Jump to content
Please note: You can easily log in to MPN using your Facebook account!

3-way speaker, pros or cons?


AWkeys

Recommended Posts

Mate Stubb posted in another thread that he is a big fan of cone midrange.

 

I always seem to distort my K10s and my new ZLX112's with the midrange frequencies of Wurli and organ sounds at high SPLs.

 

I'm guessing that this is the weak spot of a 2-way speaker system. Perhaps you engineers would concur?

 

It got me thinking that maybe the route is to get a 3-way speaker and a good power amp instead. A lot of bassists I know show up to gigs with these featherweight class-D 1xxx-watt power amps and pretty lightweight, high power 3-way speakers. I know some of you have gone this route. Are you happy with it? Is this still a viable alternative?

 

I know, I could drop more money on a higher-end powered monitor too...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 28
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Some of us still use 3 way bass cabinets like the Accugroove Tri 112L or the Acme Low-B's.

 

I sold my pair of Accugrooves and started going thru powered speakers in an attempt to simplify my rig. First a set of QSC K10s, then EVs.

 

Bandmates were not happy. They loved the sound of those 3 ways. My only complaint at the time was that the Nord acoustic pianos needed some EQing.

 

I just looked on the Accugroove website, and my old 3 ways now can be bought powered with DSP and are spec'ed flat 20 - 20Khz +/- 0.5 dB. Yikes!

Moe

---

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It looks like the advent of the guitar modeling amp as a viable thing pushed FRFR cabs. Atomic CLR is another that claims to be full range, flat response in a self-powered, schlep-able package.

 

I use to gig two Acme low b 1's, but they really were a hassle to set up over time.

 

If you REALLY wanted great 3-ways, another alternative might be a pair of ATC SCM150ASLs.

..
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hah. I'm the one who bought Moe's Accugrooves, and I've loved them. I take one with me on bass gigs (along with a Genz Benz Shuttle 6.0), and one or both on key gigs, depending on the gig.

 

They sound awesome and I've been super happy with them . . . buuuuut, I also find that they're a little big/heavy for most of my needs (particularly if I use both cabs).

 

Bottom line: it's the best sound I've ever had, but I'm still not completely sold on the ergonomics. One 3 way cabinet is going to be bigger than your pair of K10s, and even compared to ZLX112's, each Accugroove is going to be ~20% bigger, but about the same weight.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a pair of Acme B1's.... I have gigged them....they are the best sounding speakers I have....I am currently using them as mixing Monitors and occasional gigs.... why....the 10's for live use are a bit less robust than I need for louder gigs even with my QSC....For Jazz or lower volume gig they are the best I have....everything else except my K4 Traynor is 2 way....hard to go back to 2 way after 3 way...just fills in so much more sonic info!

 

 CP-50, YC 73,  FP-80, PX5-S, NE-5d61, Kurzweil SP6, XK-3, CX-3, Hammond XK-3, Yamaha YUX Upright, '66 B3/Leslie 145/122

Link to comment
Share on other sites

After much discussion on here, given the fact that I love designing and building speakers, I've got a design in mind that I've always wanted to build, but never had the use or budget for. It would be essentially a 2.1 system. Amp/mixer/DI in a 12" or dual 10" module with speakon cables to the satellites. Satellites could be put on the floor or mic stand mounted and would include dual 6.5" mid bass and a waveguide loaded ribbon. Satellites would use a D'Apolito arrangement where crossover frequency is related to driver spacing so that horizontal dispersion is very even. Each driver independently powered for proper phase alignment and dynamic EQ for flat response at any level. Theoretically 45Hz-40kHz with Max SPL in the 132dB range.

 

Very expensive and not real compact to transport. Probably in the $4000 range, but studio sound on stage at high volume.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I never heard any single or two-way cabinet configuration sound as good as a proper three-way system. That includes consumer stereo speakers.

 

Well, different strokes and all, but down to about 45Hz, I never heard anything better than the Magnepan 1.6. But that's not a traditional cabinet-based speaker at all, and completely OT.

 

More on topic, what I have found is several inexpensive 3-way units that performed poorly compared to well-designed 2-ways.

..
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The distortion that you are hearing at high levels is likely due to the high frequency driver reaching its limits, particularly at the lower end of its frequency range. The K10's have a 1.75" diaphragm compression driver. For keyboards, a 3" diaphragm is much better suited to higher SPL applications as the driver is less taxed at the lower end of its frequency range.
DISCLAIMER - professionally affiliated with Fulcrum Acoustic www.fulcrum-acoustic.com
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a pair of Genz Benz Uber Quad GB1288T-UQ bass cabinets. Great sound, but I cannot IMAGINE carrying them around for keys, not for the sound difference between them and my EV ZLX-12p's.

