In this episode of Ask The Expert, Otto explains the differences between a two-way and a three-way speaker, and which one (if any) is better for rock and metal music.
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For rock or metal is it worth upgrading from a two-way speaker to a three-way speaker?
The first thing to discuss is, what the difference is between a two-way and a three-way speaker. Quite simply, it's how many drivers are in the speaker: if you have a tweeter and a woofer, you have a two-way speaker. If you have a tweeter, a midrange and a woofer, you have a three-way speaker.
Generally speaking, if you have a three way speaker, you can increase the maximum sound pressure level (SPL). You can simply play louder on a three-way speaker because you are sharing the output across more drivers, Therefore, you'll be able to turn the volume up louder.
So if you want to play loud, it can be an advantage using a three-way speaker over a two-way speaker. We can always discuss if a good two-way speaker is better than a bad three-way speaker, but assuming that everything else is equal, a larger three-way speaker will be able to play louder.
Of course, this is not specifically for rock or metal – bur rather it depends on how you want your music to be played, which is not something that is specific to musical genres. A lot of people want to play different types of music loudly, and we know of people who only play rock and metal but don't necessarily play their music particularly loudly. So it all depends on what you want to achieve with your speakers.
In general, a three-way speaker adds complexity, so it's more difficult to design compared to a two-way speaker. but this also means that, for the same price, you'll often find that a two-way speaker is better than a three-way, simply because two good drivers are often better than three bad drivers.
In conclusion, depending on your budget, you may end up with better results with a good two-way speaker versus an inferior three-way speaker. On the other hand, if you're looking for more SPL, upgrading to a three-way might well be worth it.
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