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Three-way Monitors


Three‑way studio monitors usually come at a premium price. We round up the models that won’t break the bank!

The vast majority of nearfield monitors are two‑way designs, in which the midrange reproduction is shared between low‑ and high‑frequency drivers that become less efficient as they move toward the limits of their bandwidth capabilities. Adding a dedicated midrange driver combats this, allowing each of the three drivers to focus on a narrower frequency range. And although a three‑way speaker requires an additional crossover, the two crossover points and their associated phase distortions can be moved away from the all‑important midrange.

But these benefits come at a cost, so in the past, three‑way monitors have mostly been found towards the top end of the market. Though they are still more expensive than two‑way speakers, in recent years their price has been coming down, and this month we’re shining the SOS Spotlight on a selection of three‑way speakers that are available for under £4000$4000 per pair. All prices given below are per pair and include VAT.


Announced in 2022, ADAM Audio’s A Series replaced their popular AX Series and introduced some significant new features. A Multi‑Layer Mineral (MLM) low‑frequency driver design, new magnet system and improved cabinet design enable them to offer a high output level with minimal distortion, and onboard DSP implements a wealth of room optimisation features, including support for Sonarworks SoundID Reference calibration files. All of the A Series’ DSP functionality can also be controlled remotely using ADAM’s A Control Mac and PC software. The range includes two three‑way designs. The smaller of the two, the A77H, features a pair of seven‑inch MLM low‑frequency drivers, along with the Dome Cone Hybrid (DCH) midrange driver found in the S Series units. The A8H, the largest member of the A Series, employs eight‑inch MLM and 3.5‑inch DCH drivers for low‑ and mid‑frequency duties. In both models, the high end is taken care of by an X‑ART ‘ribbon’ tweeter, and the company’s HPS (High‑frequency Propagation System) waveguide ensures wide, consistent horizontal dispersion while keeping the vertical dispersion narrower. Helpfully, this tweeter can be rotated, so the speaker can be positioned horizontally or vertically. Rear‑panel controls provide access to a four‑band EQ that offers over 100 tuning options in preset steps, as well as a Voicing selector that offers a choice of tonal balances.

ADAM Audio A77HADAM Audio A77H

A77H £2199.98. A8H £2719.99.

A77H $2599.98. A8H $2999.98.

Barefoot Sound Footprint03 & Footprint02

The latest additions to Barefoot’s range aim to deliver the renowned sound quality of their Footprint speakers in a more compact enclosure at a more affordable price. The Footprint03 introduces a new bass reflex design with a side‑firing port. Coupled with high‑quality cabinet construction, this allows the monitor to deliver a low‑end extension (‑3dB at 45Hz) that the company say is comparable to that of their larger sealed‑cabinet designs. The low‑ and mid‑frequency drivers pair a rigid aluminium cone with a high‑sensitivity motor, and feature additional copper shorting rings around the voice coil, to help minimise harmonic distortion. A newly designed one‑inch ring radiator tweeter offers longer excursion capabilities, with increased output levels and reduced compression. Onboard DSP enhances the low‑end response and distortion figures further, and Barefoot have implemented a new SPOC (SPectrally Optimised Conversion) technology that uses an analogue crossover section before the A‑D stage — this allows high frequencies to be passed on unattenuated, resulting in an improved signal‑to‑noise ratio. These speakers also feature the company’s MEME (Multi Emphasis Monitor Emulation) technology, with four switchable voicing options that can be selected using a remote control. The larger Footprint02 is the next step up in the range, a sealed design that utilises the company’s Dual‑Force subwoofer technology, with a 6.5‑inch low‑frequency driver on each side of the cabinet.

Barefoot Sound Footprint03Barefoot Sound Footprint03

Footprint03 £1995. Footprint02 £2995.

Footprint03 $1995. Footprint02 $2995.

Dynaudio LYD 48

Dynaudio’s LYD range aims to provide a serious mixing setup in a relatively compact and affordable footprint, and was developed using the knowledge gained from supplying large reference systems to professional studios. But they also aimed to create speakers that look as good as they sound, drawing inspiration from their range of hi‑fi systems. The three‑way LYD 48 is the largest model in the range. A rear‑ported bass reflex cabinet houses Dynaudio’s proprietary MSP mid‑ and low‑frequency drivers, along with a newly designed soft‑dome tweeter. The ‑3dB points in the frequency response sit at 50Hz and 21kHz, and the monitors promise to deliver a neutral and accurate sound that remains consistent whatever the level they’re putting out. A built‑in DSP controller makes it possible to extend or curtail the low‑frequency response, apply bright, neutral or dark tilt EQ settings (with linear or minimal phase filter options), and choose between Wall or Free modes, to tailor the output of each monitor according to its placement in relation to boundaries.

