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Thread: Why is 4 Way design dead?

  1. #1
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    Why is 4 Way design dead?

    Hi.
    In the good old JBL days, there where systems like 250ti and verious 43XX 4ways systems.

    Today JBL seams to "only" design 3ways.?

    Why is that?

    I remember the "old" 4 ways systems as very good systems.
    Why is that design discontinued.?

  2. #2
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    4367 and M2 are just 2-Way

    My guess is that it's just a lot harder to design a really good 4-way.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Ed Zeppeli's Avatar
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    I would also suggest that driver advancement has made four-ways redundant. Newer drivers are more capable of faithfully reproducing a broader frequency spectrum.
    DIY Array, 2242 sub, 4408, 4208, Control 8SR, E120 Guitar cab, Control 1, LSR305.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Ian Mackenzie's Avatar
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    It's gone full circle if you look back at the very first systems.

    But the new wave guides have opened the way for the jbl marketing to promote simple me too 2 ways after the M2.

  5. #5
    Dang. Amateur speakerdave's Avatar
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    I think if you had a committee of speaker designers, recording engineers, mastering engineers and marketing specialists you could come up with a pretty decent answer to this question in about fifteen minutes. Failing that we'll maybe get a few stabs in the dark. Here's mine. The JBL four-way genesis occured pre-digital, when most recordings only required 40 Hz and speaker capability down to 30 hz was exceptional and sometimes comically revealed the LF shortcomings of recording practice and studio monitors. Development of a specialist driver to recover the 300-1200hz range closely followed on the arrival of heavy-coned woofers that would make bass with solid state amps and smaller ducted port enclosures. The drive unit technology of the time was such that the advantages of bandwidth limiting were clearly discernible. Four-way development occurred within the monitor business where the budgets would accomodate the extra drivers and followed into premium-priced consumer products like the L212, the L250 series and the TOTL xl200. Meanwhile, subwoofers were increasingly part of the audio scene courtesy of the Greg Timbers article, the 2235 and 2245 and HT. Once that occurred MOR speakers were relieved of having to reach below 50 hz, and most of them didn't. At JBL a tremendous amount of world-class engineering went into making transducers that would do 2-way plus UHF better than the old drivers did four-way. And that's where we are. In these threads you could find someone from JBL being quoted as saying about the DD66000 two-way plus UHF to the effect that, 'This is the response. If you want lower, get a subwoofer.'

    Of the drivers I've heard, the 1500AL family, the 1400nd, 1200fe, 476, 045Be, TAD 4003, 2002, 703, 1201, 1102, the TAD woofers very, very good, the new horns, and many I have not heard--these are fabulous components. But IM distortion still exists. To me the tantalizing question is this: Given the SOTA transducer technology of Jerry Moro (and whatever other players there may have been) and the systems engineering of Greg Timbers et al, what would a large format four-way be like? Wow! Say, where are those guys right now, and what are they doing?

    Meanwhile, it should be noted that the premise of the OP's question is false. For example, in consumer products such as some of the Harman Revel division speakers, the four-way is very much alive, and I believe there are some four-way monitors by other companies. So my answer goes to his specific mention of the JBL four-ways.
    "Audio is filled with dangerous amateurs." --- Tim de Paravicini

  6. #6
    Dang. Amateur speakerdave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffW View Post
    4367 and M2 are just 2-Way

    My guess is that it's just a lot harder to design a really good 4-way.
    It's true, GT did say a four-way was very difficult and that he felt he was lucky with some of his systems.
    "Audio is filled with dangerous amateurs." --- Tim de Paravicini

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    Senior Member ivica's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian DK View Post
    Hi.
    In the good old JBL days, there where systems like 250ti and verious 43XX 4ways systems.

    Today JBL seams to "only" design 3ways.?

    Why is that?

    I remember the "old" 4 ways systems as very good systems.
    Why is that design discontinued.?
    Hi Brain,

    I think that physics low of sound dispersion is one important thing, Large driver become directive at the higher frequency.
    Lower frequency, larger cone (diaphragm) excursion, so for compression type driver, great problem.
    Large membrane does not like to reproduce high frequency.

    reagrds
    ivica

  8. #8
    Senior Member Doctor_Electron's Avatar
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    Educated Guesses

    Just a few of the undoubtably many reasons why. I think demand and or the lack of it in a marketplace is a biggie.

