Time for Two Ways !


There are as many types of speakers are there are human languages and dialects, but we have to agree one of the most popular formats is the two way system, with a tweeter and mid-woofer.

Sure, they are imperfect, often limited in bass or dynamic range, but they have major advantages as well:

  • Small Footprint
  • Small baffles
  • Single crossover point
  • Easier to integrate with a room’s acoustics

These are some general ideas. Of course, you don’t have to like 2-way speakers. You may prefer full-range single driver, ESL or 5-way beasts, but I hope we can please keep this thread 2-way friendly!

I’d love to hear from others about 2-way speakers you adore. Are you a 2-way only kind of audiophile?  How do you like yours? Horn loaded? Transmission line? Desktop?
erik_squires
Ref 3A de Capo. a great sounding speaker, no crossover

Sensitivity 92 dB
Impedance 8 Ohms
Frequency Response 42Hz to 40KHz
Power Handling 150 Watts RMS
Phase Coherent

Dimensions

Height 15" (38 cm)
Width 11" (28 cm)
Depth 13" (33 cm)
Weight 27 lbs (13 kg) each


Quested H108 Speakers, Best kept secret IMHO. Its cheap, easy to drive. 94db sensitivity. 8 Inch Driver. Fluid Damped Tweeter.

They sound bigger, smoother, Well integrated. Used by professional in the music industry for its accuracy and low fatigue. Honestly it will run all over anything under 4k
The only 2-ways I've ever owned have been old ESS AMT speakers with 10" drivers. I still own my first gen AMT1's and use the almost every day, but they don't. Hold a candle to my Focal 936's. 2-way doesn't always equal small baffle and small foot print. Take the DeVore Orangutan series for example. Huge baffles. Huge footprints. I listened to the Focal 906's and those are well integrated speakers. The reason I chose the 936's over the 1008Be's was bass. These were going to be living room speakers and the bottom end wasn't a compromise I wanted to make. Ultimately that's a major weaknesses in so many 2-ways. The 936's take up no more space and with a lower crossover point of 150 or 280 Hz depending on who's talking, integrating the bass with the speaker as a whole makes more sense than stand mounts and subs to me. 
The Harbeth P3esr is my favorite of all of the many that I have owned. I like the LS3/5a type of speaker ( sealed two way) design. After trying others I always come back to the Harbeth, I'm on my third pair. I'm finally off the speaker Merry-Go-Round!
I currently own a pair of Esoteric MG-10s which I am very happy with. Use in a 12'x15' room, driven by a BEL 1001 MK5. I have them placed on 16" stands. 
Totem Forests.
-Solid imaging and wide sound stage.
-Amazing bass from a (~6" driver/) - esp. as driven by a Taranis Class D amp.
-Metal dome tweeter provides excellent hi freq extension but can sound harsh with badly recorded material.
-Source, amplification and balanced ICs have tamed that tendency.
-Clear Day Speaker Cables and a Harmonic Tech ProSilway II IC contributed greatly to sweetening the sound.

Have had the Forests since 2007.
Not tired of listening to music from them.
Wharfedale Denton, I'll wrap it up quick and fast in 3 factors: musical sound, heritage build, and affordable price!
In my small room definitely 2-ways
Focal Electra 1008be2

My first expensive speaker and truly amazing.

The Nola Boxer. I started with the original version and have upgraded to the S1. I've owned a lot of two-ways and three-ways and these are the most satisfying speakers I've owned.
Hi @grinnell

Thanks for your contribution. Tweeters without a high pass filter are very rare, and usually piezo-electric so I had to do some research and now can call BS on the Ref 3A MM de Cap not having a crossover. Sorry.

Based on the SoundStage review, it doesn’t have a WOOFER crossover (i.e. low-pass filter). It most certainly DOES have a tweeter filter, so I would not say "no crossover." Also very interesting is that they assemble the tweeter and woofer themselves, though they do buy the tweeter dome from an outside source.

http://www.soundstagehifi.com/index.php/equipment-reviews/703-reference-3a-mm-de-capo-be-loudspeaker...

