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Different between 2 way, 3 way, 4 way Car Speakers
To experienced car owners who know so much about car speaker, the terms 2 way, 3 way and 4 way car speakers are just normal or ordinary terms. However, to newbies in the car music world, such terms won’t make any sense at all. So, what are the differences between 2 way, 3 way and 4 way car speakers?
Every car owner who is deeply interested in knowing much about car music should be able to understand these terms. If these terms have been confusing you, worry not as we shall be breaking everything down for you to make the selection process quite simpler for you.
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What We’re Talking About
Speakers come in a variety of different configurations. At their most basic you have a speaker with a single driver which makes things pretty easy to figure out. A single driver speaker is just a single speaker, with no additional properties.
On the other hand, most of the actually upgraded speakers on the market are going to have multiple drivers. Indeed, even the majority of stock speakers are going to be at least 2 ways.
This is where phrases like 2 way, 3 way, 4 way, etc. are going to come into play.
What you’re actually looking at are speakers which contain sub-speakers within themselves. This gives a much fuller range of sound, and picking wisely is the key to ensuring that you’ve got clear highs and mids in your sound.
As a general rule, these are the full range speakers for your system. You’ll want to look into bullet supertweeters for crystal clear highs and subwoofers to get the really booming lows and those are separate subjects entirely.
What to Expect
For the most part, the speaker configurations are going to be pretty simple.
2-way speakers are comprised of a “woofer” and a “tweeter.” Basically, the larger speaker is going to handle the lows and mids, while the smaller integrated speaker handles the upper range of the mids and the highs.
They’re some of the most common speakers around, often simply described as “coaxial” and are the usual fare for those who are looking into upgrading their systems. Even many stock speakers are going to fall into this category.
3-way speakers will have the same features as the 2-way plus an additional speaker for the mid-range of sound. They’re the beginning of serious upgrades for those who care about the entire scope of their sound rather than just focusing on one feature.
4-way speakers are the same as 3-way speakers with the addition of a super-tweeter. Obviously they give an even wider and clearer range to all of the sound that you’re looking for and they’re pretty much top of the line.
For more information: Best Car Speakers in The World
So Which is the Best?
As a general rule: more sub-speakers leads to superior sound.
This isn’t always the case however as there are a lot of inferior knock-offs which have made their way into the market. You want to avoid these at all costs, they’re rarely worth the materials that they’re stamped out of.
Within the same brand and model, however, you’ll get better sound as you go higher.
There’s one big thing to keep in mind, however: you may want to go with less drivers in your full-range if you’re planning on implementing a complete system within your vehicle. It’ll save you money and, in the case of supertweeters, can avoid interference which you’ll have to fine tune out by spending a lot of quality time with the equalizer in your vehicles.
Many people make the mistake of thinking they can just throw together high cost components and have a great system, but user experience and the integration of the whole is going to play a major part as well.
You’re not going to be able to create a professional system with just a couple of cheap knock-offs which barely function, but you’re also not going to have a professional sound just because you dumped a ton of cash into your vehicle’s audio system either.
Our recommendation is pretty simple, however, and earned through experience:
Go with 2-way speakers unless you’re planning on a full-range system with only component speakers. And avoid cheap coaxial speakers with 3-way or 4-way at all costs.
The reasons for this are pretty simple:
- 4-way coaxial speakers are really just a way to raise the price and make a buck off of those who don’t know what they’re looking for. Without the ability to tune each speaker to your own needs, you’re just going to end up with a ton of treble.
- 2-way speakers tend to “bleed” better. This crossover of sound frequencies is actually pretty desirable and it’s the reason that many super high-end speakers are still 2-way. It keeps things smoothed out.
- If you’re going to be running subwoofers and supertweeters on their own, then it makes sense to not have anything else interfering in their dedicated frequencies.
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How to choose the Best Car Speakers
When you want to change your car’s music system from the factory speakers to something more custom made, you need to know what factors to consider before settling on a particular type or brand of speakers. This will help you in avoiding disappointments that might come with choosing the wrong type of speakers for your car.
