What is a 2-Way Speaker


Black Speaker

The First Speakers

Listening to sound and music from a speaker seems commonplace in today’s world,  but things haven’t always been that way. Music has been a popular pastime that dates back thousands of years.  For the longest time, the only options for listening to music were singing, and playing or listening to, musical instruments, and while music boxes were technically self-contained music playing devices, the game changed with the introduction of the phonograph. Thomas Edison’s popular device was invented in 1877, and once they were available and sold to the general public, the popularity of listening to recorded music from home began to grow. 

A few decades later, the radio arrived, which allowed listeners to listen to music and news in real time. It was in the radios of the 1920s, that we began to see the beginnings of the modern speaker. Speaker technology began to improve with time, and sound systems started to appear in cars and eventually vehicles of all sorts, and are now even found in most phones and handheld devices.  Along with this increase in the use of speakers, the technology associated with them has continued to increase as well, and sound systems are more effective and efficient than ever, and they sound amazing!

The Modern Speaker

Most people would recognize the basic shape and some of the key elements of a modern speaker. Technically called an electrodynamic loudspeaker, these speakers feature a cone (often a speaker’s most notable feature), a body or basket frame that supports the cone, and a stationary magnet on the back. A coil that is attached to the cone vibrates due to the magnet field produced by the circular magnet on the back, and sound is created as a result. This basic speaker has evolved into what we know and use today.  

 Speakers have evolved over many years to operate in and under different conditions, but one of the top uses continues to be home and vehicle audio systems. Other types of speakers have been developed to fill many particular needs, and suit many styles of music, so while any speaker might produce sound, it is important to understand the differences if you want the highest quality sound possible.

The Basic Types of Speakers

Modern speakers might all have a similar shape, but they can have vastly different sizes. This difference in size is due to the fact a speaker will produce different ranges of sounds easier based on its size.  So to achieve the best quality sound possible out of a traditional sound system, various sizes of speakers will have to be used. These different types of speakers have traditionally been known as tweeters, mid-range speakers, and bass subwoofers.

Mid-range speakers - A mid-range speaker produces the same kinds of sounds as its name implies, right in the middle of what most consider to be a usable middle range. They produce a good mix of treble and base and have often been used by themselves in extremely basic audio systems. 

Tweeters – A tweeter’s name also gives a clue to its sound.  A high-pitched chirp or tweet tends to be on the higher side of the range of the sound spectrum heard in today’s world. A Tweeter is small compared to all other styles of speakers, and its small cone size allows it to produce sounds at the highest frequency ranges with ease. Tweeters are a popular addition to sound systems because they focus on the highs, and allow the other speakers in the system to provide the lower notes.

Subwoofers – while a subwoofer’s name isn’t quite as easy to decode as the others, it often becomes obvious what their purpose is due to their large size.  Subwoofers, which are usually just called subs, provide the bass. The large cones found in subs produce sounds found at the lowest frequency range and are often the most popular addition to any household or automotive sound system and provide a real thump. 

New Speaker Technology

For many years these three style speakers, tweeters, mids, and subs, were found in the best sound systems, but due to the use of so many speakers to get the full range of sound, these physically large audio systems took up a lot of space.  This might work well in a house, but in a vehicle like a car or a boat, and especially a motorcycle where space is at a premium, the size of a speaker matters almost as much as its range and function.

So is there a way for these different styles of speakers to work together in unison to produce the perfect sound, and can they be combined in a single housing to save space? The answer is yes! A 2-way speaker and a 3-way speaker both accomplish the goal of combining different size speakers or drivers into a single housing and allows them to work together to produce the best sound possible.  But what exactly are 2-way and 3-way speakers?, and how do they work?

What is a 2-Way Speaker?

2-way speakers are popular additions to any audio system because they combine two traditional styles of speakers or drivers, usually described as a tweeter and subwoofer, and combine them into a single housing. Usually, the smaller tweeter portion of a 2-way speaker is placed in the front center of the subwoofer portion to utilize space as efficiently as possible, but this is not always the case, and they can be mounted side by side in a single unit.

