Articles & Videos: Car Speakers

Steve, Crutchfield A/V Editor, gives us a tour of the Crutchfield Labs. He talks about why we built the Labs and how they can help us find you the right gear.

Anatomy of a Car Speaker
by John Pollard

While most speakers feature the same basic components, the materials used, the quality of the construction, and the sophistication of the design can greatly impact how a speaker sounds. Here's a close look at what makes Focal speakers sound so good.

Doug F's 2001 Ford Explorer
by Matt Freeman

Doug F, a retired chemist from Mesa, AZ, installed his very first stereo in his 2001 Ford Explorer.

Factory speakers tend to be made from materials that can't handle the extreme conditions found in a car. Over time, they deteriorate, distorting high notes, strangling bass, and robbing the sound of power. Aftermarket speakers are built to deliver sound as pure as the dawn after a stormy night.

Factory speakers are not built to last, so over time they'll deteriorate to the point where they sound truly awful. We set up a blind listening test in our Labs and invited some of our most critical listeners to drop by and see if they could tell a difference in the sound.

Raise the soundstage
by John Pollard

Installing tweeters in your factory tweeter locations, or custom-mounting them on the upper part of your doors, will give you better stereo imaging and raise the soundstage to your ears. You'll hear better placement of instruments in recordings, and you'll enjoy more depth of sound. And they might not be as difficult to install as you may think.

Some budding audiophiles look at building a car stereo as an "all or nothing" proposition. They make a wish list, look at the total cost, get nervous, and do nothing. It doesn't have to be that way, though. Installing a system in stages improves your sound without breaking the bank.

The mobile audio/video section of the Crutchfield Labs lets our writers, researchers, and advisors get hands-on experience with the latest car audio products.

We're passionate about car audio. Crutchfield's Mobile Audio Listening Lab lets us get hands-on experience with all kinds of car audio gear, from speakers and subs to amplifiers and receivers.

Car Audio for the First-Time Buyer
by Charlie Pastorfield

Buying car audio gear for the first time? Here are some tips to help you find the right stereo equipment for your car or truck.

Lynn wanted better sound in her minivan, but didn't want to lose some factory features. So she installed a digital signal processor from Rockford Fosgate to take over the tunes, and added new speakers, an amp, and a sub for a complete overhaul.

Focal's IFVW Golf 6 system provides you with a huge improvement in sound quality by letting you replace the VW's front door tweeters and woofers with a set of custom speakers that fit right into the factory locations and plug into the existing wiring.

Kicker's Yellow Series of amps, speakers and subs gives you the performance you expect from Kicker at a more affordable price. And this year's models are better than ever.

Kenwood's Excelon XR-1800P speakers feature a huge 7" cone, packed into a frame that will still fit into the factory openings of many Dodge, GM, and Toyota vehicles. A bigger cone moves more air, so your music can have the fullness and punch you don't get with most factory speakers.

Retrosound helps you bring the sound in your classic ride into the modern age while staying true to the look and feel of your interior. Their receivers fit into the small and odd-size dash openings found in classic cars and trucks, and they also make speakers designed to get the most out of their receivers.

Four popular car speaker lines
by Robert Ferency-Viars

Recently, we gathered members of the Crutchfield car A/V writing team into our Crutchfield Labs car listening room for some critical listening of four of our most popular car speaker families. We wanted to hear the differences ourselves so we could describe to you how they sound.

Jordan B. from Florence, SC, wasn't happy with the sound in his 2000 Chevrolet Camaro, so he took care of business with a new stereo from Pioneer, plus speakers from Kenwood and Pioneer.

Just because you can't replace the radio doesn't mean you can't improve your car's audio. Brent P, who works in Crutchfield's IT department, boosted his 2007 Saab 9-3 wagon's sound and functionality without installing a new receiver.

Russ, a Crutchfield employee, didn't like the lack of bass and poor high-frequency clarity in the "premium" system of his 2008 BMW 335i. He decided to try the Focal IFBMW-S and IFBMW-C custom-fit speakers, designed specifically for his BMW.

Find what fits your car

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