I guess you can relate when I’m telling you that driving a car with a stereo sounding like a stone-breaker is really annoying.
You are on your way home from work on Friday evening and your favorite song comes on your stereo, but your speakers sound like crap and you wish you had better speakers to get a greater experience.
Luckily, car speakers are pretty cheap nowadays and pretty easy to replace in most cars. But choosing the right speakers is difficult if you do not have the knowledge. That’s why we did the tough work for you and tested and reviewed the 10 best car speakers for bass & sound quality to buy in 2019.
Best Car Speakers 2019
1. Pioneer TS-6900PRO 2-way – Best 6×9 Car Speakers
Pioneer is one of the pioneers in the area of high-quality sound systems and speakers. It is one of the oldest brands there is and lives up to its name to this day. There was a time when cars used to come factory fitted with a pair of pioneer speakers, complete with a pioneer music player. At the moment, we have the Pro TS-6900, out of its numerous speaker models. These are a recent model made by Pioneer and is already living up to the company’s claims. By the looks of it, the design is solid and tough looking which is backed up by noteworthy quality and sound.
These are 6 x 9-inch speakers with a 600-watt power rating and 100 RMS watts per pair. The sensitivity rating is at 92 dB. Looking at these technical specs, it is safe to say these speakers are something and the quality cannot be expected to be compromised by the company. These offer dual-layer sound which gives the surround sound feel. The tweeter is made of aluminum which makes the quality solid, having rubber boot covers. The warranty included with this model by Pioneer is backed up by a 1-year warranty.
The only problem is that these speakers aren’t as versatile as others as it doesn’t have the option of component speakers. The size can prove to be troublesome and its tweeter sticks out which can stand in the way of many fitments in different cars. In terms of the sound though, these speakers really prove the fact that these are one of the best sounding speakers in the market. It is worth to note that its midrange audio performance isn’t as good as its low end. Look wise, the speakers really stand out in design and show, having a unique grill in the shape of a spinning blade. It is louder than most speakers in the similar ranges of wattage and decibels.
2. Kicker 40CS654 – Best 6.5 Car Speakers
The Kicker brand is also a well-known brand which makes high-quality car audio systems and speakers. Its CS speaker series are specially marketed as budget-friendly but at the same time offer high-quality sound. Kicker’s 40CS654 is one of its great car speakers which will be worth your penny you spend on it. In terms of the technical specs, these speakers will definitely have you wow at it. These are rated at a max power of 300 watts and 100 watts per speaker. This shows that they are more than capable of producing quality sound.
These are 2-way coaxial speakers and the best thing about them is that the fitment isn’t as difficult with a wide range of cars as there is with other brand speakers. Due to its low depth speaker plate, it is going to be easy to install in most of the cars. The woofers of the speakers are covered with polyester foam which gives a good quality bass without crackle. Unlike many speakers, this model is capable of responding to a frequency starting at 40 hertz to 20,000 hertz, although that isn’t counted as a basic requirement. It is still good to know that it will play low and high music without losing the sound itself due to its extended frequency output range. These speakers can be connected to an external amplifier which will boost your sound even more.
3. JBL GTO609C 6.5″ – Best Component Speakers
Here we are, with another highly popular brand, JBL. You may have seen JBL speakers in smaller forms much more commonly but JBL has in store high-end speakers for car system also. Since it’s an old manufacturer of audio related systems, it is known and trusted by many. Here, JBL has for us the GTO609C 6.5 inches speakers that stand on the fine line between tight budget and quality which is many are looking for. Each speaker contains a tweeter with a setting for dual layer adjustment for volume.
These are rated at 270 watts in terms of power handling and an RMS rating of 90 watts. Other than sounding great, their built quality is good which will ensure that they last for a long time in your car. The cones inside are of carbon and bigger than usual speakers. These speakers handle the bass just fine and resist as much distortion as possible. A size of 3.5 inches all around and another size of 6 x 9 inches. Look wise, the speakers are attractive but the design could have been made better. But if you rather care only about the sound quality, it’s a good speaker system to go with. It’s going to be an upgrade over the factory speakers definitely worth it.
