Has your sound gotten scary?

Rescue it with new speakers!

By

Matt Freeman

A circuitous path, involving England, New York, rural Michigan, Indiana, and lots of parts in between brought Matthew Freeman to Charlottesville, where he's been writing about mobile audio/video for Crutchfield off and on since early 2000. He fosters an eclectic taste in film, and is fond of a wide range of music. A native of Albuquerque, New Mexico, he found his way to the University of Notre Dame, where, in an act of charity unsurpassed in the history of Western civilization, he was given a B.A. in English.

More from Matt Freeman

"Old paper cones,
so thin and frail,
Inevitably are going
to fail.
They roast in summer,
in winter freeze,
E’er plagued by humidity.

Eventually they crack
and tear,
Incapable of
moving air.
Your sound now
causes you distress—
A feeble, flat,
distorted mess!"

– Old Transylvanian folk tune

Spooky speakers

Just for fun, we asked some folks around here to list their biggest fears. The top four answers were:

  1. Werewolves
  2. Creatures from outer space
  3. Old factory speakers
  4. Clowns

Honestly, we were surprised that clowns were so low on the list. Not at all surprising, however, is that old speakers came in at #3.

You see, for a speaker, the car is a torture chamber. Extreme heat in the summer, freezing cold in the winter, and, in many parts of the country, year-round humidity take their toll on door speakers, while intense sunlight magnified by the rear window makes rear-deck speakers wither. Subject speakers to enough torture, they'll turn into monsters. 

Factory speakers tend to be made from materials that can't handle these conditions. Over time, they deteriorate, distorting high notes, strangling bass, and robbing the sound of power. And because the process is gradual, we keep listening as the sound gets worse. And worse. And worse.

"The effects of age on foam surrounds
Do gruesome things to your sound.
With no guidance for your cones,
Your music turns to shrieks and moans.
So when surrounds begin to rot,
Beware, beware!
Your music’s shot!"

– from "The Sleepy Hollow Book of Nursery Rhymes"

Aftermarket speakers ­— built to fight evil

Luckily, you have a secret weapon, a stake to drive through the heart of awful sound — aftermarket speakers. Aftermarket speakers are built to deliver sound as pure as the dawn after a stormy night. The Polk Audio DXi full-range speakers are a great example. Polk engineers developed these speakers using laser-imaging, which helps them see the cones in motion, ensuring accurate movement that won’t add unwanted resonances (or the moans of evil spirits, if you will) to your music.

Polk DXi650 speaker

The Polk DXi650 6-1/2" speakers

Just as important, Polk subjects their speakers to intense environmental stress tests — temperatures from -40° to 180° F, and humidity up to 95%. They even test their materials for UV and salt-fog resistance for six weeks. They do all this so that in a few years’ time, you won’t find yourself living with a monster.

Tough surrounds

The tough butyl rubber surrounds of Polk Audio DXi speakers keep the cones moving in straight lines for excellent reproduction without distortion. And they’re strong enough to last a long, long time.

Sweet-sounding soft tweeters

Silk/polymer dome tweeters play the high notes without a hint of harshness — after all, you want your highs to sing sweetly, not scream like a banshee.

Durable woofer cones

These composite cones are stiff enough not to flex when fed heavy power, yet light enough to handle fine details. The poly/mica combo is also less prone to deterior­ation, ripping, and tearing in the long run.

Get the weapons to defeat the monsters in your door panels

Whether you choose Polk or another brand, new speakers are the key to creating great sound in your car. Need a hand tackling the terror lurking in your door panels? Give us a call at 888-955-6000. We'll help you find the right speakers to turn your nightmare into a sweet dream.

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