Right from day one, most earbuds have been all about portability and convenience more than sound quality.
Sure, high-end earbuds could give you a halfway decent sound experience, if you were willing to pay the premium price tag and still get lackluster results compared to much less expensive studio headphones.
But, generally speaking, these earbuds were beloved more for the convenient, lightweight and “out-of-the-way” they were more than anything else.
Today’s multi driver earbuds, though, are something else entirely.
Combining the deep, rich and authentic sound experience you’d expect from much larger headphones with the portability and the convenience of traditional earbuds, these really are the best of all worlds.
By shoehorning in multiple audio drivers into the earbud form factor you end up with a much more authentic, much richer and much more nuanced sound experience than before.
Because this technology (in earbuds, anyway) is still relatively new, these kinds of headphones are pretty rare and hard-to-find. Thankfully, though, that’s changing as more manufacturers jump on board.
In the rest of this detailed breakdown, we highlight (almost) everything that makes dual and multi driver earbuds so special.
Let’s jump right in!
Dual (and multi) driver earbuds are basically earbuds that have more than one sound driver built into each individual earbud itself.
This means that both of the earbuds in a pair will have two or more speakers inside them, one usually responsible for handling the deeper bass elements of the media you’re listening to and the other handling the highs and the mids.
Single driver systems kind of muddy everything up, mixing all of these different sound elements together because everything has to come out of a single driver.
With dual and multi driver speakers, though, that’s no longer a problem as the drivers are split using a crossover and then tuned to a specific audio frequency to support lows, mids and highs.
The result is a much better, much clearer, and much more authentic sound experience than what you would have had otherwise.
Here’s a quick rundown of the different ways that dual and multi driver earbuds provide better sound and why you should be looking for them!
As we highlighted a moment ago, with different sound frequencies split across multiple drivers, the earbuds can produce much more consistent sound than they would with a single driver doing all the heavy lifting.
Most audio drivers are disc shaped, and obviously the drivers that are tucked into earbuds are significantly smaller than those that are included in speakers or studio style headphones.
We are talking about drivers that usually have a diameter of between 20 mm to 50 mm.
Larger drivers (single drivers) do a better job at evening out sound output, but there’s only so much that they will be able to do when they are responsible for every aspect of the total soundscape.
By splitting up these responsibilities, allowing one driver to handle the bass and the other handling the mids and the highs (or even a driver for each of these different levels) the whole sound experience is richer for it.
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Each headphone/earbud driver is made up of three individual components – the magnet, the voice coils and the diaphragm itself.
At the same time, there are four main types of headphone drivers that usually find themselves tucked inside of earbuds today. Let’s run through them rapidly.
Dynamic drivers do not need a lot of power to function, which is why they are so popular with the earbud manufacturers.
At the same time, the sound quality dynamic drivers produce isn’t the best. There’s usually a lot of harmonic distortion (particularly at louder volume levels).
These drivers offer much better sound quality because they eliminate coils and instead go with a flat, membrane style system with an integrated wire pattern. A little on the larger side of things, they require more power to drive sound – but the audio experience is much improved.
Balanced Armature drivers are a real “sweet spot” style system for dual and multi driver earbud options. There’s fantastic treble response, almost no audio distortion whatsoever, and a much cleaner music experience from top to bottom (regardless of whether the high, mid, or low frequencies are featured).
Electrostatic drivers really haven’t found their way into the world of consumer earbuds (yet) because they are so large, so expensive and so power-hungry.
These are the kinds of high-end drivers you’ll find in the true top-of-the-line studio style headphone options available today. They offer the best audio experience by far, but there aren’t many earbuds that are leveraging this kind of tech just yet.
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If you are serious about the quality of the music you listen to or just don’t like the way that traditional earbuds with a single driver sound – usually thin, unimaginative and sort of flat – then there are many advantages that dual and multi driver earbuds bring to the table.
For one thing, you’re going to end up with a lot less sound distortion by splitting up the audio frequency responsibilities between multiple drivers.
When a single driver has to hit higher audio ranges, there is inevitably going to be a lot more distortion than there would be with multi drivers and each of the drivers tuned accordingly to a certain audio frequency. By splitting up these responsibilities, though, each driver can “max out” independently of one another – producing clear, loud sound without a lot of distortion.
With multiple drivers to spread the audio experience across, these earbuds are capable of separating individual sound frequencies from one another.
This advanced filtering system allows multiple drivers to produce better and more harmonic results, with smoother and improved sound frequency results as well. At the end of the day, dual and multi driver earbuds just sound better!
