How to Select a Speaker
Sensitivity measures how much sound comes from a speaker based on the power supplied to it. Speakers with high sensitivity ratings will match best with low-powered car stereos (factory systems), If you have a high-power system, typically provided by a brand-name receiver or external amplifier, then consider speakers with lower sensitivity ratings. Properly powered, they'll provide excellent sound quality.
Watts let you know how much power a speaker can handle. With a low-powered system, the speakers don't need to be able to handle lots of power. Likewise, a system with powerful amplifiers will require speakers that have a power-handling close to the output of the amps. REMEMBER: power-handling means the maximum RMS power-handling, not the peak power handling. RMS ratings measure how much power the speaker can handle on a continuous basis, not just for a short period of time.
Type of Speaker
Full-range speakers house all the speaker elements in one basket. Typically they consist of a woofer for the lows, and a tweeter to produce the highs. Some speakers will have additional drivers, like midrange or supertweeters. Speakers come in a variety of sizes that can easily mount into factory speaker locations. In most cases, simple removal of the old speaker, and connecting the new speaker is all that is required. Full-range speakers are available at nearly every price point and power range.
Some higher-priced, full-range speakers come with external crossovers which allows a clean separation between the frequencies sent to the woofer and tweeter. The woofer and tweeter don't waste energy by trying to reproduce frequencies they're not intended to reproduce.
Component systems use an improved speaker design to provides the best possible sound. A typical component system includes separate woofers, tweeters, and external crossovers — all of which come designed to work in concert with one other. In a component system, the tweeter comes separate from the woofer, and can be mounted it in location that provides the best imaging. The crossover network in a component system comes external to the woofer and tweeter, and allows higher quality components to be used to ensuring a sharp delineation between the frequencies sent to the different drivers — this means more realistic sound from the speaker. Component systems are generally made of better materials, so they're capable of delivering exceptional dynamics and detailed sound.
A speaker's material design will determine its durability and sound quality.
A tweeter's material has a big effect on the type of sound it produces. Generally, tweeters made of soft materials, silk will give you a refined and somewhat mellow sound. If you like bright highs choose hard materials, like metal, ceramics, or graphite.Back To List