paper wrapped around the cone... but they have been using them since the 40-50s.
can you compare Charney with Tektone or Volti ?

see my prev post , paper wrapped around cone is still a paper
can you compare Charney with Tektone or Volti ?

I have never listened to Tektons but Volti yes at the 2015 NY show. Volti was exhibiting a few rooms down and across the hall from Charney. Volti had his large horns and bass unit, the name escapes me at the moment. All electronics were Vinnie Rossi’s Lio preamp and 200w amp with what I think was a Palmer TT.  We listened to ZZ Top LaGrange at loud and clear volumes felt like I was riding a Harley. I felt the sound in my bones but wasn’t drawn into the record like the Charney Concerto does. Sounded somewhat flat in comparison and uninvolving. The Voltis rocked out and delivered clean clear sound no question but lacked the X factor for me. Just my opinion...
Thanks, very  interesting 

Only a preliminary assessment can be conducted based on one comparison of two different systems. If the speakers are similar enough in terms of efficiency and impedance curve, one could theoretically swap them and have the preference shift to the other speaker. That is how difficult it is to draw a firm conclusion in regard to assessing two different speakers at a show. Still, it's better than never hearing.

The big draw, as should be expected, of a single driver speaker is coherence and very tight center imaging. Full range speakers do this exceptionally well as a lot. Expecting them to do other things as well as other technologies in speakers is unrealistic. They may, or they may not. 
Full range are often lauded for such wonderful midrange, but I find that one can get that with nearly any genre of speaker - if you work at it and optimize the system. It's easy to say the midrange is all that when there is no bass worth commenting because a swath of frequencies went bye-bye. 

Full range better than other technologies? No, not at all. It's just garnishing a different set of performance highlights in keeping with the design. It's to be expected. Switch to another genre of speaker and hear things that a full range can't touch. For example, a very well built multi-way can be superior in terms of resolution/definition. 

It's all part of the game, as with low/high power. 

My Merrill Zigmahornets are amazing!  Yes, no bass below 50hz and no highs above 15khz with these 4" drivers.  I don't care! The rest of the range is so natural and open that I never miss it.  10 watts is plenty to make them sing.  
These are lousy for theater but that's not the idea of them.
Any doubters are welcome to come hear for yourselves how sweet it is.
I like a three way, line source (80-100 hz down not included) Servo controlled.
I like multi driver arrays.  To me more is better.. Bigger is better...
BUT I have some great  "little giants" in the mix too.. Giant Killers for sure...

All speakers have specific limitations and strengths. Single driver speakers do some things very well that (not many) multi-driver speakers can mimic; namely aligned, cohesive midrange magic. Which is what most flea-watt SET guys are seeking. Good match.

I've had good luck with Omegas and Coherent speakers with mid-powered PP amps like the McIntosh MC225. Great sound. In my rooms they worked best in smaller rooms and at lower listening levels.

Speaking of Omega, Louis Chochos claims that his most uncolored speaker models are those using his 4.5" drivers without whizzer cone. I have heard these but not had one in house so I can't really compare it to the Omega Alnico 6s I used to own. But it was a very nice sounding speaker as I recall. But as others have commented, it was rolled off at the extreme highs and limited on the bottom. If were doing single driver again I would strongly consider these, mated it to a pair of Rel T5is subs.

I thought a full range driver would be the best way to deliver uncompromised sound, but after listening to Vandy VLR's - compared to Zu Omen Bookshelves, I found the Vandy's to be significantly better. And, not a 3 way, either.- It must be in the crossovers...
-And, the drivers, cabinet, etc...
i certainly second omegas with tube amplification. My 3xrs are very musical, have tuneful bass, and are lighting fast. Very dynamic at low listening levels. If your jam is LOUD! that’s not what they are about. After listening sessions w multi-driver speakers, i am always happy to be back home in the sweet spot. 
Single driver, no crossovers all the way. I'm open to adding supertweeters and subwoofers bit without a crossover to the single driver.
As you all know, the only reason I come to this site is to completely derail discussion threads, so here I go:

Don't forget the Woofer-assisted wide-band either!

It's kind of like a full-range, but with a woofer.  The main advantage is the lack of a crossover in the midrange/treble region, while still having all that full-body woofer goodness.


My experience: Why should I give up true full range to get single driver experience?  I don't have to. I've had too many smallish speakers in life to accept loss of frequencies under 40 Hz. To me, that's gutting your system unnecessarily.  Losing anything under 80 Hz would be like reverting to a table radio.  :(     obviously YMMV

Open Baffle full range hybrid with big bass and treble assist is great, win-win imo.
Like the Tri-art Audio Series B 5 Open that I reviewed for 

Best of both worlds, gorgeous full range and integrated LF. No screwing around with trying to "assemble " a 3-way speaker.

BTW, I can appreciate that for some lack of coherence in a multi-way speaker is so irritating that they will not accept it. Can’t have it both ways.
 Designing a single-driver speaker is very difficult since that driver needs to cover the entire frequency band. i  stating that one problem with such speakers is that they perform poorly at the frequency spectrum’s upper and lower ends.    My company Bacheaudio   further stated that he tried adding a tweeter to his early speaker models, but got poor top-end results. we  also tried pairing the speakers with subwoofers, but found that a suck out in the upper bass to middle-midrange region of about 100 to 500Hz caused voices and instruments such as piano and cello to sound thin.


