Best Car Component Speakers: Upgrade Your Audio Experience
Experience clean and clear high, mid, and low tones with some of the best component speakers
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When given the choice between coaxial and component speakers, most car owners choose coaxial speakers because they are more affordable and easier to install. While most aftermarket coaxial speakers can give a significantly better audio experience than factory speakers, combining the tweeter and woofer into one cone may compromise their design and potential. This is why the sound experience isn’t as great as a component speaker system with separate drivers.
A typical component speaker system consists of a separate tweeter, woofer, and a crossover. Although they may take you a bit longer to install, each unit can have a better design. Also, since the drivers are mounted separately, they can have enough room to move more air and produce the best sound quality. The drivers create a more realistic audio experience where you can hear every instrument, experience the thrill of clear vocals, and the frequencies don’t feel like they are colliding with each other. Our buying guide provides a good base for anyone looking for the best car component speakers.
This speaker set comes with a pair of 6.5-inch woofers with a slightly larger design than most similar-sized speakers so they can make more bass.
- Distortion-free even at high volume
- Produces powerful, rumbly lows
- Long-lasting construction
- Flexible mounting system for tweeters
- Woofer can only handle mid-bass frequency
- May not pair well with your factory stereo
This speaker system consists of a pair of 6.5-inch, mid-and high-frequency speakers with an appealing yellow color that’s sure to upgrade the look of your vehicle’s interior.
- Lasts longer than most factory speakers
- Fits in OEM speaker locations
- Comes with wiring and mounting hardware
- Not the best for low frequencies
- Installing them isn’t easy
This speaker system comes with a pair of 6.5-inch woofers, a pair of tweeters, and protective grilles. Each speaker has a shallow mount to fit in tight mounting spaces.
- Easy installation
- Resists excessive rattling at high volumes
- Provides great sound quality even without an amp
- Features a tough construction that’s resistant to damage
- High tones tend to distort at high volumes
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Benefits of Car Component Speakers
- Clarity. The crossover networks in components speakers help to deliver the right frequencies to the respective drivers. The low frequencies are sent to the woofer, mid-range frequencies to the mid-range speaker, and the high frequencies to the tweeters. As a result, you get a more clear and detailed sound so you can enjoy every beat of the music you listen to.
- Better speaker arrangement. Instead of having all your speakers under the car seat or on the doors, you can spread out the speakers to create a better listening room. You can install the tweeters at ear level and the woofers close enough to the tweeters (preferably at the doors) so all the frequencies reach your ears at the same time.
- Sound imaging. Component speakers provide a sound imaging advantage where you get to have a concert-like experience in your vehicle. You can also identify where exactly every frequency is coming from.
Types of Car Component Speakers
Tweeter drivers handle high-frequency sounds such as whistles, cymbals, bells, screaming, or glass breaking. You can also get super tweeters for very high-frequency sound. Your speaker set-up will include a crossover network that directs frequencies typically above 2,000 hertz to the tweeters.
Mid-range speakers, as the name suggests, handle the mid-frequencies (frequencies between high and low frequencies). These are sounds that are more familiar to the human ear such as human speech, or instruments such as a guitar, flute, or piano. Mid-range sounds are ideally between 500 and 2,000 hertz.
Low frequency sounds below 500 hertz are ideally directed to the woofers. These frequencies are low to the human ear so turning up the bass creates more sound vibrations so you not only hear the bass but can also feel it. With a good woofer, you can make out instruments such as organs, tubas, cellos, guitars, and bass drums from your music.
Under the umbrella of Harman International, JBL manufactures some of the best audio equipment for home, automotive, and personal use. JBL was founded by James Bullough Lansing back in 1946, and is headquartered in Los Angeles, Calif. To streamline its operations, the company is divided into two parts: JBL Professional that serves the larger audio industry, and JBL Consumer that caters to the home market. Some of its popular products include headphones, loudspeakers, Bluetooth speakers, and car speakers.
Headquartered in Shinagawa City, Tokyo, Japan, Alpine Electronics specializes in designing a wide range of car audio and navigation systems. Alpine was founded in 1976, and its parent company is Alps Electric. Due to the ingenuity that goes into designing its products, a variety of vehicles, including BMW, Chrysler, Mercedes, and Jeep models come with factory-installed Alpine sounds systems. Check out some of the best Alpine car speakers here.
