Speakers

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Car Speakers

One of the most frequently asked questions about car speakers is how does design impact quality and for that, we have assigned our team to provide you with a detailed yet simplified guide as to how to pick the best sounding speakers for your car.

Car speakers are known for being the absolute companion. If you are like me, someone who spends at least 1 hour a day within their vehicle, then you must have learned to endear your car stereo and sound system because it’s the only thing that makes it easier for you to go through this every day.

Nevertheless, have you ever considered the fact that you can make your journey from-to work even less tedious if only you had better speakers?

Most factory speakers are designed to produce sound but that’s about it. There is nothing refined or complex about factory car speakers, which is why most of them sound pretty average at best. However, that’s not how I want to spend most of my driving time and I’m certain that neither would you.

So, if you’re interested in creating your own bubble of perfect sound, ‘live’ music and mellow tunes then check out our detailed speaker guide and find out what upgrade fits you most.

Top 5 Best Car Speakers Reviews


#1- JBL GTO638 Speakers Review

  • Patented Plus One® woofer cone
  • Home theater-quality tweeter
  • True sound from built-in crossover network
  • Plus One woofer cone with rubber surround
  • Edge-Driven, Mylar-titanium tweeter and adjustable super-tweeter with level control
  • True 4-Ohm design topology
Size 6-1/2″ & /6-3/4″
Type 3-way full-range speakers
Frequency range 50 – 21,000 Hz
Power Handling 
  • RMS : 60 Watts
  • Peak : 180 Watts
Sensitivity 92dB
Nominal Impedance 2 ohms
JBL doesn’t really need an introduction as it is a leading manufacturer in the marketplace and that has been the case for quite a while. The brand is primarily known for excellent sound quality but most importantly it has shaped the concept of car speakers, raising the bar even higher for its competitors.

When it comes to sound quality, you’d expect to hear heavenly rhymes booming out of these multi-driver speakers and you’re probably right. The JBL GTO638 speakers are made to conquer and it all boils down to the genius technology behind the system.

The speakers are designed to strike a perfect balance of frequency input/output. That of course includes both woofers and tweeters, placing these speakers considerably above average.

The speakers also promise a matchless clarity which is backed up by a built-in crossover network, separating the tweeter drivers from those of the woofers. This right here is what sets factory speakers apart from aftermarket speakers and it makes all the difference.

As far as efficiency is concerned, the JBL GTO638 speakers are easily superior to your standard home theatre quality and a lot of that is credited to the premium tweeters. Speaking of which, you might think that the Mylar-Titanium tweeters are responsible for all the epic highs coming out of these speakers but you would be wrong. The tweeters are fully backed up by level controlled adjustable super-tweeters which means that you’ll be granted a more realistic sound field and fluid airy-ness.

The rubber coated woofer is also not to be dismissed as inconsequential because it is indeed merciless. The bass that this low frequency channel can produce is simply orgasmic. Most importantly, this is the kind of woofers that is powerful enough to maintain clean and consistent lows even at high volumes.

 

#2- Pioneer TS-A1676R Speakers Review

  • New Multi-layer Mica Matrix Cone Design for Optimum Sound Reproduction and Responsiveness
  • Lightweight Elastic Polymer Surround
  • 1-5/8″ paper cone midrange
  • 3/8″ PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) dome tweeter
Size 6-1/2″ & /6-3/4″
Type 3-way full-range speakers
Frequency range 32 – 40,000 Hz
Power Handling 
  • RMS : 50 Watts
  • Peak : 320 Watts
Sensitivity 90dB
Nominal Impedance 4ohm
Pioneer has been the go-to sound system brand since time immemorial. I mean this brand has been kicking ass for years on a worldwide radius and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down either.

The Pioneer TS-A1676R is a standing example of the brand’s evolution throughout the years and that comes with tremendous development. This 6.5 car speaker carries a lot more than just wires and a central magnet, it carries a legacy. In fact, the Pioneer TS-A1676R might just be the best 6.5 car speaker in the industry. So, let’s take a closer look at these speakers.

It’s needless to say that these speakers are going to put out one hell of a competition for all its contenders because that’s just what Pioneer does.