 

If size is not an issue consider the QSC KW153's. I'll warn you, they are worse to move around than the Genz Benz. I had to move mine by myself last week and my back still hurts. Piano and Rhodes does sound really good through them. When you play it is like "Oh. There is the smooth bottom end that I was missing."

This post edited for speling.

My Sweetwater Gear Exchange Page

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think i would worry about toasting the tweets. Whats the crossover point? If its too high its just outputting hiss because there is very little HFs in most instruments. If you lower the crossover point too much then you are sending alot of power to the tweets and distorting them and they will be burnt toast in short order. Try blocking your tweets for a test to see if they are really adding high end to your sound. Some of you 3 way guys might even be working with burnt tweets and not even know it unless you are running vocals in there with your keys. I cant imagine guitar through a 3 way speaker. I rely on lo fi celestions to softly filter the sound. Jensens too.

FunMachine.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting topic!

 

I've always wanted a 3 way, but they tend to be enormous and so heavy. The new SRX 835s are 85 pounds and are so huge. Don't know what the compromises would be, but I don't know why they don't do a coaxial 3 way (woofer plus coaxial mid and highs) so you'd only have 2 speakers but 3 way articulation.

 

I used to hang out on HC's Pro Sound forum, and the general consensus is that it makes more sense to take advantage of the engineering expertise that goes into modern speakers and buy the powered version. Unless you're familiar with all the variables, you're much more likely to blow your speakers and need a lot more rack equipment to keep it all running smoothly. With the best audio engineers available to dial in the speaker with its amp, it seems foolhardy not to take advantage of that expertise (spoken as someone who doesn't want to be bothered with amps and outboard gear).

 

DanL, as someone interested in designing pro level speakers, where is the $4,000 price tag coming from? Always wondered that. Is it that the speakers themselves are so pricey? I always thought that the cost of high end speakers was highly inflated due to low production volume and the cost of designing top notch speakers.

I love your idea of a 2.1, it does seem like the best setup of all, get all your weight and bulk at your feet and elevate the mids and highs. I've often thought that 2 ZXA-1s on stands with a sub would be straightforward to cobble together and give awesome stereo fidelity. For that matter, there's a number of 6.5" vocal monitors that are lightweight enough to be supported by a mic stand that could do as well, but I don't think their optimized with cabinet size and power to be an effective keyboard monitor.

 

Numa Piano X73 /// Kawai ES920 /// Casio CT-X5000 /// Yamaha EW425

Yamaha Melodica and Alto Recorder

QSC K8.2 // JBL Eon One Compact // Soundcore Motion Boom Plus 

Win10 laptop i7 8GB // iPad Pro 9.7" 32GB

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OP. If youre distorting your EVs with Organ at high volumes you need to add more cabinets not get more powerful cabinets. Inconvenient but better. Less distortion, more spread, and not spiking out blaring peaks. I bet many bass players with 3 way cabs have long ago blown the hf driver and dont know or care. The bass cab with the most high end is a hartke with no tweet. Not even 2 way.

FunMachine.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

DanL, as someone interested in designing pro level speakers, where is the $4,000 price tag coming from? Always wondered that. Is it that the speakers themselves are so pricey? I always thought that the cost of high end speakers was highly inflated due to low production volume and the cost of designing top notch speakers.

I love your idea of a 2.1, it does seem like the best setup of all, get all your weight and bulk at your feet and elevate the mids and highs. I've often thought that 2 ZXA-1s on stands with a sub would be straightforward to cobble together and give awesome stereo fidelity. For that matter, there's a number of 6.5" vocal monitors that are lightweight enough to be supported by a mic stand that could do as well, but I don't think their optimized with cabinet size and power to be an effective keyboard monitor.

 

High power ribbons are very expensive - $400 each for the ones I picked. But that's 102dB/W/M and 100W RMS/140W Max. Then selecting highly efficient drivers with adequate displacement and neodymium magnets to keep down the weight. You're easily at $1500 for just the raw drivers, nothing else. Then add 5 channels of amplification totaling in the neighborhood of 1700 Watts. Easily another $1200-$1500. Then add active crossover, mixer, EQ, transformers (my design included Jensen transformers on every channel so isolated XLR outs are available). $another $500 or so. Now add all of the hardware and building materials....a couple hundred. Of course this design was a "best of the best" brainstorm including everyone everybody would want, except low price and easy transport :)

 

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I go back and forth on this.

