When it comes down to your cars stereo speakers, it’s important to NOT overlook one of the most important components, those being car speakers. That’s right, car speakers are what gives your music (or whatever you may be listening to), a clear way to reach your ears. You can have excellent and hard hitting sub woofers, but when you can barely make out what the vocals are… you’re left in a tough spot and enjoyment goes out the window.
So let us start with some information about car speakers in this review, a must read for all lovers of quality speakers!
There are different types of speakers out on the market today. Finding out what you need exactly may save you time and money, but more significantly, improve the sound system of your car. So what’s the difference between 2-way, 3-way, 4-way, 5-way speakers and all that jazz? We want to help you in making a decision in this matter, so, here’s a lowdown on what makes each type shine.
First of all, tweeters are small speakers dedicated to high-frequency reproduction. There are some great features about tweeters that you might want to consider, before going much further. Several speaker manufacturers offer adjustable mounts for their tweeters so you can mount them in a particular position, so they can broadcast their high frequencies more precisely to where you’re sitting. A few speakers come with “bi-amp” inputs. These allow you to power the woofer and tweeter from different source, as from separate amps, for example, for a more powerful sound.
Five-way coaxial speakers consist of a woofer and four tweeters built into a bracket over the middle of the woofer. The woofer produces the lows and mid-ranges, while each of the four tweeters produce specific frequency ranges that are between the high to mid-level, and the high level.
Four-way speakers are comprised of an extra driver, (besides the woofer, the mid-range speaker and the tweeter), and is called a “super-tweeter”. This is a small driver dedicated to ultra-high frequency reproduction. Four-way speakers consist of a woofer and three tweeters built into a bracket over the middle of the woofer. The woofer produces the low and mid level sounds, while each of the three tweeters produce specific frequency ranges between the high to mid-level, and the high level.
Three-way car speakers, also referred to as tri-axial speakers, usually consist of the woofer, the tweeter, and an extra component called the “mid-range”. It is designed for the mid-range audio frequency sounds (160 Hz to 5.2 KHz), such as a human voice or even musical instruments, like trumpets or saxophones. The mid-range speaker balances the frequency slope by outputting the frequencies most natural to the human ear, thus, the “aural intake”. In this sense, three-way car speakers sound better than two-way car speakers.
Two-way car speakers, or coaxial speakers, are standard; they usually consist of a woofer and a tweeter. The woofer is the component that reproduces lower audio frequency sounds (3 KHz to 20 KHz). Such sounds are typical of the notes from a bass guitar or a tuba. The tweeter is the driver that reproduces the higher audio frequencies (under 30 Hz to 160 Hz), like those coming from a cymbal, a tambourine, or a flute.
However, there are exceptions to the composition of some two-way and three-way car speakers. For instance, some three-way car speakers use a super tweeter in place of a mid-range to extend a high-frequency response or add greater detail to the sound.
Although two-way and three-way car speakers are modifiable component-wise, such modifications do not influence the modality of the speaker system. For instance, a three-way car speaker consisting of two woofers, one mid-range, and a tweeter is still a three-way because the two woofers are serving the same function.
Two-way and three-way car speakers can also have their components separated as distinct speakers, each designed to transmit a certain frequency of sound. These are referred to as component speaker systems. A two-way component speaker system comprises two speakers: the tweeter and the woofer. A three-way component speaker system has three speakers: the tweeter, the woofer, and the mid-range speaker. As opposed to having the sound coming from the same place, component speaker systems separate the range of sounds through specialized speakers.
A component speaker system typically includes a mid-range woofer, separated tweeters and an external crossover. These separate components work together to produce a high quality sound. These systems usually use crossovers connections (or cables) that create a clean separation between frequencies of the woofer and tweeter, thus allowing for a crisper sound.
