Car Speakers: What You Should Know Before Installing a Car Amplifier

Summary:

– Types of car speakers

– Car Speakers: Features

– Amplifiers for car loudspeakers

– What’s a car amp?

– Buying a car amp

– Installation of a car amplifier

Most vehicles are now equipped with good quality audio equipment as standard equipment. However, if you have a music lover’s ear, you can change the speakers and their placement to optimise the sound.

Types of car speakers

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They are composed of several elements (tweeter – woofer – mid-range) that will allow to transcribe the whole range of sounds, from the lowest to the highest.

A few words to know to understand how a loudspeaker works:

– Tweeter: part of the loudspeaker that delivers high frequencies.

– Woofer: part of the loudspeaker that delivers low frequencies.

– Passive filter: this is justified for speakers in exploded kits and is used to direct high and low sounds to the corresponding part of the speaker (tweeter and woofer).

There are mainly 2 speaker systems: coaxial and offset kit speakers.

Coaxial loudspeakers

These are usually the cheapest (from $20 to $60).

Their name derives from their constitution: they are all in one block.

Depending on the model, the sounds can be grouped together on the same membrane, or they can be two or three way (i.e. the bass and treble are separated and emitted by a different membrane).

Exploded kit loudspeakers

These models are systematically more expensive (from $40 to $200 according to their technicality).

They are available in 2 or 3 separate channels (tweeter + mid-range + woofer) + 1 passive filter, the different sounds can be emitted at different locations.

Car speakers: characteristics

When you buy speakers, the characteristics indicated are dimensions and diameter, power, number of channels, sensitivity and frequency response.

Loudspeaker dimensions and diameter

If you place them in the same location as the original speakers, the dimensions and diameter, as well as the depth, are important.

In addition, the diameter will determine the sound power, and the larger your vehicle, the more likely you are to select large-diameter speakers.

Speaker power

The power indicated is more a commercial argument than a technical one, such is the vagueness of this notion:

– Often, it is the maximum power that is mentioned, which is not representative of the quality of the loudspeakers.

– If you look through the technical specifications, you will also find the RMS (Root Mean Square) power, which is the effective power and is a relatively reliable element of comparison.

Number of channels of the loudspeaker

As described above, it allows the 2 or 3 bass, treble and mid-range diaphragms to be spread throughout the vehicle for better sound reproduction.

Sensitivity of the loudspeaker

It defines the maximum number of decibels delivered in the frequency of the loudspeaker. They correspond to the minimum and maximum frequencies delivered.

Amplifiers for car loudspeakers

To optimise the sound, an amplifier ($200 and more) can be added. Its role is to:

– to multiply the power at the car radio output,

– put that power to the speakers.

Good to know: It is important to note that power is not the determining factor for sound quality and that sound reproduction is more important than the influx of decibels that are dangerous for the hearing system.

The amplifier, or booster, is a fairly well known automotive part, but few apart from professionals know its function. This device is used to improve the power and sound quality in your car.

What is a car amplifier?

Definition

Generally speaking, an amplifier receives an electrical signal (audio, TV, telephony, electronics, etc.) and amplifies it at the output, so as to increase its amplitude and power without changing its frequency.

Good to know: power corresponds to voltage multiplied by intensity. If the amp increases the voltage, it increases the power.

If the increase in power is not desired, simply decrease the intensity.

Role of the car amp

Its role is twofold:

– to increase the sound power of the car radio without distortion;

– to increase the sound quality: for example, lowering the volume of the car radio will not prevent all sounds from being discerned and brought out with superior quality.

Features of the car amplifier

Power

Look out! The selection parameter is not the maximum power displayed, but more subtly the RMS (Root Mean Square) power, which defines the average power usage.

This will be chosen in priority to the sensitivity of the loudspeakers. The RMS power will be approximately 20% higher than the power of the loudspeakers.

Please note: a high amp power is not necessarily synonymous with better quality.

Number of channels

It depends on the number of sound sources to be processed:

– 1 channel can feed a sub-woofer (speaker diffusing the low frequencies, thus the bass sounds) to process the low frequencies or bass sounds;

– from 2 to 6 channels, the amplifier will be able to process the sound of a split kit (speakers dispersed in the vehicle), a sub-woofer or tweeters (speakers diffusing high-frequency tones).

Note: here again, the number of channels (or channels) is not an automatic quality criterion.

Buying a car amplifier

Rates

They depend on the technical nature of the amplifier: the more channels there are, the higher the price; the class of the amplifier also plays a role.

Good to know: class A, B, C, D differentiates the operating mode (signal processing).

Prices range from $40 for the most basic to $1,000 for the top of the range. A good price/quality ratio is at the average price of $150 to $200, knowing that you have to identify precisely your needs before buying.

Suppliers

Two main types of suppliers emerge:

– specialist auto parts or hi-fi audio stores: salespeople are often specialists, especially in hi-fi stores, and will provide you with all the necessary purchasing and installation advice.

– Internet platforms for car accessories and specialised hi-fi audio sites: to be used with full knowledge of the facts, your mastery of the subject being recommended. This solution is not recommended for beginners.

Installing a car amplifier

Before installing your amp, here are a few tips to make the installation easier:

– Provide a ventilated area for the amp that delivers heat;

– Properly size the power supply cables (according to the maximum current and length);

– protect the power supply circuit with a suitable fuse as close as possible to the battery;

– make a meticulous assembly: pass the cables through the passenger compartment, grommets for the wall passages, protections on the cutting edges.

Are you looking for a car audio specialists in Melbourne?

With over 40 years of experience, Jobson Electronics is a car audio specialist serving the region of Melbourne, Melbourne CDB, Carlton, and Fitzroy. If you’re driving any European car, you can contact them for customised media solutions for your vehicle.

And, remember to share your experience below!

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