 

My super-fine babies (Fulcrum Acoustic 12ac) use a unique coax design (2-way) but deliver an amazing, focused sound from what appears to be a single point source. Hard to imagine a 3-way doing any better, but it's certainly possible.

 

I'm starting to take an interest in some of the self-powered Accugrooves, like their Espresso model. Like the 12", power ratings seem about right, and they're right around 30 pounds each. I would expect them to be better than my K12s, but probably not as high-end as the FA12ac.

Want to make your band better?  Check out "A Guide To Starting (Or Improving!) Your Own Local Band"

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

QSC KW153's for keyboard monitor speakers?! I'm sure they sound killer on stage but are speakers this big really necessary for keys monitoring with adequate PA support? Is this because of drummers who can't control their dynamics and/or refuse to use a drum shield? Might as well start carrying a pair of these around:

 

http://eawimages.wilder2corporati.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/LA325.png

 

Their "only" 170 lbs. each! 3-way speakers FTW! :laugh:

'57 Hammond B-3, '60 Hammond A100, Leslie 251, Leslie 330, Leslie 770, Leslie 145, Hammond PR-40

Trek II UC-1A

Alesis QSR

 

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It looks like the advent of the guitar modeling amp as a viable thing pushed FRFR cabs. Atomic CLR is another that claims to be full range, flat response in a self-powered, schlep-able package.

 

I use to gig two Acme low b 1's, but they really were a hassle to set up over time.

 

If you REALLY wanted great 3-ways, another alternative might be a pair of ATC SCM150ASLs.

 

I'd get a couple pairs of those, 1 for gigging and 1 for home, to make setup easier. Just don't tell my wife!

 

Live: Korg Kronos 2 88, Nord Electro 5d Nord Lead A1

Toys: Roland FA08, Novation Ultranova, Moog LP, Roland SP-404SX, Roland JX10,Emu MK6

www.bksband.com

www.echoesrocks.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi guys,

 

What a wealth of info, thank you! It's ironic that I should be researching this and also perusing the recent thread on earplugs at the same time. I'm pretty happy with the EVs and the K10s - just replaced the diaphragms and the K10s and they sound excellent again.

 

What Stephen S said about keyboards responding better with a 3" driver makes sense as well as what Baldwin said about bringing out the extra cabinet to compensate. Maybe someone will design a better keyboard amplification system down the line...

 

Meanwhile, I also play bass and need to update my amp/speaker situation, so I'm checking out all of your suggestions and also keeping an eye out on the newer Accugrooves thread. Thanks again!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had an LM153 from Carvin. They still make them and only $239. 41 lbs. Used it with a small powered mixer for my Roland VR700. Not really enough power to drive it properly but I wasn't doing LH Bass. Sounded great.

Sold it to a bass Player who did a lot of upper range stuff and he loved it. I was sorry I sold it but he wouldn't sell it back.

For the price Carvin stuff does a decent job.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi guys,

 

What a wealth of info, thank you! It's ironic that I should be researching this and also perusing the recent thread on earplugs at the same time. I'm pretty happy with the EVs and the K10s - just replaced the diaphragms and the K10s and they sound excellent again.

 

What Stephen S said about keyboards responding better with a 3" driver makes sense as well as what Baldwin said about bringing out the extra cabinet to compensate. Maybe someone will design a better keyboard amplification system down the line...

 

Meanwhile, I also play bass and need to update my amp/speaker situation, so I'm checking out all of your suggestions and also keeping an eye out on the newer Accugrooves thread. Thanks again!

.

 

AWKeys, you blew out the tweeter on the K10? Haven't heard that before. Was it thru normal use?

Numa Piano X73 /// Kawai ES920 /// Casio CT-X5000 /// Yamaha EW425

Yamaha Melodica and Alto Recorder

QSC K8.2 // JBL Eon One Compact // Soundcore Motion Boom Plus 

Win10 laptop i7 8GB // iPad Pro 9.7" 32GB

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The question of single-speaker (no tweeter) vs. two-way vs. three-way etc. comes down more to application and context than sound.

 

You need a large room for three-way to make sense. My studio space is tiny (8' x 10') so I stick with two-way.