    Guess #1:
    Cost. A four way with top notch drivers cost big bucks (as in the 4315, 4333, 4343, 4350 et al), were and are very expensive,

    Guess #2:
    Evolution of the two way system by way of its accepability in the professional marketplace. Accessibility of serious evaluation, design, and test software and the hardware engineering that has come out of it. Application of DSP technology.

    Guess #3:
    Changing recording studio practices, protocols, and disciplines and how these define the current tools of the trade (includes studio monitors). How
    specifically they are tied to the demands and complexity of currenty in-demand media product.. Peruse most any blog and/or forum regarding professional media recording and you will likely see a great deal of Surround and HT banter. And I mean some very serious and highly complex stuff here.

    Rather than two large, SOTA, awesome loudspeakers delivering the goods, the system output is spread out and divided among at very least, five speakers. While most of us here would very much like that spread to consist of killer four way speakers, how many home theater enthusts could even distantly approach shelling out the requisite coin? Hmmm...

    Guess #4: How could marketing convince marketplace throngs of "listeners", spending much of their day blasting themselves with low, low, low-fi MP3 dreck-tech, via ear buds, of the desirability of TOTL, SOTA, over the top engineering-wise loudspeakers?

    Even the practical demands of a good HT system are essentially pre-ordained by way of the sound tracks of films. A lot of Bim-bam-boom!, pow! zonk! content. The experiencer will be hearing/feeling exactly what the producers decide the content to be.

    Guess #5: I guess I'll be running short on guesses soon if not contained. So I'll leave it to and await further interesting discourse. For now I guess that what would be guessing would all be guesswork. It's been a long day. I guess.

    Regards, "D_E"
    Last edited by Doctor_Electron; 08-13-2016 at 01:22 AM. Reason: Loose nut behind the keyboard.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member ivica's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ivica View Post
    Hi Brain,

    I think that physics low of sound dispersion is one important thing, Large driver become directive at the higher frequency.
    Lower frequency, larger cone (diaphragm) excursion, so for compression type driver, great problem.
    Large membrane does not like to reproduce high frequency.

    reagrds
    ivica
    "....physics low...." it has to be: " physics law"

    ivica

  10. #10
    Senior Member Lee in Montreal's Avatar
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    Should the M2 really be considered a two-way speaker? It sure has two drivers, but one of them has two diaphragms and two voice-coils producing two frequency ranges, right?

    Just like the Urei 809... Is that a one-way or two way speaker? ;-)

  11. #11
    Senior Member 1audiohack's Avatar
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    The D2 has two identical diaphragms producing the same frequencies.

    My two bits on the four way topic are that it is not at all dead. Sure drivers are getting better, or, well, the technology to build better drivers exists both in power handling and distortion reduction and to some extent this may allow for say a two way design to do what in the past took three drivers.

    Take the D2 for example, it was desgned as a very high power HF device for the Vertec Array series speakers and having very high power handling ability it has the headroom to be aggressively signal shaped and still play pretty loud wide range in a monitor application like the M2.

    Still, if you want to play really loud, have it sound good ie truly wide range and not break, it takes a four way.

    My example would be, the (2.5 way) 4435's sound great, in my office. But if you want it LOUD, (the 4 way) 4350's will beat them with ease, and if you want it louder and to still sound good, the Danley rig (4 way horn loaded, and a current product) will smoke them all. These are all about the same physical size.

    If you want pin point image accuracy, the point source Danley SH 50's give me that too.

    The M2 system is all around amazing, no doubt, as are the DD66/6700 series. The 1400 Array's sound nice and image like crazy, the 4365's sound great too.

    Define the job, employ the right tool.

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  12. #12
    Senior Member ivica's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee in Montreal View Post
    Should the M2 really be considered a two-way speaker? It sure has two drivers, but one of them has two diaphragms and two voice-coils producing two frequency ranges, right?