4. Rockford R165X3 6.5″ 3-Way – Best Budget 6.5 Car Speaker
Rockford is the choice of many when it comes to car speakers. Although it should be mentioned that the brand isn’t as well-known as many, those who have given these a try have good reviews for the brand. It nonetheless is one of those brands making high-quality premium car speakers and sound system. Rockford is actually quite an old company and it its time, it was one of the few, making unmatched quality speakers. One of the good things in the R165X3 is that these are 3-way coaxial speakers which mean, the different frequency of sound in music will be divided and each of the 3 speakers will play a different frequency, giving a surrounded sound feel in your car. This is something not many speakers have as a feature even if they are offering a 3-way set.
The woofer is well made and its piezo tweeter is what handles those ultra-high frequencies with a problem without putting any load on the cones itself on which they are installed. These are rated at 45 RMS watts per speaker which run at 4 ohms. The woofer base is made up of polypropylene, making it good in overall quality of the woofers. The best things about this model are that it is available in 6 different sizes so that you have a well set of choices according to your car’s fit. That is something of a struggle with many other speakers.
5. Alpine SPS-619 6×9″ 3-Way – High-Quality Sound
The Alpine type S is one of the best quality sound systems out there with a large fan base. These are coaxial speakers, 6 inches by 9 inches with a loudness that is desired by many. The best part is that it has got a variety of size selection which makes it a good pick in the mid-range speakers.
The speakers are rated at 260 watts and 85 RMS watts per speaker which, although is below the average, still manages to produce the quality. The rating doesn’t stand much in the way of the sound quality it produces as it proves it simply. The resistance of the speakers is rated at 90 decibels which is why it is able to produce the loudness and the quality. Besides the common 6 x 9 inches in size, there are sizes of 5 x 7 and also 6.5 by 5.25 inches. Overall, by the good reviews and the performance of the speakers, it is safe to say that this one proves to be a good step up from factory fitted speakers in your car.
6. Kenwood KFC-6965S 3-way – Best Budget 6×9 Car Speaker
If you aren’t familiar with the brand Kenwood, you are definitely left behind in the world of speakers and sound related equipment. Kenwood is a big name in the market of speakers and other related items. Although Kenwood has lots of different speaker models, this one is really something else. These may look similar to factory speakers in your car but the sound will tell you otherwise. The KFC-6965S are 3-way speakers which distinguish their quality and sound quality quite simply. These are not at all toys. You’ll get the idea when you turn them on, full volume. These are rated at 400 watts. The greater the watts, the better the speakers. That sums up to be an 89 dB output.
The speakers themselves are pretty well made, having in the center a 2-inch tweeter which is what makes both, the vocals in your music as well as the bass simply attractive to the ears. The woofer cone is made up of polypropylene which is of 2 inches in size. A pair of these is rated at 45 watts RMS. There’s a half an inch ceramic tweeter that further makes the experience noteworthy, these speakers are for the tight budgeted, and cost around 30 to 40 dollars a pair. So if you are looking for a low price but quality speakers,
Kenwood’s KFC-965S 3-way speakers are for you. Looking at it, they may seem cheap and simple speakers but they are good enough speakers if you don’t want to spend too much and get reasonable quality speakers while at it. The size of the speakers is 9 x 6 x 6 inches so you might need to check your car’s board cavities. These are flush mount speakers so if yours are a perfect fit in your car, you’re good to go. These speakers come with 2 grills, one for each, and 11-inch wide, one for both of them.
7. JVC CS-J620 6.5″ 400W – Great 2-way car speaker
JVC, like the pioneer, is one of the oldest brands there is which specializes in marking high-quality sound systems, speakers and other related devices. JVC has countless types of speakers of different ranges. This one, in particular, the CS-J620 is aimed at the budget-friendly speakers. These are 2-way coaxial speakers which will definitely improve your bass and overall sound clarity when compared to your factory car speakers. The bass won’t be as high as to shake your car windows and the surrounding, but it’s going to sound smooth and good enough letting you know that your money spent on it was worth it. You can say that these are for those who wouldn’t want to spend a big amount on speakers yet prefer good enough quality when listening to music.