The Ref 3A is probably similar to the Seas A26 kits in crossover design. I chose a kit because you can learn a lot from the product link, here:

https://www.madisoundspeakerstore.com/2-way-speaker-kits/

Looking at the FR charts, I’m really pretty surprised. The ragged nature of the response, especially at the FR point is a disappointment. The designers say it is "phase coherent" but this means both drivers are pushing at the same time.

You know what you should experiment with is reversing the polarity of the tweeter. You will probably have a totally different speaker. :) See which you prefer. For more on this, see my first post here:

https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/speaker-phase-observation-and-question

Best,


E
For those Focal fans here, I strongly encourage you to replace your tweeter caps with Mundorf MKP , I think you’ll like the improvement.

Best,

E
Back to Tannoy!  Best of the many speakers I've owned.  They just make music natural, relaxing and fun with all genres.  Not an easy task.  Currently DC8 and when I can in the future, Turnberry or Kensington.

Great thread by the way.
Vandersteen 1ci.  First order crossover at 2.8kHz.  8" woofer, 1" tweeter.  On paper, hard to believe it would work well.  But it sounds great.
Advent

but that was long ago

I eschew box speakers these days
The original QUAD is both an ESL AND a two-way, of a sort.
For four years we enjoyed a pair of Totem Fire monitors, with a Velodyne sub woofer.  Yes, it's not always easy to get a sub to "integrate" with the main speakers and the room, but once I got it as good as it gets, we enjoyed that....

Until I moved my system down to a much larger "man cave".  The Totems sounded really good, but the Velodyne just couldn't keep up.  So after much searching and replacing, I now have a pair of Focal Sopra No2 floor standers with a pair of JL Audio F113V2 sub woofers!

I understand and appreciate the appeal of two way speakers, but I am just awestruck by the detail and clarity of the midrange on the Sopras.
+1 carmenc , If I won the lottery my first stop. after church, would be a Tannoy dealer .
Odyssey Kismet reference monitor. Scanspeak woofer and tweeter. I have two sets of floor standers and prefer these over them. I don't think these will leave the house! 

Imo speaker design is always system design, wherein the room and even the amplifier are parts of the system.

I've done two-way speakers that have good in-room response from the mid-20's up to 18 kHz or so, but these were not polite little mini-monitors.  They were big floorstanders that used components designed for recording studios, which could deliver 115 dB peaks anywhere in their passband with less than 1 dB of thermal compression. 

Why use a two-way in a size and price range that left plenty of room for going three- or four-way?   Because a pair of high-quality large diameter midwoofers kill three birds with one stone:  They move enough air down low; they are directional enough up high (for good pattern-matching with a constant-directivity waveguide-style horn); and they have the efficiency, impedance, and thermal power handling that I wanted.  This adds up to good synergy with the room and with the amplifier types I had in mind,  

I have since come to embrace more complex approaches for some applications, but the core element is still a high output, controlled-pattern two-way.  

Duke

@audiokinesis

Have to agree. I use 2-way systems which have amazing output in the lowest octave. Not perfect, but wow. In the right room and correctly placed they are nearly perfect.

Best,

E
Erik,

I wouldn't say I'm a "two-way only" kind of guy.  But I moved from Vandersteen 3a sigs to Merlin MXes when we changed houses and the listening room got smaller.  Bass is impressive for a speaker of its size (although not nearly in the same league as the Vandersteens) but the real treat is how coherent the sound is.  The fact that they are gorgeous is a bonus that my wife definitely appreciates.  Dick
Just get a pair of field coil single drivers and be done with all this!

