Component speakers installation options
Ken Nail has written about car audio for Crutchfield since 2003, after four years as Crutchfield Sales Advisor, and 10 years as a music teacher. He's an avid music listener, whose favorites are classical and film music. When not chained to a desk, Ken spends most of his time training for triathlons and marathons, and likes getting outside for backpacking, downhill skiing, and bicycle touring. He attended West Virginia University, where he received a Master's Degree in Music Performance and a Bachelor's Degree in History.
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Mounting component speaker systems in your vehicle can require a bit of creativity on your part, but if you're handy with tools, you probably won't find it too difficult. When installing a component speaker system, you have to decide where to place three separate elements: the woofers, the tweeters, and the crossovers. Let's take a look at some different installation circumstances and see how the different elements can be accommodated.
Mounting component speakers in factory woofer and tweeter locations
Some vehicles come equipped with tweeters mounted in the door or on the dash, along with woofers mounted low in the door. Crutchfield's online vehicle database will sort out which woofers from the component systems we carry will fit in the door openings. But since factory and aftermarket tweeters vary considerably in size, you'll need to measure the existing tweeter openings and compare them against the size of the tweeters in the brand-name component speaker system you're considering.
To mount the new tweeter in the existing tweeter opening, you may have to fabricate a bracket out of ABS plastic or light metal. Some brand-name systems come with special brackets that are easily modified for this task. Whatever the circumstance, be prepared to do some experimenting and fabricating. Pick a dry, secure location to mount the new crossover. Remember that you'll also need to run the speaker wire from the tweeter to the crossover location. For a more detailed look at mounting the crossover, check out our Component Speaker Installation Guide.
If your vehicle doesn't have a factory tweeter location
Most vehicles come with speakers in the doors, but don't have component tweeters. It'll be up to you to decide where to mount your aftermarket tweeters. Component speaker systems come equipped with the necessary hardware to let you mount the tweeters where they'll work the best for you. You'll follow one of two basic tweeter mounting methods: surface-mounting and flush-mounting.
A Focal component tweeter in a surface-mount housing
Surface-mounting requires less time and fewer modifications to your car than flush-mounting. In a surface-mount, the new tweeter (in its housing) attaches to the top surface of the door panel or dash. The tweeter's housing secures to the car's panel with a screw, so you need only drill a small hole to install the tweeter mount and run the speaker wire to the crossover. You'll find surface-mounting to be an ideal choice if you face a limited mounting depth.
A component tweeter flush-mounted in a sail panel.
A flush-mounted tweeter will not protrude or will partially protrude from the panel, and many people prefer this cleaner look. But since the door panel must have a hole large enough to hold the entire tweeter, you must perform more modifications than necessary for a surface-mount.
Whether you flush- or surface-mount, don't forget that you'll need to run speaker wire to your crossover location. For more specifics on surface- and flush-mounting check out our Component Speaker Installation Guide.
More and more people are opting for higher quality sound in their vehicles, including surround features that rear-mounted component systems can bring to life. If that's the case for you, you'll need to locate your rear tweeters in such a way that their sound combines well with the rear woofers and does not distract from the front sound stage by smearing the highs from front to rear. There are as many theories about proper tweeter placement as there are locations. Some of those locations include the rear pillar, door, or deck.
A good way to make sure that you'll get the best possible sound is to test out the tweeters' positions before installing them. Hook up your tweeters with extra-long speaker wires and place them in various locations — holding them temporarily with duct tape or putty, if need be — so you can listen from the driver's seat and determine which locations work best.
Some people prefer to use their rear speakers for midrange or midbass reproduction only, to help fill out the sound in their vehicle, and let the front tweeters take care of all the high frequency details.
If you're an experienced installer, possible speaker mounting locations are only limited by your imagination and expertise. For some helpful tips, check out the Component Speaker Installation Guide. If you want to experience outstanding stereo imaging, try using kick panel pods to give you a custom look and outstanding sound without requiring much installation expertise.
Q-form kick panel pod
Kick panel pods
Q-Logic's Q-forms custom kick panel pods come available in a variety of factory-matched colors for many vehicle models. Kick panel pods position the speakers for optimal sound reproduction — as close to equidistant from your ears as possible (check out our article on imaging and soundstaging for an explanation of the advantage).
Q-forms come with detailed installation instructions — installing most Q-forms is within the ability of the average amateur installer. Find out if a Q-Form kick panel will fit your vehicle with our vehicle selector, and mount both the woofer and tweeter in these custom-fit enclosures.