There are some pros and cons of component speakers. Unlike coaxial speakers, component speakers are designed to allocate audio frequencies to separate speaker types. In this setup, the tweeter is almost always separate from the mid-bass driver, and the entire setup typically consists of a pair of tweeters, mid-bass woofers, and some crossovers. Here the audio frequencies that each speaker produces are limited, thereby resulting in a more realistic and precise sound production. Although the above-described setup is the standard, it is by no means the only setup. Users can get as crazy as they want by adding mid-range speakers for cars so that woofers can shift focus and the outcome is greater sound quality from each speaker. To achieve even further sound enhancement, users can add super tweeters and sub-woofers to their system.
High-end component speakers for cars are a lot more expensive than good coaxial speakers. Also, installing component speakers often requires major modifications to the interior of your car. This is to make room for all the various speaker types, wires, and accessories. In the end, it all comes down to personal preference. Each person must decide for themselves the level of sound they want in their cars and how much they wish to spend on it.
If you’re one of the many people who enjoy listening to music at high-quality standards while driving, then you’ve already figured out that the normal factory-installed speakers aren’t that great. This being said, there are a lot of quality speakers to choose from, provided you know the exact specifications of what type of speakers you need, otherwise, you might be stumped when it comes to making an actual purchase.
Before you dive into choosing best car speakers for your vehicle, it’s a good idea for you to understand the different parts, that make up a speaker.
The first thing you should know, is that a good car sound system is complicated and can be pretty expensive. If you want the very best sound quality, you must be prepared to spend a lot of money. Likewise, the reverse is true. If you don’t wish to spend a lot, you may not get the quality you are looking for. Speakers with lower impedance have better sound, generally speaking.
Impedance is measured in ohms, so look for a lower number of ohms (they are usually 2, 4, 6, or 8). Also, according to many audio experts, mid-range speakers produce better sound quality than full-range speakers at the same frequencies. This goes back to how the different systems operate.
Coaxial systems combine different drivers in one full-range speaker. But, because they lack a mid-range driver, the tweeter and woofer have to compensate for this omission. As a result, the sound is not as sharp as it could be. Furthermore, sometimes the movement of the woofer will interfere with the tweeter, creating dissonance in the speaker.
Another key point is that for a mid-range speaker to provide the best sound quality, they also need to work with a tweeter and woofer speaker. Otherwise, the notes will sound flat. If only one speaker is going to drive the entire system, then it is better to get a full-range speaker that can at least cover all frequencies.
However, some speakers cannot make an impressive sound quality, so they are not a wise choice. Keep in mind that the price isn’t crucial for the best sound quality, but it does have some bearing on it.
The volume output you desire is a personal preference. Not everyone wants to “blast” their ears while listening to music in the car (and it would be detrimental to your hearing as well), but you do want decent volume control and should expect standard levels to be sufficient for your needs. The best and easiest way to decide this for yourself, is to listen to the speakers in person. This can be done at a sales location. It is quite difficult to discern this when you are purchasing the speakers on the internet, but one can listen to them personally, and then purchase them elsewhere, if desired. Feel free to ask to ask the salesperson of all the specifications regarding volume and everything else, so you have all the pertinent information on hand, when making your decision.
A “specification” on each speaker will tell you a lot of details about it power and sensitivity. Most speakers have an impedance of 4 ohms, so it will draw 2 watts. If a speaker has an impedance of 8 ohms, it will draw 1 watt of power.
Another fact you should know is the sensitivity. It will increase with each 3 db. In order to understand what this is, you should pay attention to the power the speaker requires and the number that represents its sensitivity. A higher sensitivity is better due to the fact it requires less power in order to provide the same volume. For example, a speaker with a sensitivity level of 93db.is better, but requires less power that a speaker with a sensitivity level of 90 db.
A speaker’s sensitivity simply projects how efficient the unit is at handling the power produced by the stereo. However, most speaker manufacturers differ on how a speaker’s sensitivity is measured. This means that what you get at face value, won’t necessarily portray its actual ability. Also, external factors such as humidity and air pressure will significantly affect its sensitivity to a noticeable degree.