Happy Listening.
Klipsch is introducing a new, self-powered, DAC/Phono/Tooth included two-way speaker called "The Fifteens". They feature a large mid/tweet inclusive horn and fifteen inch woofers. Expected retail is $3000. 
@dweller That sounds like a very very fun project. :)
Kef LS50 
Everyone ignores Rega, IF you listen to acoustic music one of the most
natural sounds at any price .
@schubert

Haven't heard Rega in decades. When I last hear them they were Waaaaaay too laid back, the classic British monitor.

How are they now?

E
They are among the best speakers at any price for acoustic music aka jazz and classical .
I imagine rock fans would call their natural sound flat, but I’m not one so don’t really know .
I was at my local dealer a few months ago and he had the Rega small monitor on stands right next to Maggie . 7 , same room, same system, the Rega RX-1 was FAR better in every way and I do mean FAR . I’ve been to thousand of Classical concerts they are a go-to for non rich, and even the rich if they have good taste.

I think of the "British Sound" in this way erik. After music , my great love in art is Theater.
I can’t even imagine an American cast pulling off great BBC Masterpieces like " The Midwifes" shown on PBS .
 Many  British speaker are voiced for the best seat in the house, for Symphony that’s mid-hall as a rule .
schubert,

Nice analogy.  Can you see a British troupe performing Hamilton at the London Globe?  Cheers.
No, I can not abnerjack, Hamilton is a good show for American audiences.
The "Midwives" is , like most BBC "Masterpieces" a universal triumph for the entire human race and is shown and loved in over a hundred countries.


Hamilton would flop in Canada .
I like all the ProAc 2 way speakers I've listened to or owned. The tablets where my first foray into ProAc and still remember them as sweet and musical. the larger floor standers were always impressive with what they could put out. AudioNote AN series are great as well. Currently using some Living Voice Avatar 2's ( 3 driver 2 way speaker) and loving them with 300b tubes, 94db.  I liked the older Sonus Faber 2 ways
Yet another great thread Eric! I'm a big fan of two way designs and after a few Proacs I have settled on a pair of large standmounts from Speaker Art that just sound right to my ears.

I'll vote for the ESS AMT ribbon and 10" version with the passive radiator too.  Still own a pair of the ribbons....

The 2 way format is what I'm playing with in my DIY pursuits, coupled to a sub.  Makes the most sense to me...

Nice threads, Eric.  Keep it up..;)
Awww shucks guys!! :) Thanks for the votes for fun, welcoming threads on topics we don't get to see a lot in the press.

@asvjerry

Where you the guy I gave that 2 way schematic to? :)

I built my own 2-ways with AMT's. I'm DONE shopping for speakers like forever. I wish i had a chance to hear the ESS models ever, but I'll have to settle for the German versions. :)

Best,

E
Great thread Erik. Again. 

Right now I'm using my single-driver Omega's, but I've held onto a pair of Mark & Daniel Ruby's purchased in 2010 to rotate back into the system when the mood strikes. They are 2-ways with an AMT tweeter and a bit tough to drive but with the right amp (class d works well here), they sound great. Specs from their website:

Frequency Response: 45Hz-25KHz
Two-way Crossover: 900Hz
Nominal Impedance: 3-6 OhmsAverage
Efficiency: 82.5dB/2.83V/1m
Power Handling: ≧ 80 Watts per channel
After many years living with a wonderful pair of Merlin VSM 2-ways I have for the past 4 years been living with a pair of Decapo Be's. A more than 30 year old design under different names and refined over the years

Eric to your point to Grinnell switching polarity, I have to good effect. Another thing I tried recently is running the main speaker cable to the tweeter and jumping to the woofer, also to GREAT effect, subjectively greater clarity and separation. Got a call from my dealer out of the blue to try that. My in room response using a digital spectrum analyzer at the listening position is a quite flat response with a bit of a rise at arround 80 hz which was tamed with tube traps. Amazingly dynamic and BIG with a pair of Rel Strata III subs. Set up with these speakers is even more critical than most I've encountered.
 The JBL M2 Master Reference Monitor has  a horn loaded compression driver and 15" woofer, and reflects the result of the research of Dr. Floyd Toole at Harman.  JBL does not allow it to be sold unless driven by very high power Crown amplifiers  (biamped) with incorporated active crossover in the amps.  SEE EPISODE 216 OF HOME THEATER GEEKS DEVOTED ENTIRELY TO A DISCUSSION OF THIS EXCEPTIONAL SPEAKER.   This is the best system I have owned, and, surprisingly, cost only a fraction of my other setups.
I would love to see & hear a Meyer X-10 

