Car Audio Speakers – Deciding For Some Upgrades


If you are a true or budding audiophile with a car, then you problem know one thing: it does not matter if you buy a Kia or a Ferrari, stock car audio speakers are just not up to the task. Unfortunately, making heads or tails of the audio upgrades available is fairly complex. While car audio speaker salespeople rely on this fact, informed customers tend to be able to get better deals on a set of car audio speakers. Here is what you need to consider when shopping for car audio speakers:

• Size and shape – Almost very single automobile sold today already comes with speakers, and those speakers are generally designed to conform to very specific speaker sizes. There are many standard industry sizes and shapes, such as the very common six by nine. The six by nine is an oval shaped arrangement that is six inches on one side by nine inches on another. Most speakers in the same category have nearly identical shapes, but owners of smaller vehicles will need to be aware of the fact that more powerful speakers tend to be deeper, and thus will not necessarily fit in any factory-provided speaker hole.

• Driving power – Speakers are rated by the amount of Watts that they can handle. Watts is a measurement of the amount of electrical energy that is applied to the magnet or magnets. When the electricity is applied to the magnet, it moves the speaker and that in turn moves the air. The term volume comes abstractly from the volume of air that is moved that in turn is interpreted as sound by the human eardrum. Speakers than handle more Wattage are generally louder than speakers that do not handle as much electricity, but that is not always the truth. There are design factors and materials that can mitigate the possibility of a truly universal apples to apples comparison using Wattage as a guideline, but Wattage remains the dominant standard for speaker power.

• To amp or not to amp – Some speakers are designed for high output work that negates the possibility of driving them directly from the head unit. Most vendors carry multiple speaker lines, some of which are meant to be ‘drop in’ replacements while others will require extensive rewiring and an amplifier.

• Ranges are important too – There is more to music and car audio than just volume, at least for most people. Most consumers that love music enough to look into enhanced car audio speakers will want to ensure that their music sounds balanced. Balance means that different ranges are represented equally, and those ranges are measured in Hertz. Hertz is the term that describes the rate at which sound waves oscillate, and is generally referred to as frequency. Higher frequency sounds are described as high pitched, while low frequency sounds are commonly referred to as bass. If you like listening to pop music, then an emphasis on balance with accurate reproduction at high frequencies is just as important as accurate bass reproduction. Those who just want to shake the block when they drive through need to worry more about their low range output.

• Fidelity is difficult to measure – Fidelity is the friend of any true audiophile, and it is a measurement of how accurate the reproduction of any sound or music is. Fidelity can be measured with special tools, but most car audio speaker vendors make multiple speaker lines that come in Hi-Fi and non-Hi-Fi variant’s. Hi-Fi variants are more likely to have an accurate audio reproduction than their non-Hi-Fi counterparts, but it is almost impossible to make cross-brand comparisons due to the significantly different techniques used by different vendors to measure fidelity.

• Legalities – Many cities, counties, and states have limitations sound output from motor vehicles. Be sure to know these limitations before making any final car audio speaker purchase.

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