2 Way vs 3 Way Car Speakers

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A good speaker system in your car makes the world of difference to road trips and drive time. Better speakers help you create the ultimate soundtrack to a journey, giving you the best sound quality so you can truly enjoy your favourite music.

Choosing between 2 way and 3 way speakers for your car audio upgrade is a big decision. This guide takes a closer look at the key differences so you can decide which speaker setup is going to be the best option for you.

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2 Way Car Speakers

A 2 way speaker system has two drivers (a woofer and tweeter) in one speaker basket. The woofer handles low frequency and mid-scopes while the tweeter deals with high frequencies. There is usually a crossover point that helps to produce better sound by blocking unwanted frequencies but not all 2 way systems include a crossover.

The combination of the woofer and tweeter is enough to cover a lot of sound waves making this a popular, low-cost option.

3 Way Car Speakers

A 3 way car speaker system also features a woofer and a tweeter but also has a mid-range speaker. In some cases, there is a super tweeter instead of a mid-range. The super tweeter helps to enhance the high-frequency sounds and is best suited to hi-fi enthusiasts as many people get the sound quality they are looking for from a standard woofer, mid-range, and tweeter combo.

A 3 way system produces a much broader range of audio frequencies which sounds more natural to human ears. These speakers cost more but produce a high-end sound.

Types Of Speaker Systems

Coaxial Speakers

Coaxial speakers are in one position and have the crossover built in. The crossover is an electronic filter that blocks out undesirable sound frequencies so the speaker sound output is the best it can be. 2 way full range speakers are less expensive and have a much simpler system making them suitable for home installation.

A 3 way coaxial speaker will cost more and has a more complicated crossover. The system offers better clarity but the woofer may be obstructed by the mid-range and tweeter as the speakers are in one position which can impact the quality of the sound.

Advantages of Coaxial Systems

  • Easy to install
  • Best budget option
  • Ideal if installing it yourself

Component Speakers

Component speakers have separate drivers so they can be positioned in different locations in the vehicle. A 2 way component system will have a set of woofers and a set of tweeters in two separate speakers. In 3 way systems, the three drivers (woofer, tweeter and midrange) are all separate. This gives the opportunity for more accurate frequencies.

A component speaker has an external crossover circuit which helps the speakers sound better and makes them more customisable. The downside is that they do cost a bit more than coaxial systems and they are more complicated to install.

Advantages of Component Speakers

  • Superior sound quality
  • Customisable

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Key Differences Between 2 Way & 3 Way Speakers

Crossover Points

The crossover is responsible for separating the audio frequency range between the speakers. This makes sure the best frequency range is sent to the best-suited speaker so with two speakers the low frequencies go to the woofer and the high frequency to the tweeter.

A 3 way speaker system has 2 cross over points while a 2 way system is less complex and has only one crossover point. This single crossover makes the audio system easier to fine-tune to reduce distortion. The crossover points don’t matter so much if you are choosing coaxial speakers.

However, it’s an important factor for component speakers which are capable of producing a higher quality of sound with more customisation but they are more complicated to fit and fine-tune.

Sound Quality

Generally speaking, more speakers results in a better quality of sound. With this in mind, you will be able to enjoy better clarity with a 3 way speaker system.

The materials and build of the speaker itself also play an important role so go for the best your budget can buy rather than going for a low-cost 3 way speaker system and hoping for good results.

Budget

A 2 way speaker is going to cost less than a 3 way car speaker. The best combination is a 3 way component system but this is also the most expensive. If you are looking for the most affordable option, go for a high end 2 way coaxial system as this still provides good results but without breaking the bank.

Customisation

A 3 way component system offers a lot of customisation options so you can get your audio sounding as good as possible. With 3 way speakers you can also better position the individual woofers and tweeters to create the audio experience you want and you can turn the music up louder without losing clarity and depth.

Installation

A 2 way system is going to be easier to install, particularly if it is coaxial. Coaxial systems are easier to install as they usually boast a “plug and play” design which makes them popular for home installations.

Component speaker systems are not as easy to install and often require professional installation but the results are also professional-level making it worth this extra effort for music lovers and people who spend a lot of time in their car.

Making Your Selection

2 way speakers are best if you are looking for a low-cost solution. There is little sound distortion and installation is easy. If you are choosing a coaxial system then you’re better off choosing a high-quality 2 way car speaker than paying more for a 3 way system as you will only truly get the benefits of a 3 way system if you choose a component speaker.

A 3 way car speaker is best if you want to enjoy a broader frequency range and the best overall sound quality. You can put the three drivers wherever you want in the car which lets you create a more immersive surround-sound type of experience. For the superior sound they produce, the best car speakers are 3 way component speakers.