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The Best 3-Way Speakers: 2017 Guide and Reviews

When you’re driving down the highway, you want your car stereo system to play all ranges of music, whether you are listening to Beethoven, Michael Jackson, Queen, or even Josh Groban. That’s where having the best 3-way speaker comes in. Whether you’re rocking out or mellowing out, you just want the best sound quality there is.

Quick Look: Our Top Picks

3-way Speaker NameQualityPriceRating
JBL GTO638 6.5-Inch 3-Way SpeakersA$
Rockford Fosgate R165X3 Full-Range 3-Way SpeakerA$$
Pyle PL63BL 6.5-Inch 360-Watt 3-Way SpeakersA$
Pioneer TS-A1676R 6.5-Inch 3-Way Speaker PairA+$$
Cerwin Vega H4653 3-Way Coaxial Speaker SetA$$

What Is a 3-Way Speaker?

A 3-way speaker is made with three different types of speakers.They could be in it, on it, or around it. A tri-axial speaker has a woofer, which is the large cone in the back that produces the bass–anything below 250 cycles. Thumping sounds or anything below our voice is typically a bass note.

The second driver is the mid-range driver; this is a smaller driver that produces around 1,000 cycles. In layman’s terms, that’s about the tone of your voice.

The third part is the tweeter. It typically carries frequencies from 2,500 cycles and up, hence the word tweet, which comes from the sound a bird makes.

2-way speakers vs. 3-way speakers

2-way speakers are used by people who don’t really care about sound quality or who are on a tight budget. The sound you get from them is designed for bass-less music, so if you like to listen to Beethoven or any song genre that doesn’t require much bass, it would be a good option.

However, you will have to listen to it without going very loud because these speakers have to combine lows and mids into one speaker, which hampers their capacity to play at loud volume. They also don’t give very good bass due to their limited size.

Three-way speakers are a bit more expensive, but this is expected since they include an extra speaker. In exchange for that, they offer several advantages over their 2-way counterparts.

The sound imaging you experience is more accurate since each of the three speakers is in charge of a particular range of music. The woofer delivers the bass, the midrange is for vocals, and the tweeter makes clear high pitched sounds.

Since you have a woofer that is designed to play just the low frequencies, you can experience that “thumping” sound that most rock songs use so much.

How to choose the best 3-way speaker

3-way speakers are available in many sizes. The most popular ones are 5.25” and 6” by 9” models. You can use them to replace any original 2-way speakers you might have in your car, and you should notice an improvement in the sound quality.

However, some 3-way speakers have a higher profile than the original speakers found in most vehicles. This needs to be considered; you need to make sure that this height difference will not be a problem when you try to install them.

If you are looking for some good thump, get the largest 3-way speaker you can. Bass will always be more accurately reproduced on larger cones. If the mid-bass or subwoofer has a stiff cone and is mounted with a flexible surround, it will allow it to move more air, which is necessary to reproduce bass sounds. The best speakers usually use flexible rubber for the surrounds and polymer for the cone.

The Best 3-Way Speakers

3-way Speaker NameQualityPriceRating
JBL GTO638 6.5-Inch 3-Way SpeakersA$
Rockford Fosgate R165X3 Full-Range 3-Way SpeakerA$$
Pyle PL63BL 6.5-Inch 360-Watt 3-Way SpeakersA$
Pioneer TS-A1676R 6.5-Inch 3-Way Speaker PairA+$$
Cerwin Vega H4653 3-Way Coaxial Speaker SetA$$

JBL GTO638 6.5-Inch 3-Way Speakers

JBL GTO638 6.5-Inch 3-Way Speakers-5be9f5329f161

JBL is a brand that’s been around for over 60 years and makes quality a top priority. Their speakers go through nearly 500 hours of testing; these tests simulate how the speakers would be placed in a car, so they have to pass rigorous temperature, vibration, UV light, and air humidity tests before they are released.

The GTO638 speakers are designed to offer high output, long life, smooth response and a superb bass.The woofer has more cone surface than competing models of the same size, so you get higher efficiency and better bass response. The super tweeter is made of Mylar-titanium that makes it lightweight and sturdy. The large voice coil increases power handling and reduces distortion, even when playing at high levels.

The speakers are rated at 180 watts, with an RMS of 60W. They have a 2-ohm impedance with a two-inch mounting depth, so they can be easily installed into nearly any factory-built 6-1/2” location.

