2-way vs. 3-way

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Melvin7822, Jun 29, 2008.

  1. Melvin7822


    May 11, 2004
    Broomfield, CO
    Now granted the title may have misled some of you, I have come to pose an interesting couple of questions. Why is it that there are so few cabinet makers that employ a 3-way design? Can anyone argue that 2-way is better? I'd be interested in your opinions or factual evidence.
  2. It's more expensive.

    And for most bassists, hifi-response isn't needed.
  3. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design

    For most users 2 way would be sufficient. The problem is that the vast majority of 2 ways use a woofer and tweeter, whereas a woofer and midrange driver would give a far better result- and no hiss. As to why they don't use a midrange,
  4. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    I like 5, 8, 10, and 12 string basses
    I find one way cabinets best for me. I own 6 cabs and only one has a horn. I don't use the one with the horn very much.

    3 way is great for a pa system.
  5. Jaco who?

    Jaco who?

    May 20, 2008
    If a cab uses a woofer that is wonderfull sounding say below 800 hz, but rolls off before it is able to reproduce any mid range, then a mid range is necessary. And if the midrange used is only able to get to 4500 hz or so (arbitrary numbers here, the actual might vary quite a bit), then a tweeter might be needed. Then again, in certain situations, it might just all be marketing hoopla.
  6. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    That scenario applies to all woofers larger than 8 inches. While some tens, twelves and even fifteens are capable of reaching as high as 5kHz, they only do so on-axis. That means only someone directly in front of the cab can hear those mids.
    The vast majority of players would find 4500 Hz quite adequate. Where many cabs are deficient is in the 2kHz-4kHz octave, where the woofers are not providing useable response off-axis, and the tweeter is not yet working at all.
  7. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Some of the big name manufacturers of 2 way PA/sound-reinforcement cabinets actually have measurements of their cabs. Including polar charts showing on and off axis frequency response. A two way with a large enough horn to extend into the midrange does provide a good even response from lows to mids. They are not just a woofer with a tweeter. The good ones work great for bass.

    JEDI BASS Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2008
    Knoxville, TN
    True! I currently gig with a Bergantino NV215 (2-way: 2x15 w/ a 6" mid driver, NO horn) and a Dr Bass 2460D (3-way: 2x12, 6.5 mid, WITH a horn) powered by a Carvin B1500. I keep the horn under control w/ the cabs attenuator combined w/ my amps EQ. I'm not a huge fan of a horn's sound, but it's nice to be able to dial in more bite if I want.

    And, before anyone asks or flames.... yes this rig does appear to be a bit excessive, I could easily gig with just one cab. But, each cab has a distinct voice that when combined gives my rig IT'S distinct voice. So, for now my back will continue to pay for my ear's pleasure. :D
  9. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    The two way vs three way discussion is more appropriate for cabinet designers than it is bass players. Bass players should be evaluating with their ears, not with concepts.

    JEDI BASS Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2008
    Knoxville, TN
    Bass players designing bass cabs guided by their ears..... Dr Bass :) !!
  11. Kindness


    Oct 1, 2003
    What about the bass players that have a difficult time finding something that sounds like they want until they stumble into a thread like this a realize that maybe the problems they have with conventional cabinets aren't unique.
  12. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    All well and good if they all had the opportunity to do so. When the only cabs on the floor at a typical store are cabs that don't offer the midrange driver option they have no basis for evaluation. And what of those who buy 'blind' over the internet?
  13. spiritbass

    spiritbass Supporting Member

    Jun 9, 2004
    Ashland, MO
    Amen to that, brother Bill! If the players who aren't quite satisfied with what is available commercially could hear this cabinet, they'd be whipping out some cash & dusting off their tools:
    Regarding the higher cost of using a mid-range driver versus a horn or tweeter, it costs more to be trading cabinets IMO... I still want to hear this one some time (hint, hint):
  14. I disagree.

    It's not that expensive to add a midrange driver and crossover (a dual frequency crossover adds little expense over a single frequency crossover). Ok, maybe an extra $100 in price, but that's to be expected for the extra driver, right?

    Now, as far as the hi-fi response... Every time I've had a bassist use my Eden rigs, their playing has improved immensely. They can hear themselves through the mix better, they can hear their mistakes (they don't get covered up in mud), it forces them to improve their playing technique, and they just enjoy playing more. And they eventually end up buying an Eden rig (or a similar hi-fi rig)!

    Heck, I use it for guitar... I need the hi-fi. :D
  15. Mike Shevlin

    Mike Shevlin

    Feb 16, 2005
    Las Vegas

    I hope Mark & Accugroove doesn't read this - it would totally hurt his feelings.
  16. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    By hi-fi I believe he means relatively flat response across the full bandwidth from 40-20kHz. That isn't a necessity for bass, anything above 8kHz is pretty much all hiss and no useful output, and flat below 60 Hz isn't of that much benefit either. Reasonably flat response through the bandwidth from 60 to 5kHz with good off-axis response is all you need, but it's something you can't get without a midrange driver, and that's an option that one can't get from most manufacturers, at any price. Including Eden.
  17. brisonic


    Jan 1, 2006
    san diego
    Although my 3 way swr triad is way heavy and a 4 ohm cab, I have a tough time selling it because of the mids it provides. As fundage allows, I would like to get a nicer 3 way.
  18. Melvin7822


    May 11, 2004
    Broomfield, CO
    I have to say that there have been a lot of good responses so far. My first experience in the 3-way realm was with an Acme Low B2. That was a pretty sweet cabinet with how articulate and yet how smooth the frequency response was throughout the range of the cabinet.

    Don't get me wrong; my Bergantino is nice, but I miss having a midrange driver.
  19. Bassmec


    May 9, 2008
    Ipswich UK
    Proprietor Springvale Studios
    Just like playing thru a huge expensive hi fi with a U5 on the front end.
    Some like this lots for reamping di'd work.
    But for the satanists amongst us there is always the old
    tube/tranny raw brutality 15" approach combined with a little cleaner 10" sound Two Amps Two Eqs Two speaker sizes but both essentially full range, all equally relevant.:hyper:
    If you want to record it properly you have to make it real.
  20. Melvin7822


    May 11, 2004
    Broomfield, CO
    Hey Bassmec,
    Nice 3-way rig! It's definitely the 3-way approach to the extreme. I guess in that regard, it would be a pain for most of us here to set up three different cabinets along with a 3-way crossover.

    I'd be curious to know where you have those 3 speakers crossed over at.