2-Way Vs. 3-Way Car Speaker
Auto Parts,  Cars

2-Way V/s. 3-Way Car Speaker! Which Is Preferable?

(Updated - 7/15/19) When you are driving your car either alone or with your family and friend, music can be your best friend. I love to drive with all types of music at different levels of volume. Which types of speakers can help my experience best though, a 2-way speaker or 3-way speaker?

A 2-way speaker has a tweeter and a woofer combined in one speaker basket, sometimes using a crossover to block certain frequencies from each speaker. A 3-way speaker is similar but has a tweeter, a midrange, and a woofer combined.  A crossover is an electrical circuit, that is usually included in full range coaxial speakers, used to block unwanted frequencies, so the speakers can sound good together. 

Which type of speaker you chooses may depend on lots of factors. Outside sounds are sure to intrude into you car cabin and disrupt your listening enjoyment. Getting the right kind of your car speakers can have a profound influence on your overall experience. Read on to learn more about 2-way V/s. 3-way car speakers.

Lets find out a little more about the different types of 2-way and 3-way speakers available. We have coaxial 2-way and 3-way speakers and component 2-way and 3-way speakers. Look at the charts below for more information.

2-way coaxial speaker 

3-way coaxial speaker

  • Provides woofer and tweeter in one basket
  • Divide the range between 2 speakers for better clarity
  • Uses an integrated crossover circuit
    • Has passive crossover - cheaper to make but easier to install - Shown above
  • Simpler crossover
  • Less expensive to make  (depends on materials used)

  • Provides woofer, midrange, and tweeter or a woofer and 2 tweeters in one basket
  • Divide the range between 3 speakers for better clarity
  • Uses an integrated crossover circuit
    • Has passive crossover -  cheaper to make but easier to install - Shown above
  • More expensive to make (depends on materials used)
  • No midrange - may or may not impact sound quality
  • More of the woofer is obstructed by the midrange and tweeter - may or may not impact sound quality
  • More complicated crossover - may or  may not impact sound quality

2-way component speaker 

3-way component speaker

  • Provides woofer and tweeter separately
  • Divide the range between 2 speakers for better clarity
  • Uses an external crossover circuit
    • Has either passive or electronic crossover - Shown above
  • Simpler crossover
  • Less expensive - fewer speakers  (depends on materials used)
  • May get very good sound - Each speaker is separate and frequency range for speakers can be controlled by crossover.
  • Provides woofer, midrange, and tweeter separately
  • Divide the range between 3 speakers for better clarity
  • Uses an external crossover circuit
    • Has either passive or electronic crossover - Shown above
  • More expensive - more speakers - (depends on materials used)
  • May get very good sound - Each speaker is separate and frequency range for speakers can be controlled by crossover.
  • No midrange - may or may not impact sound quality
  • Electronic crossovers are more expensive and more difficult to install - could result in must better sound
  • More frequncies to filter - may or may not impact sound
  • More complicated crossover - may or  may not impact sound quality
  • Electronic crossovers are more expensive and more difficult to install - could result in must better sound

Sounds Benefits of Different Sized Speakers

Technically, the different types of the sound waves produced by speakers are better produced depending on their size. The 2-way and 3-way speaker systems adopt the idea that each speaker can better produce different frequencies. So if you want a low-pitched sound, the woofer will can produce that sound better than a tweeter. 

2 and 3-way Car Speakers & Frequency Output

Components of Speakers & Frequency Output

The 2-way car speaker, come either as one coaxial speaker or a set of 2 component speakers. It has a woofer or a large speaker and a tweeter, a very small speaker. Woofers produces lower sound frequency from about 20 Hz to 2 kHz. Tweeters reproduces higher audio frequencies that vary from about 2 Khz to 20 kHz.

The 3-way speaker, come either as one triaxial speaker or a set of 3 component speakers. It produces about the same range as the 2-way speakers with the midrange going between 500 Hz to 4 kHz. These speakers are designed to balance the frequency slope by generating sounds that seem natural to human ears.

In certain cases, instead of the mid-range, the 3-way speaker uses a super tweeter for extending a high frequency and more detailed sound.

2-Way and 3-Way Speakers Compared

Each speaker is best suited for certain frequencies and its size contributes to what sounds it's best suited for. For instance, a large speaker or a woofer enables larger movements of air, producing a bass frequency. However, the larger speaker can’t move air effectively for higher frequencies.

The tweeter which is smaller than a woofer handles the high-end frequencies. The mid-range speaker is larger than a tweeter but smaller than a woofer. Thus the 2-way and the 3-way speakers reproduce sounds in their best range.

Contrast between the Two

A 2-Way speaker has two drivers. The woofer handles the low and mid-ranges of frequency, while the tweeter controls the higher frequencies. These 2 speaker frequencies may crossover each other at times and may cause a bit of distortion, but not much.   

