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High-quality car speakers can add depth and class to the sounds they produce and improve your music experience. However, the car speakers that come pre-installed in your vehicle may not be up to the marks of evolving speaker technology. In this case, you’ll need to upgrade to the latest available speakers to amp up your in-commute entertainment.
Car speakers come in a range of shapes, types, sizes, and brands. Therefore, finding the perfect options isn’t that easy. More importantly, you want speakers that match the specifications of your vehicle.
The Best Car Speakers
Let’s take a look at some of the better options to consider:
1. Kicker DS Series Speakers
These 60-watt speakers are a great addition to just about any car audio system. The massive motor structure of the speakers enables them to resist various pressure and stress levels. Also, they come with a protective layer of polyester foam. So, the speakers will be able to work efficiently for years to come.
The dome tweeters have over-sized voice coils that can produce excellent high-pitched sounds. For the best bass sound, they use the Extended Voice Coil (EVC) woofer technology. The woofer cones are made from lightweight and elastic polypropylene.
Furthermore, the speakers are very easy to install. Even if you have never installed car speakers before, you can probably manage these in a few minutes. At 6.5 inches, they can fit in quite well in the front doors of most cars.
Finally, know that the overall speaker sound quality is excellent. If you enjoy hard rock and metal while driving, you certainly should consider these. They are the best quality replacements for the stock speakers that come with your car.
- Pros: Great sound quality. Cost effective upgrade from OEM. Easy to Install
- Cons: Bass isn’t as punchy as some might like.
2. Alpine Car Audio System
Alpine is a premium brand installed in BMW and Mercedes Benz. This particular Alpine speaker features multi-layer hybrid fiber woofers, which can get you a high range of tones that sound good even when you turn the bass way up.
The one-inch-wide silk dome tweeter has a powerful neodymium magnet that that reduces sound distortion. Component speakers feature separate woofers, tweeters, and crossovers. This eliminates the problem of the tweeter impeding the woofer performance.
While the speaker’s mid-range quality is not quite as good as its highs and lows, it is still worth your attention. Despite below average power handling specifications — frequency response of 65 Hz to 23 kHz, a sensitivity rating of 90 dB, continuous power handling rating of 85 RMS watts, and peak power handling of 260 watts — this speaker system performs quite well.
- Pros: True value buy. Bass sounds great. Clarity is spot on.
- Cons: Mids and highs are slightly harsh.
3. Infinity Kappa Speaker System
The first thing you should about these speakers is that you can connect them securely to the car’s audio system with their gold-plated screw terminals. The speaker frames use an Injected Carbon Glass Matrix (proprietary technology), and feature soft, rubber-finish grilles too.
The system’s 3/4-inch tweeter has a soft dome. This particular component speaker system comes with a 93 dB sensitivity rating and can handle 90 watts of continuous power. For power handling and high-frequency dispersion, it comes equipped with a cloth diaphragm.
With speaker cones made of carbon-injected glass fiber as well as high-quality external crossover filters, the speakers can produce sounds of stunning quality. Since the mid-tones are incredible at any volume, listening to instrumental music — guitars, in particular — are a real pleasure.
- Pros: Well built. Great sound even at low volumes.
- Cons: Bass is lackluster and needs an amp.
4. JBL Car Audio Speakers
The JBL Stage 9603 are some of the best car speakers on a budget. We dare you to find something better at this price range. You’ll be hard pressed to find a pair.
JBL designed the speakers with a 210-watt peak power rating to produce strong and clear sounds even when paired with stock amplifiers. They come with polypropylene woofers for a strong foundation of base as well as the mid-range frequencies. They also features PEI balanced dome tweeters for a full range of sound and crisp frequencies.
Overall, you can’t find a better pair of speakers while on a budget. So, play some music and prepare to be blown away.
- Pros: Easy to install. Great Clarity. Truly budget friendly option.
- Cons: Sub-par bass, but that’s expected for the price.
5. Pioneer PRO Series
Since these speakers are part of the Pioneer Reference for Open-Show range, they are designed specifically for music enthusiasts. This two-way speaker will be a great addition to your vehicle’s sound system. It has a distinctive blade-like grille and a high-strength stamped steel frame.
