2-Way or 3-Way? - Book Shelf or Floor Standers?


Unregistered guest

I am a total new-bee just getting a feel for good music. Been doing some research on speakers.

Don't completely understand the terminology of 2 way and 3 way speakers.
What the hell is the specific difference? Could some one enlighten me? or give me a good link to read-up?

If I only want a 2 channel system do I need to go for 3-way speakers?

If I want a 5.1 HT can I still go for a 3-way ?

Please help.

PS: I am more into music than movies.

Erik Barber
Unregistered guest
Don't worry about being a newbie in the land of home audio. There are quite a few of us on here, and all the "experts" had to be a newbie at one point too.
A channel in this sense has to do with a stream of audio that will be sent to a speaker.
A 2 channel system has two streams -- left and right
A 5.1 channel system has 6 streams -- left, center, right, left rear, right rear, subwoofer.
The subwoofer is the .1 in 5.1

The "way" a speaker is, is created by a device called a crossover built into almost every speaker on the market. Most of the time it corresponds with the number of individual drivers within a speaker cabinet. If you look at a speaker with the grill off, you will see the drivers, if you see two it is probably a 2-way (tweeter and midrange); if you see three, it is probably a 3-way(tweeter, midrange, and woofer).
There are of course exceptions. Many speakers from Infinity, Polk, and others have either dual midranges or dual woofers or both. An Infinity with dual midranges is still a 2-way speaker.

This is all pretty generalized. There are other technologies like 2.5-way speakers and some speakers without crossovers, etc.

BTW, if you are mostly interested in music you will probably be happy with a 2 channel system. Even a 2.1 system (.1 = sub) might be a good choice. The number of ways a speaker is isn't really important as long as you like the sound. However, a general rule of thumb is that a 3-way speaker will have more bass response than a 2-way because of the dedicated bass driver. Similarly, people will argue that a 2-way speaker has a more life like and clear high and mid range. All depends on what sounds good to you.

Just holler if you have more questions.
p.s. sorry for the long post, hopefully it was worth it

Bronze Member
Username: Cory


Post Number: 31
Registered: Jan-05
Very good explenation Erik couldn't do better myself
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