The crowned speaker sits on a solid foundation of lightweight elastic polymer which incredibly reduces sound vibration and helps protect the speaker even better than the standard rubber coating (at least in this setup).

That, however, is but a fraction of the clever engineering of these speakers. A core spec of Pioneer A series speakers has got to be the multi-layer mica matrix cone which is specifically designed for pure sound reproduction and dynamic responsiveness.

In simpler terms, the hardware embodying these speakers is capable of producing some of the cleanest and liveliest rhymes that will put to ground anything you’ve ever heard before.

In simpler terms, the hardware embodying these speakers is capable of producing some of the cleanest and liveliest rhymes that will put to ground anything you’ve ever heard before.

Keeping in mind that this is a slightly above average set, the Pioneer TS-A1676R are rated for a sensitivity rating of 90 dB and can handle up to 50 watts RMS (320 watts peak).So, rest assured that these speakers won’t just blow because you maxed your volume for a while.

These 3-way speakers might look ordinary from first glance but they’re far more complex beneath the surface. However, the beauty of this set lies within its simplicity rather.

Pioneer TS-A1676R 6.5 car speakers reviewThe Pioneer TS-A1676R speakers are of course based on multiple drivers to guarantee a crystal separation of functions which will consequently impact the performance of both woofers and tweeters.

Speaking of which, this Pioneer harbours a multilayered mica matrix woofer which is further protected via elastic polymer coating. The woofers are thus perfectly enhanced to reduce vibrations and nest the cones and magnets . Accordingly, it should be safe to expect some drum-busting lows from this set.

The tweeter on this system is also worthy of a strong mention as it is a polythelyne dome tweeter. At 3.8”, these tweeter are prone to produce some of the liveliest and most realistic highs, granting you a live show experience.


#3- Polk Audio DB651 Speakers Review

  • Marine-certified — recommended for fresh water and powersports applications
  • Dynamic Balance polymer/mica composite woofer with butyl rubber surround
  • 3/4″ pivoting liquid-cooled silk/polymer composite dome tweeter
  • Neodymium tweeter magnet
  • Swivel Mount Tweeter allows precise aiming of sound
  • Kapton voice coil
  • Built-in 2-way crossover network
  • ABS wheel-design grilles
Size 6-1/2″ (also mounts in 6-3/4″ w/ included brackets)
Design 2-way
Frequency range 35 – 22,000 Hz
Power Handling 
  • RMS : 60 Watts
  • Peak : 180 Watts
Sensitivity 92dB
Nominal Impedance 4 ohm

Polk Audio DB651 6.5 car speakers reviewPolk Audio is another strong contender in the car audio industry. They’ve been in business for quite a long time and have mastered the art of providing quality speakers.

Polk Audio DB651 are one of the strongest speakers in the industry and a lot of it is attributed to the house of engineers behind this set. The makers of these speakers run them through a gradual evaluation process, including laser imaging to determine their efficiency and wipe out their flows before they hit the market.

The Polk DB651 are undeniably one of the best 6.5 coaxial speakers and that makes it slightly more expensive than speakers within its range. However, with the anticipated well-balanced and the crystal sound even at higher volumes.

When it comes to sound quality, rest assured that these speakers will sound flawless; unless it’s the first time you’re using them after unboxing them. You might want to allow the speakers to heat up a little before you place your verdict as we’re certain you’ll be satisfied with your purchase.

The built-in 2-way crossover network beneath the surface is a strong indicator that these speakers are going to sound as clean as you can imagine. The complex crossover separates lows from highs and send each to the right driver (lows to the woofers and high to the tweeters and super-tweeters) creating pure bliss.

If we know anything about speakers, it is that harmony in the performance of tweeters and woofers makes for the whole sound system on any set. Fortunately, we can’t really argue that we understand speakers better than Polk and that explains why both drivers are impressively advanced.

Polk Audio DB651 6.5 car speakers reviewThe woofer on this set is unique in the way that it is made of dynamic balance polymer composite with a rubber coating which is strong enough to endure extremely hot and cold temperatures but most importantly, it is conducive of epic low frequency sounds. You can either imagine the bass on this set or you can try it out yourself and find out; either way, you are up for a thrill.

