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Component speakers installation options

Where and how to mount your tweeters

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.

Component speakers in van

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. Or just contact our advisors and they can help you figure it out.

Factory location

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.

Tweeter locations

What to do if your vehicle doesn't have a factory tweeter location

To keep the details of the high range crisp and powerful, your tweeters need to be in front of you and as close to your ears as possible (without being too far from the woofers). While most vehicles come with speakers in the doors, many don't have component tweeters. So, it'll be up to you to decide where to mount your aftermarket tweeters. Depending on the design of your vehicle, you'll take your pick of one of the four locations you see above.

You'll also have to get creative when it comes to mounting. Good thing most component speaker systems come equipped with the necessary hardware to let you mount the tweeters where they'll work the best for you. Just use one of two basic tweeter mounting methods: surface mounting and flush mounting. Flush mounting takes a bit more work, but has the benefit of a more factory look. Surface mounting is a bit more noticeable, but it's less invasive.

Surface mount

A Focal component tweeter in a surface-mount housing

Surface mounting your tweeters

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.

Flush mount

A component tweeter flush mounted in a sail panel.

Flush mounting your tweeters

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-mounted installation.

Whether you flush mount or surface mount, don't forget that you'll need to run speaker wire to your crossover location. For more specifics on surface-mounting and flush-mounting check out our component speaker installation guide.

Crossover placement

Most component systems include external crossover systems that need to be stashed somewhere (anywhere) out of sight. 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.

Rear components

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.

Q-form kick panel pod

Q-Forms kick panel pod

Kick panel pods

If you're an experienced installer, possible speaker mounting locations are only limited by your imagination and expertise. Q-Logic's Q-Forms custom 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). They're available in a variety of factory-matched colors for many vehicle models

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-Forms kick panel will fit your vehicle with our vehicle selector, and mount both the woofer and tweeter in these custom-fit enclosures.

Find out more about the right speakers for your car

Our car speakers buying guide, goes into a lot more detail about how to choose the right speakers (whether a component system or coaxials) for your car audio system. Be sure to check it out. And then use our vehicle selector to find out which speakers will fit your car.

If you have any questions about your options, contact our advisors via phone, chat, or email (all found at the top of this page). They're here to help.

  • Mike from Florida

    Posted on 7/12/2015 11:52:54 AM

    HI Iam trying to find out if its better to put a surface mount TS x200 in the backe of a 370Z hatch or 6X9 speakers in a box thanks

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/13/2015 9:19:23 AM

    Mike, you'll certainly have more options opting for the 6"x9"s. Pioneer says the TS-X200's can handle 20 watts RMS. If you're powering them from your head unit, they should be just fine. If you're planning on using an amp for power, you'll get more satisfaction from a pair of 6"x9"s with higher power handling.

  • Jacque from Round Rock

    Posted on 1/14/2016 8:55:48 PM

    Hi I have a 2012 Audi S5 and I'm considering replacing the front door and rear quarter panel speakers. I know I want the focal 165kr for the front door. I have a question regarding the rear. There's a factory location for a rear tweeter in the quarter panel. Would there be any benefit to purchasing a 2nd pair of 165kr for the rear; or should I go with 165krc coaxial for my vehicle, which is a 2 door coupe if you're not familiar.

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 1/15/2016 9:10:21 AM

    Jacque, in your case the benefit really depends on how often your backseat is used. If someone sits back there regularly, they'd be the main beneficiary of a rear component system, and since there are factory tweeter locations already, you'll have less work to do during installation. However, if backseat listening isn't really a priority, you'll do fine with a pair of coaxials back there, especially in a coupe.

  • Sam from Providence

    Posted on 4/10/2016 9:36:39 PM

    I have 02 Lexus IS 300 and want to install a component speaks. Can I install without adding the amplify?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 4/11/2016 2:32:24 PM

    Sam, you can but we don't recommend it. Amplified power will optimize the performance of new components, and you'll notice a big jump in sound quality. Check out our car amplifier buying guide for more information, or give us a call for a recommendation.

  • Ivan from Bronx, NY

    Posted on 7/18/2016 12:27:43 PM

    I want to know witch one are better the 6x9 speaker or the component one I got 2012 nissan altima without bose system I using my aftermarker radio a jvc with navigation 22rms x 4 I want to change my rear speakers witch one do you recomend

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/18/2016 12:41:03 PM

    Ivan, if you're talking about only replacing the speakers in your rear deck, full-range 6"x9" speakers should be sufficient. Because your factory speakers have a low impedance, you'll want to replace them with low impedance aftermarket speakers. I've passed your question along to our sales team, and an advisor will contact you soon to find the right gear for your Altima.

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