These two drivers are supplied by the same source frequency signal, which is sent to both drivers. This allows each driver to operate within its own specific frequency selection at the same time in unison, and combines the sounds together for your listening pleasure. This creates a much higher quality sound than a traditional single speaker can provide. Using a 2-way speaker not only provides for better sound than a traditional setup, but also helps save space which is especially valuable when it comes to automotive, boat, and motorcycle sound systems.

What is a 3-Way Speaker?       

After reading the description of a 2-way speaker and how it operates, it’s not much of a stretch to understand exactly what a 3-Way speaker is and how it works. Instead of utilizing just a tweeter driver and a subwoofer driver to produce high and low frequency sounds in unison, a 3-way speaker utilizes a third mid-range frequency driver to work with the high and low frequency drivers. 

3-way speakers contain three separate drivers in one single unit that can usually be found in the same exact sizes as other speakers that feature fewer drivers.  This makes them even more desirable for use in automobiles, boats, and motorcycles because they offer better sound while taking up the same amount of space. 3-way speakers are a great example of how technology has progressed from the early days of household radio speakers to the advanced and efficient audio equipment of today.

What are the Differences Between 2 and 3-Way Speakers?

So now that you know the facts about 2 and 3-way speakers, what are the differences between the two styles of speakers? Well, the most obvious differences are the number of drivers in each speaker. A 2-way speaker contains one high and one low frequency specific driver, while a 3-way speaker contains a high and low frequency driver along with a third mid-range frequency driver.  This allows a 3-way speaker to produce a higher quality sound while utilizing the same amount of space as a 2-way speaker, but what are the other differences.

Besides the amount of drivers in each speaker, cost can often be another difference between 2 and 3-way speakers. 3-way speakers are often more expensive than 2-way speakers of the same quality, and this is often due to the higher number of parts involved and the cost of assembly. But do not let the number of drivers fool you, a high-quality 2-way speaker will always sound better than a cheap poor quality 3-way speaker.

Which Type of Speaker Should I Choose?

Now that you have the facts, which type of speaker should you choose?  Well, that depends on what exactly you are trying to accomplish. Both will provide excellent space utilization, and both can provide exceptional sound quality.  Your style and personal taste in music should also play a part in your decision, do you prefer highs and lows, or do you like a very balanced midrange sound?  And your budget might also be a deciding factor.  There are some cheap speakers out there, but they will most likely produce an inferior sound.  Quality matters, and remember that a cheap 3-way speaker will most likely sound worse than a high-quality 2-way unit.  This final decision comes down to your personal preferences at taste, but there is no wrong choice.

Shop Garage Bagger Stereo

So you have made your choice and are looking for the highest quality speakers and stereo equipment on the market, well look no further than Garage Bagger Stereo.  The folks at Garage Bagger Stereo carry the best brands of auto, boat, and motorcycle speakers and other sound system equipment.  They are a trusted source for stereo equipment with many years of combined experience with sound systems.  If you have any questions, they are just a call or email away and can help you reach your goals when it comes to putting together  a custom audio system. 

So check them out at https://garagebaggerstereo.com , order the best 2 and 3-way speakers on the market or any other audio equipment you need, install them in your ride of choice, and enjoy many hours of listening to the best quality sound out there!

This Blog Was Reviewed for Accuracy By Audio Expert, Chris Lowe

Chris Lowe, the esteemed owner of Garage Bagger Stereo, is a globally recognized authority in Motorcycle and Boat Audio systems. With a decorated experience spanning over a decade, Chris has curated audio experiences for enthusiasts and businesses worldwide. His expertise and stellar work are prominently showcased across various social media platforms and can be further explored through the offerings on the official Garage Bagger Stereo website.

Originally hailing from South Georgia and currently residing in Greenville, South Carolina, Chris's fervor for boating and motorcycles is deeply rooted. It's this passion, coupled with his affection for car audio, that has seamlessly interwoven his personal interests with his professional pursuits. This synergy has not only invigorated his daily endeavors but also continually fuels his commitment to excellence in the audio industry.