As you shop for your dream speakers, you will usually come across either 2 way or 3 way speakers. Have they ever intrigued you and made you want to know more about them. Then please continue to read on as we will be explaining the difference between the 2 way and 3 way speakers. With this information, you will be able to better decide which type of loudspeaker best suits you or at least answer your question.
The Differences between Two Way and Three Way Speakers
Visually, you would already notice the difference, a 2-way speaker will have 2 drivers in them where one is typically the tweeter which takes charge of producing the high frequencies. The other speaker driver will be the woofer and it will be focusing on delivering the low frequencies. For a 3-way speaker, it consists of 3 drivers which are a tweeter, midrange, and woofer. With each speaker driver focusing on a specific frequency range, a three-way speaker should provide better sound quality, giving us a more accurate music presentation with higher clarity.
It is still quite early to decide which type of loudspeaker is better and not to mention, each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Let us now find out more about each speaker type’s pros and cons.
Advantages and Disadvantages of 2 Way Speakers
Since there are only 2 speaker drivers, the crossover is straightforward and easier to design. Two-way speakers are generally smaller in size and they are typically bookshelf speakers. The smaller size enables the 2-way speaker to take up lesser space and you can even set them up on a desktop too. They are more affordable and don’t require as much amplifier power which also indirectly helps you to lower the overall costs. We usually find them a bit more agile and faster sounding during music playbacks.
The 2-way speakers tend to have weaker bass performance and lesser subtle nuances when it comes to vocal reproductions. To improve the bass performance, you can always integrate an active subwoofer into the mix. You can check out our blog posts about integrating a subwoofer for a small room or getting subwoofers for a large room.
Advantages and Disadvantages of 3 Way Speakers
A 3-way speaker typically has better bass performance and doesn’t need the support from a subwoofer since it could deliver deep bass frequencies on its own. Unless you want a more authoritative sub-bass performance and reach down to 20Hz bass extension or more then a subwoofer might be needed. Thanks to having more speaker drivers, a 3-way speaker has a wider frequency range, giving you better dynamics and more details too. This also gives us a richer music presentation with more presence and texture.
You will only get the sonic benefits if the three-way speaker is well made. Badly designed 3-way speakers would have phase issues and deliver low sound quality. Bass reproductions could overwhelm the upper registers too. 3-way speakers are generally floor-standing speakers and will take up more floor space, not to mention, that you will need to provide them with ample distance away from walls. There are 3-way bookshelf speakers and they are rather large in size too. A 3-way speaker is generally costlier to get.
Which is Better? 2 Way or 3 Way Speakers?
If we are looking at the good and well-designed 3-way speakers then they will be a better choice. The wider frequency range, higher clarity, and details with better bass performances will suit both audiophiles and home theater enthusiasts. You don’t need to add a subwoofer to supplement the low ends and you don’t need to worry that the sub would not integrate seamlessly with the overall sound reproduction of your system.
2-way speakers would be an ideal choice if you are planning to set up a desktop sound system and listen to your music at a nearfield distance. Their smaller size would also make them a better choice for listeners who are facing space constraints. The lower entry cost of owning 2-way speakers will be a welcoming factor to listeners who have a tight budget. They are some audiophiles who prefer the bass quality of a 2-way speaker too.
Each speaker type design has its goals and objectives, not to mention, its own pros and cons. Whether 2-way or 3-way speakers are better will also depend on your requirements and the sound quality you prefer. It will be beneficial if you would take some time to work out a list of requirements as they will help with your decision. The budget you have worked out will be a key factor in determining whether to either go with 2-way or 3-way loudspeakers. It is easier on the wallet if you were to stick with 2-way speakers though.
You will still need to audition the speakers first as this will be the main influencer in determining which is better. We can say all the good things about a 3-way speaker but if you prefer the sound quality produced by a 2-way speaker then by all means go for it. We hope this blog post has at least guided you onto the right track and may you enjoy your HiFi journey all the way.