Perhaps the best of all is that the integrated crossover network circuitry of these earbuds guarantee you don’t need any “amplifying” sound accessories to improve the quality of your earphones on their own.
You don’t need any boosters. You don’t need to fiddle with the EQ app on your phone or tablet. Furthermore, you don’t need to do anything other than connect these earbuds to your media source and jam out.
The bass response you can expect from independent dual and multi driver earbuds will be significantly improved when they are freed from the shackles of having to handle mid and high frequencies as well.
You end up with much more authentic, much richer and much fuller audio experiences than the flat, kind of one-dimensional experiences that traditional earbuds always deliver.
When you get right down to it, a dual driver is (almost) always going to sound better than a single driver earbud ever will.
Two or more drivers working independently but in sync with one another will be able to better harmonize the sound that is being produced.
By splitting up the responsibilities and dividing the power demands across two or more drivers, the result is a clearer, more authentically reproduced sound experience and better performance.
Moreover, dual drivers will be able to pump out richer and better amplified sound than single driver options. Single driver earbuds can usually put out about 20 kHz when maxed out, but dual drivers will be able to go far beyond that.
This means you get louder music that is less distorted, music that sounds more authentic, and music that is considerably richer with more depth and dimension.
Multi driver earbuds may never be able to offer the same sound experience that traditional studio headphones can, but they are already light years beyond what traditional single driver options offer.
If you have the budget (and the interest in much better audio across the board) then upgrading to a dual or multi driver earbud setup is a bit of a no-brainer.
As we mentioned a moment ago, there aren’t (yet) a ton of manufacturers making top quality multi driver earbuds.
Finding the right ones can take a lot of time, a lot of effort and a ton of digging.
To help you shortcut the search, we’ve put together this breakdown of three of the very best dual driver choices on the market today. Each of them is well-made, each of them features multi driver audio experiences, and each of them will dramatically upgrade your sound experience right out of the box.
If you want to get your hands on new dual driver earbuds, start your search with these!
Whether you’re looking for new headphones to wear to the gym, to drown out office or travel noise or just to enjoy your favorite music as authentically as possible, these multi driver earbuds fit the bill.
Not only do each of these earbuds have multiple sound drivers built right in, but each of the individual drivers have been expertly (and hand tuned) by Luca Bignardi – a four time Grammy award-winning sound engineer.
The result is dynamic, crystal clear sound that is carefully balanced for any of the music that you are listening to – regardless of the genre and of the volume.
Combine that with Bluetooth 5.0, Active Noise Canceling technology, USB-C charging capabilities, wireless charging capabilities, touch control and full THX certification - and it’s not hard to see why these earbuds are so in demand.
Both of the individual sound drivers in these earbuds have been carefully tuned to one another, producing a crystal clear audio experience that single audio driver earphones can struggle with.
Sound from these earbuds is truly immersive, with rich and authentic bass, a crisp mid-frequency and highs that aren’t ever going to be drowned out or “tinny”.
You also end up with an expansive dynamic range with this dual driver set up.
This ends up showcasing a lot of the more subtle nuances in your favorite music (from your favorite artists) that would have otherwise been lost with single driver headphones.
Wonderful stereo talk capabilities, a wireless charging case and a battery life that runs on forever – 30 hours of runtime on average, Bluetooth 5.0 – all help to make these earbuds some of the best multi driver options money can buy.
The sound engineers behind these dual driver wireless earbuds pulled out all the stops.
Under the hood of each individual earbud is a Knowles balanced armature driver as well as a customized dynamic driver – all combined together with proprietary crossover technology to produce rich, authentic and unparalleled sound.
These earphones also take full advantage of everything that Bluetooth 5.2 has to offer.
Not only are you going to get a much more stable wireless connection to your media sources, but you’re going to get improved audio quality because of the strength of that connection, too.
You won’t have to worry about pops, drops or artifacting with your new earbuds the way you might have with other options.
Mix in Active Noise Cancellation (utilizing four individual microphones to pick up ambient sound), a wonderful battery life and some of the smoothest controls as well as true ergonomic fit – and these multi driver headphones are a bit of a no-brainer upgrade.
At the end of the day, multi driver earbuds certainly look like the “next big thing” in the world of headphone technology.
Sure, they are still a little rare right now – and the price tag on some of these earbuds definitely reflects that.
But, this is a game changing new technology that introduces much richer, much more complex, and much more sophisticated sound capabilities in tiny earbud form factors.
It’s going to change the way you listen to your music and your media from here on out!
Check out the three top options we highlighted above, if you’re looking to spring for new multi driver earbuds in the near future. You won’t regret going with any of them.