The tweeters on the Polk Audio DB651 are also quite charming from an engineer’s perspective. This right here is a pivoting liquid-cooled silk and polymer dome tweeter and it is as impressive as it sounds. The build of this tweeter is simply phenomenal as it would only be modest to assume that you’ll be experiencing some of the cleanest high frequency notes with the Polk.


#4- Infinity Kappa 62.11I Speakers Review

  • Plus One+ glass-fiber woofer cone with hi-roll rubber surround
  • 1″ edge-driven, soft dome tweeter
  • Carbon Injected Glass Fiber cone material
  • Ultra-high-frequency response (up to 25kHz)
  • Ultra-high sensitivity (95dB@2.83V/1m)
  • UniPivot coaxial tweeter
  • Adjustable, push-button tweeter level control
Size 6-1/2″
Design 2-way
Frequency range 45 – 25,000 Hz
Power Handling 
  • RMS : 75 Watts
  • Peak : 225 Watts
Sensitivity 95dB
Nominal Impedance 2 ohm

Infinity Kappa 62.11I 6.5 car speakers reviewInfinity Kappa 62.11I is exactly as luxurious as it sounds and most importantly it is one of the few 6.5” speakers out there that actually raise the bar to a whole other level.

Infinity Kappa speakers are overall known for their pure genius design and that is no surprise taking into consideration the fact that the company spends millions to continuously push their products upwards.

In fact, even on the surface, these speakers easily stand out when compared to the standard aftermarket 6.5” and a lot of that is attributed to the beautiful design. Also, the gigantic magnet these speakers harbour grants them an even bigger lead, setting them completely apart from the rest. Yet, that is but the gist of it for the details are even more impressive.

The sound quality of the Infinity Kappa 62.11i can be easily classified as superior and that doesn’t surprise us a single bit. The fact that these speakers received an incredible amount of dedication through the concept development process makes them even more so epic.

The impressive sound quality of these speakers is the outcome of a solid build which in this case owes gratitude to one simple element. Glass fibre is simply impressive but the reaction it has when fused with sound waves is even more fascinating. The fibre body produces the cleanest notes, preventing any disturbance and clearing a solid path for sound waves.

Nonetheless, fibre glass isn’t only impressive when observed as a contributor but even more so as protection for the speakers. Fibre glass is undeniably one of the strongest and most flexible materials out there; add that to the resilient rubber coating and you’ll get yourself a speaker that can resist the hottest and coldest temperatures possible.

Infinity Kappa 62.11I car speakers reviewThese speakers are rated for a sensitivity rating of 95 dB, which is the highest ever.If that means anything, it means that speakers would sound awesome even with the weakest stereo system. Additionally, they can handle up to  75 watts on continuous basis (RMS) and 225 watts at peak.

The fibre glass cones on these speakers is but the tip of the iceberg that lies beneath the complex technology behind it. Take for example the frequency response that these speakers are capable of reaching and especially how low it can go. 45 to 25,000 Hz is simply dazzling and that comes with decent amount of quality bass in case you were wondering; pure bass.

The tweeters on the other hand are exactly as impressive but in a completely different way. This right here is a 1” edge-driven soft dome tweeter and that translates to the liveliest high frequency response. These speakers will sound as if you’re in the live show of your favourite artist and that feeling is incomparable.


#5- Rockford Fosgate R165X3 Speakers Review

  • Vacuum Polypropylene cone with rubber surround
  • 2-1/8″ Silk Dome Piezo mid-range tweeter cone
  • Integrated tweeter crossover
  • 1/2″ Silk Dome Piezo tweeter design
  • High-temperature voice coil design
Size 6-1/2″
Design 3-way
Frequency range 52 – 20,000 Hz
Power Handling 
  • RMS : 45 Watts
  • Peak : 90 Watts
Sensitivity 91dB
Nominal Impedance 4 ohm
The Rockford Fosgate Prime is another prominent example of cheap yet impressive car speakers. This set is indeed worthy of a solid mention yet the decision making part is completely on your shoulders. All we can do for you, is bring you the best in what you’re looking for.

Hence, the Fostage Prime R165X3 is one of the best car door speakers in the market as of now and that earns it a spot on this list.