its supposed to be one the best speakers ever made 
Hi @tubegroover

It would probably be intersting to look at the frequency response with the tweeter in normal and inverted polarity. Based on the published measurements, I think you may find inverted is the better option. It is also possible that the measured speakers were incorrectly wired.

To be clear, I'm not suggesting you invert the entire speaker, just the tweeter relative to the woofer.

Best,

E
My JBL 530s are really smooth because they are crossed over pretty low at 1.5hz. Crossovers normally bother me, but this one doesn't. 
Love 2 way speakers. I live in NYC so aesthetically and size wise I think 2 way speakers work best for me (though I still would like to own large fullrange floor standers some day). I love the look of some monitors on nice stands!

For me, the Danish speakers have my heart: raidhos and dynaudios.

(I know it's not a purchase advice thread but I'll go ahead and throw in a dealer disclaimer: I sell raidhos)
Hey Eric, I don't think you sent me a 2-way anything, but I could be wrong and frequently am. *L*  That 'senior thing', y'know...;)  If that was done 'elsewhere' than here on AG, I'd have to backtrack for it and time is a tad short right now.  If it's of importance, let me know.
I'm happy to see that the AMT's have a bigger following than I had thought.  Haven't heard the German version...would like to, to see if the breed has improved.  One would hope that's the case....
Hard to beat a BIG 2 way like most classic JBL's were. My S3100 - era 1990 - has a compression driven horn loaded tweeter that crosses over  - seamlesly - at 750hz to a 15" pulp bass driver. This is a really great listening experieince; I am still amazed after almost 20 yrs of ownership. The only caveat is that you need a largish room. 
Wilson-Benesch Vertex! 
Only 1 crossover for the tweeter and dual downward firing ports with zero noise. Awesome drivers in a phenomenal enclosure and integrated stands.
They truly disappear and just give you the music!
We'll save the tweeter discussion for another thread, but like ANY technology, there are good and bad. :)
Good call....tweets are a whole universe unto theyselves....and that could be by the physical type of tweet one would want to fight ov....excuse me, Discuss.....;)
@tubegroover 

Have you compared bi-wiring to your single run hitting the tweeters first?
Virtually unknown this side of the Atlantic, Davis Acoustics model Olympia One that sell for 1500 euros over there. Accomplished 2 ways with big, coherent and musical sound. Made in France with only a 5¨ mid-woofer that  replaced a pair of long standing Proac 1sc, also reputable small 2 ways in their own right. Still, hard to imagine one speaker type appropiate for all music. For large orchestral works, I resort back to Dyn C4s.

2 way fan here too!  In addition to your list of pros, a wife pleasing size too!  I've always valued fast speakers and soundstage and felt in my smaller rooms over the years, smaller 2 way are easier to achieve this.  My choice remains my old - monitor audio mark IV gold, the non metal treated woofers (at the time the studio series added a twang, to me).  floor standing, with sand fill I saved on stands also.  

Love my bass, so i run two M&K MX700's.  in my small room, limited to maybe 31 hz but they fast, powerful and integrates perfect with the monitors.
No 2channel8, I haven't probably be too expensive! The jumpers themselves are ribbons by the same manufacturer and there are differences between the jumpers which are very clearly audible. I haven't talked to  my dealer or the manufacturer of the speakers OR the cable manufacturer concerning this and what their experiences might be if any but since you bring it up and it is a good question, I'll look into it.