There are different types of speakers out on the market today. Finding out what you exactly need may save you some money, but more significantly, improve the sound system of your car. Read on to learn more about the different types of car speakers available to you!
This type of speakers is the most common. Factory installed audio system usually install at least two pairs of this type in new vehicles. It’s basically a midrange cone woofer with at least one tweeter mounted right on top of it. The result is a low to midrange sound reproduction from the midwoofer, as well as having high frequency reproduction from the tweeter.
Older cars usually only have the midwoofer without the tweeter attached to it. As car makers realize the significance of car audio within the last couple of decades, they improved factory-installed systems with coaxial speakers. Don’t be fooled by car makers today who say their car features a 6-piece speaker system because the four speakers are generally midrange woofers, with speakers 5 and 6 being simply detached tweeters. Unless it is configured as a component system (explained below), comes with a factory-installed amplifier or subwoofer, you could not call that 6-piece system premium audio; and therefore you should not pay extra for something you would otherwise already have.
Additionally, coaxial speakers are normally described as 2-way, 3-way, 4-way, etc. speakers. Simplistically speaking, a two-way is one woofer with one tweeter attached to it. A 3-way adds another tweeter, and so on and so forth. You may ask why is it that it even needs a tweeter and to that I will explain.
A typical non-tweeter speaker will pick up around 15-10000 Hz (remember low frequency means more bass). Regular source units like CD players put out a full range sound, like everyday noise that you hear from 20-20000 Hz. Without tweeters, your system will attempt to reproduce that missing 10000 Hz with something it physically can’t do. The result would be not only a missing high-frequency sound but also additional distortion or degradation to the overall sound quality of your system.
Tweeters allow your system to reproduce the otherwise impossible sound, giving you a much clearer and defined sound quality. Any additional tweeter adds more detail to the sound as it hones in on a particular range.
Component Speaker System
A component system typically includes midrange woofers, separate tweeters, and crossover filter networks. What is explained above concerning midwoofers and tweeters apply the same as component systems. The only difference, as you may have noticed, is the separate tweeters. It would function the same exact way as the coaxially mounted tweeters, except for the crossover filter networks.
These filters improve sound quality significantly by channeling only audio signals the different components could physically handle. For instance it would channel only high-frequency signals (10000-20000 Hz) to the tweeters and the lower frequencies (25-10000 Hz) to the midwoofers. The result is an even better sound quality because each component is not given signals that they could not physically reproduce.
Component systems tend to be significantly more pricey but with much improved sound reproduction. Additionally, you generally will not find 3 or more way component systems because it is unnecessary, thanks to the filter. This is why I said that factory installed audio systems would only be premium if a crossover network is present.
Cone and Surround Material
The material of the woofer or the tweeter plays a significant role primarily in their longevity. 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. Heavier or denser cone materials last longer, especially helpful with constant high-power outputs.
Just like cone material, 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 center elastic material 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 tend to fray and degrade over time. Most lower-end car audio speakers have foam as the surround material, but these tend to harden and crack after temperature changes-which occurs in your car in the summer and winter with heater or air conditioning (especially under direct sunlight).