These are sizes 6.5 inches by every side which can be troublesome to get them installed in some cases. Coming to the technical specs of the speakers, these are rated at 300 watts in terms of power handling, and 30 watts RMS per speaker. The sensitivity rating is at 92 dB and resistance at 4 ohms which pretty common with most speakers. If you happen to use these with an external amplifier, you’ll go even loud but the stock is going to also do you just fine. One thing to note about these speakers is that the tweeter dome is made of poly-ether imide. Ferrite magnet is there for the woofer with the powerful neodymium magnets.
8. Jaras JJ-2646 6.5″ 3-way – Good price
The Jaras may not be that well known by many, nonetheless, after looking at the reviews and testing these speakers, it turned out to be a good one for the price paid. The Jaras JJ-2646 are undoubtedly good speakers in the price range compared to other speakers. These are 6.5 inches speakers all around with a power handling rating of 360 watts and RMS rating of 180 watts which is above the average than many. But that isn’t for the show. These speakers use the powerful neodymium film dome with a piezo tweeter that handles high pitches just fine.
These speakers may be cheaper than many, the quality can be felt. Fitment can be a problem because of the size but with a little modification, you’ll be happy with the sound quality of these speakers. The bass is also considerably good in these. The good thing is that the package contains with the needed screws and other fitment components so that you don’t have to get them separately. The woofer unit has a firm sounding feeling which makes the bass not too bad to experience.
9. Kicker DS693 6×9″ 3-way – Low Impedance Car Speakers
Kicker’s DS693 is a 3-way speaker that solidifies its quality in terms of its price. The DS693 are 6 x 9 inches speakers which are extremely budget-friendly and a notable replacement from the factory fitted speakers in the car. The 3-way speaker arrangement manages to perform better than other 2 way speakers as the isolation of frequency is made a little better with these. The tweeters in these speakers are quite responsive and handle the high pitches quite well without cracking or tearing. The speakers are rated at 70 watts in terms of power handling per speaker or 140 watts when combined. That makes the sound quality notable in relation to its price and when compared to other similar ranged speakers.
The woofer’s cone is made with polypropylene and there’s a dome made up of the same for mid-range frequencies. This set has the so-called extended voice coil feature which makes the bass sound good without much tearing or distortion. The shallow depth of the base allows the speakers to be fitted without too much trouble and fits fine in most cars out there.
10. Pioneer TS-A6976R 6×9″ 550W – Cheap 6×9″ speakers
Here is a set of another one of the pioneer speakers kept under a low budget. The assurance here is that pioneer is going to deliver with each and every speaker set no matter what the price range is. The TS-A6979 speakers feature a rather classic and elegant look. Nonetheless, the speakers manage to produce high quality and clear sound and are loud enough in a car’s cabin. These are 6 inches by 9 inches and without a doubt excellent speakers for the price. These are 3-way speakers with a multilayer woofer cone providing a durable sound diaphragm for seemingly high-quality bass sound. The speakers are rated 550 watts RMS which means that’s a 90-watt rating per speaker.
The peak power handling is at a great 1100 watt per pair. The sensitivity is rated at 88 decibels with an impedance of 4 ohms. That’s the range common for mid-range speakers. For the midrange frequencies, there’s a 2.25 inch smaller cone with a magnet. The tweeter rests over the midrange with a 0.75-inch dome covered by polymer. The mounting depth is about 3 whole and 5/16 inches. Included in the package is adapter and cables necessary for installation. The bass is especially good because of that without creating the excessive booming effect. It won’t shake up your car’s windows but enough to have you feel the bass so if you prefer the latter, these 3-way speakers are good enough for you.
Car Speaker Buyer’s Guide
The truth is, a good sound system has become an individual aspect of a car and its features and car speakers are the most overlooked part of a car. As cars are advancing and upgrading in technology, a good sound system with durable speakers has become rather a need by especially the young generation. It’s what allows us to play music during drives but the thing that’s still often ignored usually is the quality. No one would want to have their favorite music playing in unreasonable quality. Factory car speakers are good but aren’t good enough. Some people enjoy driving while listening to some nice quiet music or their favorite songs because it makes the journey smooth for many. You’d rather turn off the sound system if you hear crackling or simply a flat sound without that feel to it which you get with your ear-phones. Then there are some speakers which make the music loud but suppress the vocals. No fun in that either. So what do you need then? You need good quality speakers so that you can pass your time singing along while either stuck in traffic or halted at a terribly long red light!