Pros

  • Home theater-quality tweeter
  • Pure sound from built-in crossover network
  • Includes installation rings to fit into 6-3/4” areas

Cons

  • Mounting screws supplied can be too short to install the coverBUY THIS ONE

Rockford Fosgate R165X3 Prime 6.5-Inch Full-Range 3-Way Coaxial Speaker

Rockford Fosgate R165X3 Prime 6.5-Inch Full-Range 3-Way Coaxial Speaker-5be9f5347e070

Rockford Fosgate has made lifestyle products that deliver the best audio experience for over 35 years. The R165X3 speakers conform to CEA-2031 industry standards and are KLIPPEL verified. This means that Rockford Fosgate’s engineering personnel have been trained and certified by Klippel to deliver the best possible speakers to their customers.

These speakers have an integrated concealed crossover unit; this creates a cleaner look and makes installation easier. The cone is made from vacuum polypropylene with a rubber surround and a stamped steel basket. It also has a silk dome Piezo tweeter and midrange. It’s rated at 45 watts RMS, 90 watts max, with a nominal impedance of 4-Ohm.

Pros

  • Includes grills and trim ring
  • Excellent high and medium frequencies
  • Integrated tweeter crossover
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Low power handling ratings

BUY THIS ONE

Pyle PL63BL 6.5-Inch 360-Watt 3-Way Speakers

Pyle PL63BL 6.5-Inch 360-Watt 3-Way Speakers-5be9f5364caaa

The first thing you will notice on these speakers are their blue poly injection cones. Not only do they look great, but the butyl rubber surround lets them withstand harsh vehicle environments, such as moisture, sunlight, and extreme temperatures. A 1” neodymium film dome midrange and a ¾” Piezo tweeter provide smooth and detailed sound. These are rated at 360 watts max/180 Watts RMS 4 Ohm.

Pros

  • Blue-colored cone makes them different from other speakers
  • Inexpensive
  • Decent bass, great treble, good mid-range

Cons

  • Some customers have reported having to use washers to mount the speakers

BUY THIS ONE

Pioneer TS-A1676R 6.5-Inch 3-Way Speaker Pair

Pioneer TS-A1676R 6.5-Inch 3-Way Speaker Pair-5be9f537d1dd8

Few electronic companies have been around since 1938 as Pioneer has. Their brand is well-known among car enthusiasts for their high-quality products. The TS-A1676R speakers are designed to replace most vehicles’ factory-installed speakers quickly.

They include a highly rigid cone structure for a wider dispersion of sound, which also produces a deeper bass. The tweeter delivers an improved range of mid to high frequencies and optimized sound, even at higher volumes.

Their heat-resistance voice coil allows great heat dissipation and provides larger durability. The cooling basket with air vent also increases cooling to process improved power handling. These are rated at 320-watts max power, 50-watt nominal, 4 Ohm.

Pros

  • Good bass and dynamic range
  • High power handling
  • Wide frequency range can hit deeper notes

Cons

  • Although they will fit on almost any vehicle, on some you will need extra hardware to secure them in place

BUY THIS ONE

Cerwin Vega H4653 3-Way Coaxial Speaker Set

Cerwin Vega H4653 3-Way Coaxial Speaker Set-5be9f5393fcd2

Cerwin Vega speakers are designed and engineered to reproduce sound with great quality for many years. The H4653 speakers have a stamped-steel vented frame to provide cooling. A mica-injected reinforced propylene cone and an oversized rubber surround make it more resistant to elements and improve the internal dampening of the speaker. Its internal crossover network prevents the speaker from playing frequencies that it’s not able to.

A black anodized dome with mesh grill houses the tweeter to provide high-frequency sound with great quality. The speaker is rated at 320W, MAX/55 RMS, 4 Ohm.

Pros

  • Very good mid bass
  • Cover grills included
  • Cerwin Vega is very well-known brand in the car audio world

Cons

Conclusion

The primary use for a 6.5” speaker is to replace the ones that come from the factory in your car. These are small speakers usually meant to be placed inside the door, so even if you buy the most advanced and expensive model, you will still have to follow the laws of physics.

This means that a 6.5” speaker will always have a small subwoofer, so you will never get that thumping sound that will cause your windows to rattle, no matter how high you turn up your volume. If you want that, get a sub and a good amp. 6.5” speakers are not meant for that.

With that said, these speakers are just one part of your car audio system. We consider the best 3-way speaker to be the Pyle PL63BL. First of all, you just can’t get over the beautiful blue-colored cones; they look amazing.

They are made to withstand the harsh environment of your car, deliver a pretty good sound quality, and have many great consumer ratings at online car audio websites. But the number one feature is the price; they can cost less than half of what similar speakers do, but still sound much better than the OEM speakers that are included with most vehicles.

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