Discussed below are some of the important factors that car owners must consider before installing new car speakers.
1- Component or Coaxial
Coaxial speakers are sometimes called full range speakers. They have all the components in a single package. This means that components like tweeters, super tweeters and woofers will be set up in a single basket.
>>> Read more: Difference Between Coaxial and Component Speakers
Coaxial speakers and loved by many people because they are so simple and easy to install. You will simply be required to remove your old factory speakers and replace them with the coaxial speakers and you are done.
Component speakers on the other hand are ideal for those who need the best listening experience. This is because the components are separated in that the tweeter, crossover and woofer are positioned differently.
This helps in bringing a better feel of your lovely music. With component speakers, you can be sure that you will have a better listening experience, good build quality and a generally better value.
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2- Sensitivity of the speakers
This basically refers to how much power the speakers will need so that they can output a given volume level. You, therefore, need to know the exact amount of power your external amplifiers or head unit put out.
This will help you to be in a better position to acquire car speakers that will be compatible with your system. Having speakers that are compatible with your system will lead to better performance and high quality sound output.
3- Power handling
The speakers RMS value should be known. This is because you will be required to know the amount of power that will be needed to operate them. One of the ways of ensuring that the speaker is compatible with the amplifier is by using RMS power to determine if there is some compatibility.
It is also necessary for you to understand that speakers having a low level of sensitivity normally work great with external amplifiers using high power. Speakers having a high level of sensitivity on the other hand work perfectly with low powered external amplifiers.
4- Size of the speakers
Some people may think that size is not that important when it comes to choosing car speakers. The truth of the matter is that size plays a crucial role in determining the type of speakers that you should acquire for your car. Most people normally complain of their speakers being too big or small and cannot fit in their cars because of that.
Always have a rough idea of the speaker space in your cars so that it matches the size of the speakers being sold on the market. This will help you in making sure that you don’t have to keep returning your speakers to the store where you bought them simply because they cannot fit well.
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5- Speaker Durability
The process of having new speakers fully operational in your car is not an easy one. This is because it involves the hassle of buying, installing and then adjusting the speaker hoping that it will last for a long period of time without you having to make any changes.
This requires you to have durability as a very important feature to consider before buying any speakers. This is because you don’t want to be changing your speakers and going through the same process over and over again simply because you bought poor quality speakers.
6- Price of the speakers
Last but not least, the price of the speakers you will be getting for your car matters a lot. While cheap speakers will most likely be poor quality, expensive speakers do not necessarily have to be the best. You should not strain financially to be able to buy car speakers and become financially unstable. It is good to get speaker that balance between price and quality.
There are some speakers that are averagely priced and offer the best services beyond people’s expectations. It is always good to consider the various speakers on the market to see their prices before one can make an informed decision to buy a particular type of car speakers.
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2 way, 3 way, and 4 way are distinct physical features contained within your speakers. They can also be extremely useful in all ranges when utilized properly.
For the average person just looking for an upgrade on their stock speakers, they’re a bit of a money pit.
On the other hand, for those who are dedicated audiophiles, high-end speakers in the 3-way and 4-way range can be a good way to get a complete full-range system without having to dedicate internal space for subwoofers and supertweeters.
If you’re going to go ahead and look for a ton of drivers, then you’ll want to make sure of all of the following:
- Ensure they’re component speakers so you can control each of the sub-speakers individually.
- Only buy 3-way and 4-way speakers from a reputed brand. No-name brands can produce some pretty awesome speakers, but if you’re going to sink the extra money then you need to ensure they’ll be quality components.
- Don’t get sucked into the marketing buzz that can be generated by increasing amounts of sub-speakers. You need something solid with a bit of crossover, or you’re going to end up with some weird effects in your music.
The journey that we took together into the car speaker world should be sufficient enough to let you know the differences between 2 way, 3 way and 4 way car speakers. After understanding the major differences between these different types of speakers, you should now be better placed to make your decisions and choices regarding which one to buy and install in your car.