What is a 3-way Speaker System?

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One of the often-asked questions I received is “what is a 3-way speaker system”.

Well, let’s start with the basic. A speaker incorporates crossover circuitry that splits the single audio signal sent from an amplifier into the appropriate frequencies. Low frequencies are then sent to the woofer, high frequencies to the tweeter and mid frequencies to the mid-range driver. 3-way speakers vary in the specific frequencies they use to designate low from mid and mid from high.

So does it mean, then, 3-way speakers will have three different drivers? Not necessarily. The 3-way designation is based on the crossover frequency separation. So this means that a speaker with one tweeter and two identical woofers can still be classified as 3-way if the crossover divides the frequency range three ways.

The same goes with 4-way speaker system that utilizes 1 tweeter and 3 identical woofer drivers. As long as the frequencies are divided four way, then it will still be called a 4-way speaker system.

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