3 way car speakers are available in many sizes and for many applications. They offer a viable option to purchasing separate components, such as woofers and individual satellite radio speakers.
No single speaker has the ability to cover the entire range of audible frequencies. 3-way car stereo speakers, a configuration of coaxial car speakers, make use of 3 individual speakers packaged together to cover that range. Sound reproduction will be better by using the multiple speakers that comprise a 3-way.
3-way car speakers use a combination of a woofer or mid-bass, a mid-range speaker and a tweeter to reproduce audible frequencies. Frequency is measured in Hertz (Hz) and should be listed in the specifications of the speaker. As a general rule, woofers or mid-basses are used to reproduce lower frequency sounds, approximately 20 Hz to 800 Hz. The midrange is used to reproduce a range of frequencies typically in the 800 Hz to 5000 Hz range, and the tweeter is used to reproduce the sounds of frequencies above that. Ranges will differ based on manufacturer and the overall size of the speaker and components.
Crossover filters are used to control the frequency response of each speaker. It is important that each of the 3 speakers work within the range of frequencies for which it is designed. Speakers can be damaged if they are used outside of their range. Crossover filters make sure the right frequencies make it to the appropriate speaker, and that (ideally) there is little “overlap” between ranges.
3-way speakers are available in a variety of sizes such as 5.25 inches and 6×9 inch models. This means that they can be used to replace the original speakers found in most automobiles. Replacing an original dual-cone or 2-way speaker with a 3-way car speaker should produce better sound reproduction. It is important to note that some 3-way speakers may have a higher profile than the original speakers. Allowances for this height difference may have to be made for proper installation.
For heavier bass applications, choose the largest 3-way car speaker possible. Bass, as a matter of physics, will be more accurately reproduced by a larger cone. The woofer, or mid-bass, should be constructed so that the cone is stiff, and mounted with a flexible surround. This will allow the woofer to move a lot of air, necessary to reproduce base sounds. Polk car speakers, for instance, use flexible Butyl rubber for the surrounds and a polymer constructed cone.
The frame, also called the basket, of 3-way car speakers should be rigid and made of materials such as good quality stamped steel or aluminum. The smaller speakers should be solidly mounted via posts or bridges connected directly to the frame.
When deciding on car stereo speakers, 3-ways may be a good alternative. In many cases they are priced cheaper than comparable component systems and will likely be easier to install. They are typically priced very competitively compared to 2-way speakers, and should offer better sound reproduction.