Be it you’re renovating your old set or getting rid of a shameful factory speakers, the one and only Rockford Fosgate Prime offers a clean and powerful alternative. Yet, that is but one of the reasons why you really should consider getting this set.

In terms of overall sound quality, you can easily locate this set amongst the best 6.5 coaxial speakers and this claim is primarily based on the impressive performance it can put on. This indeed is a happy wallet purchase. Nevertheless, it is one which is guaranteed to help you look over your boring work trips and forward to enjoying some first class clean rhymes.

If you’re a person of details then you might understand just how pure these speakers can sound based on the simple fact that they are harbouring multiple drivers, separating each and every operation and dedicating equal attention to each instead of merging the whole set and reproducing a 2nd version of your factory noise maker.

Both tweeter and woofer on the Rockford Fosgate are equally impressive. However, we’d have to give this one to the woofer based on the argument that it is made of polypropylene and reinforced with a rubber coating.

This indeed puts the woofer at a power position, granting it the ability to produce some of the most epic lows you’ll ever experience. Taking into consideration the fact that this has a frequency response of 52 to 20,000 Hz, be sure that the bass will sound relatively good compared to factory speakers.

 Rockford Fosgate R165X3 6.5 speakers reviewThe tweeter is not to be undermined either as it is one of the strongest most versatile units in the industry. The silk dome tweeter is enhanced further via a piezo super-tweeter whose sole job is to perfectly distribute sound realistically, creating a live show like experience for all passengers in your vehicle. So, just imagine how much more tolerable will your 1000 miles drive will be and even more so on your short casual trips.

When it comes to sensitivity, these speakers are rated for 91 dB which above average. They can handle up to 45 watts on a continuous basis, 90 at peak which good enough for full-range speakers.


Types of Car Speakers

Car speakers in general are commonly divided into two exact types: full-range speakers and component speaker systems. I know it already sounds complicated but we are going to briefly define each of these two categories and hopefully give you an idea about what you need.

Full-range speakers

These are speakers that encompass pretty much all the necessary elements in one little product. Full-range speakers are known for being pretty simple and that’s because they harbor a woofer for the lows and a compact tweeter for the highs.

Of course this is the case for most car speakers out there. However, it isn’t so for every speaker. Some full-range car speakers will be further enhanced via a mid-range or super-tweeter which are both additional drivers for an improved sound quality.

If you’re looking into an easy replacement for those rusty factory speakers then you are destined for a full-range speaker. It’s really simple; these speakers come in multiple sizes which fit perfectly into your already existing speaker pockets. With minimal skill, you should be able to remove the old and install the new full-range speakers yourself. All you’ll need to do is to connect the new speaker to the wiring harness, exactly the same way as the previous speakers were connected.

These speakers are available at most shops and they come in all prices, depending on how powerful you need them to be.

Component speakers

These speakers are considered to be more sophisticated for they are equally challenging as they are impressive. Component systems require superior skill to produce the best sound possible. Simply put, unlike the full-range speakers, these systems usually consist of separate tweeters, woofers and external crossovers: Network of filters that distributes specific frequency to each component separately.

As you might have guessed, upon purchase, each part of these systems comes separate from the rest. Thus, you are required to install the tweeter and woofer separately and appropriately enough to produce some quality sound. The difference that component speakers make is that they are more immersive, granting you a ‘live’ experience where you can feel that the music is in tune with the universe. A greater depth is certainly fascinating but what’s ever more so is the external crossover wiring. Thus, it wouldn’t be advisable to try and connect the speakers yourself in this case unless you are skilled enough.

This complex construction is going to deliver perfect frequencies to their specific drivers which will create a beautiful imaging and a realistic sound.

Also, it must be noted that component car speakers are often made of better material when compared to their counterpart which will definitely impact the sound quality even further. So, which speakers sound more like you?

Match your speakers to your system

This is where it becomes slightly more complicated as you will need to grasp two concepts in order to determine which speakers will be compatible with your car stereo system.

Sensitivity

First of all, you need to understand the power of your car stereo and how much sound could it yield from both types speakers. Most factory-born speakers collectively feature car stereos of 15 watts RMS per channel. Accordingly, 90 dB sensitivity speakers are usually a perfect match for most cars. However, if your aftermarket car head unit has a greater wattage output, then you might want to consider speakers of lower sensitivity.