The sensitivity, which was mentioned earlier, means how much power a speaker will require in order to produce sound. Different speakers require different amounts of power. They also use that power in different ways.
All of this is mandatory knowledge and should be taken into consideration when choosing your new speakers. Sadly, the sensitivity of a car speaker is hard to measure, simply because a car manufacturer uses different values. This leaves many consumers needlessly confused. On the other side, the loudness of a car speaker can be measured and it is wise to pay attention to it, before buying your new speaker.
The loudness is an important factor and is also different for each speaker. Keep in mind that speakers from the same price range can have loudness levels that are different up to 7 dB. This also means that the least loud speaker will use several times more power to produce the same loud sound level as the loudest speaker.
This means that the loudest speaker is definitely the best choice. It may use less power, but it is loud and makes a great sound. If you take into account all aforementioned factors, you can choose the best speaker. If you are a sound enthusiastic, this information is a must, to get the best speaker for your car. In other words, if you make a mistake with your selection, you will end up with a car speaker that barely makes an average sound, which isn’t serious, but can be annoying.
The entire point of a speaker systems is to produce high quality sound. When you are looking to upgrade your speakers, there are a few things that buyers can look for to determine the quality of sound.
The first thing to check is the frequency range. Stereo systems have certain frequency ranges. The wider the range is, the more sounds the speakers are capable of reproducing. Usually, the peak frequency that speakers have is 20,000 Hz, and the lowest is 10. It is not necessary for vehicle owners to have the entire range to get good sound quality. There is no guarantee that extremely high frequencies will even be audible, and to many, they will not be. However, many musicians and sound enthusiasts will notice and they like to have the full range.
The material of the woofer or the tweeter plays a significant role primarily in the longevity of the speaker. Sound quality is only as good as the entire construction (i.e. voice coil type, magnet size, etc.). Though denser cones (Kevlar, glass fiber, polypropylene) tend to produce better sound quality than thinner materials (cloth, paper), understand that it takes the whole construction to produce great sound so don’t dismiss a set of speakers just because it has thinner cone material.
It may require some time and investigation to discern all the materials used in the manufacturing process of your speakers, but it is well worth it. In this case, you do not want vague answers about all the parts, but detailed facts given readily and truthfully. If necessary, ask for the information in writing. It may be important to have this in case you ever have a claim of defect about the speakers. This is to protect your purchase and so that you can expect excellent quality parts. Any delay or poor information, may be signs of a manufacturer who is trying to cut corners on quality.
Heavier or denser cone materials last longer, which is especially helpful with the constant high-power outputs.
Just like cone material, the surround material plays a significant role in the longevity of your speakers as well. In its most simple explanation, a cone must move up and down as it produces sound. Think of your speaker as a trampoline, with the elastic material in the center of the cone and the springs on the edges as your “surround”. The surround must be tough and be able to stretch a little bit. Once again, denser material would do much better as thinner material tends to fray and degrade over time.
Most lower-end car audio speakers have foam as the surround material. This substance tends to harden and crack with temperature changes. This normally occurs in your car in the summer with the air conditioner on and in the winter with the heater running. This is especially true when the speakers are under direct sunlight, for they will degrade that much quicker. So, it is better to go for the top rated car speakers in order avoid such problems in the future.
The size of a speaker is an important factor also, when it comes to choosing your new speaker. The most common speakers are sized at 6 inches by 9 inches, but there are a lot of people who like 6.5 inches sized speakers. The
6” × 9” are the most common speakers used in the rear and front doors. These speakers have larger woofers, so the low frequencies will be better. However, the interior of your car is important in this case too, so choosing the biggest speaker doesn’t mean you will get the best sound quality. On the other hand, a smaller speaker my offer a better sound quality.
Speaker brackets may be a necessary and important addition that means a lot but is an inexpensive investment. It allows you to easily install “aftermarket” speakers to your car, meaning they are purchased separately after the automobile is bought. Keep in mind that not all new speakers will fit perfectly in places that previously held the factory speaker’s. Taking measurements of the space and all speakers you are considering purchasing is a first step towards to getting the right ones for your car.