What  Bache audio  ultimately gravitated towards was the so-called “augmented wide-band” (AWB) speaker, which uses a single wide-band driver that covers a large portion of the audible frequency band accompanied by several of what he calls “helper” drivers, in this case a super tweeter and one or more woofers.  we  states that this hybrid design incorporates the best attributes of the one-way designs (exceptional dynamics and coherence) and their three-way counterparts (excellent frequency extension and dispersion characteristics and the ability to play loudly without distorting).


I'm in the SET/high-efficiency camp with a Decware SE84UFO, Omega Super 3i Monitors (4.5" driver), and an Omega DeepHemp 8 Subwoofer. Magic indeed.
MTM best design ever, past 20 years, still #1 speaker design.  vs
2nd best ever design
2 way
8 or 10 inch midwoofer 
+ midtweet, as 2nd place, all others, ALL Others 
3 rd place, 
place designs
FR last place, just below next to last place of speakers I  hate are The Famous (??)
Planars,, i hate Planars, next I hate FR.
I hate Planars and FR about equal,,and then Horns are OK, but still I hate horns also. 
Give me the old standard MTM, Seas Thors that is. 
and no don't need 100 watt Defy that I have, Ridiculous owninga  100watt amp, but I got it, but only use 20-30 of those 100.  in the 1st 20-30 watts, its super duper quiet, zero distortion, just perfect silence.
FR last place, just below next to last place of speakers I hate are The Famous (??)
Planars,, i hate Planars, next I hate FR.
I hate Planars and FR about equal,,and then Horns are OK, but still I hate horns also.
Give me the old standard MTM


HATE? Wow I hope I can soften that view a little.

What is a FR? You dislike all planars, and Horns too.

Why?  I'm one o those peps that "Never met a speaker, I didn't find something I didn't like about it"..

The best speakers that were ever designed, were designed around small planars.  MTMs have some drawbacks to. By design though they are the easiest to build with good results. The best MTMs I've ever heard were ribbon/planar/round driver hybrids..

FR - Full Range (i.e. 1 driver to rule them all)

MTM - Mid/Twetter/Mid, kind of but not necessarily synonymous with a D'Appolito alignment.

They have narrow vertical dispersion, but also thanks to the dual drivers, less IM distortion, and if crossed to a good woofer, even less.

I wouldn't say they are the easiest to get right, I've seen some famous makers recently make questionable choices.  Hahahaha. :)
God forbid somebody want to live in that midrange for awhile. Have You ever spent real time there? 

I'm just breaking in a pair of Omega Junior Alnico singe drivers and when well-positioned, are a dream come true for experiencing the clarity and spaciousness of imaging, the detail, the direct line to the studio/venue/mixing board sound.  

I love my Klipsch forte iii for a lot of things, but I'm keeping these omegas around for a while and maybe pad the experience with some small subs.

Not worth your energy hating single driver speakers if well done. 
OP, I recommend auditioning a pair of Cube Nenuphar’s or Nenuphar Mini’s, they are quite a bit better than other full range speakers imo and better than any other speaker I’ve heard with crossovers, including speakers costing considerably more. They need to be used within an appropriate system of course to hear them at their best and I suggest reading David’s thread on AG about the Nenuphar’s to get more information.
I have a pair of vintage Tannoy Gold IIILZG 10", recapped they are beautiful and I don't miss bass with the right source and setup. I also have a pair of Audio Nirvana Classic 10" (50hz to 20K)
( ) being built into their own floor standing cabs. I run a single end class A 6wpc tube amp,so I need the sensitivity. With 2 ways, unless you have good power and a high quality tweeter that isn't harsh you loose a lot of detail. To me the full range sounds natural and detailed, good air and sweet highs and decent bass with the right  setup. Their more prone to placement but I much prefer them over 2 way. If you haven't had much experience with them I highly recommend giving them a try! 
Back in the sixties and possibly into the mid seventies, JBL and Stephens-Trusonic produced what they called extended range or full range drivers.  Both used an aluminum dust cap for the mids and some of the lower highs.  For optimum performance, they were designed to mate with a tweeter, but on their own they still sounded very good.  No x-overs, not even a capacitor.  I believe there were 8,12,and 15 inch versions.  They come up on E-bay occasionally, but the aluminum dust caps are often dented.  I once had a pair of the Stephens 8 inch variant, and it was a very well made speaker.
@bache wrote: " What Bache audio ultimately gravitated towards was the so-called “augmented wide-band” (AWB) speaker, which uses a single wide-band driver that covers a large portion of the audible frequency band accompanied by several of what he calls “helper” drivers, in this case a super tweeter and one or more woofers. " 

I have neither affiliation nor experience with Bache loudspeakers, but imo they are making excellent design choices.

@audiokinesis  Thanks very much, i  got the long way and spend  a lot of time . i  did not make a lot of sale , but all my customer is happy. i open show room  for public in Brooklyn NY, also my customers in Long Island and  PA,  
Hey @robn68
I believe that the Tannoy’s are not what we normally call full-range. They are coaxial. That is, they have 2 different voice coils in the same housing.

Different beasts, but lots of fans too.
A full-range speaker has only 1 voice coil, and no caps but some of the modern versions I see have mechanical crossovers and do have a separate tweeter dome.

Of course, I don't claim to know all things Tannoy, so I very much could be mistaken.