What is a Full range Speaker?

Norvan Martin

When buying a speaker, you will mostly have to choose between regular and full range speakers. Regular speakers have multiple components and use separate drivers to produce low and high-frequency audio signals.

They usually come with a tweeter for highs, a woofer for low frequencies, and a crossover circuit to direct the signal. 

What Is A Full Range Speaker?

A full-range speaker is a speaker that has a single driver, capable of producing the entire audible frequency range (20 Hz to 20 kHz).all the audio signals audible to the human ear (20 Hz to 20 kHz). Unlike multi-driver systems, full-range speakers handle low, mid, and high frequencies, offering a unified audio output. However, they require intricate design and quality materials for effective performance.

That eliminates the need for a crossover to direct the signal or other additional equipment to boost the sound. Compared to other speakers, they offer more detail and articulation in the mid-range.

The improved mid-range clarity makes these speakers excellent for subtle music like chamber ensembles or jazz.

That makes them great specialty speakers, but they lack the dynamic range and power of a multi-driver speaker. Keep reading to learn more about full range speakers.

Components of a Full Range Speaker

A typical full range speaker features multiple components put together innovatively to give out a full stereo sound.

Depending on the design, it may feature different types of sound drivers in a single driver element. For instance, a speaker may have a wheezer cone attached at the point where the diaphragm and the voice coil meet.what are full range speakers

That will thereby maximize the high-frequency performance and improve the sound quality.

In some designs, the manufacturer may couple the diaphragm with the voice coil with a compliant bond.

The bond ensures that high-frequency signals move the wheezer cone, instead of transmitting them. This technique is a mechanical application of audio crossover.

Since a full range speaker needs to have both high and low-frequency response, it covers an extended audio spectrum compared to other speakers.

For high-frequencies, it may include a light voice coil and a unique cabinet design for low frequencies.  It may also feature different drivers to give you improve your listening experience. These drivers include:

Bass Drivers or Subwoofer

Popularly known as woofers or bass speakers, bass drivers produce the lowest audio frequencies in a speaker. They are popularly known as subwoofers. 

For a full range speaker, the sound driver is responsible for producing signals from about 40 Hz to 300 Hz. That allows you to hear the notes created by kick drums, bass guitars, and other bass orchestral instruments. However, some regular speaker systems can go as low as 15 Hz.

The bass drivers are usually made of some sort of paper material, forming the most significant component in any given speaker.  In full range speakers, these essential components work with the midrange drivers to create an excellent stereo sound and create a strong bass without distortion.

Midrange Drivers

In a standard three-driver speaker, the midrange driver produces mid-level frequencies, ranging from 300 Hz to 2 kHz. That’s the level where the human voice can be heard clearly. The midrange driver is also responsible for producing sounds created by musical instruments.

In full range speakers, the midrange driver is a cone-shaped component made of paper material. The frequency range of these drivers is maximized by the use of a Whizzer cone (tweeter).

Mid-Bass Drivers

Though most speaker systems come with the bass and midrange sound drivers, small full range speakers only have a single driver. This audio component is known as the mid-bass driver. It’s responsible for handling both the midrange and bass frequencies.

Full range speakers with mid-bass drivers usually cut off the sound at around 100 Hz. That means that the bass is not as deep as speakers with a dedicated bass driver. However, it works perfectly with the midrange frequencies.


Quality full range speaker systems feature a dedicated tweeter, a component responsible for producing high-frequency signals. These vital components of a speaker system can create sound signals at a range of about 2,000 Hz to 20,000 Hz. However, some may even go higher.

