The Ultimate Speakers Buying Guide

Factory stereo systems aren’t that great in most cars. This is especially true for older vehicles that have seen their fair share of use. One of the best ways to boost the sound quality in your car is to get a set of aftermarket speakers.

However, there’s much more to this than meets the eye. You need to know exactly what speakers to get in order for everything to fit in nicely. Here’s all you need to know about choosing the right speaker for your car! 

Survey the Car 

Before you start adding any speakers to your cart, you need to do a quick survey of your car. There are three things we need to know — the size of speakers that will fit, how many you need, and how much power your head unit can deliver. 

Finding the Right Size of the Speaker 

As far as car speakers go, there are no standards in terms of size. Every car manufacturer has one little system that determines how big of a speaker they’ll use in any given car. You’ll need this information because you need to match the dimensions precisely otherwise your new speakers won’t fit in your car. 

Number of Speakers 

The number of speakers, just like their size, is often unique to each car. Find out how many speakers there are in your vehicle and what their function is. Not all speakers are created equal. As we’re about to find out a bit later, speakers come in a few different flavors. 

Available Power 

The head unit is what drives all speakers in a factory stereo setup. Automotive audio pros over at SoundCertified.com argue that once you start messing with aftermarket speakers, you’re introducing an unknown into this otherwise balanced equation. There is a good chance that your new speakers might require more power than your head unit can deliver. 

Find out how much power you’re working with and choose your speakers accordingly. Or, do the right thing and get yourself an amplifier. An aftermarket amp will make everything so much easier. 

Different Types of Speakers 

Sound is a representation of an audio signal that has a frequency. Your speakers need to be able to reproduce those frequencies. However, no single speaker is good at reproducing all frequencies of the frequency response range. 

Instead, we have specialized speakers for each of the portions of the frequency response range — lows, mids, and highs. 

Depending on how your car is configured, you could end up needing two tweeters (high-frequency speakers), two full-range speakers (mid-range), and one or two subwoofers (low frequencies). 

Coax Speakers 

Coaxial speakers are sort of a compromise solution. Coax speakers combine the low range and tweeter speakers into a single unit where the tweeter sits on top of the low range. This is what you call a two-way speaker. 

There are also 3-way speakers that add a full-range speaker to handle the gap between the tweeter and the subwoofer. Such speakers are usually installed in cars where you’re working with limited space. 

Speaker Design – Cone 

Materials used to build a speaker will determine its quality of sound. Cones — the component that oscillates to create sound — can be made of paper, polypropylene, or kevlar. Each of these has its pros and cons. 

For instance, a paper cone is lightweight, meaning that it moves faster and is thus much more responsive. On the other hand, the other two are heavier and slower, but they offer more rigidity and better overall control. 

Amps 

Running an amp can be a real force multiplier if you’re trying to build a serious system. A good amp can give you the power headroom you need to achieve a powerful yet balanced system. A good amp doesn’t have to be expensive either. 

In fact, you can put together a great speaker/amp configuration for not a lot of money. We’ve reached a phase where good audio components are much easier to acquire. 

Setting up a good car audio system requires plenty of planning. You need to have all your facts in front of you before you start making any changes or upgrades. Although speakers are an essential part of a good audio system, they require a good foundation. 

Make sure that your car is good to go in this regard, otherwise, you’ll end up chasing your tail and looking for that extra power where there is none left. This is another reason why you should seriously look into amplifiers. They really do make a difference.