When you are looking at buying new speakers for your car, you may notice various configurations such as 2 way or 3 way and much more. Both 2 way and 3 way setups are the most common when searching for the best car speakers.
Speakers are made up of drivers that are able to produce high or low frequencies. Most will include 2 or more drivers in order to produce these frequencies and these come in the form of woofers, tweeters and mid-range drivers. To combine all these signals, a crossover is used to split the signals and direct them to the correct driver.
In layman’s terms, 2 way speaker systems will have their input signals split into two whereas a 3 way speaker system has their input signal split into three.
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2 Way Speakers in Detail
2 way speakers are a combination of a woofer cone and a tweeter, which together produce low and high frequencies. The lower and mid-range frequencies are directed to the woofer cone by the crossover network. The higher frequencies are then directed to the tweeter, which means the speakers are split in two ways.
2 way speakers are available as a coaxial and component type of configuration. The 2 way coaxial is where the tweeter is mounted within the center of the woofer cone. This setup allows you to easily install the coaxial into standard sizes. For example, if you purchase 6×9 speakers, if they are a coaxial configuration, they will fit into a 6 inch x 9 inch enclosure.
The alternative to a coaxial configuration is the component 2 way speakers. The main difference is that component car speakers come in two components where the tweeter and woofer will be separate. The woofer cone can be installed within the standard enclosure but the tweeter can be installed elsewhere in the vehicle.
As both the speakers are split, they both have their own crossover in order to split the signal. These are then wired to your car stereo to produce sound.
3 Way Speakers in Detail
The three 3 speaker system will have an additional driver, which comes in the form of an additional tweeter. Many audio enthusiast call this additional component a “supertweeter” and the come in a range of different styles and sizes.
The additional tweeter is designed to handle the mid-range frequencies, whereas the other tweeter handles the higher frequencies.
Just like the 2 way speaker system, 3 way configurations can also be used as a coaxial (also known as a triaxial system) or a component system. Due to the complexity of a 3 way system, most people prefer 3 way component speakers compared with the coaxial/trixial alternative. This is primarily due to the fact that each driver will have a separate crossover, which will produce better sound quality.
The Crossover Network
The purpose of a crossover network in speakers is to filter the input audio signals and divert the signals to the appropriate drivers. The better crossover network that the speakers use will directly result in the better sound quality of your system.
Which is Better – 2 Way vs 3 Way Speakers?
To the average car owner, you may not even notice the difference between 2 way or 3 way speakers. With regards to the most common coaxial speaker setup, 2 way speakers are usually the best as the 3 way setup can be expensive and complex to construct. 2 way coaxial speakers will therefore use a higher quality woofer and tweeter compared to a similarly priced 3 way coaxial.
In terms of a component speaker setup, using 3 way speakers is often the best option. As they will have their own crossovers, they will be able to produce excellent sound quality. You may also notice some speakers with even more driver (4, 5 or even 6 way setups). However, adding additional components will not always result in better quality sound or extra bass. It is recommended to spend extra for quality materials from trusted brands within a 2 way or 3 way setup than additional drivers.