Dynaudio LYD 48Dynaudio LYD 48



EVE Audio SC3070

EVE Audio’s SC3070 was designed to deliver the midrange reproduction of the SC4070, a model renowned for its balanced sound and low distortion figures, but in a much more compact cabinet that can be used in smaller rooms. As with all of the company’s monitors, high‑frequency reproduction is taken care of by an AMT (Air Motion Transformer) driver; here, this is joined by four‑inch and seven‑inch fibreglass‑coated SilverCone drivers that promise to deliver an accurate midrange and a precise and powerful low end. The analogue inputs feed Burr‑Brown A‑D converters, with the SC3070’s built‑in DSP catering for everything from crossover duties to overload protection, including adjustable low‑shelf, midrange and high‑shelf filters which the user can use to tailor the output to their room. A front‑panel SMART knob provides easy access to volume and filter settings, but selected settings can also be fixed using rear‑panel DIP‑switches to prevent unintentional (or unwanted) adjustments.

EVE Audio SC3070EVE Audio SC3070



Fluid Audio Image 2

Fluid Audio Image 2Fluid Audio Image 2

Fluid Audio say that they’ve pushed the limits of speaker design with the Image 2, which delivers accurate stereo imaging, a flat frequency response, impressive low‑end extension and low distortion figures. The design employs a pair of side‑firing eight‑inch low‑frequency drivers that are interlocked at their magnets to help improve cabinet stability and low‑end response — this is just ‑2.2dB down at 40Hz and features a natural‑sounding 6dB/octave roll‑off, thanks to the sealed cabinet design. A five‑inch aluminium‑cone midrange driver boasts a motor structure that has been optimised to reduce harmonic distortion, and a newly designed AMT driver handles the high frequencies, promising a precise, detailed response with plenty of headroom and low distortion. The monitors’ performance is aided by onboard DSP, which is also capable of hosting up to four Sonarworks SoundID Reference room‑correction profiles — these can be transferred and selected using Fluid Audio’s DSP Configuration Tool software. Along with the analogue inputs, the Image 2 also features AES3 and S/PDIF connectivity, allowing those with spare digital outputs to connect to the monitors with fewer stages of conversion.



HEDD Audio Type 20 Mk2

Described by HEDD as a perfect all‑rounder, their Type 20 Mk2 combines impressive technical performance with some innovative features, including the ability shared with other Type 2 Mk2 models to operate either as a sealed or ported cabinet — each monitor comes supplied with a plug that can be fitted to the port, and a rear‑panel switch makes it possible to select between closed and ported modes. The Type 20 Mk2 employs the company’s renowned high‑quality AMT drivers, which have been designed to deliver fast transients along with an extended high‑frequency response, to ensure it delivers a natural‑sounding top end with minimal distortion. As well as providing shelf filters and low‑frequency range adjustment, the monitors’ onboard DSP includes a Lineariser function, a system HEDD have developed to improve transient response and stereo imaging by tackling the small time delays inherent in loudspeakers. The Type 20 MK2 can accept analogue line‑level or AES digital inputs.

HEDD Audio Type 20 MK2HEDD Audio Type 20 MK2



Kali Audio IN‑5 & IN‑8

Kali Audio IN‑8Kali Audio IN‑8

Kali Audio’s IN‑series features two monitor models, the IN‑5 and IN‑8. Both are equipped with a coaxial driver that pairs a four‑inch midrange unit with a one‑inch textile‑dome tweeter, helping to deliver realistic stereo imaging and promising to reveal subtle details in a mix. The IN‑5’s low end is then taken care of by a five‑inch driver, whereas the IN‑8 employs an eight‑inch driver, offering a slightly more extended low‑frequency response and higher maximum SPL. Kali say that their designs allow the INs to enjoy all the benefits of traditional three‑way and coaxial systems, but without any of the drawbacks associated with either. Given the keen pricing, many could see the IN‑series offerings as a tempting choice for immersive monitoring setups and Kali recognise this — they offer a wide range of wall and ceiling mounting accessories, including some that will connect directly with Triad‑Orbit’s hardware.

IN‑5 £756. IN‑8 £854.

IN‑5 $698. IN‑8 $798.

Neumann KH310A

Since speaker manufacturer Klein + Hummel were acquired by Neumann, a number of their popular designs have been updated and released as part of the KH series. One such example is the popular O300, which lives on in the form of the KH310A, an all‑analogue three‑way monitor designed to provide high‑end performance in a compact enclosure. All three drivers are designed in‑house by Neumann using their own software. The low‑frequency unit is constructed from a composite material, and is joined by fabric‑dome midrange and high‑frequency units. The internal cabinet construction is optimised to combat standing waves, and the front panel designed to reduce diffraction, while an MMD (Mathematically Modelled Dispersion) waveguide surrounds the tweeter, for a smoother off‑axis response, wide horizontal dispersion and narrow vertical dispersion. A trio of rear‑panel Acoustical Control switches provide some EQ to tailor the response to suit different rooms, and it’s possible to pair these monitors with Neumann’s KH750 subwoofer — as well as extending the system’s low‑end response, this adds some DSP‑based room correction.

Neumann KH310ANeumann KH310A



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