Along with a large, oversized magnet, the speaker also has a dual-layer urethane surround that protects it from being displaced. It’s optimally blended pulp cone woofer and the 2-7/8″ aluminum bullet horn tweeter produce great high and mid-bass sounds. They give great depth and clarity to the vocals, and the low tones are of excellent quality too.
Also, the speaker has a continuous power rating of 100 RMS watts, a peak watt rating of 600, and a 92 dB sensitivity rating. These power handling specifications indicate great efficiency in converting power to volume.
- Pros: Heavy magnet. Deep bass. Clear crisp sound.
- Cons: These are BIG speakers. We’d recommend reading all sizing specs before ordering.
What to Look for in Car Speakers
Full-Range vs. Component
When it comes to speakers there are typically two types available: full-range speakers and component speakers. You can let your budget and music sensibility govern your choice.
If you only want to replace your factory-installed speakers with something better, than full-range speakers are ideal. They have tweeters (for high sounds) and woofers (for low sounds) in the same system.
However, for die-hard music enthusiasts who want greater depth and excellence in their music consumption, component speakers are likely the ultimate choice. They are the more expensive of the two and have separate tweeters and woofers. You can move them around inside your vehicle to get a more versatile sound.
Since installing a sound system can be expensive, we want them to be a long-lasting investment. That’s why we want to buy car speakers made of durable materials. The sound quality will also depend on the quality of these materials.
Stiff, lightweight materials that can withstand weather changes and humidity are great for woofers. That’s why they are usually made from polypropylene, mica, and metal-coated woven fabrics. On the other hand, we can get tweeters made of soft cloth, ceramic, graphite, and metal.
If we want a mellow, refined sound, we can select fabric-made tweeters. However, to get more high and bright tones, there are tweeters made from harder materials. You can also choose from cloth, foam, or rubber surrounds.
Car speakers for the front and rear doors measure 6 inches by 9 inches. You can also get speakers that are 6.5 inches by 9 inches. However, the largest car speakers won’t necessarily produce the best sound. Various factors affect the sound quality, and for some car interiors, smaller speakers may perform better than larger ones.
Eric the Car Guy has a fairly decent video on installing/replacing speakers. You can see how sizing plays an important role below:
A speaker’s sensitivity is the amount of power it needs to create sound. Different speakers have different power requirements, and they also produce different sounds. We are, therefore, not going to find a standard sensitivity rate. It can be difficult to quantify because manufacturers use varying values.
In general, we can get good sound by matching car speakers that have a higher sensitivity rate with a low-powered car stereo. We can also connect a high-powered stereo system with low sensitivity speakers.
Loudness, rather than sensitivity, isn’t always the same, but it is measurable. The loudest speakers generally need less power, while the speakers with the lowest volume may require more power. For that reason, you will be better off installing the loudest car speakers you can find. They offer great sound while consuming less power.
The amplifier supplies current to the speakers. The resistance that the speakers offer to this current is their impedance. The lower the speaker’s impedance, the more easily the current can flow from the amplifier to the speaker. Consequently, the speakers can create finer sounds.
Power Handling Capacity
Power handling refers to the amount of power a speaker can safely handle after receiving it from an amplifier. If the received power exceeds the speaker’s handling capacity, it will get hot, start to distort, and even become permanently damaged.
Check the speaker’s RMS ratings to find out its capacity for continuous power handling. This capacity affects the speaker’s longevity far more than its short-term power-handling ability.
How Do They Sound?
You should listen to the sound the speakers produce from the front, back, and maybe even the outside the car. You may get different results from this experiment since sound quality isn’t the same in all directions.
That said, we want to go with speakers that give the best possible sound. Are we getting good clarity with both the low and high frequencies? If yes, then we might have a winner.
A lot of factors can affect the quality of your car’s sound system. It usually depends on the car speakers you choose to install, as well as their overall size and the material. Still, you will find that the speaker placement inside the vehicle and the car’s interior design can similarly make a difference in the overall sound quality.
The speaker manufacturer is also an essential factor. The best car speakers are usually made by reputable brands in the sound industry. They will offer you warranties for your purchase and usually assist with repairs and replacements. Car speakers are expensive, and with regular use, can develop issues. So, you want to make sure that you have all your bases covered.
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