In contrast, a 3-way speaker has three drivers, so the frequencies can be divided more evenly. Three speakers means each speaker can do its job more efficiently than 2 speakers. But 3 speakers also means their is more crossover of frequency which may cause a bit more distortion.  

Each comes with a crossover filters that tell the divers which ranges of frequencies to produce. As the speakers produce sound, the way the crossover is designed and the design and materials used for the speakers determines what sounds you hear and if there is distortion.

What’s Crossover?

The crossover splits the audible frequency ranges of different speakers. It give each speaker the optimal frequency range to use to produce sound. The crossover uses filters that tapers at the both ends of a frequency range because it is unable to split these ranges, or start and stop at a specific frequency.

So when a 2-way or 3-way speaker is used, the speakers that have a well designed crossover, get a better result for precise sound output. The crossover makes it so speakers don't get distorted, since each speaker is given only what it can handle best. 

The crossover circuit tries to maintain the perfect balance of sound output. So if your setting up your own crossover,  its important to consider the way the different speakers will interplay. 

2-Way VS 3-Way Speakers

It may not be obvious whether a 3-way speaker will perform better than the 2-way speaker, but we can look at some factors that may indicate which you may want. 

Speaker quality is probably one of the best factors to look at. Do the speakers perform well over time and are they made of durable materials. Are the speakers coaxial or component. Component speakers tend to sound better because they are more customizable and tend to be higher end speakers. 

In addition, if your setting up your own crossover, its quality, and setup will also determine sound quality.

How the speakers sit in your car can be a big factor in sound quality. Are you going to use an amplifier? The amplifier will give more power to speakers and give a richer sound to some speakers.

Because of these factors, you should decide on how much you want to pay, if you want to have a crossover, and what sound quality are you will to live with.

High-performing 2-way speaker would sound much better than mediocre 3-way speakers. Do some research to find which kind if you like best. Also consider reading several review on different speakers. You might also want to think about the types of music that you will be listening to and how different speakers will fit in your car. 

By taking time to make your choice, and thinking about all the aspect to consider, you'll be more likely to have a good experience with your purchase of new speakers. You can always go to a store and try out a car speaker system before you buy. Try a car audio installer store, Best Buy, or other car friendly speaker stores.

Find a Good Match/ 2-Way or 3-Way

As you do your search for speakers, you make come across both 2-Way and 3-Way speakers that are very similar. If your decided between the two, consider how each will sound based on reviews, quality, design, and crossover. A combination specs might contribute to you leaning toward one side more than the other.

The more you research, the more you'll also learn that there's almost too much information to process. Again, if you can experience the speaker sounds from a store, a friend, or possibly online, it could help you with your decision.

Category of Speakers

Lets review the two main categories of speakers we have been discussing, component and coaxial or full-range. You may want to opt for either on of these. Considering that most people are fine with the speakers the already have in their car, getting new speakers for most will be an improvement from the factory installed ones.

If your willing to put in extra work and or money, then consider component speakers for the best sounds in general. Your acoustic experience could leave you wanting. You wish to experience to full sounds of the bands and music you love. If that's the case component could help you get that extra boost in sound quality that will make your rides a more enjoyable experience. 

In contrast, full-range speaker comes in a single basket frame. They can sound very good also, and they are easier to installation if you want to do it yourself. 

If you are going to upgrading the speaker system of your car, you have the option of selecting the 2-way, 3-way or other type of speaker like a 12 inch subwoofer. You can then improve the bass, without adding an amplifier or a subwoofer that has a low output of sound and smooth bass.

If you install a pair of  2-way or 3-way speakers, you can enjoy a mid-bass in your stereo, associated with clarity and efficiency. And it's nice that it can all come form one speaker.

Criteria for Selection

  • Overall power, including looks, style, and design
  • Crossover - passive or electronic
  • Rating of power; including RMS and Peak
  • Quality of materials used and the tag of brand
  • Online Reviews; including those on Amazon, Crutchfield, Sonic, and Electronix
  • Sound quality experienced by listening to them if possible
  • Ability to installation all components

Besides the above criteria, it must meet your needs and also be compatible with the body, structure and interior space of your car. If you love your audio experience in your car and want to experience realism of a good pair of speakers do your research.

You'll find the speakers that work best for you. If you unsure about what you really want, one idea is to take out one of your main speakers from your car. This may help you recognize what would be best for you. 

If your speaker is old and worn, you might feel happy with just about any purchase of an upgrade. Pick one that will best suit your needs and provide the quality of sound your expecting. 

As you look you find many options. For me, I like to keep if simple - Buy what I can afford that I have time to install myself, because I enjoy the installation process. Decide what you want and will do and get started today if you want. 

Options Available

Click on any of the pictures and it will take you to Amazon.com for more information. 

2-Way Speakers (coaxial)

3-Way Speakers (coaxial)

Kicker

 JBL

Rockford

Kicker

Boss

Pioneer

2-Way Speakers (component)

3-Way Speakers (component)

Infinity

Pyle

JBL

Precision Power

Focal Access

JL

Audio