In yesterday's post I wrote of the classic 3-way: a 2-way with the addition of yet another frequency dividing network and driver, the midrange.
Now that we have a clear idea of how all this works, let's think about what it takes to make things sound good.
Imagine a musician standing in your room. He has an acoustic guitar and sings. You are seated the same distance from the musician as you would be from your speakers. Everything sounds natural because, well, it is. The sound emanates from two sources: the guitar and his mouth. Our singer has quite a range and between the two sources of sound, we're covering areas that will eventually be shared by the top of the woofer, the midrange, and the lower parts of the tweeter - if we record the performance.
And we now understand that each of the three drivers do not abruptly end, while the next takes over in a clean transition. No, it's more like a relay race where the baton is handed over from the first runner with overlap from the second.
The point where each of the drivers meets has both drivers playing at the same time. Eventually, this overlap goes away, only to be added onto again by the next in line.
This crossover, this sharing of two distinctly different sound sources, does not happen in real life. Our singer has but only one mouth and one guitar from which sound is emitted.
So the question we must ask is how can the original performance ever be duplicated?
The answer, of course, is simple. It cannot. However, we can get close and that's what we'll start on tomorrow.