Jim Fosgate founded Rockford Fosgate in 1973 as a manufacturer of audio equipment and accessories for audiophiles. The company is headquartered in Tempe, Ariz., where it designs a wide range of speakers, amplifiers, subwoofers, and mounting hardware for automotive and marine equipment.
As part of the JVCKenwood Corporation, Kenwood specializes in manufacturing innovative audio and communication equipment for automotive, marine, home, and personal use. The company was founded in 1946, and is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. Some of its popular car audio equipment includes car speakers, head units, and amplifiers.
Car Component Speakers Pricing
- Under $100: This price range includes entry- to mid-level component speakers that can provide a decent replacement for your factory speakers. The size is not a reflection of the price so you can also find large eight- to 12-inch speakers here.
- $100 and up: Although higher-priced speakers aren’t guaranteed to perform better than the lower-priced alternatives, they usually have better designs dedicated to durability or better performance. Therefore, expect to find a hi-tech speaker system that provides a concert-like experience, and can last through harsh operating and weather conditions.
The amount of power a speaker can handle is usually measured in watts. A speaker’s power handling capacity is given in RMS and peak power. Most importantly, consider the RMS power or the amount of power the speaker can handle continuously; it will determine whether you can match it with a low-powered stereo or if you need to connect it to an external amplifier.
The speaker material determines the quality of sound produced. The woofer material should be lightweight enough to vibrate easily but also stiff enough to retain its shape for accurate sound. For smooth and pleasant highs, choose tweeters made of soft materials such as silk or textile blends. For sharp and bright highs, choose a tweeter made of harder material such as graphite. As for the woofer cone surround material, rubber is more durable than foam or cloth surrounds.
The speaker sensitivity is a measure of the sound produced when provided with certain power input. It's rated in decibels. This helps you determine if you should power your speaker with the stereo or connect it to a high-powered amplifier. The higher the sensitivity, the louder the speaker is, and the less power you need to produce that level of sound. Therefore, this type of speaker is more power-efficient. On average, component speakers have a sensitivity of around 87 to 90 decibels.
- Size. If you don’t want to make a huge modification to your factory mounting holes, then it would be a good idea to get new speakers that are the same size as your factory speakers.
- Frequency Range. You must consider the range of frequencies that the speakers can emit sound at. It’s typically measured in hertz, and given in a range from the least to the highest frequency response. The larger the frequency range, the better the quality of sound the speakers are capable of producing.
Best Car Component Speakers Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- Component speakers are also known as “separates”. This is because this type of speaker doesn’t have the woofer (for bass) and tweeter (for highs and mids) combined in one unit.
- One of the biggest perks of car component speakers is that they’re more customizable. Since the tweeter, woofer, and external crossover are all separate from each other, it allows you to position each piece exactly where you prefer for a more robust, immersive sound.
- True audiophiles will prefer component speakers over full-range speakers that include all speaker components in one unit. Component speakers tend to be made of higher-quality materials and emit a realistic sound.
Q: How do I know if a speaker is powerful enough for my car?
When it comes to power, you should focus on the RMS and peak ratings. The RMS figure indicates how much continuous power a speaker can handle. A peak rating outlines how much power a speaker can handle in quick bursts. Ultimately, you should focus on the RMS rating. You need to match the RMS rating to the amp rating of your car’s system.
Q: How do I pick the right sensitivity speakers for my car?
When picking car component speakers, you should focus on the opposite sensitivity rating to that of your car’s audio system. A high-amp system should be paired with lower-sensitivity speakers, and conversely, a low-amp system should be paired with high-sensitivity speakers.
Q: Is there anything I should know about installing component speakers?
Because component speakers are designed with separate parts, you should have a solid understanding of sound design and wiring before attempting to install this type of speaker on your own. If you’re not comfortable performing this task on your own, you can always work with an experienced car audio installer to complete this project.
Q: Why do component speakers need an amplifier?
Components speakers do not have built-in amps so your stereo may not provide enough power to boost the audio signal in the speakers. This is why you need to buy a separate amplifier so you can have a powerful audio system.
We rate the JBL GT0609C Premium Component Speaker System highly because it has almost everything you need to experience a meaningful sound upgrade from your factory sound system. It delivers great highs and mid frequencies without distortion, and the drivers can work for years without malfunctioning. If you are on a tight budget, you can still get a decent audio upgrade with the Pyle 2-Way Custom Component Speaker System.