    Just like the Urei 809... Is that a one-way or two way speaker? ;-)
    Hi Lee,

    No, M2 is two-way speaker, even that any of the drivers has two VCs. In bass driver 2 VCs are on the same voice coil former, but on the VHF driver there are two ring type diaphragms, but working together synchronously "pushing" sound into common phase-plug, and their equivalent surface is almost as 4-inch dome type diaphragm.
    Some newer design (we have seen) would introduce different shape of the diaphragms, so would , may be , more similar to BMS 4595 drivers (roughly to say).

    regards
    ivica

  13. #13
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    Not exactly JBL, but close. They have their own room in the Harman flagship store near Times Square. 4-way is unusual, true, but hardly dead, the Revel Salon2 is a famous example: http://revelspeakers.com/productdetail/~/product/salon2.html
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  14. #14
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    Iīm aware of this thread being 3 years old, but I believe itīs still of interest nowadays.

    Letīs compare the 4338 (3-way) with the 4348 (4-way).
    Both use 1500FE 15"-woofers, 435al 3"-compression drivers and 045ti tweeters... And 4348 has an additional 2251 10"-midwoofer.
    The 435al compressiondriver is crossed at 750hz in the 3-way and 1000hz in the 4-way.
    I have never had the chance to compare these two speakers. But is the 4-way just the more expensive and "better" speaker or just for a different taste?
    My guess is, that the higher crossover on the crompressiondriver in the 4-way leads to much less distortion. The lower mids should be more transparent due to the 10" midwoofer as well. But is there a downside?


    Looking at the 4365 (3-way), it uses basically the same woofer (1501fe) again.
    But this one uses a bigger 4"-compressiondriver (476) crossed over at 750hz.
    For this 3-way speaker there is no contrary 4-way speaker.
    Maybe because it canīt be improved?
    Is this because the addition of a 10"-midwoofer doesnīt offer any benefit in a system with a big 4"-compressiondriver opposed to the 3"-compressiondriver in the 4338 and 4348?
    Using 1000hz crossover rather than 750hz should still reduce distortion on the 4"-compressiondriver...
    Same with the lower mids that are covered by the heavy 15"-cone...

    Or does the big 4"-compressiondriver on a big horn simply sounds better between 700-1000hz than the 10"-midwoofer?
    I would have thought these frequencies are marginal even for a 4"-compressiondriver and much easier for a midwoofer...

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr.db View Post
    Iīm aware of this thread being 3 years old, but I believe itīs still of interest nowadays.

    Letīs compare the 4338 (3-way) with the 4348 (4-way).
    Both use 1500FE 15"-woofers, 435al 3"-compression drivers and 045ti tweeters... And 4348 has an additional 2251 10"-midwoofer.
    The 435al compressiondriver is crossed at 750hz in the 3-way and 1000hz in the 4-way.
    I have never had the chance to compare these two speakers. But is the 4-way just the more expensive and "better" speaker or just for a different taste?
    My guess is, that the higher crossover on the crompressiondriver in the 4-way leads to much less distortion. The lower mids should be more transparent due to the 10" midwoofer as well. But is there a downside?


    Looking at the 4365 (3-way), it uses basically the same woofer (1501fe) again.
    But this one uses a bigger 4"-compressiondriver (476) crossed over at 750hz.
    For this 3-way speaker there is no contrary 4-way speaker.
    Maybe because it canīt be improved?
    Is this because the addition of a 10"-midwoofer doesnīt offer any benefit in a system with a big 4"-compressiondriver opposed to the 3"-compressiondriver in the 4338 and 4348?
    Using 1000hz crossover rather than 750hz should still reduce distortion on the 4"-compressiondriver...
    Same with the lower mids that are covered by the heavy 15"-cone...

    Or does the big 4"-compressiondriver on a big horn simply sounds better between 700-1000hz than the 10"-midwoofer?
    I would have thought these frequencies are marginal even for a 4"-compressiondriver and much easier for a midwoofer...

    I really donīt know why JBL are not making any 4-way design anymore!
    I am agree with you, for my taste I like the 4-way better than the 2-way or 3-way, the magic is in the 10" woofer, it just sound so much better than the heavy 15" cone woofer in the midrange
    for me most of the 15" are good up to 300Hz




    Ari

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