So what is with so many speaker brands and their variation in prices? Well, indeed, some good brands come at a higher cost than others but they really do offer the quality many people understand and crave for. Also, it also depends on an individual’s taste. If you are someone who loves to just play it out loud and let everyone hear your music, then there are woofers that come with a set of speakers as per your requirement. But if you are someone who rather plays it for yourself but with a high-quality sound, being able to hear the vocals in the music, then it’s better to get smaller speakers specific for treble and vocals although changes can be done in the equalizer in your sound system. Other than the speakers, the sound system itself matters. In fact, the sound system is responsible for half of the quality that you get with the combination of the two. If the system isn’t as powerful, you may not get the quality you look for even with good brand speakers. The same can be said for vice versa. Also, it’s important to know the amount of space your car has. If you have a hatchback, better go with smaller speakers that can be concealed inside the space behind the seats. So then how do you choose the right speakers for yourself and the car?
The best part is that you have come to the right place. You think which speakers are good out there? Luckily for you, you have to not look elsewhere. We have covered in details about the best and high-quality speakers and some well-known brands to help you decide for yourself which ones do you prefer to get for your car’s sound system. We have made a list of the best brands and speakers in the market, with a detailed review of each, along with their pros and cons so that your decision making can be made even easier.
Things to consider before buying your car speakers
Although it may seem not much of a hassle looking for car speakers since the one and the only purpose of speakers is to simply play sound. While that is quite true, the quality is why you should think twice before buying just any speaker. The main attraction to car speakers is to be able to play loud but high-quality sound. The speakers are rated at different wattages, which states it power consumption and its overall power capability. But there is another term you have come across while going through this article. The term RMS wattage. RMS is an abbreviation for root mean square. In easy terms, it’s the mean voltage at which sound can play. In even simpler terms, it is there to further define a speaker’s power handling and performance output. That is to say, RMS value shows a speaker’s ability to continuously output sound. Usually, the RMS rating is what you need to look at when shopping for good speakers. Here are a few other things including RMS in detail, which is what you need to look for shopping for speakers.
This term determines the peak output of a speaker, as the name suggests. This literally means how loud a speaker can go in terms of the sound mostly. This is something to look for if you want to pay audio centered or pulse type of sound. The peak power is stated by a wattage. The higher the number, the louder the speakers can go at the full volume. Also, this also relates to the lowest possible volume limit. Some speakers get too quiet to be heard at all at the minimum threshold while a speaker with a high peak rating may be able to play sound dimly, but enough to be heard.
Peak power is required and looked at by those people who listen to loud bass music such as EDM and hip-hop. Note that many speakers do not contain a peak power rating or RMS rating as it’s simply a means to disguise their underpowered speakers. So now you know when to look for the peak power rating which is stated by a watt value.
This is the actual power rating of a speaker. It determines how much power the speaker needs and that subsequently determines the performance of the speakers. Technically speaking, high wattage rating is necessary for speakers with woofers. That is because the woofers take high power which needs to be given by the sound system. Without enough power, the woofers may sound too low or not work at all.
As you may already know, humans can hear from a frequency range of 20 hertz to 15,000 to 18,000 hertz generally. That depends on the age factor and hearing ability. Similarly, when talking about speakers, the speakers can play different frequency sounds. That includes the highs and lows in the music you are playing, determining the pitch. While this isn’t much of a big deal, as 95 percent of the speakers play sound the in the frequencies people can hear. The frequency can be an important factor when playing high treble or low bass music and in some cases, the bass cannot be heard due to playing in really low frequency or treble extremely low frequency.
Mostly, the bass is played between the 10 and 50 hertz sound. A little higher till the 100, instruments such as bass guitars and drums are played which can be heard without much trouble. Till the 200 hertz area, the upper-level bass is played and can be easily heard. From 200 to 1000 hertz, the vocals are clearly heard and other mid-frequency ranged instruments. Above and near 20000 hertz, high treble can be heard and usually the hissing sound under a quiet background.
