2-way Vs 3-way Vs 4-way Speakers. Which Is Better?

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Speakers are classified into many classes and categories. One category is the 2-way or 3-way speakers. Newbies and a few intermediate home theater owners get confused by these terminologies. This guide is created to make it easier for you. Let’s jump in. 2-way Vs 3-way Vs 4-way speakers. Which is better?

At A Glance: As a general rule of thumb, if you want the best surround sound experience then a combination of 2-way and 3-way speakers will be great but if you love hip-hop, pop, or rock music then a set of 4-way stereo speakers will be great.

Keep reading because I will be revealing the philosophy behind it. After discussing them, I will also compare them head to head. At the end of the article, you will know which is better for your needs. Get the pattern of the combination for the surround sound. Stay for the final verdict.

What is a 2-way speaker?

2-way speaker design

A 2-way speaker has one woofer and one tweeter. The woofer handles the lower-mid, and mid frequencies while the tweeter handles the high frequencies. 

These types of speakers are good when they are being used for sound effects but they are not good when they are used for dialogue productions. The one trick to make them good for dialogues is to accompany them with two woofers.

When they have two woofers. Then the mid frequencies will come out stronger. Due to this, the dialogue will be heard clearly. 

This is the most common type of speaker. You might have seen it more than the other types of speakers that we will discuss here.

They are also known as WT or MT. It means woofer/tweeter and mid-woofer/tweeter.

We will discuss its frequency range in the comparison section. 

Pros

  1. These speakers are good for sound effects
  2. They have flawless crossover transitions.
  3. It has a simple and beautiful-looking design

Cons

  1. TM arrangement is not good for dialogues. You need MTM for that. Here they will still be called 2-way.

Read this review guide about the best speakers for home theater. I have reviewed the top 7.

What is a 3-way speaker?

3-way speaker design

The 3-way speaker has a woofer, mid-woofer, and tweeter. The woofer works on lower frequencies, the mid-woofer works on the mid frequencies and the tweeter is there for high frequencies.

This type of speaker has a good grip over the range of frequencies. They are suitable for both sound effects and dialogue delivery. But using them for sound effects will be a waste of money. Because they are more expensive than 2-way speakers and the 2-way speakers can also be a good candidate for sound effects.

But designing a good flawless crossover circuit here is a bit of a challenge. Many brands will succeed in the future in making a flawless crossover transition.

Pros

  1. It has varieties of frequency ranges
  2. Pro looking design
  3. They are the best fit for dialogues

Cons

  1. They have no flawless crossover

To know more about the crossover. Read this guide. Best frequency response and crossover settings for home theater. I have talked about both of them.

What is a 4-way speaker?

4-way speaker design

The 4-way speaker has a woofer, mid-woofer, tweeter, and a super-tweeter. The woofer is for the lower frequencies, the mid-woofer is for the mid frequencies, the tweeter is for high frequencies, and the super-tweeter is for the super high frequencies.

These types of speakers are not suitable for home theater purposes or music in general. But they can only be best fit for electronic, pop, hip-hop, and rock music genres.

They are just overrated and have unnecessary designs that can’t be used for a good home theater experience. Also, they are not worth the money.

The crossover is flawless in the 2-way and noticeable in the 3-way and worse in the 4-way.

Pros

  1. It has deep high range frequencies
  2. It is good for hip-hop, rock, electronic, and pop genre music.
  3. They have a pro look

Cons

  1. They are expensive and not worth the money
  2. Flaws in the crossover transitioning
  3. Not good for home theater

Know, how to optimize the home theater audio? I have included simple 5 steps.

2-way Vs 3-way Vs 4-way Speakers. Comparison.

Speaker TypeFrequency RangeLow FrequenciesMid FrequenciesHigh Frequencies
2-Way Speaker60 Hz to 20kHzShallowDeepDeep & suitable
3-Way Speaker50 Hz to 20 kHzShallowFirm & deepDeep & Suitable
4-Way Speaker50 Hz to +20 kHzShallowFirm & DeepOver the Top depth
Don’t jump to a conclusion. Read the following to know better.