 

It is harder to design good crossovers for 3-way as well as to design a system that is not hyper-sensitive to positioning.

 

For live venues, where you are talking about Far Field vs. Near Field, it's an entirely different topic.

 

I have no idea whether the OP is talking about on-stage monitoring or P/A for the club/venue, so don't know what to suggest as the considerations are quite different.

Eugenio Upright, 60th Anniversary P-Bass, USA Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, D'angelico SS Bari, EXL1,

Select Strat, 70th Anniversary Esquire, LP 57, Eastman T486, T64, Ibanez PM2, Hammond XK4, Moog Voyager

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 ways should sound better in general. It's not cool to use a woofer for mid-range, because of the waves coming from it become directive and distorted in the mid frequency range, while a tweeter simply cannot drive enough air at a few kHz or lower. However, there's a tendency to design speakers that work foremost with *digital* sources and a certain "new" sound type that isn't like normal HiFi, and if your sounds happen to work like that, it's just like playing bass on an amp that adds something to the sound, it's no longer just an amplification, but creates distortion that is part of the sound. And cannot be removed anymore.

 

So neutral amplification with small and light speakers, and not traditionally "mixed" instruments has taken on a whole new direction. I don't come to listen to the plastic sample flow tricks nor will I show up to play on it, normally speaking, because it isn't pretty or musically pleasing me. It's a method that people use though, and some of the work adapting to 'new' digital audio tricks is to get some sort of sound that seems to work for some.

 

From my own experiments and experience with my 5 way self-made setup I know it's extremely hard to get a generally usable very High Fidelity digital sound system that adapts itself to studio/practice space/live venue with a gorgeous sound. So it's likely that either the long existing mixing tricks with sort of known speaker designs give enough oomph and quality, or a pro setup has to be created, and probably small speakers won't do. 3-way Or not isn't the main point in such choices.

 

T.V.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My dad had a pair of EVs with a 12",8" and a rectangular horn that I thought sounded great. he bought them back in

the early 60's and I was just a little idiot, so what did I know. I tend to group 3 ways into a 12",8" tweeter or

15",10",6" tweeter or 18",12",8" tweeter. I know little about the high Hz tweeters but seems whats out there in

monitors these days are over rated. I remember a dual horn set up made by Cerwin Vega with dual drivers and a row of

pizzo tweeters on top that I liked a lot.

 

Triton Extreme 76, Kawai ES3, GEM-RPX, HX3/Drawbar control, MSI Z97

MPower/4790K, Lynx Aurora 8/MADI/AES16e, OP-X PRO, Ptec, Komplete.

Ashley MX-206. future MOTU M64 RME Digiface Dante for Mon./net

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just looked on the Accugroove website, and my old 3 ways now can be bought powered with DSP and are spec'ed flat 20 - 20Khz +/- 0.5 dB. Yikes!

 

That's the frequency response spec for the built-in amplifier. There's an art to writing specifications and a separate art to reading them. When it reads 'too good to be true', it probably is.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

AWKeys, you blew out the tweeter on the K10? Haven't heard that before. Was it thru normal use?

 

Hi Randolph, it was over the course of 5 years of steady gigging, mostly in mono with one K10 but switching them out once in a while. So each speaker probably has 400-500 gigs on it. In retrospect, I'd say they did extremely well considering a lot of these gigs where with loud guitarists! My main axe was always my Nord Stage 2, and playing loud, sometimes distorted Wurli and loud organ through the Ventilator info the K10s taxed the tweeters.

 

Some shows I was mostly heard through the K10, but most of the time I was also going through FOH and just competing to hear myself with the loud guitarist next to me.

 

FWIW, I had a few issues with the K10s where both required warranty work about a year and a half into owning them. One issue was not being able to connect to them with a 1/4" instrument cable as at any appreciable volume, the connection would go intermittent. Of course, the techs were never able to duplicate the problem, but from what I could glean off of the user forums, this was a problem for some other people as well. Also, I believe both woofers got replaced back in the day. Might have gotten my K10s from a faulty batch? Anyway, so long as I plug into them with XLRs, they are just fine.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And on that note, it's not uncommon for slap/pop bassists to blow the tweeter on their bass cabinet.

 

I can't tell you which specific note... :-)

Eugenio Upright, 60th Anniversary P-Bass, USA Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, D'angelico SS Bari, EXL1,

Select Strat, 70th Anniversary Esquire, LP 57, Eastman T486, T64, Ibanez PM2, Hammond XK4, Moog Voyager

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...