Often this rating is overlooked and while it isn’t as critical to look for in speakers in terms of sound, it is at least worth to note it once. The sensitivity rating determines the power efficiency rating of the speaker. It can imply the life of the speakers and also which kind of head unit or amplifying unit the speakers need or can be coupled with. The sensitivity rating is stated by a dB symbol which means decibel. It can also tell how loud a speaker is able to play with a single watt and a distance of 1 meter. For that, the output is rated with a dB number and the greater the dB, the louder and efficient the speaker is going to be able to play. That is to say that, some speakers which have a lower dB value, can play just as loud when given power through an amplifier, those with a higher dB value. But it should be noted that amplifying underpowered speakers can damage them in a short time. This also makes the power handling aspect of a speaker relevant as a speaker with a low power rating shouldn’t be given high power in hopes to boost the sound. The speakers might simply blow up and you’ll end up with a paperweight. Sometimes, due to voltage fluctuation, the sound can be heavily modified. The ability of a speaker amplifying a single and converting it into sound is greatly determined by its impedance.
Impedance is a term that determines the speakers’ resistance to the flow of power which is usually rated at 8 ohms for most speakers. This means that the power given to speakers should be kept under the 8 ohms resistance so that the signal is enough to be heard which is why amplifiers are required to turn up the signal loss due to impedance and resistance to power.
As we talked about the impedance earlier in the article, the resistance is really all about that. The resistance of a speaker is determined by its impedance, meaning, and the amount of power or current the speaker can restrict or resist, which is determined in ohms. This means that, if a speaker is rated with an impedance of 8 ohms, the amplifier should be able to push out power to the speaker that is greater to resist by the speaker in terms of current. Without the required amount of power, the speaker will not be able to produce audible sound. This, in turn, is related to the wattage required by a speaker which shows that if the speaker gets the specified watts, the impedance is surpassed and the speaker should work up to its maker’s claims. Also, the ability of a speaker to be able to surpass the resistance but barely, so that it can control low volume efficiently, is dependent on the power handling of the speaker. Low-quality speakers, when played at a low volume may not produce an audible sound but the sound is only heard after turning up the volume to a particular amount.
To conclude, it can be difficult for some of us to be able to select the right speakers for ourselves, without the right knowledge, but now you’ll know what to look for, after getting all the basic and required information regarding car speakers to match your need. That isn’t to say that getting a speaker set rated at a high wattage and with low impedance will have you satisfied. It really depends on the person. A person who has a taste for music with vocals should be fine with speakers that are designed to play treble better while a person who likes bass and hip-hop might need a high power wattage system.
Different Types of speakers
Component type speakers
These are the type of speakers which include usually more than 2 speakers. With the involvement of a circuit and a crossover, each speaker is given the task by the sound system to play a specific area or frequency of the sound playing, after the sound is divided into multiple frequencies and assigned to different speakers. These are speakers which need ample space and usually isn’t opted for in installation in cars since this set of speakers contain multiple different speakers such as woofers, subwoofers, tweeters, and crossovers.
⦁ Tweeters – These speakers are small in size and handle the treble of music. These will play high-frequency sounds of instruments like cymbals, guitars, flute and other sounds which are of high pitched.
⦁ Woofer – As you are already familiar with, woofers handle only the bass of the sound/music. The woofer unit is larger in size and usually kept at the back of a car behind the seats. The range of frequency the woofers work under is between 50 hertz to 500 hertz. These units actually need space as these let out air to produce the sound effect of the bass.
⦁ Subwoofer– These are staged down versions of the woofers and handle the low-frequency sounds between 30 hertz to 80 hertz. The sub-woofers assist the main woofer in making the proper bass according to the music played.
⦁ Midrange – these speakers as the name suggests, handles the midrange frequency of sound. These speakers handle the sounds in the frequency range of 150 hertz to 2000 hertz.
Some sets include a few more speakers, and all these together make a surround sound environment which makes the experience quite good especially in movies. Cinema halls use these types of speakers. In cars, the speakers get smaller and the set consists of fewer speakers but manage to produce the same quality as per the size of cars.
