When choosing a new car, there are multiple factors that you want to take into consideration, such as gas mileage and type of transmission. Then there are other things that you only discover once you purchase the car and drive it for a while, like the speakers in your car. When it's time to remove those duds and replace them with window-rattling bass blasters, keep these tips in mind.
Determine the Type of Speaker You Want
There are really two main categories of aftermarket car speakers: full-range speakers and component speaker systems. If you're looking to replace factory speakers without any problems, you should go with full-range speakers. They come in multiple sizes and can mount into the same location that the factory speaker was in.
If you want the best sound, though, you'll want a component speaker. Component speakers give depth to sound. They're made of better materials, so they can deliver extremely detailed sound.
Know Your Speaker Materials
All car stereos are unique, so you need to make sure that the speakers are made out of the right material to give you the sound that you're after. For your subwoofer, you want a material that's stiff but lightweight, so it can produce the low notes in music. Polypropylene mixed with mica results in a more accurate bass response, while woven fabrics or synthetics coated with metals give an excellent response. Both options stand up well to changes in temperature.
For your tweeter, poly, textile blends, or silk will give you a refined and mellow sound. If you like the highs to be snappy, go with hard materials like metal or graphite. With surround sound, you need something that's durable and stands up to temperature and humidity, so go with rubber. Rubber gives the best performance and longevity. Foam and cloth work both cost less, but they usually work just as well.
Match Your Speakers With Your System
If you have a low-powered car stereo, which includes most factory speaker systems, speakers with high sensitivity ratings would make the perfect match. If you have a high-powered car stereo, though, you should consider speakers with low sensitivity ratings. If your system is properly powered, it'll give excellent sound quality.
It's also important to match the power handling of your speaker system with your car system. If you have a low-powered system, your speakers don't need to handle a ton of power. If you have powerful external amps, you'll need speakers that have power-handling similar to the output of the amps. The key spec in power-handling is Maximum RMS, which is the maximum amount of power a speaker can deliver on a continuous basis.
Don't Impulse Buy
One of the most tempting things in life is an impulse purchase. Just because you have a certain amount of money doesn't mean you should necessarily run out and buy the first set of speakers you see in your price range. Cheap car speakers wear down quickly, so instead of buying something that you can afford, wait longer and save up for the system with the materials that you really want.
Check the Reviews
One of the greatest things about the Internet is that you can get other users' feedback on items and whether the items work or not. You need to use this to your advantage. Take the time to research the speakers that you want. If you read negative feedback, look for other users with a similar problem. If your item is poorly reviewed, it'd be wise to look at another system.
Bonus Tip: Don't Compress Your Music Files
This isn't exactly a tip for picking your speaker, but it will certainly enhance your experience once you get them. And let's be honest — very few people carry a huge binder full of album CDs around. Since we're moving toward a digital future, it's far more likely that you're putting music on your phone. When you download music from iTunes or Amazon, you're getting fantastic quality, but what about when you rip your own music? While it's tempting to compress your music, don't do it.
Since your car will soon be sporting a top-of-the-line system, you want your music to sound the best. Even though the file sizes will be larger, when you rip your music, choose the 192 KBPS rate. This rate is extremely close to CD quality. If you choose music that has a lower rate than 192 KBPS, you'll likely notice errors and imperfections in the song. If you can, find FLAC files, which are completely uncompressed music files. They will be enormous sized files, though, and you'll likely only be able to get a few on your phone.
Don't be overwhelmed by trying to find new music speakers. It will definitely take some research, but you'll be enjoying your perfect car stereo speakers in no time! What other tips do you have for choosing the perfect set of speakers for your car?
Image via Flickr by Darth Kraken