How to choose car speakers

How to choose car speakers

Quality music comes from a quality speaker.  This couldn’t be more true than in a vehicle where road distortion and vehicle sounds often times impede the ability of the audio enthusiast to truly enjoy their music.  Music is able to make a drive go by a little easier and has the ability to calm down the driver so they don’t freak out about every little bump in the road.  For those that truly love music and want to have great sound it is important to have the perfect car speakers. 

When looking for the perfect car speaker it is important to have a plan.  Speakers are designed for a number of different uses and depending upon the use they are going to function completely different.  By knowing the goal of the speakers a user is able to better determine the type of speakers that are going to be best for the vehicle itself.

Same size replacement or Upsize?

The first question that needs to be asked when choosing car speakers is whether the new speakers are going to be simply an upgrade or replacement from the current speakers or it is going to be a complete upsize.  Bigger speakers deliver bigger sound.  If there isn’t enough bass currently being delivered normally upgrading the factory speakers will deliver a nice impact.  If there is a need that is considerably greater than what the current factory speakers are putting out it may be time to consider something a little bit bigger and more aggressive. 

For most people simply swapping out speakers for the same size speaker is the way to go.  This is a much more economical means of upgrading sound quality as additional equipment is rarely required.  Those that are looking to add in bigger speakers are either going to need to create bigger speaker cutouts in their car or use subwoofers to create the additional bump that they are looking for.  Once an upgrade is started it can quickly become expensive. 

Simply buying a subwoofer isn’t going to get the job done.  A subwoofer requires greater power than normal factory speakers.  To power the subwoofers a good amplifier is going to be needed and most likely a higher gauge of wiring will be needed as well.  Even the deck may need to be changed out as it may not give the power boost required to truly experience the upgraded subwoofers.  There will also need to be a way of mounting the speaker and this is typically done using a speaker box.  All these things need to be considered when upgrading speakers.  You either get a nice upgrade that can be as simple as swapping out the speaker or you go all out and push the limits of what your car stereo system can do. 

Figuring out your Style

Figuring out your style really has two components to it.  The first is discovering the type of sound that is desired and the second is selecting a speaker that has the proper look for the vehicle.  Since sound is obviously more important than appearance it is a good idea to figure out whether power or performance is desired.  It is possible to have both, but typically a speaker is going to either be better at power or better at performance.  For most people a speaker that deliver quality sound with a decent amount of bump is more than enough for them.

Once the general type of speaker is decided upon it is time to find the speaker that fits the styling of the car.  It is important to first know the size of the speaker in the car.  There is nothing more annoying than finding that perfect speaker only to realize it doesn’t fit your vehicle.  By figuring out the size speaker that is needed for the car it can not only help to narrow down the choices but prevent a little disappointment as well.  Look for speakers based on size, find out if they have performance or power, and then select the color and styling that fits the vehicle best.  Once this is all determined picking out a good speaker isn’t all that hard.

What else?

After everything is selected it is a good idea to check with the installer to ensure that these new speakers are going to have adequate power to operate effectively.  Some factory systems have such weak power that an after market amplifier may be a good idea to drive optimum performance to the speaker.  This is something that could be mounted under a seat so that it is out of the way and blends in with the vehicle.  The amplifier will give a much higher quality sound to the speaker than it would get with factory equipment alone.  It may also be a good idea to evaluate the factory deck as well.  If it serves its purpose then after market may not be necessary but always an option. 

Also consider vibration.  When upgrading speakers it may be necessary to add a vibration kit to the door if component speakers are also upgraded.  This is especially the case if the power is increased.  Most factory doors aren’t lined properly and already have vibration when music is turned up so adding in some dynamat isn’t a bad idea.  Just keep in mind that as more items are added the cost can go up significantly. 

If you are going to upgrade your car audio it is a good idea to have an appropriate budget for it.  If you are simply trying to replace a dead speaker and are just happy with having music that isn’t crackling then that’s one thing, but if you are looking to enhance the sound then do it right.  Make certain that you give yourself a realistic budget to make certain that everything comes out as good as possible.  Normally a budget of around $800 is good enough to give strong performance and clarity.  If the system is looking to go bigger and badder then it is probably wise to budget around $1500-$2000 to get the job done.  By doing it right the first time there will be fewer issues and the equipment will last longer and sound better. 

Bottom line: If you can’t do it right, don’t do it at all!


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