Most of them will require some type of adjustment. If you are not capable of doing this on your own, be sure to hire a professional. It would be a shame to spend money on great speakers and then have the installation be poorly done. Keep in mind that the installation process also affects the sound quality and it will be quite noticeable.
In addition, some top coaxial speakers come with a warranty. Be aware that some manufacturer’s warranties on the speakers may not be honored due to any of the following reasons:
One and two year warranties are standard issue on these types of speakers. If they are installed by a professional dealer, this may be extended for an additional year. A warranty gives you a good feeling of your speakers being protected, in case there is a flaw or defect.
In addition, great customer support can make all the difference, so be sure that the manufacturer offers this and they are easy to reach in case of emergencies. You should be able to communicate with their customer support department via email or phone. If you cannot find any information for a communication process, it could be a red flag.
As previously mentioned, it would be a good idea to listen to the different coaxial speakers you are considering for purchase, in person. This is truly the best way to determine if a particular choice is right for you. Whether you buy the new speakers at this sales location, or later online, all the information given above will mean naught if you don’t like the actual “sound” produced by the speakers. Take your time “test driving” certain speakers in the store and don’t be rushed into making a decision until you are ready. With knowledge about all the details of the speakers, you can be sure that you will choose the set that is the best for you.
Car speakers were first introduced in the 1930’s so people could enjoy listening to the radio while driving. Originally, vehicles had just one speaker mounted into the dashboard. In the 1970s, the technology evolved to include amplifiers and multiple speakers within the car. This totally changed the landscape of sound quality in automobiles and users have wanted continual improvements. Their popularity has soared ever since then, and many people seek to upgrade the stock speakers that come in their cars or replace old, worn out ones. True audiophiles always want the “newest thing”, with the features to go along with them. But the desire for real and good sound quality, has never changed.
These days, speakers have more than one function. In addition to playing music, people also talk on their phones through Bluetooth or listen to audio books or lectures. Shopping for speakers can feel overwhelming because there are so many things to consider, from size to power to total watts needed, and their cost can range from being relatively inexpensive to costing nearly as much as the vehicle they are installed in. For example, 2-way and 3-way speakers can be quite expensive. Pricing tends to be more reasonable for aftermarket speakers, which is why they have experienced such growth in sales.
As easy as it may sound, finding the best coaxial speakers is more complicated than tearing out the factory-installed speakers and replacing them with new ones. In fact, you will have to completely understand how your audio system works before dashing to your local audio store and grabbing the first set of speakers you come across. All cars are wired differently, meaning that crucial aspects, such as the power output of the stereo, speaker size and speaker location will greatly vary from one car to the next. In a nutshell, what works for your pal’s car, will not necessarily work for you. With that said, how do you then find the best speakers that complement your needs?
For starters, the best speakers strike the perfect balance of clarity and punch. Basically, you should feel the music in the manner the artist intended, meaning everything from the bass pluck to the mere splash of a cymbal should get into one quality audio experience. Therefore, begin by focusing your ears on the low frequencies, and then do the same on the mid-range frequencies and finally the high frequencies. As you do this, move around the car or audio shop to notice any form of distortion and then ask yourself, does the song that is playing through the speakers sound as good as it should? Also, the best speakers use power effectively and anything that goes beyond the stipulated stereo power output wouldn’t be ideal. Quality, specs and price are indeed the three aspects that will distinguish the best speakers from the rest. Remember, the most expensive speakers aren’t necessarily the best and likewise, the least expensive aren’t always bad, contrary to common perception.
So, whether you are replacing a full set of factory standard speakers or going big with a completely new installation, a speaker upgrade is sure-fire way of improving the sound quality of the audio system in your car.
A set of new speakers is a perfect first step, for anyone that is not content with the sound quality in their car.
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