[alert-note]Note: Sensitivity is key but make sure that your speakers are appropriately powered.[/alert-note]

Power-handling

As mentioned in the earlier passage, power is essential for a superior sound. Accordingly, in order to measure just how many watts your speakers can transform, you need proper power-handling. In the case of a low-powered car stereo system, most speakers would adapt to fit comfortably. However, as your system’s wattage goes higher, the speakers are also supposed to match that power. So, as long as your head unit or amp doesn’t go beyond the speaker’s power-handling, you should be alright.

Also, try not to confuse the peak power-handling with your maximum RMS power-handling because the RMS is meant to measure the amount of power your speaker can realistically handle on a continuous basis and not only when it reaches its peak.

For a better understanding of your system, try to get your technician to disclose this kind of information so that you are fully aware of your needs and limitations.

Speaker Materials

To what extent does build material impact the durability of the speaker and the overall sound quality? Let’s find out.

Woofer materials

There is a basic rule for woofers and it says that the stiffer the material of build, the lighter the woofer and most importantly, the more likely it is to reproduce some good lows(bass). Thus, keep in mind that your speakers’ cones should either be based off polypropylene or a similar synthetic film material for a solid sound quality.

When mixed with mica or a similar material, polypropylene creates the most dynamic build for an impressive bass response.

There is also a different approach to superior woofers which adopts woven fabrics in a lightweight metal coat such as aluminum. This type of woofers is equally strong and responsive when compared with their polypropylene counterparts. However, the second has proven to be more reliable in extreme heat and cold.

Tweeter materials

Tweeters are often underrated because not all people understand the value of a solid tweeter and most people don’t care. However, if you care about your music as much as we do then you must make sure that your tweeter has the appropriate base.

Fortunately, most tweeters out there are made of reliable material such as poly and silk which produce elegant notes and mesmerising mellow tunes. However, if you are looking for bright highs then you should consider tougher material such as metal or graphite.

Surround materials

The surrounding material on your woofer plays a critical role in the production of high quality sound. Needless to say that the cone needs to move freely inside the woofer but it’s also meant to be protected by a surrounding that will make it produce deeper bass. A protective surrounding however must be made to endure high and low temperatures as well as humidity.

Hence, your ideal here is rubber surroundings as it is undeniably the strongest and most reliable. Then comes the less expensive foam nest which performs decently as well.

Other features to consider

Now that you know the basics, you might want to learn a little bit more about some secondary yet impactful features.

Pivoting or swiveling tweeters

To achieve a greater depth and a more realistic environment with low door speakers, you need to seriously consider pivoting tweeters. These tweeters are not needlessly upgraded because they are specifically developed to produce a higher sound-stage which will make you feel as if you’re part of a live show where the music perfectly surrounds you.

External crossovers

The best thing about component systems is that they consistently choose to trust passive external crossovers as they are the only means to accomplish a smooth separation of woofer and tweeter frequencies. That enables both woofer and tweeter to hustle within their proper range instead of asking them both to produce unfit frequencies which can only result in distortion and low quality sound. Hence, external crossover is the only way to achieve a perfectly clean sound.

In most cases, you’ll find that your crossover harbors extra input ports to enable bi-amping. This feature is meant to enable the high frequency drivers(the tweeters) and low frequency drivers (the woofers) to perform on personalised amplifications which is a next level upgrade. Basically, this extra feature is oriented towards those of you who aspire to own the perfect sound system. Nevertheless, this, by no means, classifies the single amplification channel as unreliable.

Detachable tweeters

This right here is a pretty neat feature as it will enable you to treat your system as full range or component depending on your needs and willingness. Detachable tweeters can also be transferred to a different vehicle which is more useful than you might think.

Alex Brown

Hey There, my name is Alex Brown, I'm a music lover and a car audio enthusiast who loves everything from new receivers to car security. I've been in this industry for years now. I enjoy creating solutions and simplifying everyday needs. My passion for music came at an early age. I love helping people get great sounding gear, thereby, saving the world from bad sound one customer at a time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button