Low-frequency Range Performance

They all are not deep in the lower end of the frequencies. They can’t provide satisfying bass. Now, you might be thinking about where to get the deep lower frequencies.

The depth of the frequencies starts from 20 Hz to 50 Hz. Below these frequencies is the pure bass. You need bigger drivers to push this bass out of it.

Only a subwoofer has a bigger woofer that can create these frequencies. A well built subwoofer can go down to 20 Hz or further. That’s why the surround sound always has a subwoofer in the system.

Increase the home theater bass in 9 steps. I have tested these steps by myself.

Mid-frequency Range Performance

All of the speaker types are suitable for the mid-frequencies. They provide enough depth of the mid-frequencies that can produce good dialogues and sound effects.

No more depth is needed to enhance the home theater experience. However, if the video content is not in your native language and you are learning a new language. Then a 3-way speaker will be better than 2-way speakers. because they can cover the mid-frequencies better. Otherwise, there is no big difference here in this range.

If English is your native language and the content is in English then you are good to go with a 2-way speaker.

You can know more about it here. What to look for in a center speaker? I have discussed many more things here for better dialogue.

High-frequency Range Performance

The 2-way and the 3-way speaker provide enough depth for the high frequencies that are suitable for the best home theater experience.

The 4-way speaker’s high-frequency range is just an exaggeration when using it for home theater or music in general.

We don’t need this depth to high frequencies for home theater purposes.

However, if your hobby is listening to high-frequency music genres like hip-hop and pop then you will like 4-way speakers. Otherwise, you will think that you have wasted the money on it.

Final Verdict: Which is the best?

  1. The 2-way and the 3-way combination is the best for surround sound. Use the 3-way speaker for the front left and right and center speaker and for all other positions in the surround sound use the 2-way speakers. In this combination, you will save money and will have the best sound effects and dialogue experience possible.
  2. Avoid going for a 4-way speaker if you need speakers for home theater or for music in general. You will love 4-way speakers for the pop, hip-hop, rock, and electronic music genre only.

Did you get something out of this speaker composition guide? Hold On We Have Something Exciting To Share.

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FAQs

Do 2-way speakers have bass?

The 2-way speaker has a lower end of frequencies but that range can’t be called bass. Because The bass frequencies are lower than 50 Hz.

The bass is that that can be felt in the chest. While this case can’t be felt in the 2-ways speakers.

Do 3-way speakers have more bass?

The 3-way speaker has a 50 Hz lower frequency limit. Again this frequency limit is not bass. That’s why you can say that the 3-wy speakers don’t have bass.

They can’t have a woofer bigger. Like 8-12 inches to produce better bass frequencies. If it has in your case then yes it can create bass.

Does a 4-way speaker have more bass?

The 4-way speaker is not created for bass but for high frequencies. They can go super deep in the high frequencies range. Expecting bass from the 4-way speaker is not a wise thing to do.

The super tweeter is installed in the 4-way speaker, not subwoofer is installed in it. That’s why they have deep highs but not deep lows.

Helpful Resources For The FAQs To Read More

  1. This was my opinion, read more about bass speakers from Businessinsider blog. LoL blog is about business but what articles they are writing nowadays? But they put research into articles. (Resource for the second answer)

Watch To Learn More About The Speakers Composition

This article was first posted on Homelytainment.com.
Ayaan Khan
Ayaan Khan

I'm Ayaan khan, a freelancer and a Computer Science degree holder from P.E.S. College. After my degree, I started an internship with my father in his home theater showroom. After working for a month I realized that this is the best job in the world for me and it could be turned into a passion. Fast forward to when my internship ended, I joined my father as a full-time home theater equipment tester. I test new equipment and approve it before it can be installed in the customer's house. I love to test equipment and sometimes love to install it by myself in the customer's theater room. I have the right experience and knowledge to learn from my articles. In my Free time I write & answer questions here on AVSFORUM. Every Article on Homelytainment is curated according to Homelytainment's Editorial Policy and Sponsorship Policy. If you have any questions for me. Reach out to my email (Support(AT)homelytainment.com)

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