Pros of component car speakers
As stated, the component speakers isolate different frequency ranges and divide them between the different speaker configurations. This separation or isolation of the frequencies allows the different placement of the speakers, allowing us to create a surround sound effect. Also, these speakers are high in quality and its crossover speakers are excellent in sound. The placement is in the hands of the user and the best part is the individual components can be upgraded with needing to change the whole system.
- The most efficient system
- High-quality sound produced
- Isolation of the frequency creates surround sound effect
- An individual component upgrade is possible without needing to change the whole system
- Works best in a large area
Cons of component car speakers
Since this system contains lots of different speakers, ample space is required which is difficult to get in cars. Simply, many cars do not have enough space to have installed component speakers in them. This would require a door speaker on each door and a sedan so that the woofer can be placed in the trunk without compromising too much space. Also, these systems can be quite expensive and in the case of troubleshooting, it takes time to trace the problem.
- A lot more expensive than coaxial speakers
- Lots of space required for them to produce the surround quality
- Installation isn’t as easy as for coaxial
Coaxial type speakers
The speakers covered in this article are all coaxial type speakers. Usually, since cars are limited in space, coaxial speakers are commonly installed. These speakers have become much more efficient and are able to produce a high-quality sound like the component based speakers. What distinguishes them from the component type speakers is that these usually come in a set of 2 with a single woofer. The two or 3 speakers are there to handle all sound frequencies and thus are called full range speakers. Usually, the tweeter is placed with the woofer and because of that, they share a common axis which is the reason why these speakers are called coaxial speakers. These speakers come in a 2 way or 3-way set. The number determines the number of speakers along with a woofer. Coaxial speakers are usually preferred to be used in cars due to their sizes.
The placement of coaxial speakers gets a lot easier as they can be fitted into space with a little modification where the factory speakers are installed. Also, the wiring becomes just as simple as there are not so many components. Plus, because of the coaxial connector, the compatibility with other devices becomes a big advantage.
Arrangement types of coaxial cable
⦁ 2-way speaker arrangement: This is the usual speaker arrangement you will find. Usually, these are the ones found in cars, those which are stock. This arrangement consists of 2 speakers. One is the woofer and other is the tweeter. The benefit to the 2 set speakers is that it doesn’t require high power to produce a sound that is audible while you should note that often, the quality of the sound itself isn’t up to the mark if the cones of the speakers and its magnets aren’t fitted tightly and properly.
⦁ 3-way speaker arrangement: This one consisting of the same speakers as above, only a super tweeter is added with the arrangement. The super tweeter is commonly placed on the top of the woofer, amplifying the effect of the main tweeter in producing high pitch sounds and clear vocals. If the quality of the super tweeter in the arrangement isn’t up to mark, the sound produced by it will mostly be teary and distorted.
⦁ 4-way speaker arrangement: These are now more common to see, in the type of coaxial arrangements. A set of 4 will without a doubt produce the best possible sound quality compared with the above-mentioned speaker arrangements. These include a super tweeter and also have their cones and mid cones. Nonetheless, the quality of the speakers themselves should be good enough if you are expecting good quality sound from them. 4-way speakers somewhat become like the component based speakers as they also contain multiple speakers which isolate the frequencies as much as possible depending on the number of speakers.
Pros of coaxial car speakers
For one, coaxial speaker systems are much cheaper than other systems. But that doesn’t compromise on the quality. Coaxial speakers manufactured now are capable of producing high-quality sound and lasts longer. It is easier to maintain them and these speakers do not require a lot of space in cars to install as these can be fitted on the board where the factory speakers are installed.
- Affordable speakers
- Easy to install and maintain
- Not a lot of space required
- Comes in different sizes for different cars depending on the maker
Cons of coaxial speakers
As with the cons of component speakers, there are some drawbacks to coaxial speakers as well. The coaxial speakers may be budget-friendly, but upgrading them isn’t as simple as replacing a particular component in the other speaker configuration. You will have to change the whole system in order to upgrade which can be costly overall. Also, these are good in quality but aren’t as good as isolating multiple sound frequencies like it is with the component based speakers. Sometimes, the sound tends to distort and crack under high volume. Usually, that happens when there is a tear in the cone or the tweeter is pressed and squished.
- Isolation or frequencies isn’t as good
- In order to upgrade, the whole system needs to be changed
- Adjustments after installation can be a hassle.