Tweeters are typically the smallest components of a speaker. They can look like a small film sheet, a rectangular horn or a small dome protected by a mesh/grill. Tweeters are the exact opposite of subwoofers. Check out our comparison of tweets vs subwoofers

Advantages and Disadvantages of Full Range Speakers

Benefits of Full Range Speakers:

  1. Ease of Use: Full range speakers are simpler due to having only one driver for all sounds. This simplicity means easier setup, as there’s no need to adjust different drivers or manage crossovers.
  2. Sound Quality: With sound emanating from a single source, full range speakers often provide better synchronization of audio. This can result in a more lifelike sound experience, as the timing of high and low sounds is well-matched.
  3. Sound Placement: The single point of sound emission in full range speakers can lead to clearer sound localization, giving a better sense of where each sound is coming from in the music.
  4. Less Noise Interference: Full range speakers typically experience less noise interference since they don’t have multiple drivers that could cause mutual disturbances, unlike some multi-driver speakers.

Downsides of Full Range Speakers:

  1. Range Limits: Full range speakers may struggle to reproduce the very low bass and the highest treble frequencies as effectively as other types of speakers.
  2. Volume Limits: These speakers might not handle high volumes as well as multi-driver systems, which could be a limitation in situations requiring loud sound.
  3. More Distortion at Extremes: Pushing full range speakers to the limits of their frequency range can lead to more distortion than in speakers specifically designed for those extremes.
  4. Design Trade-Offs: Achieving a broad range of sound with a single driver often involves compromises in efficiency, bass handling, and maximum sound level without distortion.

Understanding Human Hearing And Full Range Speakers

To fully understand what a full range speaker is, it’s essential to learn about sound. Sound frequency is measured in hertz (Hz), or the number of times that the audio signal rises and falls within a second.

Quality speakers are built to produce both high and low frequencies at a level that is audible to the human ear.

human hearing frequency full range speakers

The human ear is capable of hearing all sounds ranging from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz. To help you understand this concept, speakers can produce a heart-thumping bass at 20Hz and a piercingly high-frequency signal at 20,000 Hz (20 kHz).

A full range speaker is capable of producing most of these frequencies, within the limitations of its physical constraints. That means that the speaker’s design can influence the sound quality of a full range speaker.


1. How Do I Know If My Speakers Are Full Range?

In case you just stumbled on this topic and you are trying to check if your already owned speakers are full range, you’re just about to find out.

To find out if your speakers are full range or not, you can check for the following:

  1. Your speaker came with a subwoofer: This is applicable if you bought a speaker system and you find out that one of the speakers has a frequency response range as low as 18Hz or lower than 20Hz.
  2. Your Speaker has at least 20Hz-20,000Hz: If the frequency response range of your speaker is between 20Hz – 20,000Hz, then your speaker is a full range speaker.

2. What Is The Price Of Full Range Speakers?

The prices of full range speakers differ and have a wide range due to different factors such as The brand, the quality of the speaker, and also the size of the speaker.

Therefore, Full range speakers can range from as low as $35 to as high as $150 depending on what you want.

3. Why Choose a Full-Range Speaker?

Having in mind that you may have to sacrifice the bass performance, you may be wondering if a full range speaker is worth buying.

However, this type of speaker may be all you need to make your home lively. It offers a listening experience that most multi-way speakers can’t match, giving you the illusion of a live concert.

Moreover, they give you a fantastic midrange and allow you to enjoy an excellent soundstage experience.

For big units, the bass performance is incredible, but you will have to compromise on the higher frequencies.

However, they produce a sound that can challenge most multi-component speakers on the market. In general, the clarity of these speakers is quite lovely while working within the limitation of their designs.

If for whatever reason you want to strip out or highlight various frequency ranges, you can use 2 way, 3 way or 4 way speakers. To learn more, check out our comparison of 2 way vs 3 way speakers and 2 way vs 4 way speakers.


Full range speakers offer a great sound experience and the quality of sound is better than that of most multi-way speakers.

The elimination of a crossover gives these speakers more power to provide a delightful listening experience, with more clarity and detail in the mid-level tones.

However, commercial full range speakers may be expensive and rare. In some cases, audiophiles may have to assemble their own units.

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Norvan Martin is the founder of BoomSpeaker.com. He is a professional Electronics Engineer and is passionate about home theater systems and AV electronics. BoomSpeaker was created as an online hub to share his knowledge and experiences as it relates to home theaters and home audio electronics. My email: [email protected]  Connect on Pinterest and Linkedin