General speaker question

I am thinking of upgrading my speakers. I don’t want to get into specifics but I was wondering what peoples thoughts were on a more general question. I currently have a pair of 2 way stand mount speakers. I’m looking at two potential options from the same manufacturer, but both second hand so any type of audition process is going to be difficult.

Both of the upgrade options are floor standers. Option 1 has similar drivers to my current speakers, but in the larger cabinet, and its three way design with a dedicated mid range driver. Option 2 has the larger cabinet, is two way, but the tweeter is a significant upgrade over my current speaker.

If we treat all other points as being equal. What would you expect to give a better upgrade on performance, similar drivers but in a three way configuration, or sticking with a two way configuration but with an upgraded tweeter?

Two way speakers are simpler, easier to get right and easier to drive… generally… :neutral_face:

IMO… YMMV… :crazy_face:

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To me, 3-way best. With mid and bass split the drivers can be optimised and so perform better in their more limited ranges, potentially (it of course depends on the implementation, but certainly when considering speakers from the same stable) both then being better at their respective jobs, giving better midrange and better bass, and in a larger cabinet possibly deeper bass. There are of course trade-offs, in terms of complexity and cost, and an additional section to the crossover, but in my experience the benefits outweigh the any negative.

As for auditioning, do ask! If a hifi dealer then should be possible (in UK at least), while even privately it may be possible - on one occasion I took my (large and heavy) speakers to someone’s home and listened through them first to give me a baseline for the different room, then the speakers he was selling. As a fellow hifi enthusiast he understood and was happy to accommodate. Of course you’re unlikely to find the two models you’re interested in at the same location to compare directly against one another, but if you take your own speakers to give a baseline for the sound difference it may help.


Impossible to say which will be more musically engaging. A simpler 2-way crossover doesn’t automatically equate to more music coming through, although Ian is right in that they are generally easier to drive.

In terms of clarity, the 2-way with better treble should have a better top-end, and the 3-way with dedicated mid will have better midrange :laughing:

I don’t suppose you can buy both and sell on the less enjoyable pair? - since you’re buying second hand.


3 way can be better but also more revealing and less forgiving, generally speaking. A 3 way done well is possibly the best.

However, as others have mentioned, 2 way has less complicated crossovers and is an easier design to get acceptable performance from. In your case, the 2 way has a better tweeter - without an audition I would choose the 2 way.

Another consideration is the porting. This will affect where they can be placed optimally in your listening room if space may be a concern.


Depends on the cost of each - and the depth of the OP’s pockets… :smiley:

But… Good Eye Deer… :deer:

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Also a thing. My Kudos X3’s have downward firing ports, which simplifies this issue.

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I’ve recently upgraded to a one way speaker, without crossover, and am very pleased I did.

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Port position per se is not relevant to room positioning other than that rear-firing can’t be too close to wall.

Transmission line designs are often said to be less sensitive to proximity, but I am not convinced there is any foundation for that. (That said I do use mine quite close to the front wall compared to many people with their speakers.)

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As do my Kudos 606. Very flexible with positioning, 18cm from rear wall in my case.

Me neither; but thinking about it now I wonder if it might be a result of the different low-end phase response of the designs.

Oh - and I’d go two-way rather than three… :wink:

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Dear rich,

When I was looking for a speaker replacement, which I could not afford, my dealer suggested a recoil shop that upgraded speaker components from an aluminium dome tweeter to an aluminium ribbon tweeter and the PVC bass cone to a Kevlar one. There was no change in the bass response, though it did loosen up over time, and I can enjoy it as much as a small 7.5" driver can go. However, the tweeter was amazing, and I heard cymbals ring and wash out over time, plus female vocals, piano keys ringing their full notes, and violins. I wish I had done this years ago.

You may have such a service where you are. When it comes to new speakers that I can not afford, I look at the materials that the manufacturer uses rather than more of the same.

I hope this helps.

Mitch in Oz.

In what way is the 2 way tweeter better? Can you get the spec sheets?

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